Spring 2016 women's history month issue of the traditions & beliefs newsletter

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A Publication of the Initiative for the Study of Religion and Spirituality in the History of Africa and the Diaspora (RASHAD) Volume 10, Issue 2, Women’s History Month / Spring 2016

New Statutory Agent for Spiritual Gifts (Ohio)

Howard University: Great Ideas on The Hilltop and Fortitude in the Valley Regennia N. Williams, PhD, Founder, Editor, and Executive Director I will always have fond memories of March 2016 –my first Women’s History Month and birthday month as an official Metro Washington D.C. resident. On March 1, I settled into my new apartment in Maryland. On the next day, I made my pilgrimage to Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, home to important African American archival collections. While there, I met a dynamic pre-med student, who was kind enough to escort me to Howard’s Valley Mall, where “Fortitude” –a sculpture that holds special meaning for members of my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.— stands in all of her incredible glory. If I needed another reason to celebrate, I certainly received it at Howard’s March 6 Chapel Service, while listening to the powerful preaching of the Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems and the singing of the Howard University Gospel Choir—with former Clevelander Reginald Golden directing. Together, these experiences convinced me that I had, indeed, “come home” to the District and its surrounding communities. I look forward to sharing RASHAD’s work with my new neighbors. Happy Women’s History Month to all!

Save These Dates! DMSF Workshop

Sacred Music Summit

April 21-23, Cleveland OH

October 8, Niagara Falls NY

Early registration ($15, Adults) continues through March 26 for the DMSF Choral Workshop. For more information, call (216) 791-0646 or (216) 991-0626.

Preliminary plans are under way for a Sacred Music Summit in Niagara Falls, NY, on the weekend of October 8. For more information, please write to


Please join me in congratulating Geraldine C. Hardin Washington on her appointment (effective March 2, 2016) as the new Statutory Agent for Spiritual Gifts (Ohio). Documents related to this appointment are available via the business section of the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. A member since 2008, Geraldine has acquired a wealth of experience in the arts and education arenas, having performed with the Howard University Gospel Choir, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Women of Season, among others. She is employed in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and she is pictured below (far right) with some of the students from her school. (Thanks, children, for your hospitality and for allowing me (back row, left) to be in your school photo!) --RNW



“Write the Vision and Make it Plain!” Habakkuk 2:2 ...

Spiritual Gifts: Going Global One Strategic Step at a Time In 2013, Stacey Banks-Houston facilitated a Spiritual Gifts strategic planning discussion in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Months earlier, she had led a series of free business workshops for Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Photo courtesy Carlisa Burge.

ith w ” 013 1 10 in 2 g in ton During our session, President n an ous l Lana J. Miller and Vice President P -H c Carlisa Burge joined me in i ks g e n completing our SWOT analysis, rat Ba by identifying the organization’s Strengths, t “S cey Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. We then a St began to chart a course for the organization’s future. After 2013, we made significant progress toward achieving major goals. Most notably, we announced plans to embark on our first European tour in 2014, and, by spring 2015, hosted tour-related orientation and planning sessions, where overall goals, expectations, collaborations, and fundraisers were discussed. By then, President Miller and I had also taken advantage of additional professional development opportunities, having met with three mentors at Business Advisers of Cleveland (BAC). Beginning in the spring of 2015, Treasurer Ernestine Davis and I spent countless hours developing banking and record-keeping practices that would promote honesty, accuracy, and transparency in all financial matters, and Kevin Gibaldi joined the executive board as secretary in the summer of 2015. In addition to recording minutes for business meetings, Gibaldi assumed the primary responsibility for the layout and design of the souvenir program booklet for the European tour. Armed with a “nonprofit by-laws” template that Banks-Houston had provided for the officers’ review in 2013—and recommendations from BAC, we developed clearly defined roles for all officers and received our 501 (c)(3) final determination letter from the IRS in September 2015. As a result, Spiritual Gifts is better positioned to enhance leadership and musicianship, and create new partnerships and job opportunities. --RNW 2



These are the current (2015-2016) by-laws for Spiritual Gifts (Ohio). This organizing document can serve as a model for emerging Spiritual Gifts chapters that will, no doubt, amend it to suit the individual needs of each host community. *PLEASE NOTE: The photographs on the next five pages were taken during the first quarter of 2016.

