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April 2012

The Education Issue Special Section Branch Brook Park Bishop William T. Cahoon Jurisdictional Prelate, COGIC


Church of God in Christ Introduces Urban Initiative Bishop Charles E. Blake, Presiding Bishop & Chief Apostle, COGIC





has committed itself to strengthening our communities, our schools and the lives of our students. Through their hard work and dedication, UFT members are making the city a better place to live and work every day. That critical mission is one that we share with the faith-based community, and we are tremendously thankful for our many faith-based partners. It is that mutual respect, collaboration and support that truly make a difference for our friends and neighbors, especially those who are struggling during these difficult economic times.

United Federation of Teachers • A Union of Professionals 52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 212.777.7500 Officers: Michael Mulgrew President, Michael Mendel Secretary, Mel Aaronson Treasurer, Robert Astrowsky Assistant Secretary, Mona Romain Assistant Treasurer Vice Presidents: Karen Alford, Carmen Alvarez, Leo Casey, Richard Farkas, Aminda Gentile, Sterling Roberson

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April 2012

CONTENTS SECTIONS MONEY ............................................18


EDUCATION......................................24 HEALTH............................................68 CULTURE..........................................77

Features The Reconstruction Period . . . . . . . . . 22 COVER STORY: COGIC CONFERENCE

Bishop Charles E. Blake by Vincent Bryant

Raising Educational Expectations . . . . 24 Longest Running Black Book Club . . . 36

&also inside My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Health Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Saving Our Community . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Special Section: Essex County Branch Brook Park . . . . 45

Parenting 101 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

On the Right Path: Education After Incarceration . . . . . . . 54

Gospel Train. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

Female Achievers Mentoring Program . 64

Spirit and Image. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 In Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

Eagle Academy Comes to Newark . . . 67 Researching and Treating Keloids. . . . 68 Spirit Made Real: Freedom’s Sisters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

Dr. Stefanie Vaimakis MD, FACS, FASMBS

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NewNew York Theological Seminary New Seminary TheologicalSeminary Seminary New York York Theological Theological celebrates celebrates celebrates celebrates Ninth Annual Urban Angel Awards Gala Ninth Annual UrbanAngel Angel Awards GalaGala Ninth Annual Urban Awards Gala Ninth Annual Urban Angel Awards

NYTS Board Member and Gala Chair NYTS Board Member and Gala ChairL’Judie L’JudieMatt-Simmons Matt-Simmons (left) andand NYTS President Dr.Dr. Dale (left) NYTS President DaleT. T.Irvin Irvin(right) (right)present present NYTS Board Member and Gala Chair L’Judie Matt-Simmons Dr. Floyd H. Flake with 9th Annual Urban Angel .. H.President Flake withDr. 9thDale Annual Urban(right) AngelAward Award (left) Dr. andFloyd NYTS T. Irvin present Dr. Floyd H. Flake with 9th Annual Urban Angel Award .

S Board Member and Gala Chair L’Judie Matt-Simmons ) and NYTS President Dr. Dale T. Irvin (right) present Floyd H. Flake with 9th Annual Urban Angel Award .

Chris Blake, NYTS Student Chris Blake, NYTS Student and Representative for and Representative for Soles4Souls accepts award. Soles4Souls acceptsStudent award. Chris Blake, NYTS and Representative for Soles4Souls accepts award.

is Blake, NYTS Student nd Representative for es4Souls accepts award.

NYTS Board Chair, Chair, NYTS Board Dr. Diane T.Board Ashley greets Dr. NYTS Diane T. Ashley greets Chair, the crowd. crowd. Dr. Diane T. Ashley greets the crowd.

NYTS Board Chair, Dr. Diane T. Ashley greets the crowd.

Michelle Paige Paterson, former New York State first lady, Michelle Paige Paterson, former New York State first lady, receives award from (l) Dr. Dale T. Irvin and presenter, receives award from (l) Dr. Dale T. Irvin and presenter, Dr. James A. Forbes (r) Dr. James A. Forbes Michelle Paige Paterson, former New (r) York State first lady, receives award from (l) Dr. Dale T. Irvin and presenter, Dr. James A. Forbes (r)

Michelle Paige Paterson, former New York State first lady, receives award from (l) Dr. Dale T. Irvin and presenter, Author Esmeralda Santiago NYTS President, Dr. Dale T. Irvin Dr. James A. Forbes (r)

receivesEsmeralda the Urban Angel Award. Author Santiago receives the Urban Angel Award.

NYTSwelcomes President,the Dr.audience. Dale T. Irvin welcomes the audience.

Author Esmeralda Santiago receives the Urban Angel Award.

NYTS President, Dr. Dale T. Irvin welcomes the audience.

Philanthropist Elder Sokwan Son accepts the Urban Angel Award.

Philanthropist Elder Sokwan Son accepts the Urban Angel Award.

Author Esmeralda Santiago receives the Urban Angel Award.

Emcee Nancy Giles

Emcee Nancy Giles

NYTS President, Dr. Dale T. Irvin welcomes the audience.

Philanthropist Elder Sokwan Son accepts the Urban Angel Award.

Love Lundy performs for the crowd, accompanied by her father, jazz composer and bassist Curtis Lundy and friends. Love Lundy performs for the crowd, accompanied by her father, jazz composer and bassist Curtis Lundy and friends.

Love Lundy performs for the crowd, accompanied by her father, jazz composer and bassist Curtis Lundy and friends.

nthropist Elder Sokwan Son accepts the Urban Angel Award.

Emcee Nancy Giles

Young Men of Valor liturgical dancers from Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral.

Young Men of Valor liturgical dancers from Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral.

Young Men of Valor liturgical dancers from Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral.

Emcee Nancy Giles

InInthe thethe Mandarin Oriental’s thebeautiful beautifulsetting settingofof Mandarin Oriental’s 36th-floor ballroom, New York Theological 36th-floor ballroom, New York Theological In the beautiful setting of the Mandarin Oriental’s Seminary celebrated itsits 9th Annual Angel Seminary celebrated 9th Annual Urban Angel 36th-floor ballroom, New York Urban Theological Awards Gala. Awards Gala. Seminary celebrated its 9th Annual Urban Angel

Awards Gala.

This thethe Rev. Dr.Dr. Floyd Thisyear’s year’sawardees awardeesincluded included Rev. Floyd H. Flake and the Rev. Dr. Elaine McCollins Inyear’s the setting ofRev. theFlake, Mandarin Orient H. Flake andbeautiful the Rev. Dr. Elaine the McCollins Flake, This awardees included Dr. Floyd Co-Pastors of The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral Co-Pastors of The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral Flake Queens; and theballroom, Rev. Dr.New Elaine Flake, 36th-floor New York in H. Jamaica, former YorkMcCollins State firstTheological inCo-Pastors Jamaica, Queens; former New York StateCathedral first of The Greater Allen A.M.E. lady Michelle Paige Paterson; New York Times best Seminary celebrated its 9th lady MichelleQueens; Paige Paterson; New New YorkAnnual Times bestUrban Ang in Jamaica, York State first selling author Esmeraldaformer Santiago; philanthropist Awards Gala. selling author Esmeralda Santiago; philanthropist ladySokwan Michelle Paige New York Times best Elder Son; and Paterson; the nonprofit Soles4Souls. Elder Sokwan Son; and the nonprofit Soles4Souls.

selling author Esmeralda Santiago; philanthropist

NYTS President Dale Irvin Board Chair Diane Elder Sokwan Son; and and the nonprofit Soles4Souls. This year’s awardees included the Rev. Dr. Flo NYTSopened President Irvin andwelcomes, Board Chair Ashley the Dale evening with and Diane H.Nancy Flake and the Rev. Dr. Elaine Ashley opened the evening with welcomes, andMcCollins Fl emcee Giles facilitated the program, which NYTS President Dale Irvin and Board Chair Diane emcee Nancy facilitated the program, which Co-Pastors of The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathe highlighted the Giles 25th anniversary of the Seminary’s Ashley opened the evening with welcomes, and highlighted the 25th anniversary of The the Seminary’s Women’s Center, with her usual flair. nearly in Jamaica, Queens; former Newwhich York State fi emcee Nancy Giles the program, Women’s Center, withfacilitated her usualbyflair. nearly 400 guests were treated to music jazzThe composer highlighted the treated 25th anniversary thecomposer Seminary’s lady Michelle Paterson; New York Times 400 guestsCurtis were to music byof jazz and bassist LundyPaige and friends, featured Women’s Center, with her usual flair. The and selling bassist Curtis Lundy and friends, featured author Esmeralda soloist 10-year-old Love Lundy, and theSantiago; Young nearlyphilanthro 400 guests were treated to music by jazz composer soloist 10-year-old Love Lundy, and the Young Men of Valor liturgical dancers from Greater Allen Elder Sokwan Son; and the nonprofit Soles4So and bassist Curtis Lundy and friends, featured Men Valor liturgical dancers from Greater Allen A. M. of E. Cathedral. soloist A. M. E.10-year-old Cathedral. Love Lundy, and the Young

Men of Valor liturgical dancers from Greater Allen Chair D NYTS President Dale Irvin and Board Photos by Bob Gore A. Ashley M. E. Cathedral. opened the evening with welcomes, an Photos by Bob Gore

emceeNew Nancy Giles facilitated the program, w York Theological Seminary 475 Riverside Drive, 500 highlighted theTheological 25thSuite anniversary ofGore the Semin Photos by Bob New York Seminary New York, NY 10115 475Center, Riverside Drive, Women’s withSuite her500usual flair. The near (T) 212-870-1211 New York, NY 10115 (F) 212-870-1236 Newwere York Theological 400 guests treated Seminary to music by jazz comp (T) 212-870-1211 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500 (F) 212-870-1236 and bassist Curtis Lundy and friends, featured New York, NY 10115 (T) 212-870-1211 soloist 10-year-old Love Lundy, and the Youn (F) 212-870-1236 Men of Valor liturgical www.nyts.edudancers from Greater A A. M. E. Cathedral.

Roll Call for PC_Mar_12.qxd:Roll Call for PC Document.qxd 4/6/12 11:13 AM Page 1







he clergy organizations, churches, community businesses and institutions listed below have committed to the purchase of at least 50 magazines per month at $1.00 each (one-third of the cover price) or support this publication through the purchase of advertising. Find out more by calling 973-233-9200 or email

Abyssinian B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor

First B.C. of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset NJ Rev. Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, Pastor

Mt. Zion AME Church, Trenton, NJ Rev. J. Stanley Justice, Pastor

West Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Alvin Barnett

Abundant Life Fellowship COGIC, Newark, NJ Supt. Edward Bohannon, Jr, Pastor

First Baptist B.C. of Teaneck, NJ Rev. Marilyn Monroe Harris, Pastor

Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, Pastor

World Gospel Music Assoc., Newark, NJ Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder

Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Office of Black Ministry Berean B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. David Hampton, Pastor Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ. Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Pastor Beulah Bible Cathedral Church, Newark, NJ Gerald Lydell Dickson, Senior Pastor Black Ministers Council of NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Exec. Director

First Bethel Baptist Church, Newark, NJ H. Grady James III, Pastor First Park Baptist Church, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Rufus McClendon, Jr., Pastor Friendship Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. James A. Kilgore, Pastor General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, President Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark, NJ Rev. Allen Potts, Senior Pastor Greater Allen Cathedral, Queens, NY Revs. Floyd and Elaine Flake, Co-Pastors

Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor

Greater Faith Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA Rev. Larry L. Marcus

Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem, NY Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor

Greater Friendship Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. John Teabout, Pastor

Cathedral International., Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor

Greater New Hope Missionary B.C., NYC Rev. Joan J. Brightharp, Pastor

Childs Memorial COGIC, Harlem, NY Bishop Norman N. Quick, Pastor

Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor

Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn, NY Rev. A.R. Barnard, Pastor

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Drek E. Broomes, President & CEO

Christian Love B.C., Irvington, NJ Rev. Ron Christian, Pastor Community B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor, Pastor Community Church of God, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie., Pastor Emeritus Concord B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Pastor Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Willams, Pastor

It Is Well Living Ministries, Clark, NJ Rev. Kahlil Carmichael, Pastor Jesus Christ Family Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Jason Sumner, Senior Pastor Messiah Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev. Dana Owens, Pastor Metropolitan B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, Harlem Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith, Pastor

Evening Star B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Washington Lundy, Pastor

Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Ebenezer Aduku Mt. Neboh Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green Jr., Pastor

Fellowship Missionary B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Kippie C. Brown, Pastor

Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Peekskill, NY Rev. Adolphus Lacey, Pastor

First AME Zion Church, Brooklyn, NY Dr. Darran H. Mitchell, Pastor

Mt. Pisgah B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Pastor

Empire Missionary B.C., Convention NY Rev. Dr. Ronald Grant, President

New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, NJ New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ Rev. Dr. Donald L. Owens, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Dr. Frances Mannin-Fontaine, Pastor New Life Cathedral, Mt. Holly, NJ Rev. Eric Wallace, Pastor New Zion B.C., Elizabeth, NJ Rev. Kevin James White, Pastor

Businesses & Organizations 125th St. BID African American Heritage Parade American Diabetes Association American Heart Association, Northern, NJ Brown Executive Realty, LLC

Paradise B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Jethro James, Pastor

City National Bank

Ruth Fellowship Ministries, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracy Brown, Pastor

Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce

Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Pastor St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper St. John Baptist Church Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor St. Luke Baptist Church of Harlem, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie McCann, Pastor St Luke B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Pastor St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Ben Monroe St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter, Pastor St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Pastor

Essex County College, NJ Inner City Broadcasting Medgar Evers College Mildred Crump, Newark City Council Muslim American Chamber of Commerce NAACP New Jersey* NAACP, NY State Conference* New Jersey Performing Arts Center New York Theological Seminary New York Urban League Newark School of Theology Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center The College of New Rochelle The United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM

St. Paul Community B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor The New Hope B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Joe Carter, Senior Pastor Thessalonia Worship Center, Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. Shellie Sampson, Pastor Union Baptist Temple,, Bridgeton, NJ Rev. Albert L. Morgan, Pastor Walker Memorial B.C. Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush Sr., Pastor


“The Positive Community magazine does outstanding work in promoting the good works of the Black Church. All churches and businesses should subscribe to and advertise in The Positive Community. Please support this magazine, the only one that features good news about the black community.”—Rev. Buster Soaries, General Baptist Revival, May 20, 2010

General Baptist Convention of New Jersey, TheThe General Baptist Convention of New Jersey, Inc.Inc. Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, Jr. Convention President Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, Jr. Convention President Box 47 Palmyra, New Jersey P.O. P.O. Box 47 Palmyra, New Jersey (856) 824-9429 (856) 824-9429

1st Vice President 1st Vice President

General Baptist Convention TheThe General Baptist Convention of of New Jersey, Inc. New Jersey, Inc.

Rev. Kenneth D. R. Clayton Rev. Kenneth D. R. Clayton 139-145 Albert M. Tyler Place 139-145 Albert M. Tyler Place Paterson NJ 07501 Paterson NJ 07501 (973) 684-3203 (973) 684-3203

2nd Vice President 2nd Vice President Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor 224 First Street 224 First Street Englewood NJ 07631 Englewood NJ 07631 (201) 569-7485 (201) 569-7485 General Secretary General Secretary


Rev. Dr. Leo H. Graham Rev. Dr. Leo H. Graham 239 George Street 239 George Street New Brunswick NJ 08901 New Brunswick NJ 08901 (609) 324-2751 (609) 324-2751

  April 17­19, 2012  April 17­19, 2012      Theme: Visions to Victory   Theme: Visions to Victory   “Answering the Call To Leadership”   “Answering the Call To Leadership”  

Assistant Secretary Assistant Secretary

Rev. Dr. Edward D. Harper Rev. Dr. Edward D. Harper 126 Wyncrest Road 126 Wyncrest Road Marlboro NJ 07746 Marlboro NJ 07746 (732) 536-6115 (732) 536-6115

Treasurer Treasurer

Rev. Dr. Richard Pollard Rev. Dr. Richard Pollard 40 Eastern Parkway 40 Eastern Parkway Hillside, NJ 07205 Hillside, NJ 07205 (908) 686-6477 (908) 686-6477

Financial Secretary Financial Secretary

Romans 1:1‐6  Romans 1:1‐6 

Rev. Dr. Milton L. Hendricks Rev. Dr. Milton L. Hendricks 829 Tilton Road 829 Tilton Road Pleasantville, NJ 08232 Pleasantville, NJ 08232 (609) 646-1815 (609) 646-1815

President Emeritus President Emeritus

Rev. Dr. Calvin McKinney Rev. Dr. Calvin McKinney 419 Harrison Street 419 Harrison Street Garfield NJ 07026 Garfield NJ 07026 (973) 478-1033 (973) 478-1033

Congregational Baptist Church Congregational Baptist Church 399-411 Bergen Street 399-411 Bergen Street Newark, 07103 Newark, NJ NJ 07103 Host Association Host Association Christian Fellowship Christian Fellowship

Women’s Auxiliary Women’s Auxiliary Mrs. Thelma Scott Mrs. Thelma Scott 107 Baltimore Avenue 107 Baltimore Avenue Bridgeton NJ 08302 Bridgeton NJ 08302 (856) 455-3371 (856) 455-3371

Congress of Christian Education Congress of Christian Education Bro. James Clark Bro. James Clark 452 Franklin Street 452 Franklin Street Hillside NJ 07205 Hillside NJ 07205 (973) 926-2365 (973) 926-2365

Layman’s Movement Layman’s Movement Bro. Douglas Davis Bro. Douglas Davis 204 Coudert Place 204 Coudert Place So. Orange NJ 07079 So. Orange NJ 07079 (973) 634-3403 (973) 634-3403

Nurses Ministry Nurses Ministry

Sis. Serita Lanham Sis. Serita Lanham 78 Union Street 78 Union Street Jersey City,NJ 07304 Jersey City,NJ 07304 (201) 434-7670 (201) 434-7670

Ushers Ministry Ushers Ministry

Deacon Johnnie Thomas Deacon Johnnie Thomas 326 Park Place 326 Park Place Irvington, NJ 07111 Irvington, NJ 07111 (973) 372-5050 (973) 372-5050

Host Pastor: Rev. Linwood McNeil  Host Pastor: Rev. Linwood McNeil  Sis. Deadra Gibbons, Women’s Auxiliary, President  Sis. Deadra Gibbons, Women’s Auxiliary, President  Rev. John Shore, Jr., Moderator  Rev. John Shore, Jr., Moderator     

Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell Jr., Convention President  Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell Jr., Convention President  From Visions to Victory – Answering God’s Call Theme:Theme: From Visions to Victory – Answering God’s Call Subtheme: Answering the Call to Evangelism Isaiah 6:8 Subtheme: Answering the Call to Evangelism Isaiah 6:8


The Positive Community April 2012

The Second Quarterly Session of the United Missionary Baptist Association (UMBA) will convene at the Paradise Baptist Church

on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Rev. Lee A. Arrington Moderator Rev. Dr. Carl L. Washington, Jr. 1st Vice Rev. Moderator Lee A. Arrington Moderator

Rev. Dr. Anthony Lowe 2nd ViceRev. Moderator Dr. Carl L. Washington, Jr. 1st Vice Moderator

Rev. Shepherd Lee Rev.Secretary Dr. Anthony Lowe Recording nd 2 Vice Moderator

Rev. Dr.Rev. Calvin Kenrick Shepherd Lee AssistantRecording Recording Secretary Secretary

The Theme for this session: "The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ: His Life and Ministry" Isaiah 61:1-3 & Luke 4:18-21.

23 Ft. Washington Avenue New York, NY 10032

Rev.ADr. Calvin Sr. Kenrick Rev. Keith Bolden, Assistant Recording Secretary Financial Secretary Keith A Bolden, Sr. Rev. Dr.Rev. Jesse Williams Financial Secretary Assistant Financial Secretary Rev. Dr. Jesse Williams

Rev. Patricia A. Financial Morris Secretary Assistant Corresponding Secretary

Moderator Lee A. Arrington will be our Host Pastor

Rev. Patricia A. Morris

Secretary Rev. Dr.Corresponding Sean P. Gardner, Sr. Treasurer

Rev. Dr. Sean P. Gardner, Sr. Treasurer

Rev. Wayne A. Williams AssistantRev. Treasurer Wayne A. Williams Assistant Treasurer

Rev. Willie L. Hairston Chief ofRev. StaffWillie L. Hairston Chief of Staff

Rev. Dr. Renee F. Gardner Dr. Renee F. Gardner ProgramRev. Chair Program Chair

The Parent Body Session will open Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 7PM with the Rev. Dr. Alan Paul Weaver, Pastor Bethesda Baptist Church, New Rochelle, NY And close on Friday, April 27, 2012 with the Rev. Dr. Johnnie G. McCann, Pastor St. Luke's Baptist Church, NYC.

The Rev. Dr. Carl L. Washington, Jr., Ist Vice Moderator The Reverend Dr. Anthony Lowe, 2nd Vice Moderator For further information and full session schedule please visit our website UMBA HEADQUARTERS: Paradise Baptist Church 23 Fort Washington Avenue New York, New York 10032 Office (212) 781-3311 Fax (212) 787-7125

UMBA HEADQUARTERS: Paradise Baptist Church 23 Fort Washington Avenue New York, New York 10032 Office (212) 781-3311 Fax (212) 787-7125 se Baptist Church 23 Fort Washington Avenue New York, New York 10032 Office (212) 781-3311 Fax (212) 787-7125


The Positive Community April 2012












New York City Dept. of Education:

It’s Time to Do the Right Thing!!!

By Lillian Roberts, DC 37 Executive Director


ew issues strike home for working families, especially families of color, as much as the role a good education plays in giving our children the tools they need to reach their full potential and become responsible citizens, prepared to participate in a strong, inclusive and vibrant democracy.

In order for schools to do a good job at providing a good education, it is important they have the necessary resources and staffing to succeed -- like the NYC Department of Education school aides and other vital support staff who assist teachers and principals and help parents and children navigate an otherwise complex system. Of course, this should be obvious to our elected officials. But, in recent years public schools and the men and women who make them run have come under attack. Those attacks have taken the form of widespread efforts to shift public school funding to private school voucher programs, attempts to privatize public schools, moves by governors and state legislators to deny teachers collective bargaining rights, and, layoffs that have increased class size and resulted in a loss of vital services. Just last year, the Bloomberg administration laid off close to 700, mostly African American and Latina lowpaid, part-time DOE employees claiming they were necessary for budgetary reasons. Yet, at the same time the administration awarded millions to outside contractors and consultants and posted vacancies for the very jobs performed by the laid-off workers. Now, the city has a unique opportunity to undo the harm that was done. Thanks to an investigation launched after a huge push from District Council 37 that uncovered excessive spending on private contractors and highpriced consultants, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, working with New York City Comptroller John Liu, has found the CityTime payroll project, which the City bankrolled to the tune of some $700 million, to be “corrupted to its

core.” Not only did I bring this scandal to city officials’ attention, but I took it to Washington and shared our discovery with the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Labor and Homeland Security. As a result, the CityTime contractors have been required to return $500 million to the City. What does this have to do with our children’s education? The $500 million that the corrupt CityTime contractors must return to the City is actually the public’s money. That is why last November, I urged the Mayor and the City Council to do the right thing. In this time of high unemployment and serious need, these funds must be used to repair the damage done by this administration’s misuse of taxpayers’ dollars. The $500 million being returned to the City can help make our communities whole by rehiring the workers needed to provide vital services. Last year, when Mayor Bloomberg laid off one of two family assistants serving 190 families at a Brooklyn homeless shelter it had a devastating impact on the pilot program she worked for that had been set up to help school kids whose families had become homeless to stay in school. And, when a dedicated community associate at a Lower East Side high school lost her job, the teenagers she worked with lost guardian and protector who helped them cope with the daily challenges they faced both in school and in the streets. Last year, the City cried poverty and laid off these and hundreds of other DOE support staff who help ensure that thousands of city school kids get the kind of education that gives them the tools they need to reach their full potential. Well, now, as crooked contract profiteers return $500 million to the City, the Mayor and the DOE have an opportunity to do the right thing and rehire them. We need to make sure our elected leaders see to it that happens. n


District Council


April 2012 The Positive Community


Our Community Partners, Our Friends Welcome to the Community. sincere “thanks” to the following businesses, Our poster, The Great Countdown to Freedom (see in-


® corporations AmeriChoice of New Jersey,and Inc. institutions—community is now UnitedHealthcare partners—that have said “yes” The Positive Community Plan. But changing our name hasn’tto changed all the Community’s Great Countdown to Freedom, a cultural reasons New Jersey families choose us. You still get the same doctors, initiative. the literacy same access to specialists, the same large network of hospitals. As America the observance ofPlan the says 150th Changing our name approaches to UnitedHealthcare Community anniversary, the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation you’re part of a bigger community, over 3.3 million members strong, Proclamation on January 1, 2013, The Positive Community all across the country. So, New Jersey families can be confident is embarking upon a journey, a quest to discover the real they’ll receive the same great care.

meaning of freedom. Our hope is to inspire the dawn of a new age of progress and wisdom among our readers! Welcome to the Community. Call 1-866-322-1194 (TTY: 711) We will pursue this course through a search for knowlfor edge, information about UnitedHealthcare an increased understandingCommunity of the valuePlan. of literacy, education and culture in community life. (see MLK/Winter Issue, pg.11).

side back cover) contains a Cultural Narrative that tells our story, the genesis of the African American people in this land. We will accomplish much in advancing the cause of literacy, education and freedom if families, Sunday school programs, civic organizations and community institutions that touch the lives of young people would post and hold discussions on this story that tells us where we came from and who we are now as a people. Ideally, as a rite of passage, every child should have the ability to read, comprehend and speak the Cultural Narrative by the age of 15. Within this narrative—our American story—are the seeds of a positive community-building ideal: self-acceptance, self-reliance and self-respect!

We “Weknow knowour ourcommunity. community. We ”” Welive livehere. here. is now

lthcare Community Plan

Dr Philip Bonaparte, Chief Medical Officer, Horizon NJ Health Dr Philip Bonaparte, Chief Medical Officer, Horizon NJ Health

d 8.5x11V1.indd 1

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement

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The Positive Community April 2012

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Queens College

Zora Neale Hurston (Barnard College 1928, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Student 1934–35) combined literature with anthropology, employing indigenous dialects to tell the stories of people in her native rural Florida and in the Caribbean. One of the most widely read authors of the Harlem Renaissance, she is best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Carl Van Vechten/Van Vechten Trust

M. Moran Weston II (Columbia College 1930; Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1940, 1969). The longtime rector of one of Harlem’s most prominent churches, Weston co-founded Carver Federal Savings Bank—the largest independent financial institution in the United States owned by African Americans. Weston was also the University’s first African American trustee. Columbia University Archives


New York Theological Seminary and

Attorney General Eric Holder (Columbia College 1973, Columbia Law School 1976) worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund the summer after he graduated from law school. A former University trustee, Holder is the first African American attorney genThe Blanton-Peale Institute is a multifaith, eral of the United States and one of the most experienced non-sectarian educational and service government everchallenging named to the position. organization that was founded in 1937 by NYTS haslawyers long been Columbia University the internationally famous pastor and author, the historic divides in the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale (of Marble theological education between Robert L. Carter (Columbia Law School 1941), after serving Collegiate Church), and the eminent theory and practice, between in the U.S. Army during World War II, became chief stratepsychiatrist Dr. Smiley Blanton. the academy and the church, or gist and lead counsel on the landmark Brown v. Board of between theology and other Education Thurgood Marshall as today general Blanton-Peale continues to bring together spirituality and disciplines of learning. Tocase. do soHe succeeded of the Defense and Educational in programsFund that provide for psychological, emotional and effectively, thecounsel Seminary has NAACP Legal psychotherapy in partnerships 1956, arguing and winningspiritual 21 of 22 casesAmong beforeits the health. educational offers are a full residential often developed Dustin Ross/Columbia training program that leads to licensure in psychotherapy or marriage U.S.institutions Supreme Court. with various other of University and family counseling, as well as a pastoral studies program. education or with organizations committed to practical training Lonliness ~ Depression ~ Spiri...providing President Barack Obama (Columbia College 1983) and learning. Individual Psychotherapy was inaugurated as the nation’s first African American tual ~ Unhappines ~ Psychoanalysis president on Jan. 20, 2009. A gifted orator and writer, For the past three decades, the Crisis ~ Training ~CommunicaCouple he organized with with unparalleled grass roots and Family Counseling Seminaryhis hascampaign been working Counselingtion ~ Therapy ~ Training support and brought out record to the Blanton-Peale Institute in numbers of votersParenting/Divorce Group Therapy polls partnership across the country. to provide resources Lonliness ~ Depression ~ SpiriEileen Barroso/Columbia Psychiatric Evaluation to students, partner churches, University tual ~ Unhappines ~ Medication Management and others in the wider religious community. Options include both Assessment and Referral Crisis ~ Training ~Communicadegree and nondegree offerings. Trauma Therapy

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In 1947, Marie Maynard Daly (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1947) became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. Best known for research geared toward practical applications for health and nutrition, she investigated the effects of cholesterol, sugars and other nutrients on the heart. Daly also taught biochemistry at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

et’s mobilize and leverage our own creative talents, gifts expertise and resources to the mutual benefit of all. We invite forward thinking and community-minded businesses, corporations and institutions to join us as community partners—stakeholders— in this venture. Save the children, save the people, save the country! Celebrate heritage, community pride and dignity! Celebrate literacy, education and culture! Together, let us begin—right now—to prepare ourselves for the next 150 years of freedom—the dawn of a new age…because a positive community is everybody’s business…it really pays to care!!

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April 2012 The Positive Community


St. Mark’s 100th Anniversary L–R: Principal Antwan Allen (1993) and Chantal Stevens, Advisory Board member, her daughter and Sheila Robinson (1960's) William London (1940’s)

Graduates (1950's and 1940's)


t. Mark the Evangelist School, the first Catholic school for black children in Harlem, was founded in 1912 by Sr. Katharine Drexel (now Saint Katharine Drexel). At the time, black children were not welcomed at any other Catholic school in the community.  Over 90 percent of St. Mark's students are of African descent; over 60 percent are from the Harlem community.  As part of the yearlong celebration of its 100th Anniversary, St. Mark the Evangelist School hosted an Alumni Gospel Brunch on Sunday, March 25 at Bishop Perry Hall.  Alumni who attended the school from the 30s through the 80s were in attendance. The oldest alumna at the brunch was Letitia Mero, who graduated in 1932!   The program included a viewing of the St. Mark’s

L–R: Martha Cooper (1956) Letitia Mero (1932) Camille Windley (1953) Camellia Mero (1959)

Myrtle C. Graham (1943) and Carlton Cooper (1951)

video, acknowledgement of the alumni by the decade in which they attended St. Mark and a performance by the school gospel choir, Voices of Praise. St. Mark 1993 graduate Antwan Allen, who is currently the school principal, described the event as a rare and unique opportunity to celebrate St. Mark's historical significance as a Catholic institution. “As the youngest alumnus present, it was a special experience for me to be able to share so much of St. Mark's past with individuals who hold the school so close to their hearts.” Photos: Wali Amin Muhammad

Convent Ave Baptist Church Pulling Down Relationship Strongholds

Host Pastor Rev. Jesse Williams and Rev. Nathan Byrd, pastor of Worship Center of St. Albans, Jamaica NY


Entrepreneur, Joe Holland signs his book, From Harlem with Love: An Ivy Leaguer's Inner City Odyssey at the conference.


The Positive Community April 2012

onvent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem recently hosted its 5th Annual Marriage and Singles Enrichment Conference. This year’s theme: Pulling Down Relationship Strongholds. “…For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds…” 2 Corinthians 10:4



Saturday, April 28, 2012


10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


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For More Information on Upcoming Courses and Events Call 212-650-7312 or visit


Rev. Nance is pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Passaic, NJ. She is also a radio talk show host and documentary filmmaker.


Rejoice in the Resurrection! Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV) he month of April brings with it many things. It brings the promise of summer, the anticipation of walks in the park, picnics galore, family reunions and vacations to faraway places with strange-sounding names. The month also brings us back to the reason Christians worldwide take a moment and reflect on the miracle of all miracles—the resurrection of the one, true, living God via His son, Jesus the Christ. Our modern-day world has taken us into pathways that give us things faster, but perhaps not better. We are thrust into a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses-type mentality, which basically keeps many of those social climbers behind the financial eight-ball more than they care to acknowledge. When I was studying for my M.Div. (Master’s of Divinity) at Drew University, a professor lectured about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. I didn’t



The Positive Community April 2012

expect him to do what’s often done in the black church where a cleric says, “But early on Sunday, He got up...” No, I didn’t expect that kind of animated speech, but I certainly didn’t expect what I got. He said about the resurrection, “Something happened.” His words, trust me, were anticlimactic at best, and inadequate at worst. “For the Christian,” as Evangelist Billy Graham would say, the resurrection is the greatest day in the annals of Christendom. This is not a debatable point, in my judgment. So, this April, we not only look forward to beautiful lilies bursting with myriad colors that can only come from God Himself. We not only look forward to longer days laced with balmy weather. We not only look forward to the countdown of the closing of sundry public schools for two-month reprieves. No, we look forward to coming together on Resurrection Sunday morning to thank God for thinking enough of His fallen humanity to don a robe of flesh and leave the portals of heaven to dwell among the high and the mighty, the rich and the poor, the despised and the despicable because He loved us all. And, knowing this is like inhaling the fragrance of fresh flowers in a pristine field. And, Lord, we say, “thank-you.”

It’s happening at

Columbia in April

Sunday, April 1-Friday, June 1 Florine Stettheimer: Alternative Modernist Chang Octagon Exhibition Room, Butler Library, Morningside campus The Rare Book and Manuscript Library presents a small exhibition drawn from the library’s Florine Stettheimer Papers and including Stettheimer’s significant paintings, as well as figurines, drawings and sketch books from her early years. For more info, call (212) 854-7309 or visit

Thursday, April 5 Blue Notes in Black and White: Photography and Jazz 8:00 p.m. 622 Dodge, Morningside campus A talk and book signing by author Benjamin Cawthra. For more info, call (212) 851-1633 or visit

New Play: Paintings by David Moreira 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion, Medical Center campus 1150 St. Nicholas Ave. at 168th Street For more info, call (212) 854-2875 or email

Monday, April 9 Café Science: Science Extraordinary and Pathological: How to Tell the Difference 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PicNic Café, 2665 Broadway at 102nd Street Speaker: Nick Turro, Columbia University. $10 per person. Seating is limited. For more info, call (877) 854-2586 or visit

How to Reflect? 6:30 p.m. Wood Auditorium, 100-level Avery, Morningside campus Speakers: Barry Bergdoll, Steven Holl and Mark Wigley, all of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; and architects George Ranallit and Lebbeus Woods. For more info, call (212) 854-3414 or visit www

Friday, April 13-Saturday, April 14 Technics and Art: Architecture, Cities and History After Mumford 10:00 a.m. East Gallery, Buell Hall, Morningside campus Moderated by Casey Nelson Blake, professor of history, Columbia University, and Reinhold Martin, Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 8543414 or visit

Monday, April 16 Café Humanities: Hindi, Hindu: A Tangled History 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PicNic Café, 2665 Broadway at 102nd Street Speaker: Allison Busch, professor of Indian literature, Columbia University. $10 per person. Seating is limited. For more info, call (877) 854-2586 or visit

Tuesday, April 17 Music at St. Paul’s: It’s Instrumental 6:00 p.m. St. Paul’s Chapel, Morningside campus A concert featuring an assortment of Columbia’s talented instrumental performance groups. For more info, call (212) 854-1487 or visit www

Wednesday, April 18 Who is the Public in Practice? 6:30 p.m. Wood Auditorium, 100-level Avery, Morningside campus Speaker: Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Atelier Bow-Wow, Tokyo. For more info, call (212) 854-3414 or visit

Thursday, April 19 Nonfiction Dialouges: John D’Agata 7:00 p.m. 413 Dodge, Morningside campus John D’ Agata is the author of Halls of Fame and About a Mountain, and co-author of The Lifespan of a Fact. For more info, call (212) 854-2875 or visit

Tuesday, April 10 Pop-up Concerts: Birth of Electronic Music 5:30 p.m. Miller Theatre, Morningside campus Composer Jean-Baptiste Barriere. For more info, call (212) 854-7799 or visit www.millertheatre .com/events.

Friday, April 20 The Money Series: The Culture of Credit: A Conversation Between Historians and Anthropologists 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 21 Spring Concert 8:00 p.m. James Chapel, Union Theological Seminary, Morningside campus Students from the Barnard and Columbia music department perform War Requiem by Benjamin Britten. Tickets $5, $3 for students. For more info, call (212) 854-5096 or visit www.barnard .edu/events.

Baseball vs. Princeton (Double Header) 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Baker Athletics Complex, 218th Street and Broadway For more info, call (212) 854-2535 or email

Women’s Lacrosse vs. Harvard Noon Baker Athletics Complex, 218th Street and Broadway For more info, call (212) 854-2535 or email

Sunday, April 22 Lecture: Peak Earth: Population, Climate and Energy in the 21st Century

3:00 p.m. Monell Building, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Lamont campus

Speaker: Peter Kelemen, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Earth Institute, Columbia University. Registration required. For more info, call (845) 365-8998 or email events@ldeo

Monday, April 23 Café Social Science: Magema Fuze: A Heretic’s Scribe 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PicNic Café, 2665 Broadway at 102nd Street Speaker: Hlonipha Mokoena, professor of anthropology, Columbia University. $10 per person. Seating is limited. For more info, call (877) 854-2586 or visit www.cafes

Tuesday, April 24 Africa in Brazil? Samba, History and the Allure and Challenge of Diaspora 6:00 p.m. Event Oval, Diana Center, Barnard campus Speaker: Marc Hertzman, Latin American and Iberian cultures, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit

Keynote: Jeff Madrick, columnist and critic. For more info, call (212) 854-8443 or visit

Tuesday, April 24 Italy at Columbia Lecture: Italo Calvino’s Stories of Love and Loneliness 11:00 a.m. The Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave., Morningside campus Speaker: poet Richard Howard. For more info, call (212) 854-2306 or visit www.italianacademy

Wednesday, April 25 A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman Noon Lehman Center, 406 International Affairs, Morningside campus Speaker: Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 854-2927 or email

Baseball vs. Fordham (Double Header) 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Baker Athletics Complex, 218th Street and Broadway For more info, call (212) 854-2535 or email

Thursday, April 26-Saturday, April 28 A New Vision of Black Freedom: The Manning Marable Memorial Conference 8:00 a.m. Low Library, Morningside campus This conference reflects the late professor’s emphasis on history and social analysis as ways of illuminating global socioeconomic crises and their causes. Scholars, students, activists, teachers, artists, social workers and community residents will engage in conversations about the task of creating a more equitable and just world. For more info, visit

Monday, April 30-Thursday, May 10 25th Annual Columbia University Film Festival Miller Theatre, Morningside campus The festival includes two full days of screenings, an evening of faculty- and student-selected shorts; panel discussions with celebrated alumni and more. For complete schedule and ticket info, call (212) 854-2875, or visit or

Getting to Columbia The Morningside Heights campus is located at 116th Street and Broadway. By subway: No. 1 train to 116th Street station. By bus: M4, M11, M60 or M104.

All events are open to the public. This is a sampling of them. For additional events or general information, visit or call (212) 854-2871. For Columbia sports info, visit Guests in need of disability services should call (212) 854-2284 prior to the event.

007-7969AD•Apr2012 PosComm d3.indd 1

3/23/12 2:46 PM

Tips for Managing Your Email Inbox By Cecil Cates


o you struggle to keep your email inbox organized? I thought so. It isn't surprising; the poor economy is forcing business people to do more with less. Let's look at some things you can do to save time and help eliminate some stress you may be feeling. Just like paperwork, email tends to fall into three categories: 1. Email that has no value 2. Email that needs to be retained for future reference 3. Email that requires action The goal should be to touch email only once. For email that has no value, just delete it. That gets it out of the way.

Folders get you organized For email that needs to be retained, create an email folder structure that helps you find the email when you need it. I have a folder for each of my clients, and all email conversations with my clients get saved to those folders. For email that needs action, create a folder called "needs action." When I read an email that I need to act on, I immediately move the email to this folder. When I have time later to take action, I know that folder has all the email for me to revisit. Many people will find they use two folders — one for email that needs action today and another for email that can wait. With these thoughts in mind, as you read each email, delete it, save it to a folder for future reference, or save to an "action" folder. Now your inbox will stay clean, and you won't have that nagging stress about a messy inbox. Check your company policy Every business should have a document retention policy. Before deleting email, consult your attorney to be

sure your policy is appropriate for your business. Some industries have regulations that must be followed. For example, financial advisors need to retain email according to regulations specified by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the SEC. Spam guards ease stress, peril Another tool that can help is a third-party solution provider that handles spam and email archiving. The beauty of a third-party spam filter is that spam never makes it to your computer. So you don't spend time reading and deleting it, and the spam does not clog up your hard drive. Third-party spam filters also remove viruses and phishing attacks, so you don't have to worry about your private and confidential data being compromised. Third-party archiving solutions retain all inbound and outbound email and come with search engines much more powerful than your email software. That frees you up to delete email as you desire, knowing that you can always retrieve it easily when you need it. They also function as a backup in case your primary email software is not functioning. As long as you have Internet access, you can send and receive email from the archiving engine. And there you have it! A few simple changes can help keep your inbox better organized, your time better managed and your computer more secure from phishing and viruses. Give these methods a try and hopefully, you’ll have some extra time to take on your spring cleaning! Cecil Cates of CMIT Solutions specializes in supporting computers, servers and networks for small and medium-sized businesses. He can be reached at 973-325-3663,, or April 2012 The Positive Community


You maY not be in it foR

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Just because you’ve chosen the path of God instead of the money trail doesn’t mean you should forsake your financial future. That’s where we come in. We’re MMBB. For over 100 years we’ve been offering investment, retirement and insurance benefits just for those who serve the church, both ordained and lay. To learn more about us and our financial products, visit or call 1-800-986-6222. Isn’t it time your money started working as hard as you?

Real Planning, Real SolutionS. that’S ouR Calling.

Black Publishers At The White House


arib News Publisher, Karl B. Rodney, chairman of the NNPA Foundation, led a delegation of more than 50 black publishers to meet with President Obama and several of his top advisers at the White House on March 15, 2012 during Black Press Week Events in Washington, DC. Rodney, Cloves Campbell, chairman of the NNPA and Danny J. Bakewell, chairman emeritus, met first with Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett to discuss the organizations priorities. President Obana then addressed the group and expressed his admiration for the work of black newspapers through the nation. He said tthat black newspapers were not “gloom and doom” but serve to uplift the communities they serve, and in so doing, help not only blacks but all Americans. The President was mindful of the disparities in the African American labor force and stated that everything his administration has done in the last three years was designed to grow the economy and to put people back to work. President Obama acknowledged that publishers

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The Positive Community April 2012

L–R: Danny J. Bakewell, Carl and Faye Rodney greet President Obama

are small business owners and should benefit from the various government programs designed to bolster small businesses and sustain them through the current economic downturn. He also lauded the stories of success that are often found only in the black newspapers, and expressed his appreciation for the upliftment and encouragement they provide. This year is the 185th Anniversary of Black Press Week, organized by the NNPA Foundation to commemorate the founding of the Black Press. This year’s panelists at the annual State of the Black Press Luncheon at the National Press Club were: Rev. Jesse Jackson, chair of Rainbow PUSH; Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League; Danny Bakewell, chairman Emeritus of NNPA; Londell McMillan, owner of The NorthStar Group and Len Burnett, co-founder and CEO of Uptown magazine. The moderator was noted journalist George Curry. The discussion was lively and each panelist left attendees with at least one point to ponder. Morial advocated for a national campaign for subscription to black newspapers through churches, organizations and companies; Bakewell demanded equity in the market for black consumers’ dollars and advertisement for the Black Press. McMillan articulated the need to find a partnership of efficiency in the operation of the Black Press, and Len Burnett emphasized that the digital world must be embraced. At the annual Newsmakers Dinner, Benjamin Jealous, president & CEO of the NAACP; Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, legendary children’s advocate and activist and Congresswoman Maxine Walters were the honorees. Jealous highlighted the need to look into voter suppression and exposed the similarities between laws that were used in the 20th Century to disenfranchise black voters and current laws with the same intent and impact. Dr. Edelman cautioned that illiteracy feeds the cradle-toprison pipeline and described it as the worst crisis in America. Publishers Freeman Harris of the Denver Weekly and Jane Woods-Miller of the St. Louis Metro Sentinel were enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The NNPA Foundation represents over 200 Black Publishers of Daily and Weekly Newspapers, with a readership of over 9 million. —rlw

Joan Parrott-Fonseca Appointed New York State Director of AARP


ARP has announced the selection of Joan ParrottFonseca as its New York State Director. She will lead the development and delivery of the organization’s community programs, advocacy, and information for its 2.5 million members age 50+ across the state. Ms. Parrott-Fonseca has a noteworthy background in all levels of government, academia, and the private sector with a focus on human services and economic development in communities of need. In her work, she has spoken nationally and internationally on these areas as well as demographic trends and global diversity. “Joan Parrott-Fonseca brings an outstanding background and a keen understanding of how we can empower people 50+ to take charge of their lives and make a difference where they live,” said Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President of the AARP State and National Group. Parrott-Fonseca was professor of Public Administration and former dean of the School of Business at Medgar Evers College, City University of New York before accepting her appointment with AARP. Prior to joining Medgar Evers College, she was president of JPF & Associates in Washington, DC, a consultant service specializing in business development, brand enhancement, and multicultural marketing. During that time, she was a trustee of the District of Columbia Retirement Board, which provided oversight for the management of its $3 billion pension fund for retired teachers, police, and firemen. On a national level, Ms. Parrott-Fonseca was the first woman to serve as director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (1995-1997), where she administered the agency’s national programs and its $66 million budget. During her tenure at MBDA, she managed over 100 business development centers throughout the country that provided education and technical assistance to a diverse population of businesses. She has also served as director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for the District of Columbia. In New York State, she was Director of Business Services for the NYS Department of Minority and Women Owned Businesses and Director of the Office of Economic Development and Compliance with the Department of Transportation in Albany. “Our society is coming to terms with new realities that are changing the way we look at growing older and the

choices we have about our futures,” Ms. Parrott-Fonseca pointed out. “I am excited to join AARP as we take on this opportunity to create a new paradigm for living in the 21st century and develop solutions that guarantee a secure future for 50+ New Yorkers.” Ms. Parrott-Fonseca has served on the Women’s Leadership Board of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a body of distinguished leaders dedicated to the advancement of women and girls around the world. She has a BA from Howard University, an MA from George Washington University, a JD from Georgetown University, and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University. She also has a Certificate for Fundamentals of Money Management from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Parrott-Fonseca is a native New Yorker and resides in New York City with her family.

April 2012 The Positive Community


Countdown to Freedom

On January 1st, 1863, two years into the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation became law, signaling the end of slavery . . . By R.L. Witter hile the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation were in large parts responsible for the ending of legal slavery in the United States, it was the Reconstruction Era that began life for blacks in America as free people. Mired in racism and corruption, freedom was not always as expected or promised. The Reconstruction Era was the time that immediately followed the American Civil war. With the South defeated and the slaves emancipated, southern states were left in a state of uncertainty. Economically, without slaves to work plantations, former slave owners would be left in financial ruin. The emancipation in and of itself dealt a swift and deadly blow to most of the formerly wealthy owners. The more slaves a family had owned, the more devastating their financial loss. While newly-freed people of color excitedly anticipated the idealistic lives of freedom that lay ahead of them, a reality in stark contrast began to take shape. They quickly realized that despite generations and years of back-breaking labor, indignity and brutality, they had little to nothing to claim as their own. They owned no more than the clothes on their backs, even the tools they once used to perform their chores and tasks belonged the people who had owned them. Combined with the practice of keeping slaves illiterate, these circumstances created a bleak outlook for a people eager to embrace the idea and promise of liberty. But there was progress! The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen's Bureau) was created in 1865 by President Abraham Lincoln to aid former slaves through legal food and housing, oversight, education, health care, and employment contracts with private landowners. The Freedman’s Bureau also helped reunite negro families torn apart by slavery and war and helped resolve issues



The Positive Community April 2012

of divorce and abandonment, despite the fact that most slave marriages were not legal, as they were often performed by slave owners with no standing in the church or community. The greatest achievement of the Freedman’s Bureau and possibly the entire Reconstruction Era was the inception of the South’s first state-funded public school system. Under the leadership of Oliver O. Howard, the first commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, confiscated land, buildings, books and furniture were given to superintendents for use in creating schools for former slaves. The bureau even helped provide transportation and lodging for teachers. Otis would later go on to found the Howard Normal and Theological Institute for the Education of Preachers and Teachers, which is known today as Howard University in Washington, DC. These schools were essential to former slaves as many states enacted “black codes” that sought to pose obstacles to the freed people’s progress and return them to their former status as slaves. “Black codes” included indentured servitude, limits on what black people could own, where they could live and work. Education would allow freed people to read and understand laws for themselves and begin to operate as citizens, rather than possessions.


With freed people eager to learn, there were more than 1,000 schools for freed people across the South by 1870. Shortly thereafter, Jim Crow laws were passed, establishing legal segregation of public places, which allowed the deliberate under-funding of black schools. Still, black people continued to seek education and between 1866 and 1872 there were 25 institutions established for the higher education of black people. These institutions would later be called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and be responsible for educating the people who would become the first blacks to hold office in America, as well as some of the great thinkers, writers and artists. During this time period, three amendments to the U.S. Constitution were passed that granted rights to former slaves and established them as full-fledged citizens of America. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery; the 14th provided for equal protection, due process and privileges and immunities; the 15th granted voting rights regardless of “race, color or previous servitude.” These amendments sought to address the Jim Crow laws and black codes that many southern states had enacted in an effort to return blacks to their former status. With minds being opened by education and laws promising freedom and equal treatment, taking control of their religious experience was the next priority. Blacks could now worship as they pleased and began starting their own churches. Denominations like African Methodist Episcopal and African Methodist Episcopal Zion began organizing new congregations and people who had previously worshipped under the watchful eyes of their white masters embarked upon a new spiritual journey that would become the Black Church. Membership in black churches grew exponentially to become the center of the black community. Church leaders encouraged political and educational aspirations and were often the liaisons to the white communities. By the 1890’s, the unification of three national black church conventions resulted in the creation of the National Baptist Convention, which is now the largest predominantly black denomination in America and the second

largest Baptist denomination in the world with more than 10 million members. Despite the many gains made by freed people of color, the Reconstruction Period ended without having accomplished much of what the federal government had set out to do. Corrupt and racist officials at the state level used every opportunity to undermine the rights of freed people. Meanwhile, they argued that the 14th Amendment only applied to the federal government and that discriminatory practices could only be handled on local and state levels. The fox was in charge of the henhouse as many of the elected officials were members of the Ku Klux Klan or just racists in their own right. Left to investigate and prosecute allegations of discrimination, violence and unfair business practices, most of the injustices perpetrated against black people went unaddressed. Disappointed but not disheartened, our ancestors continued to eke out lives for themselves and their families. There were even many black politicians elected to office. In spite of the hardships, freed people would press on toward freedom, success and the promise of the American Dream. April 2012 The Positive Community


Education T e ac h i n g , L e ar n i n g , M a k i n g a D i ff e r e n c e

Expectations Matter Raising Expectations Can Result in Greater Academic Performance Courtesy Duke University


chools that seek to help students who are underrepresented in advanced programs should treat them as gifted young scholars, an approach that can result in many of them actually performing at a gifted level within a few years, according to a U.S. Dept. of Education study of a North Carolina program. Developed by researchers at Duke University with state educators, the five-year study of 10,000 kindergarteners and first- and second-graders suggests that raising expectations could be a key to enhancing the academic performance of at-risk students nationwide. “All students should get a gifted education, even if they are not subsequently identified as gifted,” said William “Sandy” Darity, chair of African and African American studies and a professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. “It’s not about who is in the class, but the quality of instruction.” Project Bright Idea Darity’s research showing black and Latino students to be underrepresented in advanced and gifted classes helped lead the State of North Carolina to establish Project Bright Idea, the program analyzed in the Department of Education study. Co-designed more than 10 years ago by Margaret Gayle, director of the American Association for Gifted Children at Duke, the program trains teachers to treat all students as if they are gifted. Darity and Gayle say the project works because it nur-


The Positive Community April 2012

tures students regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, gender or learning ability. The new independent evaluation calculates “on the safe side” that 15-20 percent of students taught with techniques usually reserved for gifted classrooms are identified within three years by their districts as being academically and intellectually gifted. Only 10 percent of a control group of similar students taught in regular classrooms met their district’s “gifted” criteria during the same period. By comparison, in 2004 19 percent of all third-grade students were identified as gifted in the three North Carolina counties (Cabarrus, Watagua and Wake) with the highest numbers. Not a single third-grade student in 2004 from the Title 1 schools involved in the study had previously been identified as gifted. The pilot ran from 2004 to 2009 and included K-2 classrooms in Title 1 schools in 11 school districts with cohorts of more than 5,000 students in Bright Idea and 5,000 students in the control groups. As each cohort completed the research, the project was expanded to other classes and schools in the districts, including middle and high schools. The project now continues as Project Bright Tomorrow at Northeast Elementary in Kinston and Town Creek Elementary in Winnabow, both in North Carolina. The two schools opened in 2009 and were modeled on Bright Idea.

Teachers Are Key “We are giving teachers concepts based on the latest and best research in the classroom. Then we provide support and mentorship to help them work through obstacles,” Gayle said. “We are literally changing the knowledge, skills and dispositions of teachers so they believe children can learn. It is a lot about teacher expectation and belief,” said Mary N. Watson, the director of the exceptional children division of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, who helped develop the project. In workshops and week-long summer institutes, teachers in the project are taught by national and state-level experts on how to develop students’ thinking and skills such as controlling impulsivity, posing questions and taking responsible risks. “We are teaching students how to think, not what to think,” Gayle said. Bright Idea teacher Dawn Miller of Thomasville Elementary School in Thomasville, NC, agrees. “In college we learned about the multiple intelligences theory; it’s nothing new. But Bright Idea had the research that provided a model to incorporate all the things we know that are right for kids,” Miller said. Edward McFarland, principal of Fuquay-Varina High School in Fuquay-Varina, NC, was first introduced to Project Bright Idea as an elementary school principal.

Since 2006 he has applied components of the project at the high school level, allowing teachers extra time each week to design curricula. No Easy Fix “Staff development is the key, but it takes time to retrain,” McFarland said. “Many times we’re looking for easy fixes but hard work is what gets you the results. You can throw in a new program. You may be committed for a year or so, take a few workshops and hand out a few lessons. But we really want to focus on planning lessons that go deeper than that.” By using some components of Bright Idea, McFarland watched the achievement gap at Fuquay Varina decrease by 4-6 percent from 2006 to 2010. Testing and graduation rates surpassed the county average within the same time period. “It’s very difficult to argue with the outcome,” said Ron Tzur, faculty chair at the School of Education at the University of Colorado, Denver. “Most projects have two teachers in one school. With Bright Idea, we are talking about hundreds of teachers and thousands of students. Most projects run out of steam when the funding runs out. But with high expectations, there is a change in teacher practices and more willingness and interest on their part. Teachers are saying they want more.”

UNLOCKING NEW DOORS ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

We’re committed to helping tomorrow’s community leaders become stronger, better-equipped achievers. That’s why we’re proud to support The Positive Community in advocating for excellence in education. To learn more about PNC’s Community Development Banking financial education workshops, please contact us at (973) 639-7117.


©2012 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. PNC Bank, National Association. Member FDIC. ACHIEVEMENT is a registered mark of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.


April 2012 The Positive Community













“If the child isn’t learning, guess what? We can’t blame the child...”


s a Rutgers Law School student in the late 1980s, Clarence McNeil worried about the rate of incarceration for men of color. He knew that in many cases, these men were unfairly treated in the criminal justice system and as an attorney, he believed he could help address that. He became a criminal defense lawyer, but his hope for what his work could accomplish eventually turned to disappointment. “Everybody was looking at me like a role model, because I was an attorney,” he said. But by helping to free young men from convictions who only went back to committing more crimes, “in effect I was helping to facilitate predators preying on their own community.” One day, a 21-year-old client picked Mr. McNeil up for a court date in a limo. “He was brilliant,” Mr. McNeil says about a young man who could have been very successful in virtually any career. But in that limo, the client sized up exactly their relationship: “You’re going to get me off and I’m going to do what I have to do.” It was a poignant moment. “I knew I needed to reach young men before they got to that point,” he said. So he quit, and became a


The Positive Community April 2012

teacher at Our Lady of Good Counsel, a Catholic school in Newark, taking such a huge pay cut that it “was almost like volunteering, ” he said. He made ends meet by doing legal work in the summers—but never again worked as a defense attorney. He loved teaching and the school. The money didn’t matter. But then it was announced that Good Counsel would close. Sitting on a bus a few days later in Newark, he saw a group of kids teasing a young woman for going to a school with a longer school year. “I’d rather go to my school all year than go to your school and get summers off,” the young woman responded, sitting in a North Star Academy uniform. “That’s stupid,” the kids teased. “No, it’s not,” the young woman said calmly. “I’m going to college.” Mr. McNeil was moved by the girl’s pride in North Star, a school he had never heard of. Fast forward seven years, and Mr. McNeil is 5th and 6th grade science teacher and grade-level chair at North Star’s middle school in downtown Newark. On a recent weekday, Mr. McNeil was teaching his 5th graders about living systems. The class was a careful combination of strict order and riveted learning. Mr. McNeil demands

rigorous answers and complete attention and engagement from his fifth graders, but also showers them with praise when they earn it. “You know,” he said directly to one of the boys who answered a question correctly, “you have been getting better and better and stronger and stronger.” At North Star, 99% of the students are black or Latino and 80% are eligible for free or reduced lunch. They are beating the average New Jersey student. In math, 94% of North Star 8th graders passed the state exam, compared with only 72% of all New Jersey 8th graders. North Star is part of Uncommon Schools (www.uncommonschools. com), a charter management organization with seven schools in Newark and more than 20 in New York and Massachusetts. All of its schools are based on one premise: all children WILL learn. “If the child isn’t learning, guess what? We can’t blame the child,” said Mr. McNeil. “We’ve misused the impact of poverty on education to the disservice of poor children. Yes, it’s harder. But to leave the story there is disastrous and it also ignores the biological fact that children are capable of cognitive development at any stage regardless of circumstance.”












Cheyney University: Developing Human Potential America’s Oldest Historically Black Institution Of Higher Education


ounded in 1837, Cheyney University is America’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. Today, it leverages that rich history of providing access to higher education for all students and by producing visionary leaders and responsible citizens. Cheyney University is in the business of developing human potential and talent and does so through an intellectually challenging environment and personal attention to every student – a hallmark of the Cheyney experience.

The University’s 275-acre campus of rolling hillsides in southeastern Pennsylvania is located only 25 miles from Philadelphia. The heart of the campus is its historic quadrangle with buildings dating back to the early 1900s. The campus is complimented by five residence halls including a new 400-bed suite-style residence hall. Students choose from more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and participate in more than 40 clubs, societies and student organizations. The University is an NCAA Division II institution with

12 intercollegiate sports teams. Cheyney University also has a location in downtown Philadelphia (CUCC). CUCC is convenient for commuter students and non-traditional students looking to complete their degree. Students can enroll in the Liberal Studies degree program in order to convert life-experience and college credits into this flexible, degree completion program. Call us today at (800) CHEYNEY, visit us on the web at www.cheyney. edu or “Like Us” on Facebook at www. facebook/CheyneyUAdmissions.

April 2012 The Positive Community













Eleventh National Black Writers Conference Honors Leading Poets, Authors


he most outstanding Black writers of today gathered for the Eleventh National Black Writers Conference (NBWC) at The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College/ CUNY on March 29. Centered around the theme, “The Impact of Migration, Popular Culture and the Natural Environment in the Literature of Black Writers,” the 2012 Conference honored literary and cultural icons Kenyan-born writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, poet, novelist and essayist; publisher Ishmael Reed; poet Nikki Giovanni and Dr. Howard Dodson, former director of the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Conference was hailed by best-selling author Walter Mosley, a City College/CUNY alumnus, as “The most significant gathering of Black writers in the country.” Highlights of the Conference included a poetry presentation by South African Poet Laureate Keora-


The Positive Community April 2012

petse Kgositsile, a conversation with author and broadcaster Tavis Smiley; and a roundtable discussion and critical response to Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: a Life of Reinvention with Haki Madhubuti, Herb Boyd, Ron Daniels and Michael Simanga. “Black writers and artists are natural cultural explorers and investigators,” said Dr. Brenda M. Greene, Director of the National Black Writers Conference and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature. “Their works reveal the importance of memory on our concepts of self and family; examine the impact of popular culture on our personal lives, belief systems, and traditions; and chronicle the effects of our actions on our natural environment. They use the power of words and the literary arts to stir our imaginations.” Dr. Myrlie Evers-Williams, Honorary Chair of the Conference, noted that “Perhaps one of the most powerful things that we have as human beings is not only the

spoken word, but the written word that lasts forever.” Ishmael Reed, speaking about why we need to continue to present National Black Writers Conferences, recounts, “In 2009, I published a story that was translated from the first Alaskan language to become extinct in the previous year. This is what happens to a culture that loses to the inexorable forces of assimilation. The National Black Writers Conference at Medgar Evers College is needed and is more than a gathering of scholars and writers; it is a meeting of resisters.” This year’s Conference has received major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Con Edison, Barnes & Noble Inc., New-York Historical Society, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, New York Council for the Humanities, CUNY Office of Collaborative Programs, Office of the Provost, Medgar Evers College, CUNY, and Hachette Book Group.

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Medgar Evers College Rising!

+20% Enrollees


nrollment at Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York has increased more than 20 percent since Spring 2007, and overall enrollment this year is up by more than 4 percent since 2011. According to spring data, nearly 7,000 students are enrolled, an increase of 4.6 percent over the same period last year when the college registered 6,670 students. Five years ago, 5,463 students were enrolled in the spring. “Medgar Evers College is on the rise, as evidenced by our growing enrollment numbers,” said Dr. William L. Pollard, president of Medgar Evers College. “Our new and newly renovated facilities, along with our faculty and student support services, have created an environment that helps our students graduate ahead of the curve as they pursue their professional and personal goals.”

New Campus Facilities Medgar Evers College’s efforts at serving and retaining students are important factors in its enrollment growth, according to the most recent data. The college’s new academic programs and enhanced campus facilities introduced in the last several years are among the enhancements that have revitalized the college. More students are choosing to pursue their undergraduate studies at the higher education institution named for the prominent late civil rights leader. Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the college is also attracting a higher number of new students, including first-time freshmen and transfer students. For first-time freshmen, the number increased this spring to 446 students. Transfer students were up by 48 students. Medgar Evers College students include award winners Cherryle Brown, Sadchla Mathieu, and Michael Nelson, who won top honors for their biochemical presentations at the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Undergraduate Research Conference. They include Kyle Chais, whose debut novel, Nameless, was published by Gallery Books last month — a book he wrote while living in a homeless shelter with his single mother. And they include social work students Nicole Franklin and Peta-ann Bigby, who are

Top: The New Academic Building Bottom: President William L. Pollard speaking with students in the College library.

serving at-risk youth at a community center in central Brooklyn this school year as part of the Community Justice Program — an ongoing collaboration with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office to increase student involvement in social justice initiatives. Others have received prestigious internships at Yale Medical School, Virginia University School of Medicine, New Jersey Medical School, the University of Missouri, and at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office this past summer. Students are aided in their professional and personal development by talented and dedicated faculty members such as biology professor Dr. Charles desBordes, who was awarded the 2011 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship and participated in the National Academies Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology at Yale University; acclaimed children’s book author and English professor Tonya Hegamin, who won the 2012 Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award for her teen novella, Pemba’s Song: A Ghost Story; and the Honorable Major Owens, former U.S. Congressman and Public Administration professor, who recently published a new book, The Peacock Elite. Thanks

to a generous $300,000 grant from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, the college now offers grants to students at risk of dropping out because of financial emergencies. A recently opened Academic Building I, a fivestory complex, houses the School of Science, Health and Technology, cutting-edge research labs, modern classrooms, and dining and meeting facilities. Additionally, a new student lounge was opened and a $3.2 million renovation of the campus swimming pool was completed. In 2012, an $18.3 million dollar renovation of the college’s library will expand its total area, including student study areas, and enhance its physical and digital holdings.



Metropolitan College Metropolitan Collegeof ofNew NewYork’s York’s(MCNY) (MCNY)Media MediaManagement Management

Metropolitan College ofProgram New York’s (MCNY) Media Management MBA isishosting MBA Program hosting “The Ever-Changing Media Landscape” MBA Program is hosting “The Ever-Changing Media Landscape” and experience featuring “The Ever-Changing Media Landscape” - a panel discussion discussion andmedia mediacultivation cultivation experience featuringkey key industry influencers, trade and consumer media, and faculty and industry influencers, trade and consumer media, and faculty and - a panel discussion and media cultivation experience featuring key students the Management MBA students from the Media Mediatrade Management MBAProgram. Program. Thisevent event and industryfrom influencers, and consumer media,This and faculty precedes the MCNY 33rdrdAnnual Short Film Festival, April 12-14. precedes the MCNY Annual Short Film Festival, April 12-14. students from the Media Management MBA Program. This event The festival three days ofoffilm screenings, panel The festival features features three filmShort screenings, paneldiscussions discussions precedes the opportunities MCNY 3rddays Annual Film Festival, April 12-14. and networking with entertainment and and networking opportunities with entertainment andmedia mediaindustry industry The festival features three days of film screenings, panel discussions leaders, leaders, and and more more… …with withaafocus focuson on“New “NewFaces FacesininFilm.” Film.” and networking opportunities with entertainment and media industry Please join us key influencers for this leaders, more …industry with a focus on “New in Film.” Please joinand us and and key industry influencers forFaces thispanel panel

One of the school’s most One of the school’s most successful academic successful academic programs . programs is its Media Management . is its Media Management MBA Program. This One of the school’s most MBA Program. This program teaches students successful academic program teaches students to manage and develop programs to manage. and successful new develop business is its Media Management successful business models innew the worlds of MBA Program. This models in the worlds film, new media, musicof and program teaches publishing in astudents new eraand of film, new media, music to publishing manage and digitization and in adevelop new era of convergence digitization and successful new business convergence models in the worlds of

film, new media, music and publishing in a new era of digitization and convergence

discussion and discussion and kick kickoff offMCNY’s MCNY’s3rd 3rdAnnual AnnualShort ShortFilm FilmFestival. Festival. Please join usFeatured and keyPanelists industryinclude: influencers for this panel Featured Panelists include: Moderator Cheryl Reporter NY1 News andFilm and kick Wills, off MCNY’s 3rdatat Annual Short Festival. discussion Moderator Cheryl Wills, Reporter NY1 News andVPVPof of NYABJ; Author of Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale Featured Panelists include: NYABJ; Author of Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale Azadi,Cheryl Founder of Urban ActorsatAcademy andand VP of  Maisha Moderator Wills, Reporter NY1 News Maisha Azadi, Founder of Urban Actors Academy and MCNY alumna MCNY NYABJ;alumna Author of Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale  Doug Foreman, Manager of Consumer Marketing at Doug Foreman, Manager of Marketing at  Music Maisha Azadi, Founder ofConsumer Urban Actors Academy Choice; Member, MCNY MBA Business Advisory and Music Choice; Member, MCNY MBA Business Advisory MCNYand alumna Board MCNY Alumnus Board MCNY Alumnus  Bernie Doug and Foreman, Manager Consumer Professor Marketing at Jackson, MCNY Mediaof Management and  Former Bernie Jackson, MCNY Media Management Professor Counsel at Dewey &MCNY LeBoeuf Entertainment andand Music Choice; Member, MBA Business Advisory FormerGroup Counsel at Dewey & LeBoeuf Entertainment and Media Board and MCNY Alumnus Media Group Rzepka, Owner / Executive at Trygon  Agata Bernie Jackson, MCNY Media Producer Management Professor and Agata Rzepka, Owner / Executive Producer at Trygon Pictures Former Counsel at Dewey & LeBoeuf Entertainment and Pictures  Peter Schelfhaudt, Chairman/CEO of Creative Partners, MediaSchelfhaudt, Group  Founder/Managing Peter Chairman/CEO of Creative Partner, Unconditional LovePartners,  Productions, Agata Rzepka, Owner / Executive Producer Founder/Managing Partner, Unconditional Love at Trygon Executive Film Producer Pictures Productions, Executive Film Producer Date:  Peter Schelfhaudt, Chairman/CEO of Creative Partners, Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Partner, Unconditional Love Founder/Managing Wednesday, April 11, Breakfast 2012 8:30 a.m. Continental Productions, Executive Film Producer 8:30 Continental Breakfast 9:00 -a.m. 10:30 a.m. - Panel Discussion 9:00 10:30 a.m. Panel Discussion 10:30 - 11:00 a.m. - Q&A Date: 10:30 - 11:00 a.m. - Q&A Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Location: 8:30 a.m. Continental Metropolitan College of Breakfast New York Location: 431 Canal Street at-Varick Street 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. Panel Discussion Metropolitan College of New York th Floor MCNY 431 Canal Street atCenter, Varick Street 10:30 -Conference 11:00 a.m. - Q&A11 RSVP by April 6, 2012: Teresa MCNY Conference Center, 11thHolmes, Floor UniWorld Group (212) 212-7139 or RSVP by April 6, 2012: Teresa Holmes, UniWorld Group Location: (212) 212-7139 or Metropolitan College of New York

431 Canal Street at Varick Street MCNY Conference Center, 11th Floor RSVP by April 6, 2012: Teresa Holmes, UniWorld Group

Dr. Charles Gray Associate Professor, Audrey Cohen School for Human Services and Education

I teach “BE THE LEADER.” A new model of education As a professor at Metropolitan College of New York, I challenge my students to lead every day. I challenge them to apply what they learn in my classroom to their schools, organizations and communities. In 1964, Audrey Cohen founded MCNY on the vision of theory, purpose, and practice taught together to prepare students to be successfully and socially responsible professionals. This visionary educational model continues today with a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in business, management, healthcare, education, public administration and human services.

MCNY admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin.

“I help educate tomorrow’s Human Service professionals today. But what I am really doing is creating a better world. One graduate at a time.”

At MCNY, we are committed to helping you achieve your personal and professional goals. We offer day, evening and weekend classes, as well as a selection of online courses and accelerated programs to accommodate your busy schedule. We have two convenient locations in Manhattan and the Bronx. Call 1.800.33.Think today to meet with an admissions representative. Undergraduate Open House Wednesday, April 18, 6pm-8pm 431 Canal Street (off Varick) Admissions Suite

Military veterans ask about Operation Tuition Freedom.

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Think Ahead. Think MCNY. Call 1.800.33.Think or visit MCNY.EDU

In Manhattan and the Bronx

4/5/12 11:17 AM












Naturi Naughton has starred in feature films Fame, Notorious and Lottery Ticket, appeared as a principle role in Broadway’s Hairspray for three years. She is currently appearing in Lifetime’s TV series The Client List alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cybill Shepard and Loretta Devine.

Opportunity Scholarship Act: Scholarships for Urban Kids:



t age 27, I consider myself extremely blessed to work in the entertainment industry, which has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I believe that being a professional performer takes a lot more than simply talent. As an actress, I must be able to quickly read various scripts, project and enunciate properly, and be cognizant of the many contract terms in order to protect myself in this business. Furthermore as a singer, I may have to learn a new song by reading the music. Each note has a quantity of time, so it takes mathematics to decipher the difference between a “16th” note and an “8th” note. I clearly recognize that a large part of my success is attributed to having a quality education. Born and raised in East Orange, New Jersey, I didn’t have a plethora of choices on where I could receive an education that would prepare me for the future.  Therefore, my parents worked extremely hard to send me to parochial schools due to the struggling public schools in my area. Fortunately, I was able to attend Our Lady of the Valley and St. Joseph’s for middle school; then Immaculate Conception for high


The Positive Community April 2012

school. I was further privileged to attend Seton Hall University on an academic scholarship.   Most of my friends and neighbors did not have the opportunity to get the quality education that I was afforded. Many still do not have that choice today. I am deeply concerned when I see the high number of chronically failing schools in our urban cities of New Jersey.  When I hear how many young people are dropping out of school, my spirit is jolted and I think to myself “I must lend my voice.” We cannot ignore the need for urban education reform in our cities.  The cycle of failing schools does not have a single cause or a single solution. But it is urgent that we act now to ignite a culture of success as we face losing another generation of our young people.  I truly believe that a quality education can give young people the power to dream as high as they possibly can. Any career or any goal becomes attainable and all impossibilities become possible. Let’s begin to free our community by educating them now! The Opportunity Scholarship Act (OSA) is an immediate education reform program initially

funded by corporate tax credits that will provide scholarships for urban kids, like me. It would enable these kids to attend independent, religious, or charter schools of their choice. OSA will create opportunities for children living in urban communities plagued by failing schools. This helps to ensure that they will receive an education encouraging them to attend college, get employment, and build productive careers.  This is a rare chance for dollars to be put aside for the education of children in our communities. Now is the time for all of our voices to be heard on this issue. We must let our legislators know that we value our children. We want them to attend quality schools, hence this is why the scholarships that OSA would provide are essential in reaching this goal.  I believe in OSA and support its mission.  Vote for OSA by texting OSANOW to 99000 today!  OSA is not a panacea to solve all the ills within our educational system.  We will need to continue to integrate more reform initiatives.  But OSA NOW is an immediate remedy for our youth and a step in the right direction.












Are You Ready? Touro College is an equal opportunity institution


re you ready to make some changes in your life? You know the sort of changes we mean—a new career direction, maybe a profession, or additional education. That last one, education, is the key to the first two: the more you have, the greater the possibilities open to you. At Touro College’s New York School of Career and Applied Studies, we can help you go where you want to and equip you with the tools every individual needs to succeed in the workplace in these very challenging economic times. We do this in several ways. Consider some of them: First, variety. NYSCAS offers many two- and four- year degree programs with majors in areas such as Business Management and Administration, Human Services, Psychology, Education, Social Sciences, Biology, Digital Multimedia Design, and Paralegal Studies. These are areas that the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says will be in great demand in the next decade. In some cases, such as Human Services, the demand is estimated to increase by over 18% in this decade alone! That means jobs—and the potential for a good salary. Second, guidance. You’ll want to choose a school that will be comfortable for you, where you’re more than just a number and can get the personalized attention that you


The Positive Community April 2012

need. At NYSCAS, from the moment you enroll you receive the kind of assistance that you need. Whether it is in admissions, counseling, program planning, or internship placement, our professional staff is going to be with you from day one through graduation to make sure you get the most out of your education. Third, practicality. NYSCAS understands the problems that come with modern higher education. For one thing, it costs a lot of money, which is why our Financial Aid counselors will help you obtain every possible type of financial assistance available. If you are qualified, NYSCAS also has a large in-house scholarship program to further help you meet the expenses of college. We realize that a significant number of our students hold full-time jobs, have families, and are full-time students at the same time. As a result, convenience is a key element that makes NYSCAS such an attractive option. We have 11 sites located throughout New York City—all close to mass transportation. We offer morning, afternoon, evening and even Sunday classes to fit into your busy schedule, so you can still meet your other responsibilities. Fourth, the faculty. So many students select NYSCAS because our instructors know the importance of career education. They are both academicians and experienced practitioners in their fields. The perspec-

tive they bring to our classrooms is something you will find invaluable when you enter the workforce. Already have your Associate’s degree from another college? Excellent! Now is the time to continue. We accept many transfer students who come to NYSCAS to complete their Bachelor’s degrees and then go on to graduate-level studies. In fact, Touro College has a substantial number of Master’s level programs in Counseling, Business, Education, Computer Science and other areas which NYSCAS students eventually apply to. We do everything in our power to make the transition from one level of education to the next as smooth as possible. Getting started with the next stage of your life is easy: Just drop into any NYSCAS site to meet with an Admissions Counselor and talk things over. See what we have to offer and if we are a good ‘fit’ for your needs. You can also call us at (877) 3-NYSCAS ext. 1003 and make an appointment, if that’s easier for you. We’ll spend as much time with you as you need and explain all you need to know to become a part of the NYSCAS family. If you are looking for a new beginning or are just starting out in your quest for a college degree, we think that NYSCAS can offer you a real roadmap to success. Call us— and get started today!

NYSCAS New York School of Career and Applied Studies

a division of TOURO


Get on the Road to a Bright Future! ASSOCIATE’S AND BACHELOR’S DEGREES • BUSINESS MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION with concentrations in: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Management, Information Systems, Office Technology • HUMAN SERVICES • BIOLOGY • PSYCHOLOGY • EDUCATION • SOCIAL SCIENCES • PARALEGAL STUDIES • LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES • DIGITAL MULTIMEDIA DESIGN • and more CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS • DMX—Digital Media Arts | 212.463.0400 x5588 • Desktop and Web Publishing | 718.336.6471 x30119 for a full list of certificate programs go to

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L-R: top row: Dr. Adunni Slackman Anderson, Lee Rambeau Kemp, Mary G. Bennett, Diane Barreiro Bundy, Sandra Carney, Debra Spruill, Linda Peoples Thomas and Sheila T. Baynes. Seated: Valencia Yearwood, Dr. Joyce Wilson Harley, Esq., Janice M. Carter, Deborah E. Collins, Esq. and Trudi Smith Whittle.

By Glenda Cadogan

The Bibliophiles

Photo: Dwight Carter Photography

The Love of Books Helps Forge Forever Friendships


hey don’t just love literature, years. Founded in August of 1988, they love each other. And it The Bibliophiles is distinguished as is on the strength of these the oldest, continuously operating, two loves that The Bibliophiles incorporated Black Book Club in Inc.—an African American reading America. Sharing almost a quarter group— has been able to sustain century of their love for books from 12FEB BusLead Positive Community 4-5x4-5_Nyack 2/29/12 10:58 AM Page 1 a vibrant book club for the past 24 and about the African American

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The Positive Community April 2012

Diaspora, the 20 women of the “The Bibs” have also forged friendships that are stamped with that “forever feeling.” “The club has been a bedrock of support and friendship for all of us,” said Dr. Joyce Wilson Harley, Esq., co-founder of the organization. “We have seen each other through marriages, divorces, births and death and so many other significant life experiences that we have become kindred spirits.” It is no surprise that friendship forms such a significant part of the group. In fact, it was founded on a friendship and a mutual love for and admiration of Toni Morison’s epic work, Beloved. According to Harley, she and Bibs co-founder Sheila Baynes were what she described as “commuter colleagues. We actually met while travelling to work on the train from New Jersey to New York. When Beloved was released 24 years ago, I could not put the book down once I started reading it. The story was so compelling that I took days off from work just to continue reading.” For three days Harley immersed herself in reading the story, unContinued on page 88

Harlem YMCA 42nd Annual National Salute to Black Achievers in Industry Awards

L–R: Scholarship Award Recipient and Youth Achiever of the Year, Khalia Braxton with Tiffeny Forrest, executive director, Harlem YMCA; Edward Bergstraesser, AT&T director of Public Affairs Photos: Seitu Oronde

L–R: Jack Lund, president & CEO of YMCA of Greater New York, presenting the Leo B. Marsh Award to Geoffrey Canada, president & CEO of Harlem Children Zone

L–R: Eward Bergstraesser, AT&T director of Public Affairs Scholarship Award Recipient Damisha Fraser

District Leader and former award recipient Johnnie A. Bradford III, M.S. ED

L–R: Scholarship Award Recipient, Korto Tugba with Jamie Pilgrim of New York Life


n March 15, 2012 the Harlem YMCA hosted the 42nd Annual National Salute to Black Achievers in Industry Awards Ceremony at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. Community and business leaders were on hand to honor the achievements of black professionals. Since 1971, through the annual event, the Harlem “Y” has paid tribute to the corporate leadership and community service of black achievers in industry and continues to serve as a vehicle for the Harlem YMCA, corporations, and local organizations to partner and provide mentoring programs, scholarships, and other opportunities. These collective efforts fuel a future-leader incubator for the youth and teens of the Harlem community. " Honorees included: Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., who was the Leo B. Marsh Award recipient and Ed Bergstraesser, AT&T director of Public Affairs, who accepted the Deloitte Corporate Community Award on behalf of AT&T. Author, film, television and stage actor Hill Harper and Demarco Morgan, news anchor and

L–R: Scholarship Award Recipient Harriet Aboagye, Truman High School in Co-op City, with Monique Brown-Mercado of Deloitte Services LP

reporter for NBC-4 (NY); were the emcees for the gala. Colgate-Palmolive Company was the corporate chair of this year's celebration. In 1995, the Black Achievers in Industry (bai) initiative launched the Corporate Scholarship Program to provide direct support to motivated African-American New York City high school students, in pursuit of higher learning. To date, the Corporate Scholarship Program has awarded 367 scholarships, equating to more than $1 million in funds to supplement their educational costs. Thanks to the program's corporate partners, a goal has been established to award more than 50 individual $2,500 scholarships in 2012. The bai Mentor program connects motivated New York City teens with acknowledged successful professional adults to realize the full potential of young people through a variety of academic and social resources and experiences. In 2005 the Harlem Y partnered with Citi's Community Relations and Global Workforce Diversity to create the bai Leadership Summit, a professional development program for current year bai honorees and bai alumni. April 2012 The Positive Community













An Unwavering Commitment To Equality


’ve spent an entire career advocating for New Jersey’s public schools, the students who attend them, and the school employees who work in them. So I know firsthand that NJEA has fought for educational equality for decades, and we will continue to do so until all children have access to an equal and adequate public education. I am proud to say that we have made remarkable progress over the last two decades. New Jersey –where 45 percent of students are children of color – is one of the most successful states in the country when it comes to educating its children. New Jersey has cut its achievement gap in half over the last decade and New Jersey’s lowincome, minority children perform better than the average student in the majority of states. Nevertheless, we always need to look for new ways to help all children – particularly those who are disadvantaged – to achieve at higher levels. As educators, we know that we can make a difference. That’s why NJEA is working closely with several legislators right now to promote our own education reform agenda, which is based on professional practice, proven research, and the experience of educators. NJEA believes that our public schools must give all children the opportunity to be successful. That’s


The Positive Community April 2012

by Vincent E. Giordano why NJEA supports high-quality preschool for all children. Preschool is almost universally available in New Jersey’s former Abbott districts, and the results are impressive. Students in those districts have made great strides in early literacy.  NJEA also advocates for full funding of the school funding formula so that preschool expansion can get back on track. NJEA also believes every child should have access to full-day kindergarten. Three hours a day of instruction is not enough to teach and reinforce the skills that kindergarteners are expected to master before entering first grade. Sadly, in an era of decreased state funding for education, too many districts are moving in the wrong direction.  NJEA supports legislation requiring every district to provide full-day kindergarten so that every student gets a great start. NJEA recognizes that parental involvement is a critical contributor to student success.  That’s why we promote efforts to facilitate and increase that involvement. For example, NJEA supports legislation that would provide parents with up to 24 hours of unpaid leave each year to attend school functions during the work day, including conferences, events and classroom activities.  Though the release time could be unpaid, parents would be protected from adverse employment actions due to taking time off to attend important school functions.

NJEA also supports the establishment of a grant program that would allow schools or districts to apply for state-funded grants to implement or support parental involvement training and programs. The grants could be targeted at schools or districts that fall below certain performance thresholds.  NJEA’s FAST program – that’s Families and Schools Together – has been promoting parental involvement programs for years. This new grant program could help to support and expand the great work happening in many New Jersey school districts. Small class sizes in the early grades are proven to benefit students and improve performance.  Because student learning must be central to any education reform agenda, NJEA supports legislation to limit class sizes in all districts, so that all students have the benefit of increased individual attention early in their school careers. NJEA knows the keys to success and we are committed to helping the students in those schools achieve. To learn more and support these efforts, visit And please stay involved in your child’s education, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when families and schools work together, our children are the winners. (Vincent E. Giordano is executive director of the New Jersey Education Association.)

UNCF “A Mind Is” Gala Raises $3.7 Million Dollars Lowe’s and ExxonMobil Contributions infuse Campaign for Emergency Student Aid Justin Tuck, NY Giants; Tamara Robinson, UNCF “A Mind Is” Gala Chair; Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF CEO

Emcee, Bill Bellamy, actor and comedian


ver 1500 guests joined UNCF (United Negro College Fund) at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, for an evening of inspiration and entertainment to celebrate “Game Changers” in education and raised $3.7 million to support scholarships and programs that reach more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country each year. Actor and Comedian Bill Bellamy emceed the evening, Grammy Nominated singer Ledisi and the worldrenowned Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir performed fitting musical selections that stirred the crowd. The Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir opened the evening with beautiful renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Ledisi graced the stage with “It’s a Wonderful World,” followed by her motivational song “All Right” from her first Grammy-nominated album, Lost and Found. Thanks to Lowe’s and ExxonMobil, UNCF exceeded its fundraising goal, raising $1 million more than last year’s inaugural “A Mind Is” Gala. The money earmarked

Golden Voices Concert Choir-Tuskgee University

Rev Dr. Lakeesha Walrond executive pastor First Corinthian Baptist Church

for CESA (Campaign for Emergency Student Aid), will provide emergency education assistance to college juniors and seniors impacted by the changing economy and challenges they face with college expenses that must be paid before they can graduate. ExxonMobil, who started contributing to CESA three years ago with an initial contribution of $1 million dollars, announced a $500,000 matching grant. Lowe’s Charitable And Educational Foundation (LCEF) announced an additional $1 million contribution to CESA, which brings their giving total to $1.75 million. Andrew Swiger, senior vice president of ExxonMobil Corporation and a member of UNCF’s Board or Trustees, echoed the sentiments of Joan Higanbotham, Lowe’s community relations director, about why the two corporate giants give to CESA. “Giving to CESA to help students graduate and start their careers makes sense for them and for us. So, if you are looking for the investment that will do the most good for the donor as well as the recipient, you couldn’t invest your money better than in these students and UNCF’s Campaign for Emergency Student Aid.”  Two-time Super Bowl Defensive End, Justin Tuck was also honored at the “A Mind Is” Gala. Justin and his wife, Lauran, are recipients of the UNCF President’s Award for the literacy work they do through their Tuck’s R.U.S.H (Read, Understand, Succeed, Hope) for Literacy Foundation. Justin accepted the award and praised his wife, who was unable to attend because she is in graduate school and urged the crowd to give back in whatever way they can. Tamara L. Harris, Gala Chair and UNCF board member, also urged the crowd to be game-changers. “Speak to everyone in your world about this important cause to change the game for the students who need it the most.” April 2012 The Positive Community


Saving Our Community Men’s Ministry of First Church Of God in Christ Spearheads Community Improvement Initiative By Bob Law


pearheaded by the Men’s Ministry of the historic First Church Of God in Christ, over one hundred community leaders and community activists convened at the Brooklyn church on Saturday, March 10, 2012, to address two critical issues facing the black community: 1) How to end the violence and make it possible for young people to prosper and lead meaningful and productive lives. 2) Finding an education model that will actually prepare black youth to be academically strong and competitive in the 21st Century. Known as the Brooklyn Leadership Council, we began with the understanding that we must first address the community’s declining infrastructure and collectively provide the tools and resources that the community needs in order to flourish. We are encouraged by the fact that the destiny of the community is in our own hands. We have both the financial and intellectual capital to stabilize our community and we must provide a framework for helping black people make sense of and deal with a hostile political and social environment. We have agreed that to declare war on the policies and conditions that create violence and gangs is more effective than the often repeated war on gangs. We understand, however, that in the face of the violence and other forms of inappropriate behavior doing such harm to black people, there is a sense of urgency in the community that often leads to marches and demonstrations that demand an end to violence, while leaving the real causes of the violence and destructive behavior intact. These crackdowns on crime, however appealing, cannot substitute for the critical, longer-lasting bonds of family, faith, civic identity, culture, and neighborhood. As a follow-up to the summit we have launched four major initiatives. Partnerships for Extraordinary Opportunities In spite of the popular explanations of success, one does not rise from “nothing.” The kinds of opportunities that are made available, the quality of support and the resources placed at one’s disposal are all of vital importance. It is not just extraordinary talent that determines ones destiny; it is also extraordinary opportunities. These partnerships will effectively nourish the ambitions of our young and can replace what has been called the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success, with a society that provides much greater opportunities for all.  We are forming partnerships with individuals,


The Positive Community April 2012

organizations, businesses, and churches to pool our resources and provide opportunities that can actually change the lives of our young. One example, the churches (Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem and First Church in Brooklyn), a local community group (Motivating Youth To Excellence), a national group (Rising Stars Organization), and a black radio station (WBLS) coming together to recruit and provide forums for high school students to audition for full music scholarships to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Some of the youngsters would otherwise never have gone to college and actually had no idea that music scholarships even existed.     Saturday Academy The Saturday Academy is a10-week program that will operate on Saturday mornings from 10 AM to noon. Young people and adults are invited to attend. While the Saturday Academy deals with basic academic skills, it begins with helping youngsters and their parents to understand our cultural legacies in ways that are dignity affirming and empowering.  The study of urban history teaches that even affluent cities and communities without moral cohesion or a sense of civic identity fall into decadence and decline. The Saturday Academy curriculum will introduce a seven-point moral code of behavior. Guest speakers will address relevant issues, some of which are based on that moral code, like respect, responsibility, mutual cooperation, family, faith, African history as well as urban history, and entrepreneurship, as well as other areas of interest such as media arts and technology.  The key to the success of the Saturday Academy is in making it clear to students and parents why highly educated and brilliant minds are essential for young black people in this competitive and most often hostile social and political environment.   The Legacy Campaign A multimedia campaign utilizing print, outdoor, radio and television is being developed. We have the resources to produce all elements of the campaign. We will need some of the corporations who are the beneficiaries of so much of our consumer dollars to pay for the actual mass production and distribution of the campaign. Still in the development stage is what may be our most engaging, empowering and effective initiative of all, a citywide Respect Yourself Youth Crusade. For information on how you can help: contact me at

New Garden State COGIC Workers Conference

by Dianne Keel Atkins

Faithful hear Bishop Charles E. Blake Give Keynote Sermon


residing Bishop and Chief Apostle, Church of God in Christ (COGIC), Bishop Charles E. Blake, spiritual leader of more than eight million people, received an enthusiastic welcome on his recent visit to New Jersey to address the Annual Spring Workers’ Conference of the New Garden State Jurisdiction, led by Bishop William T. Cahoon, jurisdictional prelate. Under the conference theme, “Seeking God for Divine Order in our Lives,” 2nd Chronicles 7:12-14, the faithful gathered at Wells Cathedral COGIC in Newark, New Jersey to hear words of comfort and encouragement from their beloved bishop. It was standing room only in the large sanctuary and in the overflow rooms at the historic house of worship where Dr. H. L. Taylor is pastor. During the week-long conference (March 12-18) a pattern emerged of unity, healing, peace, and blessed assurance from the special anointing our Lord gave to each speaker: Pastor Dennis Peterson, Seed Faith Ministries, West Orange, NJ; Pastor LeAndre White, Outreach Christian Ministries, Newark, NJ; Supt. Ulus Roberts, Holy Ghost Tabernacle, Vaux Hall, NJ and Pastor Paul Shelly, Grace Reach Ministry, Irvington, NJ. Among the events that took place during the conference was a most successful Health Fair at Smith Memorial COGIC. Brother Harry Lawrence, coordinator for the event, estimated that more than 300 people took advantage of the diabetes and blood pressure screenings, HIV and glucose testing and more, made available by a variety of healthcare providers.

New Garden State Urban Initiative On the evening of March 16, the New Garden State Urban Initiative presented a film that reflected the best practices used by the New Garden State pastors to address the challenges in their respective communities. Bishop William T. Cahoon accepted the challenge of addressing crime prevention in the city of Plainfield, NJ by creating a project called “City Impact.” His church, House of Prayer, organized other local churches, corporations, small businesses, law enforcement officers, legislators, sports activities, free food and clothing and pony rides, to discuss and shed light on methods to avoid/minimize crime in the neighborhoods. The project has been so successful in the community that it is now in its third year and has reached over 1,000 local recipients. The film also featured Dr. C.H Evans, pastor of Smith Memorial, COGIC, Newark, NJ. His vision became a reality with a project called “Operation Lockout” that aims to lock out negative values. He established education programs (for students in elementary, intermediate and senior schools), an after-school program, tutorial services and mentorship programs. Because of this program, seven students were the first in their families to enroll in college and one student graduated and became a veterinarian. Pastor Anthony Gilyard from Bethlehem-Judah in Elizabeth, NJ, in concert with the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, developed a program to not only Continued on next page April 2012 The Positive Community


Continued from previous page feed the homeless on a weekly basis, but also provide program recipients with sleeping accommodations at Bethlehem-Judah Church. The men and women also receive counseling services and other social service supports to re-engage them toward becoming productive citizens. Pastor Gilyard’s program was cited by the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless as a best practice project in their program. Cultural Literacy The Positive Community (TPC) introduced the magazine’s 2012 cultural literacy initiative to the conference on March 16. In the spirit of the coming 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 2013) and TPC’s “Great Countdown to Freedom” campaign, Publisher Adrian A. Council Sr. spoke of the Emancipation as a sacred event in the history of our people in this land. Council read the “Cultural Narrative” and presented Bishop Blake with a poster. The narrative contains fewer than 250 words, but provides an account of our ancestor’s American experience. “Ideally,” said Mr. Council, “as a rite of passage, every child should be taught to read, comprehend and speak the ‘Cultural Narrative’ before the age of 15. It is an inspiring, esteem-building exercise that provides a foundation for future progress while doing much to advance the causes of literacy, education and freedom!” The New Garden State jurisdiction has accepted another initiative, one which embraces the importance of cultural literacy. In collaboration with The Positive Community, Bishop Cahoon will use the upcoming Emancipation Proclamation celebration in 2013 to promote awareness of the milestones our people have achieved. This event will be translated into the development of activities for children from pre-school to high school, in Sunday school classes on a designated day, which will be recognized as “I am a Rising Star Day” to bring pride and awareness to young people about their heritage.

Photos: Vincent Bryant, Darryl Hall and David Sampson

A New Vision In his keynote sermon, Bishop Blake outlined his vision and plan for spiritual uplift and enduring progress within member churches and the community, focusing on a Five-Point Urban Initiative (see sidebar) that would attack problems simultaneously, thus maximizing the likelihood of success. His message to the new Garden State Workers’ Conference rang true to how Bishop Blake postures his own life and the quality assurance strategies he implements for the well-being of the eight million COGIC members worldwide, under his leadership: BELIEVE, EXPECT, and ACT on YOUR MIRACLE. Because of programs like the Urban Initiative and other national projects under his leadership over the years—invited by President Barack Obama—Bishop Blake serves on the President’s 25 person National Faith Based Advisory Council. The extraordinary weeklong conference of planning, worship and praise ended with the Official Day Mass Rally at Wells Cathedral as Bishop Cahoon delivered the closing sermon.


The Positive Community April 2012

The VISION of COGIC Urban Initiatives COGIC Urban Initiatives is the vision of Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, birthed out of his deep concern about poor academic achievement, financial disenfranchisement, high unemployment, soaring crime levels, the desperate state of the black man and the breakdown of the family that plagues our cities, small and large, urban and rural. COGIC Urban Initiatives will assist our 12,000 churches within the United States by making available to them programs and strategies that address:

• Education (Access, Excellence and Equity)

• Economic Development (Job Training and Job Creation)

• Crime Prevention (Reduction, Prevention and Rehabilitation)

• Family Life (Developing Healthy Men, Women and Children)

• Financial Literacy (Earning, Saving, Investing, and Spending Wisely)

Attacking the problem from these interrelated perspectives simultaneously will maximize the likelihood of success. COGIC Urban Initiatives will provide all churches, regardless of size or location, with encouragement, inspiration, information, consultation and programs to achieve real and measurable change. The bishop’s goal is to have one program for each initiative in place at each church. That’s 60,000 programs. MISSION The Mission of COGIC Urban Initiatives is to empower the local church to implement programs that address Education, Economic Development, Crime, Family and Financial Literacy. Those programs will result in measurable improvement in the quality of life for individuals, families and communities served by the Church of God in Christ. We will do this by identifying and replicating best practices from our churches as well as external resources, and making them easily available to all churches utilizing technology and other resources.

April 2012 The Positive Community













Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival A Unique Harlem Festival Celebrating Japan and New York History

Katsuya Abe and Voza Rivers


century ago, on April 28th, 1912, the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York presented a gift of flowering cherry trees to the people of the City of New York as a physical symbol of natural beauty and international peace and friendship. The dedication and planting ceremony of the trees took place in Claremont Park in Harlem, now known as Sakura Park (meaning cherry tree in Japanese). The park, which is located at 122nd Street and Riverside Drive, was donated to the city by the Rockefeller family. On Saturday April 14th, there will be a Sakura Park Cherry Blossom Festival,


produced by longtime collaborators Voza Rivers and Kats Abe, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the gift of the trees and reaffirm New York /Japan friendship and commitment to world peace and harmony. The formal ceremony at 11 a.m. in Sakura Park will recreate the original 1912 dedication ceremony that was attended by more than 5,000 people and include a reenactment of the gift of cherry blossom trees to New York City. There will be distinguished speakers from the Japanese and American communities. Immediately following the formal ceremony there will be a Harlem For Japan TOMO Friendship Concert


Painting by Mizue Sawano


C e N T e N N I a L C e L e B r aT I o N

Cherry Blossom Festival THe 100 Year aNNIverSarY of THe GIfT of Sakura CHerrY TreeS

Saturday, April 14

11: 00 a.m. Formal Ceremony Sakura Park, 122nd & Riverside Drive 12: 00 p.m. Harlem For Japan TOMO Friendship Concert Grants Tomb, 122nd & Riverside Drive

Sunday, April 15

1: 00 p.m. LA-NY Little League "East Meets West" All-Star Baseball Tournament Marcus Garvey Park, Madison Ave. E. 120th St to 124th St, New York, NY Sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in NY and New Heritage Theatre Group Co- Sponsored by The Nippon Club and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York Inc.


The Positive Community April 2012

from 12 noon to 4 p.m. in U.S. Grant Memorial Park, directly across from Sakura Park. The concert will feature performances by Japanese and American artists, including Masayho Ishigure, Takako Asahina, Tokiko Kato, Seiji Endo & Kanako Ise featuring Akiha Misaki Band, Yuichiro Oda, Yuko Darjeeling, Zuiho Taiko, Soh Daiko, Jazzmobile All Star Band, Assata Alston, IMPACT Repertory Theatre, Tiffany Obi - Winner, Apollo Theatre Stars of Tomorrow; Matthew Whitaker - Winner, Apollo Theatre Stars of Tomorrow; Don Eaton & Equinox, T. S. Monk, Jr.; The New York African Chorus Ensemble, The United Nations Singers and The Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir. The Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival is a collaborative effort of The Nippon Club/Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Inc., Counsel General of Japan New York, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, U.S. National Park Services, Columbia University, The City College of New York, The Church of St. John the Divine, Harlem Community Development Corporation, The Interchurch Center, Community Board 9, Community Board 10, The Office of Congressman Charles B. Rangel, The Office of New York City Council Member Inez B. Dickens, New Heritage Theatre Group, Harlem Arts Alliance, Community Works, Harlem Little League, New York Buddhist Church, Morningside Area Alliance, Weatherhead Institute for East Asian Studies at Columbia University, International House, Riverside Park Fund, NAACP MidManhattan Branch, Gaia Media, Uniworld Group, Inc.; Ise Cultural Foundation and Potential Prove, Inc.  The event will be produced by New Heritage Theatre Group, Harlem's oldest not-for-profit black theatre company, celebrating its 48th year.  Honorary Chairs include the Honorable David Dinkins, Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, Consul General of Japan in New York; Congressman Charles B. Rangel and Lisa Staino-Coico, President of The City College of New York. Honorary co-chairs include Mr. Takashi Kano, President of the Nippon Club; Mr. Tsutomu Karino, Executive Director & Secretary, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Inc., Executive Vice President & Secretary, The Nippon Club, Inc.; Shirley McKinney, Superintendent, National Park Service; Mr. Seiei Ono, President, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Inc.; Karen Phillips, Regional Director, New York State Parks & Recreation and Lloyd Williams, President/CEO, Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.

Essex County Branch Brook Park | Special Section

So Alive



Right now, the first-ever restoration of Essex County Branch Brook Park is nearing completion. This remarkable accomplishment represents both a physical and symbolic triumph, changing the landscape of a city and promoting a democratic ideal. The story is a modern one that began nearly 150 years ago. At first glance it looks like it has been there forever, a serenely beautiful composition of green rolling meadows traversed with flowing streams and canopied walkways. But Essex County Branch Brook Park is a designed landscape, sculpted from swamps and abandoned sandstone quarries that had supplied much of New York City with its brownstones. In 1867, Frederick Law Olmsted,

the renowned landscape architect who designed Central Park, envisioned another magnificent park in the midst of the growing city of Newark. Vast open spaces were planned with winding pathways and secluded groves. Branch Brook embodied Olmsted’s view that all people, regardless of their position in society, were entitled to fresh air, quiet places and the beauty that only nature can provide.

Essex County Branch Brook Park | Special Section | 1


Essex County Branch Brook Park

360 acres make Branch Brook nearly half the size of Central Park and the largest park in Newark and Essex County

The park is woven into the histories of the families in Newark and throughout the state. Many a New Jersey photo album holds a picture taken under the cherry blossoms. And many residents recall learning how to ride a bike along the winding pathways. “Joe D,” as Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. is affectionately known, remembers the park as his family’s resort. “We had no car, so for weekends and vacations, sports and family parties, we headed to Branch Brook.” By the mid-1970s, however, Branch Brook Park had endured decades of neglect and decay. Its bridges were covered with graffiti. Ball fields were abandoned. Over half of the 2,000 cherry trees had died, and the remaining trees were deteriorating.

The park had become unsightly and rarely used. A miracle of love and commitment was needed to reclaim this treasure. That miracle came in the form of a dynamic public-private partnership that continues to energize a dedicated community. Branch Brook Park Alliance, headed by Barbara Bell Coleman and Patricia A. Ryan, joined with newly-elected Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and the Board of Chosen Freeholders to spearhead a comprehensive restoration of the park. Contributions large and small flowed in from many donors. A nationally-renowned landscape design firm, Rhodeside & Harwell, orchestrated the restoration. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves. “I feel

“For many decades, Essex County Branch Brook Park was the centerpiece of community life and our goal has been to make it that once again.” Joseph N. DiVencenzo, Jr., Essex County Executive

Prevention Magazine names Newark one of nation’s top ten walking cities! We like to think that Essex County Branch Brook Park had something to do with that honor. The park’s 360 acres include miles of winding walkways, along with vast lawns, playing fields, streams, pools, and lakes. Its expanse stretches nearly four miles. Visit historic sites such as the Prudential Lions, the Octagon Shelter and the park’s 19 unique bridges. Join the throngs of bikers and joggers. Skate at the roller rink, or play baseball, bocce, tennis or softball on new and improved fields and the Althea Gibson Tennis Courts with 20 playing surfaces. Enjoy concerts, dancing and movies under the stars.

2 | Essex County Branch Brook Park | Special Section

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financial goals you’ve set for the new year. My Savings Plan is a free online tool that comes with a Wells Fargo savings account. This simple-to-use tool allows you to set a timeline for your savings goals, manage automatic transfers from other Wells  Fargo accounts and track your progress automatically. These are all little steps that can help you reach your savings goals even faster. This is the year to build up your savings and Wells Fargo has the tools to help. Call 1-800-869-3557 or stop by to speak with a Wells Fargo banker today. © 2012 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. (709000_04402)

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Amazing Facts About Essex County Branch Brook Park:

It shines. n

Celebrated as “a landscape work of art,”

the park was conceived in 1867 by Frederick Law Olmsted (the designer of NYC ’s Central Park) n

Listed on both the New Jersey and


Nearing completion of the first

National Registers of Historic Places comprehensive restoration in 115 years

It welcomes. n “Backyard” for 12,000 students from

15 public schools n

Over 12 miles of walking pathways


F acilities for roller skating, cricket, tennis, basketball, soccer, cross country, baseball, softball, fishing, bocce

It dazzles. n

4,300 cherry trees in 14 varieties


T he largest and most varied collection of Japanese flowering trees in the United States


O  lmsted planting design distinguishes the park’s cherry trees from all other collections in the country


Annual cherry blossom festival attracts

100,000 people from around the world

like we’ve taken the park back to the future—preserving its historic grace and beauty, while making it relevant to contemporary life,” says Barbara Bell Coleman. Today, the park is buzzing with energy. Over a million people visit Branch Brook annually. Among them, 12,000 school-age children from surrounding schools use the park as an open classroom. Eleven renovated

baseball fields are home to over 5,000 players each season. “When you create a place that is vibrant, lush and full of life, it pulls us out of our sedentary existence. It helps people thrive,” comments Mayor Cory Booker. For resident Everett Johnson, Branch Brook Park is a year-round pleasure. He jogs in the park with his wife, sleds with his kids, and cheers them on as they play soccer. “Branch Brook is very much part of our lives.” Once again, the park is a place of community. “I’m struck by the fellowship of the families, couples and individuals young, old and middle-aged, whether enjoying the New Jersey Symphony, fishing or simply lying in the grass,” remarks Gloria Hopkins Buck, park neighbor. Reverend Petero Sabune, local homeowner and former Dean of Trinity and St. Philip’s Episcopal Cathedral, finds another purpose: “Not only does Branch Brook Park provide me with recreation but also with inspiration for my sermons. When you are with

“Branch Brook Park brings health and vitality to the community, and serves as a place for silence, for sharing and, often, for healing.” Al Koeppe, CEO of The Newark Alliance Essex County Branch Brook Park | Special Section | 5

Get Involved! n

Master Gardening Training: Learn how to

care for the historic cherry tree collection. No experience necessary. Paul Cowie, the cherry tree collection manager, and Master Gardeners will provide training and handson assistance—an opportunity to work side by side with professional arborists. n

Park Benches: Commemorate a loved

one with a park bench—designed to replicate the original benches that invited visitors to slow down and enjoy the park’s beauty. n

Volunteer Field Days: Join hundreds of

volunteers as they come together to tackle big projects such as planting and other maintenance of the park. n

Donations, large or small, are

always welcome. Visit for more information about how you can help.

nature and with water and trees and birds … it’s amazing to behold these gifts of God’s creation.” Perhaps the most brilliant restoration has been to the cherry tree groves. Each spring, 4,300 cherry trees produce a fantastic display of blossoms—celebrated annually in a festival attracting over 100,000 visitors from home and abroad. They come to witness the largest collection of Japanese flowering trees in the United States. Newark Mayor Cory Booker recognizes the far-reaching significance of the collection. “When the park is exploding with brilliant peak color, it becomes a magnet for our community. Branch Brook Park comes alive with energy, enthusiasm and activity. The city owes a debt of gratitude to all those who are volunteering to improve and sustain the park.” Maria Vizcarrondo, CEO of Health-e-CIT i, agrees. “Branch Brook Park is such a critical part of the renaissance of the city. No matter what the adversities or opportunities

presented in Newark, the park is a saving grace, a refuge. It is one of the best assets the city has.” Embarking on the final leg of an extraordinary journey, the partnership seeks new and enduring friendships to complete the park’s restoration. With sufficient support, we will renew the main entrance at Clifton Avenue, enhance the two-mile fitness loop, develop interpretive signage, and enlist volunteers to provide long-term care for the cherry trees and the park’s legacy trees—among the oldest and largest in the state. “We need your help! We invite you to join in our uncommon cause and become a believer in the promise of Essex County Branch Brook Park,” says Barbara Bell Coleman. You can support the park by making a donation, sponsoring an event or capital project, or by volunteering your time or services. And no matter where you live, we invite you to visit this invaluable work of art that belongs to us all. n

BBPA Marquee Sponsor Hon. Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. Essex County Executive and the Board of Chosen Freeholders

Branch Brook Park Alliance working in partnership with Essex County to restore and revitalize our park 6 | Essex County Branch Brook Park | Special Section

done in Branch Brook Park. People are filled with a special sense of renewal. I return over and over again, always looking for new and exciting evidence of nature in its grandest and most natural forms. There’s nothing that sparks a renewal spirit in my heart than knowing I’m close to nature.” Junius Williams, Esq., Director of the Abbott Leadership Institute, at Rutgers University, Newark

Essex County Branch Brook Park | Special Section | 7

W r i t i n g a n d D e s i g n : C y n t h i a G l a c k e n A s s o c i a t e s , I n c . P h o t o s : B r a n c h B r o o k P a r k A l l i a n c e , E s s e x C o u n t y, S h e l l e y K u s n e t z , N e w a r k N J P a t c h , P a t r i c k O ’ B r i e n , J a k e R a j s , J o s e p h S o r r e n t i n o

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Become a Fan on Facebook

April 2012 The Positive Community


Photo: Nick Romanenko

Back on the Right Path Former Prison Inmate Now A Student At Rutgers Has Been Selected By Truman Scholarship Foundation As One Of Nation’s Top Students By Robin Lally


hen Walter Fortson began his academic career at Rutgers University three years ago, he was living in a half-way house in Newark waiting to be paroled after serving two years in prison for selling crack cocaine. Today, the 27-year-old inmate turned honor student has been selected as a 2012 Truman Scholar, a national award given to the country’s top students pursuing careers in government or public service. The award recognizes Fortson for his exceptional leadership potential and commitment to public service, and provides him with a financial scholarship to pursue his studies in exercise physiology. His goal is to research and understand nutrition and obesity in the prison population, the risk factors involved and steps needed to adapting healthier lifestyles behind bars “When I found out that I had been selected at first I didn’t know what to think,” said Fortson. “It took a few hours to let it sink in and then there were outbursts of joy. I have been totally elated and feel so fortunate.” Fortson is the eighth Truman Scholar from Rutgers and the first since 2001. He joins a prestigious group of 54 scholars from around the country selected among 595 candidates nominated by 292 colleges and universities. Recipients of the award, named after President Harry S. Truman, receive a $30,000 scholarship that pro-


The Positive Community April 2012

vides $3,000 toward senior-year expenses and $27,000 for two or three years of graduate study. The Philadelphia native is not sure where he will go for graduate studies when he leaves Rutgers. Fortson is certain, however, that his life will focus on the same prison system that left him feeling “trapped and endangered” – where he vowed never to return. “The experience in prison was so disturbing and frightening. I couldn’t believe that I was there,” said Fortson. “What I did know is that I never wanted to come back.” Despite having earned 41 credits from Temple University before his arrest, Fortson wasn’t sure he had much of a future. That is, until he met Donald Roden, a veteran Rutgers history professor who worked with corrections officials at Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility in Hunterdon County, where Fortson was serving his sentence. Roden, who has been involved in prison outreach for the last decade, provided him with the encouragement he needed to believe that there would be life after prison. “One of the things I remember most about the day I was arrested,” he says, “was having a gun pointed at my head, being handcuffed and having the police officer tell me, ‘You know that your life is over.’ I remember that I believed him.”

“ We are out there trying to dispel the myth that you have to be bad to end up in prison,” Prior to his arrest, Fortson says he was a strong student with a can-do attitude, which, he now believes, may have gotten him into trouble. “I may have been arrogant, believing that I could do whatever I wanted,” he said. Roden, who started the Mountainview Project in 2002 to build a bridge from the prison to Rutgers, convinced Fortson that Rutgers could be his ticket to a better life. Fortson enrolled at Rutgers in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) in 2009, where he became an honor student and the recipient of the SAS Academic Excellence Award. What he wants to do now is let others who are locked up behind bars know that there are educational opportunities available to them. He helped create and is the president of the Mountainview Student Organization, a collaborative effort between Rutgers and Princeton Uni-

versity that began sending students this semester into the facility each week to speak with inmates. Fortson also is involved in Project Pride (Promoting Responsibility in Drug Education) and is one of a group of former inmates who speak at schools, churches and rehabilitation centers sharing stories about how all it takes is one bad choice to end up behind bars. “We are out there trying to dispel the myth that you have to be bad to end up in prison,” said Fortson, who before being locked up for selling drugs was an honor student at Temple, sold sneakers on the internet, worked for an elevator company and never thought he would have a criminal record because he was too smart. “All it takes is one bad move, that’s it.” Even with all the accolades, however, Fortson must still deal with the fact that he is a felon – a question asked on every application he fills out. This is one of the major reasons he does all he can to do his best. Arthur Casciato, director of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships at Rutgers, said that being selected as a Truman Scholar not only honors Fortson but is a great tribute to Rutgers. “It confirms that Walter has come all the way back from the disastrous mistake of his youth and launches him into a career that promises to make a crucial difference in the lives of ex-offenders like him,” Casciato said. “Few candidates have had to come as far as Walter to get here.”

Fathers for Our Children  Fathers for Our Children  Fathers for Our Children  Fathers for Our Children  Fathers for Our Children  Date:


Date: May 23, 2012 Date: May Date: May23, 23,2012 2012 May 23, May 2012 Date: 23, 2012

May 23, 2012

Time: 6:30 PM: Awards Ceremony Time: 6:30 PM: Time: 6:30 PM:Awards AwardsCeremony Ceremony Time: Time: 6:30 PM: Awards Ceremony 7:45 PM: 6:30 PM:Reception Awards Ceremony 7:45 PM: 7:45 PM:Reception Reception 7:45 PM: Reception Time: 6:30 PM: Awards Ceremony 7:45 PM: Reception

Annual 9999ththththAnnual Annual 9th Annual Annual

7:45 PM: Reception

Fathers for OurChildren Children Fathers Our thfor Fathers for Our Children Fathers for Children 9Our Annual Fathers for Our Children Awards Ceremony and Scholarship FundAwards AwardsCeremony Ceremonyand andScholarship ScholarshipFundFund-

Venue: Newark Museum Venue: Newark Venue: NewarkMuseum Museum Venue: Venue: Newark Museum Newark Museum 49 Washington St. 49 Washington St. 49 Washington St. 49 Washington St. 49 Washington St. Newark, NJ Newark, NJ Newark, NJ Venue: Newark Museum Newark, NJ Newark,Downtown NJ Newark’s Arts Newark’s Downtown Arts District Newark’s Downtown ArtsDistrict District Newark’sNewark’s Downtown Arts District 49 Washington St. Downtown Arts District

Awards Ceremony and Scholarship Fund- FundAwards Ceremony and Scholarship raiser raiser raiser raiser raiser Awards Join Ceremony and Scholarship Join us wehonor honor men of Fundus asas men ofof Join us aswe we honor men Join us as weus honor men of men Join as we honor of asas raiser outstanding character, who serve outstanding character, who serve outstanding character, who serve as outstanding character, who serve asserve as outstanding character, who role for youth. role models forour our youth. rolemodels models for our youth. role models for our youth. our youth. Joinrole usmodels as we for honor men of

Fathers for Our Children

Newark, NJ Newark’s Downtown Arts District ToTo secure tickets oror for sponsorship To secure tickets or for sponsorship secure tickets for sponsorship

To secure ortickets for sponsorship Totickets secure or for sponsorship information contact: information contact: information contact: information contact: information contact: (973) 621-0060, ext. 2115 (973) 621-0060, ext. 2115 (973) 621-0060, ext. 2115 To secure (973) tickets or for sponsorship 621-0060, ext. 2115 (973) 621-0060, ext. 2115 information contact:

outstanding character, who serve as

roleChildren models for our youth. for Our Honorees Fathers for Our Honorees 2012Fathers Fathers forChildren Honorees 20122012 Fathers for Our Honorees 2012 Fathers for OurChildren Children Honorees

2012 Fathers for Our Children Honorees

(973) 621-0060, ext. 2115 Proceeds from the event will benefit the Marion Proceeds from the event will benefit the Proceeds from the event will benefit theMarion Marion Proceeds from the event will benefit Marion from the event willthe benefit the Marion P.Proceeds Thomas Charter School Foundation, aa P. Thomas Charter School Foundation, a P. Thomas Charter School Foundation, P. Thomas Charter School Foundation, a P. (c) Thomas Charter School Foundation, a 501 organization that provides 501 3non-profit non-profit organization thatprovides provides 501 (c)(c) 33non-profit organization that 501 (c) 3501 non-profit organization that provides (c) 3 non-profit organization thatattending provides scholarships for MPTCS alumni scholarships for MPTCS alumni attending scholarships for MPTCS alumni attending scholarships for MPTCS alumni alumni attendingattending scholarships for MPTCS private, tuition-based high schools, colleges private, tuition-based high schools, colleges private, tuition-based high schools, colleges private, tuition-based high schools, colleges Proceeds from the event will benefit the Marion private, tuition-based high schools, colleges and universities. Tom O. Johnston  Byron Pitts  Adrian Council  Rahfeal Gordon  and universities. Tom O. Johnston  Byron Pitts  Adrian Council  Rahfeal Gordon  and universities. Tom O. Johnston  Byron Pitts  Adrian Council  and universities. Tom O. Johnston  Rahfeal Gordon  Byron Pitts  Rahfeal Gordon  P. Thomas Charter School Foundation, a and universities. Tom O. Johnston  Byron Pitts  Adrian Council  Adrian Council  Rahfeal Gordon  Porzio, Bromberg &  CBS News: 60 Minutes  The Positive   RahGor  501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides scholarships for MPTCS alumni attending private, tuition-based high schools, colleges and universities.

Porzio, Bromberg &  CBS News: 60 Minutes  The Positive   The Positive   The Positive   RahGor Porzio, Bromberg &  Porzio, Bromberg &  CBS News: 60 Minutes  CBS News: 60 Minutes  RahGor  RahGor  Motivations  Newman P.C.  Community Magazine  Porzio, Bromberg &  CBS News: 60 Minutes  The Positive   RahGor  Newman P.C.  Newman P.C.  Community Magazine  Motivations  Newman P.C.  Community Magazine  Community Magazine  Motivations  Motivations  Newman P.C.  Community Magazine  Motivations 

Byron Pitts 

Adrian Council 

CBS News: 60 Minutes 

The Positive   Community Magazine 

April 2012 The Positive Community 55 Tom O. Johnston  Rahfeal Gordon  RahGor  Motivations 

Porzio, Bromberg &  Newman P.C. 












Where Faith & Knowledge Meet

Discover Catholic Education


he schools of the Newark Archdiocese encourage families to discover what Catholic education today is all about. Catholic schools are meeting the challenge of providing children with a quality education that utilizes modern technology, and yet at the same time instills something that never is too oldfashioned: critical, Christ-centered values.

All of our schools meet or exceed the New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards. Over 97% of our seniors pursue a college education. Most schools are Middle States Accredited, and some have even been recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence. Our Catholic schools are a diverse community where each child is valued. The teachers in Catholic schools don’t just see students sitting before them; they see potential. Each student is nurtured to develop his or her own God-given talents. Students are encouraged to become life-long learners who do not just care about themselves, but think of others.

The Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Newark (serving

Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties) offer a positive, encouraging and safe environment where children can grow in body, mind, and spirit. Our caring, qualified teachers provide a strong academic foundation. We are deeply committed to helping students develop into productive, responsible adults and citizens with goals and direction. 3 97% of graduates advance to college 3 NJ core content standards met or exceeded 3 High academic standards 3 Christ-centered values

This spring is an excellent time to learn about our schools. All schools are happy to meet with prospective parents, give them a personal tour, and talk about why Catholic education is an investment in a child’s future. Every child needs the opportunity to explore their God-given talents in a nurturing atmosphere of respect and support. Come learn what our family can do for your family at www. or call Laura Cristiano, Director of School Marketing, at 973-497-4258.


The Positive Community April 2012












Rethink Summer... Graduate Sooner Essex County College Rolls Out Summer Schedule Aligned With President Obama's Completion Agenda


ssex County College (ECC) has a new summer motto: “Rethink Summer…Graduate Sooner.” To help make the motto closer to a reality, ECC has expanded its Summer II class offerings. The schedule expansion is designed, in part, to make it easier for students to complete their Associate degree requirements within three years. Essex County College is also an affordable option for students of other colleges, home for the summer, looking to take a course or two that would transfer into their curricula sequence at their current college. Summer classes are held at both the main Newark and West Essex (in West Caldwell) campuses. Online registration is underway and will continue until Summer II classes start July 9. In-person registration will be held July 3 and July 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both campuses. Visiting students who are attending other schools during the year must register in person July 3 or 5, at which time they can pick up an application for enrollment. They do not have to take a pre-admission test; just provide evidence through a transcript of their academic work at another school. One of the highlights of the Summer term, which runs to August 16, is a new schedule. There are classes that start at 7 a.m. as well as two

evening classes blocks so students can take up to three classes outside of standard business hours. In addition to registration information, interested students can also learn about the college’s “hybrid” or online courses. Hybrids allow students to work on their course work via computer off-campus about half of the time of the class. "With the staggered schedules, students can also take more than one night class during the term and that flexibility is important to a lot of people,” said Biology Professor Larry Pitts, a member of ECC's Course Scheduling Committee. By offering even more classes than in the past, the College is on target with the Obama Administration’s college completion agenda in which President Obama is looking for five million more community college graduates nation-wide by 2020. ECC is looking, through increased class offerings, to encourage students to stay in school and more quickly earn their associate degree. Based on the federal goal of five million graduates, the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education established a graduation goal for each of the state’s 19 community colleges. ECC has aligned its summer course offerings to meet the state-wide goal. "The evening staggered schedule also provides the opportunity for students to take more courses,

both day and night, in the summer," said Paulette Longmore, acting chairperson of the Humanities Division and a committee member. “Summer students are very motivated and we want to continue to motivate them so they reach their educational goals." Registration information about ECC is available at The Summer II initiative also encourages incoming freshman to jump on their college careers by taking either development or general education courses. Incoming freshman are encouraged to take any required developmental courses, so they can focus on courses in their major beginning as soon as Fall 2012 semester. General registration information is available by calling the Office of Student Success at (973) 877-3348, or email: Essex County College is a comprehensive community college offering multiple resources for academic and career growth at its main Newark campus, West Essex campus in West Caldwell, and satellite centers throughout Essex County. ECC enrolls more than 13,000 students who are pursuing credit courses in academic disciplines while thousands more are enrolled in ESL and adult literacy classes, short-term job training, and numerous programs for professional development and personal enrichment. April 2012 The Positive Community





4:27 PM

ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE 5. There are more classes offered than ever before! 4. Earlier classes to fit your busy lifestyle 3. At $108.50/credit, essex county college is an affordable option 2. Credits can transfer to your current college or university


Get a Jump Start on Your Fall Semester












Theological Education: Creating a New Paradigm for Prison Ministry


erhaps no more urgent issue exists in the urban community than the issue of mass incarceration. The U.S. represents about 5% of the world’s population, but accounts for more than 25% of the world’s prisoners. The prison industrial complex has devastated African American individuals, families and urban communities. One in three young African American men is currently under the control of the criminal justice system. According to Michelle Alexander, Ohio State University Law professor: “More African Americans are under correctional control today – in prison or jail, on probation or parole – than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began… More black men are imprisoned today than at any other moment in our nation’s history. More are disenfranchised today than in 1870…” [The New Jim Crow, 176, 179] The prison industrial complex makes visible the connection between a failing public education system, a depleted social services network, an increase in poverty, an intensification of racism and the incarceration of brown and black people – including many juveniles. The Children’s Defense Fund documents these failures, identifying the “cradle to prison pipeline” for people of color, especially those who are in impoverished communities. The issue exposes the

Dr. Warren L. Dennis Dirk Romeyn Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry & Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, New Brunswick Theological Seminary

tions between these systems and the deadly impact on urban communities of color. This crisis of mass incarceration urgently needs a Christian response. A prophetic critique of and challenge to the prison industrial complex has yet to take hold in most congregations because of the barriers to connecting with people inside jails and prisons, the shame often connected with arrest, conviction and incarceration, and the traditional focus on “what’s wrong” with those in prison. Silence implies consent to a system that incarcerates a higher percentage of Black men than South Africa did under apartheid. Not only is it time for the church and community to respond, but it is time for our theological schools to do the same. New Brunswick Theological Seminary is taking this challenge head on by offering a new, collaborative Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree program for Christian leaders who have the courage, passion and drive to understand and transform the systemic realities that are daily destroying the lives of individuals and communities. The centerpiece of this program will be a network of faith-based organizations linked with community organizing efforts, prison think tanks and students inside prisons and jails to construct a context-specific pedagogy. Our program is offered in partnership with the Program for Religion in Prisons (PREP) and Schools

for Alternative Learning and Transformation (SALT). PREP and SALT share a common mission: to create educational partnerships that bring together those “inside” and those “outside” to study the theology, sociology, and the politics of crime and justice in America. The learning processes in this format will not only provide healing for groups within the congregations and ministry settings of the doctoral candidates, but will have enormous benefits for the wider community as well. We need seminary faculty, community representatives, clergy and candidates trained in the various disciplines of urban living, transformative justice and the criminal justice system, and we need them to work together. In addition, this program will urge congregations to wrestle with questions around how to engage with the ninety-five percent of the more than 2.4 million people currently incarcerated who will return to our communities. How do we invite and equip the church to welcome those who have been incarcerated? Stigma and shame loom large in congregations that have members who are incarcerated. By offering a D. Min. in Prisons, Public Policy and Transformative Justice degree program, New Brunswick Theological Seminary hopes to move the church from silence to critical thinking, transformative leadership and, ultimately, systemic change. April 2012 The Positive Community


Moderator Richard Roper

Newark Leadership Roundtable Series Presents:

Exploring Higer Education for the 21st Century Streaming live on the web

EDUCATION ROUNDTABLE Saturday, May 5th • 9am-1pm

“... an holistic dynamic approach to our quest for the real components of a quality education—an educational ideal” “What must we do in our homes, schools and our churches to prepare our children for college, vocation and careers?” Positive Community Editorial February 2011


General Baptist Convention of New Jersey, Inc.

Go to www.thepositivecommunity/ to register for broadband webcast 62

The Positive Community April 2012

For people who walk through walls! For people whowalk walkthrough throughwalls! walls! For people who walk through walls! For people who

For people who walk through walls! The Newark School of Theology The Newark School of Theology The Newark School of Theology The Newark School of Theology TheSummer Newark School of Theology Courses 2012 Summer Courses 2012 Summer Courses 2012 Summer ClassesCourses Begin June2012 4 Summer Courses 2012

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Anglican Theology Monday Rev. Manoj Zacharia, Ph.D.(ABD) Counseling the Bereaved Monday Chaplain Cynthia Brady, M.Div.,BCC Anglican Theology Rev. Manoj Zacharia, Ph.D.(ABD) Counseling the Bereaved Monday Chaplain Cynthia Brady, M.Div.,BCC Counseling the Bereaved Monday Chaplain Cynthia Brady, M.Div.,BCC Counseling the Bereaved Monday Chaplain Cynthia Brady, M.Div.,BCC Quantum Physics & Theology Tuesday Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Counseling the Bereaved Monday Chaplain Cynthia Brady, M.Div.,BCC Quantum Physics & Theology Tuesday Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Quantum Physics & Theology Tuesday Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Shedding Light on Domestic Violence Tuesday Minister Nichole Simmons, Ph.D. Quantum Physics & Theology Tuesday Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Quantum Physics & Theology Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Shedding Light Domestic Violence Tuesday Tuesday Minister Nichole Simmons, Ph.D. Shedding Light onon Domestic Violence Minister Nichole Simmons, Ph.D. New Testament Greek Wednesday Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Shedding Light on Domestic Violence Tuesday Minister Nichole Simmons, Shedding Light on Domestic Violence Tuesday Minister Nichole Simmons, Ph.D. New Testament Greek Wednesday Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. New Testament Greek Wednesday Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Ph.D. Spanish for Church Leaders Wednesday Miguel Hernandez, M.Div. (Cand.) New Testament Greek Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. NewSpanish Testament Greek Wednesday Rev. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Spanish for Church Leaders Wednesday Miguel Hernandez, M.Div. (Cand.) for Church Leaders Wednesday Miguel Hernandez, M.Div. (Cand.) Women in the Bible Thursday Mary L. Thomas, M.A. Spanish for Church Leaders Wednesday Miguel Hernandez, M.Div. (Cand.) Spanish for Church Leaders Wednesday Miguel Hernandez, M.Div. (Cand.) Women in the Bible Thursday Mary L. Thomas, M.A. Women in the Bible Thursday Mary L. Thomas, M.A. Women in the Bible Thursday Mary L. Thomas, M.A. Women in the Bible Thursday Mary L. Thomas, M.A. OPEN HOUSE – MAY 19 – 10 AM to 2 PM OPEN HOUSE MAY 1919 10 AM toto PM OPEN HOUSE – MAY – 10 AM 2 PM OPEN HOUSE –– MAY 19 –– 10 AM to 22 PM OPEN HOUSE – MAY 19 – 10 AM to 2 PM OPEN HOUSE – MAY 19 –~10 AM to 2 PM ~ Affordable Tuition Seminary Level Classes Outstanding Faculty Small Classes Seminary Level Classes ~ Outstanding Faculty ~ Small Classes ~ Affordable Tuition Seminary Level Classes ~~ Outstanding Faculty ~ Small Classes ~ Affordable Tuition Payment Plan Available ~ Convenient Convenient Location Near NJPAC ~Affordable Free Parking Seminary Level Classes ~ Outstanding Faculty ~ Small Classes ~ Tuition Payment Plan Available ~ Convenient Location Near NJPAC ~ Free Parking Payment Plan Available ~ Location Near NJPAC ~ Free Parking Seminary Level ClassesProgram ~ Outstanding Faculty ~ Small Classes ~ Affordable Tuition College Completion ~ National National College Credit Service Payment Plan Available ~~ Convenient Location NearRecommendation NJPAC ~ Free Parking College Completion Program ~ National College Credit Recommendation Service College Completion Program College Credit Service Payment Plan Available ~ Convenient Location NearRecommendation NJPAC ~ Free Parking College Completion Program ~ National College Credit Recommendation Service

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For more information contact The Newark School of of Theology Two Park Place, Newark, NJ For information contact The Newark School Theology Two Park Place, Newark, The Newark School ofmore Theology Two Park Place, Newark, NJNJ Mail: P.O. Box 831 For more information contact Mail: P.O. Box 831831 Place, Newark, NJ The Newark School ofMail: Theology Two Mail: P.O. Box P.O. Box 831Park

Newark, New Jersey Jersey 07101 Newark, New 07101 The Newark School Newark, of Newark, Theology Two Park Place, Newark, NJ New Jersey 07101 Mail:New P.O. Box 831 Jersey 07101

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Telephone 973-297-0505

Mail: P.O. Box 831 Newark, New Jersey 07101 Newark, New Jersey 07101

April 2012 The Positive Community


By g.r. mattox

Female Achievers Make Important Connections ECHOES Teams Up With The Links, Incorporated to Mentor Group in Proper Etiquette


mentoring organization based at Orange Preparatory School in Orange, New Jersey has broadened the horizons of many girls for many years, and recently received welcome help from some professional women who hope that one day they will join their ranks. The group, simply named Female Achievers, is one of the latest activities that have come under the wings of Beverley Henderson-Hartsfield. A health care professional, Hartsfield has a long and varied experience in serving the community through bringing various groups together, and has the distinction of being the only female executive director of 100


The Positive Community April 2012

Black Men of New Jersey. She is the former board chair of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies of Essex, and she started working with Female Achievers about seven years ago, five years after becoming executive director of ECHOES — the Grief Center. Seeing a chance to further help some girls with whom she was already in contact, she gladly took on the opportunity. “It was an easy fit for me because I already saw some of the girls for grief counseling,” she said. “There was a great need in both areas.” The group of about 30 girls meets weekly with retired teacher Karen Cooper, who has been advisor to the group for many years. Hartsfield

Cheryl Walker-Robertson of Protocol International explains the rules of etiquette to the young ladies from Female Achievers

meets with many individually, and opens the ECHOES office space for special events. She reached out to the North Jersey Chapter of The Links, Incorporated last year for assistance in planning programs and organizing events for the group. “They stepped right up to the plate, providing wonderful programs for the young ladies,” she said. “Not just exposing them to all the careers that the various women have within the organization, but providing them with information and insight on how they got to where they are.” One recent activity was an etiquette workshop. The grief center space was turned into a fine dining establishment as a way of teaching the girls the finer points of social decorum. “We emptied out our home of every crystal dish and piece of silver. I was up until 4 a.m. cooking lemon chicken and ironing table linen,” Hartsfield said, noting that her husband, David, was most helpful in the preparations. The Links provided a professional etiquette instructor from Continued on page 88

Four Pastors Spreading Hope In Newark, NJ Photos: Amelia Panico

By Gwendolyn Edwards

Pastor Willie Alfonso, Stephen Powell


Regina Chamberlain, Project Partner

he Beulah Excellent Empowerment Incorporation (Project Hope) held a Mentoring Launch Program on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at Beulah Bible Cathedral in Newark, NJ in an effort to raise community awareness about the need for mentors, and challenge black men to help reclaim the lives of young men in the community through mentoring. The program serves inner city youth ages 5-21 and provides matched mentoring, tutoring, homework assistance, life skills workshops, testing assistance, etiquette training, developmental workshops, parent/guardian sessions, and recreational events. The goal of Project Hope is to provide a committed, safe and nurturing environment for urban youth. The launch is part of Project Hope‘s work on the educational initiatives over a 2-3 year period by four Newark pastors and members of their staffs at their local churches. Formed by four Newark pastors: Gerald Lydell Dickson, Beulah Bible Cathedral; Orlando Vick, Greater Providence Baptist Church; Tyrone Robinson, Christian Disciples Ministries and Tyrone Singletary, New St. James Baptist Church, Project Hope has been fortunate to attract the partnership and friendship of Scott G. Sleyster, and others at Prudential. Once Mr. Sleyster (who is Prudential’s chief investment officer) and his team took the plow, they have not turned back. Everyone at Project Hope is sincerely thankful for all they have done and continue to do. Through the work with Mr. Sleyster, Communities In Schools and the Eagle Academy Foundation have also become involved. Under the direction of Thomas Owens, Eagle Academy Foundation in NY. The mission of Communities In Schools is to champion the connection of needed community resources with schools to help young people successfully learn, stay in school

Pastor Gerald Lydell Dickson

Newark Municipal Council member Darrin Sharif

Thomas Owens, Community in Schools with Karon Williams, Eagle Academy Foundation

and prepare for life. The Communities In Schools of New Jersey Faith and Community Based Mentoring Project in particular is a pilot program that is designed to build a bridge between research and practice that will measurably improve the effectiveness of structured mentoring programs, specifically those mentoring programs that are operated by faith-based and communitybased organizations. More recently, David Banks and Karon Williams of the Eagle Academy Foundation have joined with Project Hope, bringing their success and experience. Eagle Academy schools are based on partnerships between students, school staff, parents, mentors, and community partners, who are all committed to the guiding principles of academic excellence, leadership and character development. Other partners joining the pastors in their work are Regina Chamberlain, independent consultant; Holly Kaplansky proprietor of Minuteman Press in Newark, NJ and others who provide resources and invaluable support. During the Mentoring Launch, the wonderful movie Courageous, which illustrates the vital importance of fathers and families putting feet to faith by investing time, resources, energy and love for children, was shown. Stephen Powell, executive director of Mentoring USA, was the keynote speaker and Pastor Willie Alphonso, chaplain of the New Jersey Nets, Staten Island Yankees and Hispanic players of the New York Yankees, gave a spirit-filled and transparent word about his own life story and facilitated a discussion with the youth. For more information about the program, please contact Beulah Excellent Empowerment Inc. at 973-6424817. Mentoring Sessions are held on Saturdays with Windy Godley and Jacqueline Bell-Bowe as facilitators. April 2012 The Positive Community


PosComm.5_April:PosComm .5 4/2/12 2:35 PM Page 1


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Guiding Change • Improving Schools

The Eagle Academy for Young Men to Open in Newark


he Eagle Academy for Young Men will expand its network of traditional public schools into Newark, NJ as of the fall of 2012. The announcement was made at a community breakfast at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark on March 1. Cami Anderson, State District Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools, and Reverend Dr. David Jefferson, Sr., Esq. of the Metropolitan Baptist Church along with other community leaders presented inspiring and uplifting comments to the more than 200 community leaders in attendance. “We are excited to enter a district partnership with Newark Public Schools and enjoy the support of the Metropolitan Baptist Church and other community organizations in building upon our existing model of improving educational outcomes for young men of color,” said David Banks, president/CEO of The Eagle Academy Foundation. “We are confident that the Eagle model will be a perfect fit in serving the educational needs of the community in Newark.” The Eagle Academy for Young Men is comprised of a series of traditional public schools committed to tackling the growing crisis affecting inner city young men, particularly young men of color. Entrenched poverty, high unemployment, low graduation rates, excessively high rates of incarceration, and a lack of active fathers

and role models, combined with ineffective educational approaches are robbing these young men of their true promise. Eagle Scholars attend a Summer Bridge program prior to their starting year at the Academy. Our Scholars attend school Monday-Friday, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Eagle Academy schools feature small class sizes and a rigorous academic curriculum with an emphasis on college prep, a vibrant parent engagement program, and a mentoring program focused on exposure to professional male role models. The Eagle Academies follow the Eagle Model, a disciplined and purpose-driven approach, designed specifically for inner city young men, built around Eagle core values of Confidence, Leadership, Effort, Academic Excellence and Resilience. Current Eagle schools are located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Cami Anderson, State District Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools expressed “delight” that The Eagle Academy’s focus and dedication is to prepare and educate young men of color. Rev. Jefferson said that his church was thrilled. “The community and community leaders are at the heart of the Eagle Academy success story. We stand united with Eagle Academy to ensure that the young men of color in our community experience a lifetime of success and achievement.” —JNW April 2012 The Positive Community


Health P r e v e n t i o n , T r e atm e n t & C u r e

Study Hopes to Reduce Fear of Keloids After Surgery


any African American patients are afraid to have head and neck surgery or any facial cosmetic procedures for fear of developing keloids at the incision sites,” says Lamont R. Jones, M.D., vice chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Unlike regular scars, keloids, which are indicated by an excessive growth of thick, irregularly shaped and raised scars, do not subside over time and often extend outside the wound site. Keloids may also be painful to the touch and itchy. They are benign and non-contagious. There is no known cause for their development, but it is believed that there is a genetic component given the correlation with family history, prevalence in twins, and its predisposition in darker skin,” notes Dr. Jones, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Dr. Jones and his research team at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit hope to eliminate that unknown. They are embarking on a keloid study to find a new technique to identify the genes that may be responsible for keloid development. By identifying the genetic cause, it may be possible to develop better treatments for keloids in the near future. “We hope our study helps to eliminate fear by showing that keloid development on the head and neck following surgery is actually much smaller than [indicated in] other reports,” said Dr. Jones. Keloids most often occur on the chest, shoulders, earlobes (following ear piercing), upper arms and cheeks. The lowest rates


The Positive Community April 2012

of keloid formation have been documented in albinos and the highest rates are seen in dark skinned individuals, i.e., Indians, Asians and especially Africans or people of African descent. Keloids are less common among Caucasians, though they still occur. In certain cultures, scarring the skin is part of a ritual belief that is spiritually protective. Skin scarring has also been used for "body decoration" depicting courage and endurance. Treatment for keloids includes cortisone injections, pressure dressings, silicone gels, surgery, cryosurgery (freezing), laser treatment, or radiation therapy. A combination of treatments may be used, depending on the individual. In some cases, keloids return after treatment. Within published literature, there is a wide range of reported incidences for keloid development. The Henry Ford study is the first to investigate keloid development following head and neck surgery. Among the nearly 6,700 patients in the study, which was funded by Henry Ford Hospital, 20 were found to have a keloid within the head and neck area following surgery. Of those, the keloids rate for African Americans was 0.8 percent, while the rate for Caucasians was 0.1 percent. After adjusting for age and gender, the study showed that the odds of getting a keloid for African Americans were 7.1 times that of Caucasians.

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Norma J. Goodwin, M.D. is founder, president and CEO of Health Power for Minorities LLC® (Health Power®) and editor-in-chief of

Wake-Up Call on “The Big Four” for April’s National Minority Health Month here’s no better time than April—National Minority Health Month—to serve as a wake-up call about the dangers of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease. I refer to these as “the Big Four,” and for good reason. They strike hard and often at racial and ethnic minority or multicultural, populations. Consider this: • 13 percent of all African Americans (more than 1 out of every 10) have diabetes—and one-third (1 out of every 3) don’t even know they have it. • 25 percent of African-American women (1 out of every 4) over 55 years of age have diabetes. • Almost 1 out of every 4 African-Americans (38%) has hypertension (high blood pressure), compared to about 1 out of every 3 (29%) white Americans. • Half (50%) of African-American, Hispanic and Native American women are obese, and obesity in their children is growing at alarming rates. • More than 8 out of every 10 adults with diabetes are obese or overweight. • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in African Americans and Hispanics.


Too often, these conditions—obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease—go undiagnosed 70

The Positive Community April 2012

A Special Point: Each of the Big Four either contributes to the development of one or more of the other three conditions, or makes one or more of them more difficult to control. By the way, Minority Health Month was first observed in this country in 1915 to bring attention to the health disparities that existed among minorities. However, instead of disparities decreasing since then, for many conditions the gap has widened over the years, which is why it’s the responsibility of all of us to recognize the severity of possible health problems that we have a greater risk of developing, especially the Big Four, and to do something positive to either prevent them (best scenario), delay their development (second best) or if we already have one or more of them, commit to controlling them. Too often, these conditions—obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease—go undiagnosed and untreated, thus paving the way for later severe illnesses, disabilities and early deaths, which affect entire families as well as the involved individuals. While family history increases a person’s risk of getting any of the Big Four, the odds shift in your favor if you control your weight by limiting your caloric intake and doing regular physical activity (which can include walking) at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week in order to burn off as many calories as you consume; limit your salt, fat, sugar and alcohol intake, and by all means, don’t smoke. Visit Health Power’s website at for much more information about the Big Four as well as delicious low calorie cultural specialty recipes, and “Tip Sheets” for shopping smart, cooking good, eating healthy and staying fit in the site’s Food and Fitness Channel. Also, remember that staying healthy doesn’t have to mean high-priced medical care. It means knowing how to reduce your risk of serious illness by arming yourself with knowledge, and taking practical steps like those outlined above. They will definitely minorities on the road to healthier, longer and more enjoyable lives. And if you still need a wake-up call, think of National Minority Health Month! And remember, Knowledge + Action = Power®




Clara Maass Medical Center • Community Medical Center • Kimball Medical Center Monmouth Medical Center • Newark Beth Israel Medical Center • Saint Barnabas Medical Center Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center Heart and Lung Specialty Center at Toms River • Saint Barnabas Heart Center at Hackettstown Advanced Heart Failure Treatment and Transplant Program at Summit



Be Involved!


uccess in school is extremely important in fostering confidence in children and having them develop healthy attitudes about themselves and the world around them. As a pediatrician, I am interested in how the young people who come to me are doing in school because it is often a reflection of their emotional and mental state. In my practice, I have found that children who do poorly in school tend to have more of a negative, cynical, and pessimistic view of life. They are frustrated and have given up because they think they are “stupid.” They stop trying to do well because in their mind it won’t make a difference. They tell themselves things like, “Why should I bother? No matter how hard I try, it doesn’t make a difference. I will never get this. I hate school.” As a parent, you are often unaware of this inner dialogue and become frustrated when your child seems to have an “I don’t care” attitude about school and life in general. If your child is failing and has always had trouble academically, it’s vital that you talk with your pediatrician and investigate whether or not he or she has a learning disability that needs to be addressed. If there is an issue, the school is obligated to make adjustments to fit the needs of your child. You are their best advocate, so you have to communicate often with the school to make sure your child’s needs are met. An A student who suddenly starts to get C’s and D’s on his report card sends up a red flag that something is going on in his life that needs addressing. Is he being bullied? Is something going on at home? Is he depressed? Is he hanging around the wrong crowd or experimenting with drugs and alcohol? Is there a problem with the teacher? The primary goal of the parents and pediatrician is to get him the resources to be successful. Your child may have the ability to do well but not feel motivated and appear to be doing the bare minimum. Perhaps she isn’t being challenged enough or has given up because she doesn’t think she can meet your expectations. She may feel that she is being compared to older siblings and isn’t capable of following in their footsteps. There are a multitude of reasons behind kids’ actions and behavior. You just have to get at the source using patience, good listening skills, and a non-judgmental approach. I have two words for you—GET INVOLVED! The more involved a parent is in a child’s education, the more success-


The Positive Community April 2012

ful a child can be in school. As a parent, it’s often difficult to participate in school activities and stay on top of schoolwork, especially if you are working one, maybe even two jobs. You may have more than one child attending different schools and be completely exhausted after coming home from work. How can you do it all? Developing a partnership with teachers is extremely important. Attend parent-teacher conferences and let them know you are committed to your child’s success in the classroom. If you cannot attend, email the teacher or set up another time to meet with them. Address your concerns early rather than waiting for the final grade on the report card. If your concerns aren’t addressed adequately, don’t be afraid to speak to the vice principal or principal to get the issue resolved. Join the Parent-Teacher Organization/Association so that you know what’s going on in school and volunteer in at least one activity so your child can see that you are involved. Try to attend your child’s school performances or send a family member or friend. A child becomes more interested in school when he sees that his loved-ones are interested. Success in school helps to foster an overall sense of well being in children. They spend the greater part of their childhood in the classroom. Their educational environment influences who they are and how they view life. Get involved. Stay involved. Your role is vital in helping them lead healthy, productive lives. About Dr. Liz Dr. Elizabeth Robinson Henry (Dr. Liz) has dedicated her life to providing youth with the knowledge and confidence to lead healthy and productive lives. She is the founder of Dr. Liz Consulting, a practice focused on making a difference in the lives of adolescents by addressing their physical, emotional, and mental needs. Teens, tweens and their parents can find resources on how to build self-confidence, manage anger and stress, and overcome issues such as bullying, emotions, fitting-in, and obesity at Disclaimer: The information in this article is solely for educational purposes and should not be relied on for a diagnosis. Always consult your physician for medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis.

“We know our community. We live here.” Dr Philip Bonaparte, Chief Medical Officer, Horizon NJ Health “I feel the need to make a difference, not only in my life, but in the lives of others. I am involved in health issues facing predominantly the African-American and Latino community. I understand what it’s like to come from humble backgrounds. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield lives in New Jersey and we believe in access to quality healthcare for every resident. To’s as important as breathing air.”

Horizon NJ Health can help you and your family, too. If you are uninsured, enroll in our NJ FamilyCare or NJ FamilyCare Advantage plans. To see if you’re eligible, call 1-877-4-KIDS-NJ.

Horizon NJ Health Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ® Registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®’ and SM Registered and service marks of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. © 2011 Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Three Penn Plaza East, Newark, New Jersey 07105.


Antoinette Ellis Williams, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at New Jersey City University and Assistant Minister in Newark.

Hoodies, Hoodlums & Heaven rayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American male, was allegedly murdered on February 26th by 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Martin is the newest member of the list of those who have been killed, guilty of “walking while black.” He was unarmed, wore a hoodie and had candy in his pocket. Sadly, the list of unarmed African American men who were killed without reason is long. Some of their names we know and others we don’t. These young men were our sons, brothers, fathers, students and friends. We may not have known them personally but we do know them. We see them everyday walking down the streets in our neighborhoods, some sagging, some laughing, some on their way to school, some with headphones on, loudly singing the lyrics of Jay-Z or Kanye West. We don’t tell you enough, but we love you, black men. Once again America pauses to consider race, racism, power, class and corruption. Thousands have taken to social media and the streets to protest their outrage and challenge the legal inequity of the Trayvon Martin case. But did we really think our sons were truly safe to walk the street? Obviously not, as many of us have tried to teach them a few basic rules for survival in America:


• • • •

Don’t look police directly in the eye. Keep your hands visible at all times. Don’t run or make any sudden moves. Don’t speak unless spoken to.

These rules undermine their manhood, but they may save their lives. A recent NYPD report noted a significant spike in black murder victims. It revealed that blacks accounted for more than two thirds of murder victims in New York City last year; a 31 percent surge in black murder victims; and that despite making up just 3 percent of the city's population, we accounted for a third of all homicide victims. By comparison, the number of white murder victims saw a significant drop, 27 percent from 2009 to 2010.


The Positive Community April 2012

The number of Latino and Asian murder victims remained about the same. According to statistical data, murder is most often intra-racial among victims and offenders. A U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs document reports that the victimization rate for blacks was 6 times higher than the rate for whites. The offending rate for blacks (34.4 per 100,000) was almost 8 times higher than the rate for whites (4.5 per 100,000). It is neither popular nor worthy of the 24-hour media cycle to consciously fight for humanity, civility, respect and love within our own communities. It is easy for many within our communities to dismiss these deaths as hoodlum deaths, thus unworthy of redemption and collective action. It is easy to have sympathy for the unprovoked and unblemished young man with Skittles in his pocket; it is much harder to rally around the brother who carries an automatic weapon. Many have done and continue to do good work to draw attention to this crisis, but the majority of us remain on the sidelines until our own son dies at the hands of another brother. We somehow ignore black on black crime because our hoodie-wearing sons are not living that kind of life. They are in elite schools, living in the suburbs, ushering at church, writing poetry or working at an internship at a prestigious accounting firm. But does that absolve us from our duty to work for change within our community? Even the thief on the cross was allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven. In Luke 23:40-43 we hear from the criminal, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” The Gospel message is for the unworthy, forgotten, poor criminal. As we rally for justice for hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin, let’s not forget those in the hood.








10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

United Way of Essex and West Hudson, 303-Washington Street, Newark, NJ United Way is hosting a community health and wellness fair. Participants will connect with community agencies who will provide resources, workshops and health screenings. Fun activities, giveaways and raffles too!

For More Information: Contact Machelle Lassiter @ or 973-854-2231

United Way of Essex and West Hudson

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Culture L i f e , M u s i c , A rt & L i t e rat u r e

Spirit Made Real

Courtesy Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Freedom’s Sisters Exhibit at Shabazz Center Honors Women who Changed the Course of History By Glenda Cadogan


was about half way through my walk of the Freedom’s Sisters exhibit when “it” happened. “It” was the presence of spirit made real. At first I approached the exhibit (currently on view at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in Harlem) only for what it was at the time – an assignment. And with nothing more than a reporter’s eye, I viewed it with a sort of calculating interest in the facts that would make my story. I looked at the opening video clip in which schoolaged children answered the question: Who is a hero? They gave answers naming everyone from a fireman to Superman. The narrator then indicated that heroes can also be ordinary people like mothers and teachers. “Good lesson,” I noted in my writing pad. Next I moved on to the large-sized picture bios of the 20 women featured in the exhibit. I read those of three people who are still alive— Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Sonia Sanchez and Myrlie Evers-Williams. My assignment notes said that this was “an interactive exhibition honoring 20 African American women who have worked for freedom and equality in America.” So I started to look around for the “action.” I ventured onto the old Civil Rights era bus and sat down. Following the instructions, I listened to the oral history about Rosa Parks’ arrest and read the newspaper clippings. My notebook notation — Find out if this was the actual bus seat or a replica. (The bus in the exhibit is a replica of the one on which Rosa Park refused to move to the back, but nonetheless inspiring.)

Photo: James Kegley Photography.

Next I moved on and read snippets about women who had transitioned —Septima Poinsette Clark, Mary Church Terrell, Ella Jo Parker, Frances Watkins Harper and C. Delores Tucker. I was impressed. The other women featured in the exhibition are: Mary McLeod Bethune, Shirley Chisholm, Kathleen Cleaver, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Height, Barbara Jordan, Coretta Scott King, Constance Baker Motley, Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz, Harriet Tubman and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Freedom’s Sisters, which tells the stories of African American women who changed the world, is an exhibit made possible through a partnership of Ford Motor Company Fund, Cincinnati Museum Center and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). It opened in 2008 and has made several stops including Atlanta and Los Angeles. New York is its ninth and final stop. The stories of Freedom’s Sisters are compelling and their accomplishments inspiring. I read each one with new interest. And then it happened — the moment when I shifted from writer to participant. I had seen this display in my peripheral vision but had given only casual notice. But now, here I was face-to-face with life-sized models of police guard dogs in charged position and restrained by leather straps. Their snarls were menacing; their sharp teeth clearly visible. As I moved forward, the Continued on page 88

April 2012 The Positive Community


Masazumi Chaya Associate Artistic Director

Kirven James Boyd

Photo by Andrew Eccles

Robert Battle Artistic Director

May 11–13 Revelations Photo by Paul Kolnik

Tickets: $25–$90

All programs include the full-length


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Stephen Hurd: O that Men Would Worship BY PATRICIA BALDWIN


s if you didn’t know who he is, let me re-introduce to you that 10-time Stellar Award-winning, “Undignified Praise” having, 22-year veteran in the gospel music industry, drum roll please . . . Mr. Stephen Hurd! The renowned praise and worship leader is making his request known and taking action with his sixth release, O That Men Would Worship. It’s a statement that demands men to get into their places to be the first partakers of the Kingdom of God in spirit and in truth. He has designed it as a tool to inspire men to take on a greater leadership role in church worship services and he’s not alone. Verity Records artist Jason Nelson, Christian pop artist Anthony Evans and Minister Deonte Gray (a member of the 7 Sons of Soul vocal group) joined Hurd for this manly worship experience. “My goal is to get men and especially men of color to realize that worship is not a feminine sport,” Hurd revealed. “In this season, I feel we should come together and lift up a sound that has the power to change families and strengthen communities and help brothers to get a glimpse of what real worship is. I think when men see other men worship it gives them freedom to worship without feeling emasculated.” Hurd formed an all-male vocal sextet to back certain songs along with a co-ed group called Extol to add to the project as a whole. What makes this release even more exciting is that Hurd not only co-wrote and produced this project, but he stepped out on faith and recorded it on his newly-formed recording label, “Hurd the Word” and recorded it live at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, MD, where he is the minister of music. So by the time you read this, it will be in stores selling fast and let me tell you why: “Let’s Celebrate” is a rejoicing, up-tempo, praise jam that makes a bold proclamation of who He is—holy, righteous, strong & faithful—all reasons to celebrate our God! “(Look) Thru the Eyes of Faith” is a worshipful ballad that directs you to retrain your focus from the negative situations in life and look thru the eyes of faith to see God’s grace. The title track, “O That Men Would Worship,” is a modern day hymn featuring Anthony Evans. It requests men to cast their crowns and burdens at the feet of Jesus


The Positive Community April 2012

Stephen Hurd

so they can be free to worship, laying down pride and cares so they can obey and love Him more. “Reign Jesus Reign” is a simple request that asks the Lord to reign! Reign in the home, on the job, wherever there is a lack in your presence to move—Reign Jesus reign. On “When I Worship You,” Hurd ministers on this mid-tempo worship song about the grace of God and His power, declaring our God is holy and that there is no other like Him. It wouldn’t be a Stephen Hurd production without a challenging praise song that testifies about how good God has been. On this collection, that song is “I Will Seal It With a Praise.” Being grateful for His grace, the declarations are sealed with praise. O That Men Would Worship offers 15 amazing tracks that flow as if you were a part of the worship experience. There is also a poignant moment when Hurd reaches out to pray for ALL men, for healing in every area of their lives. The prayer is so powerful you can sense the pouring out of the Holy Spirit making a change, providing a transformation for those men who truly desire to be whole and complete in God. It is an awesome moment! Remember, we are Kingdom Builders—what’s on your foundation?



Saturday, May 12th

Mothers Day Weekend Honor Thy Mother

Donnie McClurkin

Steve Harvey Performing a special comedy set

Competition: 4 PM Stars: 7 PM

Mary Mary

Shirley Caesar

Fred Hammond Appears courtesy of the

Vickie Winans

McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour

Get Tickets Now!!

To purchase tickets go to the Prudential Center box office at 165 Mulberry St. Newark NJ,

Fred Hammond

call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or go to

For More Information Call 877-771-7772

© 2012 McDonald’s


Flo Wiley is a disciple at Memorial Baptist Church, Harlem, NY.

Rigaudon for Flute, Viola and Piano; Camille Saint-Saëns Septet for Trumpet, Piano and Strings; and Franz Schubert "Trout" Piano Quintet in A Major for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass. The featured guest performer is Wilmer Wise, Trumpet (pictured). Other featured musicians are Lisa Arkis, Flute; Richard Alston, Piano; Evelyn Golz, Piano; Philip Payton, Violin; Monica Davis, Violin; Orlando Wells, Viola; Lawrence Zoernig, 2nd ANNUAL PARK AVENUE GOSPEL FESTIVAL Cello; and Steven Moran, Double Bass. Rev. Dr. Earl Saturday, April 28, 7:00pm Kooperkamp, rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church, who Park Avenue Christian Church, 1010 Park Avenue has taken on a new position in Vermont and will be leavat 85th Street, NYC ing Harlem, will also be honored at this concert. Tickets Rev. Dr. Alvin O’Neal Jackson, senior pastor Choirs and soloists will raise the praise are $15 General, $10 Students & Seniors. (212) 865at The Park at the Second Park Avenue 1492, Gospel Festival. This Arts at The Park event will feature choirs and guest RECLAIMING A RIGHTEOUS SISTERHOOD® soloists from churches around the a play by Florene Wiley New York metropolitan area. Featured Friday, May 4, 7:30pm, choirs include Park Avenue Christian Church Gospel Memorial Baptist Church, 141 Bishop Preston R. Choir, The Choir of Elmendorff Reformed Church Washington Sr. Place (115th Street) (Harlem), The Abundant Joy Community Choir (Jersey Rev. Dr. Renee Washington Gardner, senior pastor I have written my first play! It premiered on my birthCity), and others to be announced. Guest soloists are Carlton T. Taylor and June Townes (Gospera). The day (March 3) to three standing ovations; so we’re doing emcee is Paul Vasile, minister of music, Park Avenue it again! Commissioned by Gail Parker, 2012 Women’s Christian Church. $20 Suggested donation, (212) 288- Day Chair, it features fourteen Biblical women speaking 3246 to today’s woman. The cast includes Memorial disciples: Arts at The Park, a component of the Park Avenue Minister Jennifer Bridges Brewer (Peninnah), Dana Christian Church (known as “The Park”), brings togeth- Brown (Gomer), Talibah Hicks (Dinah), Mamie Hilliard er outstanding performers and ensembles from the (Eve), Mother Eleanor Hogan (Anna), Altovise Cook greater New York City metropolitan area for programs MacGruder (Bilquis, Queen of Sheba), Erika Parker that enrich and inspire and that touch our shared human (Delilah), Nicole Pittman (Rahab), Deacon Celeste story and experience. Arts at The Park include live music, Smith (Sarah), Minister Pamela Y. Smith (Hannah), theater, political and theological discourse, and family Rebecca Taylor (Rebekah), Tanya Taylor (The Adulterous Woman), Dale Wallace Thompson (Jael), and holiday events. and Robin Randall (Hagar) of Greater File Chapel BC. (212) 663-8830, THE HARLEM CHAMBER PLAYERS: Spring Concert Sunday, April 29, 3:00pm, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 521 W. 126th Street, Cast of Harlem NY Reclaiming Rev. Dr. Earl Kooperkamp, rector a Righteous I keep mentioning this group to you Sisterhood photo credit: g. because they keep presenting scott smith sr. exceptional afternoons of great music. This is their last concert of the season! The program will be: To have your church’s arts event listed here, please email: Wilmer Wise Arthur Foote Sarabande and love spring! There’s something about the renewal essence of it that just lights up my spirit. Any season is a season for the arts, and this spring is no exception. I hope you get out to some, or even all, of these events. And I’m still waiting to hear what your church is up to in the arts. Please let me know at



The Positive Community April 2012

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April 2012 The Positive Community


& invite you to Celebrate “the magic of Broadway” at a Joint Gala Fundraiser* &

“MOTHER’S DAY” WEEK TRIBUTE to the historic love story

Starring Audra M CDONALD • Norm LEWIS • David Alan GRIER

Select your special evening package: “ Directors Package ” $1,200 ($820 is Tax deductible) includes: • 2 Premium Orchestra Seats •Pre-Show Dinner (limited seating) at • Post Event Meet & Greet [dessert & coffee] with Cast Members at • Special Edition Commemorative Porgy & Bess Poster

“Assistant Directors Package” $600 ($410 is Tax deductible) includes: • 1 Premium Orchestra Seat • Pre-Show Dinner (limited seating) at • Post Event Meet & Greet [dessert & coffee] with Cast Members at • Special Edition Commemorative Porgy & Bess Poster “ Starring Roles Package ” $1,000 ($610 is Tax deductible) includes: • 2 Premium Orchestra Seats • Post Event Meet & Greet [dessert & coffee] with Cast Members at “ Featured Roles Package ” $500 ($305 is Tax deductible) includes: • 1 Premium Orchestra Seat • Post Event Meet & Greet [dessert & coffee] with Cast Members at


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Please secure your tickets on or before April 27th For more info and to pay by check call Patricia Ricketts 212.862.7200 or e-mail You may also purchase online via AMEX, VISA, MasterCard, DISCOVER

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2012 community based Youth and Education Programs * To support of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and Harlem Arts Alliance. (Tax deductible)


The Positive Community April 2012

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FEMALE ACHIEVERS Continued from page 64

FREEDOM SISTERS Continued from page 77

Protocol International. The process was a success: “I even learned some things, and the girls enjoyed it,” Hartsfield recalled. Another learning experience that took place this year was a trip to the offices of Microsoft in New York City, where they met with people in the technology industry who described the various employment opportunities available. “It was a day-long technology experience,” explained Patricia Thomas, who chairs the Services to Youth program for the North Jersey Links. “They also met with technical people who were experts in designing things like the Xbox and got a chance to go into some of the research areas to see how these pieces of equipment are developed.” Sthefanie Velez, now a senior at Orange High, came to Female Achievers in the 7th grade, and will be going to the University of New Haven in the fall. She says she’s been helped by the supportive atmosphere and to have a place to go to talk out her issues. She especially enjoyed the etiquette workshop, “I’ll be going on job interviews and the luncheon gave me a lot of information I can use about how to interact with people.” But it’s not all lessons and learning. Sometimes the girls just get together to have fun. “At one point I came by some concert tickets for the girls to see someone called ‘Bow Wow,’” recalled Hartsfield. “They had a ball, but I didn’t have a clue who that was.”

animated barks filled the space. I jumped back. Without warning, I began to feel the presence of generations of women, their collective cries penetrating my inner being. I felt their pain and sensed their fears. But fighting for a cause they were not even guaranteed to see fulfilled in their lifetime, they kept moving forward. They wrapped themselves in a faith the songwriter called “holy faith, true till death!” I felt the anger and despair of mothers who though their flesh was torn and bleeding, remained true to their glorious duty as “keepers of the dream.” But I also felt their passion and determination. I moved forward with them. I wanted to scream, but I was scared. I wanted to cry but I didn’t. Ancestral strength became my fuel. So instead I marched into the reconstructed Civil Rights era voting booth and had my picture taken. I heard a chorus of voices harmonized with mine as I made my own Freedom Leader page and recited the pledge written on it: To do my best to speak up when I see something that seems unfair; to treat everyone with respect especially if they are different from me and be a leader even if I only lead myself. It was March 1, the beginning of Women’s History Month. For the next 30 days, I governed myself according to the pledge I made that day in the spiritual presence of 20 Freedom Sisters past and present. The exhibit runs until the end of April. There is still enough time for you to become a Freedom Leader, too.

BIBLIOPHILES Continued from page 36 aware that the book was having a similar effect on her “commuter friend,” Sheila. “Once we realized that neither of us was at work, but at our respective homes for the same reason, we started talking and sharing our thoughts with each other.” The experience was so satisfying that both women “yearned to share the pent-up emotions the book evoked” and did so with other friends. