Black Economic Development Organization Honors Black Women

E’Laine and her group Nia Kuumba

By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter

A national nonprofit group, United Nation Builders, celebrated Women’s History Month by recognizing Black women. The organization selected nine women, four of those were from the Toledo-area. The honorees were acknowledged as the Mothers of Civilization, each received a plaque and all of the entertainment presentations were dedicated to the honorees.

“Our organization focuses on economic development for black people throughout this country,” began Ronald Stewart, UNB president. “The most disrespected individual is the Black woman, and we wanted to honor the Black woman during women’s history month. Black women are the Mothers of Civilization, our first teachers, first nurses and the first mothers. That is the purpose of today’s fundraiser.”

Toledo area honorees: Alicia Smith of Junction Coalition, Diane Gordon of Toledo Kwanzaa House, author Anne Beckley-Newell, and performer Dianne E’Laine.

“Thank you, giving honor to God first. He is the head of my life. Thank you, Oscar [Shaheer], for nominating me. I thank God for this,” shared E’Laine.

“I want to thank the United Nation Builders for this honor,” added Annie Beckley-Newell.

  • Dianne E’Laine Stubblefield’s family legacy is rooted in music. She earned a master’s degree from The University of Toledo, is a composer and choir director s the historic Third Baptist Church in Toledo.
  • Diane Gordon serves as the coordinator of Toledo Kwanzaa House, dedicated volunteer and precinct caption in district 44, and Frederick Douglass Community Association board member.
  • Annie Beckley-Newell is an author and community outreach director who has worked in the ministry for the last 25 years. She wrote her first play at the age of 12 and her first novel entitled, ‘A Story of Faith, Hope, and Love,” was released in December 2023.
  • Alicia Smith is the current Junction Coalition executive director and has been active with the coalition since the beginning. Smith is the former City of Toledo director of the Youth Commission and has served on several local boards including Wayman Palmer YMCA and TMACOG.
  • The additional honorees were: Donna Jemison; Kierra Williams; Sharon DuMas, PhD.; Crystal Linton and K. Zaheerah Sultan (former Toledoan).
Honorees and UNB Board members

Oscar Shaheer, UNB board member and Toledoan, introduced Smith by highlighting her neighborhood level work. “She takes pride in her neighborhood. She has worked with me in the community and has given value to her work.”

“This is the type of event that needs to happen again, because it benefits not just women but us as people. Black women don’t hear too often that we’re protected or uplifted,” began Smith. “When people, our black men pour into us, we as black women can pour into our children and each other. It’s amazing to see so many people here today.”

United Nation Builders was established in 2018. The organization’s mission is to provide the black man and woman in America with an economic development base by creating businesses and employment opportunities, obtaining and redeveloping land which will allow us to elevate and improve the conditions of our communities and make them self-reliant and self-dependent.

The food was provided by Cuppy’s Best, located in Ypsilanti, Michigan.