BY-LAWS OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS: A PROFESSIONAL BLACK SACRED MUSIC REPERTORY ENSEMBLE, INC. (A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION) ARTICLE I ORGANIZATION 1. The name of the organization shall be Spiritual Gifts: A Professional Black Sacred Music Repertory Ensemble, Inc. 2. The organization may at its pleasure by a vote of the membership body change its name. ARTICLE II PURPOSES The following are the purposes for which this organization has been organized: Spiritual Gifts: A Professional Black Sacred Music Repertory Ensemble, Inc., is organized exclusively for educational purposes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code. Spiritual Gifts will accomplish its educational mission through workshops, classes, concerts, tours, publications, and conferences. ARTICLE III MEMBERSHIP Membership in this organization shall be open to all who choose to participate in its programs and abide by its ByLaws. ARTICLE IV MEETINGS The annual membership meeting of this organization shall be held on the 30th day of June each and every year except if such day be a legal holiday, then and in that event, the Board of Directors shall fix the day but it shall not be more than two weeks from the date fixed by these By-Laws. The Secretary and Executive Director shall cause to be mailed to every member in good standing at his address as it appears in the membership roll book in this organization a notice telling the time and place of such annual meeting. Regular meetings of this organization shall be held at a community center, library, church, or other accessible venue as agreed upon at the start of the program year. The presence of not less than a majority /51 percent of the members shall constitute a quorum and shall be necessary to conduct the business of this organization; but a lesser percentage may adjourn the meeting for a period of not more than two weeks from the date scheduled by these By-Laws and the secretary shall cause a notice of this scheduled meeting to be sent to all those members who were not present at the meeting originally called. A quorum as herein before set forth shall be required at any adjourned meeting. Special meetings of this organization may be called by the president when he or she deems it for the best interest of the organization. Notices of such meeting shall be mailed to all members at their addresses as they appear in the membership roll book at least ten (10) days before the scheduled date set for such special meeting. Such notice shall state the reasons that such meeting has been called, the business to be transacted at such meeting and by whom it was called. At the request of 51 percent of the members of the Board of Directors or 51 percent of the members of the organization, the president shall cause a special meeting to be called, but such request must be made in writing at least ten (10) days before the requested scheduled date.




No other business but that specified in the notice may be transacted at such special meeting without the unanimous consent of all present at such meeting. ARTICLE V VOTING At all meetings, except for the election of officers and directors, all votes shall be by voice. For election of officers, ballots shall be provided and there shall not appear any place on such ballot that might tend to indicate the person who cast such ballot. At any regular or special meeting, if a majority so requires, any question may be voted upon in the manner and style provided for election of officers and directors. At all votes by ballot the chairman of such meeting shall, prior to the commencement of balloting, appoint a committee of three who shall act as "Inspectors of Election" and who shall, at the conclusion of such balloting, certify in writing to the Chairman the results and the certified copy shall be physically affixed in the minute book to the minutes of that meeting. No inspector of election shall be a candidate for office or shall be personally interested in the question voted upon. ARTICLE VI ORDER OF BUSINESS 1. Roll Call. 2. Reading of the Minutes of the preceding meeting. 3. Reports of Committees. 4. Reports of Officers. 5. Old and Unfinished Business. 6. New Business. 7. Rehearsal or Workshop. 8. Adjournment. ARTICLE VII BOARD OF DIRECTORS The business of this organization shall be managed by a Board of Directors consisting of three members, together with the officers of this organization. At least one of the directors elected shall be a resident of the State of Ohio and a citizen of the United States. The directors to be chosen for the ensuing year shall be chosen at the annual meeting of this organization in the same manner and style as the officers of this organization and they shall serve for a term of one or two years. The Board of Directors shall have the control and management of the affairs and business of this organization. Such Board of Directors shall only act in the name of the organization when it shall be regularly convened by its chairman after due notice to all the directors of such meeting. A majority / 51 percent of the members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum and the meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held quarterly, as scheduled. Each director shall have one vote and such voting may not be done by proxy. The Board of Directors may make such rules and regulations covering its meetings as it may in its discretion determine necessary. Vacancies in the Board of Directors shall be filled by a vote of the majority of the remaining members of the Board of Directors for the balance of the year. The President of the organization by virtue of his or her office shall be Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall select from one of their members a secretary. Spiritual Gifts soprano and Cleveland teacher Dr. Robyn Davis, coordinator of the Black History Month program at Lincoln West High School. 4



A director may be removed when sufficient cause exists for such removal. The Board of Directors may entertain charges against any director. A director may be represented by counsel upon any removal hearing. The Board of Directors shall adopt such rules for this hearing as it may in its discretion consider necessary for the best interests of the organization.

ARTICLE VIII OFFICERS The initial officers of the organization shall be as follows: President Vice President Secretary Treasurer The President shall preside at all membership meetings. He or she shall by virtue of his office be Chairman of the Board of Directors. He or she shall present at each annual meeting of the organization an annual report of the work of the organization. He or she shall appoint all committees, temporary or permanent. He or she shall see all books, reports and certificates required by law are properly kept or filed. He or she shall be one of the officers who may sign the checks or drafts of the organization. He or she shall have such powers as may be reasonably construed as belonging to the chief executive of any organization. The Vice President shall in the event of the absence or inability of the President to exercise his office become acting president of the organization with all the rights, privileges and powers as if he had been the duly elected president. The Secretary shall keep the minutes and records of the organization in appropriate books. He or she shall be the official custodian of the records of this organization. He or she may be one of the officers required to sign the checks and drafts of the organization. He or she shall present to the membership at any meetings any communication addressed to him or her as Secretary of the organization. He or she shall submit to the Board of Directors any communications which shall be addressed to him as Secretary of the organization. The Treasurer shall have the care and custody of all monies belonging to the organization and shall be solely responsible for such monies or securities of the organization. He or she must be one of the officers who shall sign checks or drafts of the organization. No special fund may be set aside that shall make it unnecessary for the Treasurer to sign the checks issued upon it. He or she shall render at stated periods as the Board of Directors shall determine a written account of the finances of the organization and such report shall be physically affixed to the minutes of the Board of Directors of such meeting. He or she shall exercise all duties incident to the office of Treasurer.

Celebrating Black History Month 2016 at United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland. 5



Officers shall by virtue of their office be members of the Board of Directors. No officer shall for reason of his or her office be entitled to receive any salary or compensation, but nothing herein shall be construed to prevent an officer or director for receiving any compensation from the organization for duties other than as a director or officer. ARTICLE IX SALARIES The Board of Directors shall hire and fix the compensation of any and all employees which they in their discretion may determine to be necessary for the conduct of the business of the organization. ARTICLE X COMMITTEES All committees of this organization shall be appointed by the Board of Directors [Chaired by the President, as stated in ARTICLE VIII] and their term of office shall be for a period of one year or less if sooner terminated by the action of the Board of Directors. The permanent committees shall be: Membership Marketing and PR Fundraising Audience Development

ARTICLE XI DUES The dues of this organization shall be $ 12 per annum and shall be payable on July 1 of each year. Additional fees for workshops, concerts, and tours may apply.

ARTICLE XII AMENDMENTS These By-Laws may be altered, amended, repealed or added to by an affirmative vote of not less than 51 percent of the members.

Duke Ellington statue and plaque, Washington, D.C.




Identifying Excellent and Affordable Professional Development Opportunities for Nonprofit Leaders Nonprofit charitable organizations do themselves and their constituents a disservice when they fail to recognize the importance of investing in the professional development of leaders. The following are among the organizations that have helped Spiritual Gifts meet its professional development needs in the past. Feel free to contact them for assistance. --RNW

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Ohio)

Business Advisers of Cleveland (Ohio)

In the spring of 2016, the Library will sponsor The ENCORE Entrepreneurs Workshop series on Thursday evenings, April 7 – May 12, 2016, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., at the Independence Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, which is located at 6361 Selig Drive. Registration is required. For more information, call (216) 447-0160.

Experienced executives share their business expertise with entrepreneurs and small business owners through free, confidential counseling sessions and public seminars. Their offices are located at 2800 Euclid Avenue, Suite 501, Cleveland, Ohio 44115. For more information, call (216) 426-2053 or write to BACleveland.org.

The Directors, Musicians, & Singers Fellowship (DMSF) of Cleveland and Vicinity Under the leadership of President Lois Coleman, DMSF has welcomed hundreds of participants to its annual workshops and monthly meetings. (Coleman also serves on the Board of Directors for Spiritual Gifts in Ohio.) The 2016 workshop is scheduled for Thursday, April 21st through Saturday, April 23rd, at the Aspinwall Church of God, 14627 Aspinwall Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44110. Early registration continues through March 26th, and the fee for adults over the age of 18 is only $15. Discounts are available for young people and groups of ten or more. For more information, contact Lawrence Drummer at (216) 791-0646 or Donna Brown at (216) 991-0626.

When it comes to professional development, I try to practice what I preach! --RNW BA’86, MPA’90, PhD’01, BA’12, Graduate Certificate’15




You spoke, I listened, and “a change is gonna come!” People are incredibly busy! Work, research and writing for graduate school, reunions, weddings, funerals, birthday receptions, rehearsals with other choirs, musical theatre productions, jazz concerts, picnics, sorority and fraternity activities, shopping, and family and medical issues. These were some of the oft-cited reasons for missed information sessions, business meetings, and rehearsals in 2015. While some absences were clearly due to emergency situations, many might have been avoided with better planning and time management. Having given careful consideration to all of the above concerns, I am convinced that any national program plans for 2016-2017 must incorporate the following ideas, or run the risk of overtaxing leaders and participants alike and, thereby, increasing costs, stress levels, and related concerns: • A return to the 10-hour “Harvest Time” (fall) workshop format identified in the strategic plan and used during the September 2013 Duke Ellington “Come Sunday @ 70” programs in Greater Cleveland •

The recruitment and training of officers and other leaders who are able to make the necessary time commitments that will help support successful programing

The creation and dissemination of realistic schedules for meetings / conference calls and all workshoprelated activities –given the religious and cultural norms of the target participant communities—at least 100 days before the start of the scheduled annual workshop. I understand, for example, that neither 11 a.m. on Sunday nor 10 a.m. on Saturday would be ideal meeting times, since these are among the most popular times for African American worship and homegoing services, respectively. July 4th, Black Friday, and other major travel and shopping dates—and Christian high holy days—should also be avoided.

The preparation of contracts for musicians and clinicians -- and the identification of vendors for sheet music, hymnals, uniforms, and other materials –at least 100 days before the workshop

Written policies related to the need for competitive bids for major purchases

A mandatory attendance policy that includes language regarding emergencies

Leaves of absence for officers and board members, who are temporarily unable to fulfill their duties

Opportunities for individuals to support the work of Spiritual Gifts in other ways, if they know outset that schedule conflicts would result in chronic absenteeism. These opportunities might include booster clubs, committee work, fundraising activities, etc.

It’s a new season! These are my personal thoughts about factors that can lead to national and international success in this 2016-2017 season of change, but, local leaders--especially in Spiritual Gifts’ “Alpha Chapter” in Greater Cleveland --get to call the next shots in their cities, since each chapter will be legally and financially responsible for its own actions. (You can do as much or as little as your available time, talent, and treasure will permit. The ball is in your court!) Recruiting new players could be a real game-changer for Spiritual Gifts. Ideally, I would like to see new chapters formed in Metro Washington D.C., Niagara Falls (New York and Ontario), and Buffalo by the end of 2017, and I look forward to working with people who have excellent ideas and are ready, willing, and able to make great things happen in the name of Black sacred music and arts education.

Regennia N. Williams, PhD P.O. Box 682, Oxon Hill MD 20745 (216) 244-6630 | regennia@gmail.com Find out more about my work with RASHAD and Spiritual Gifts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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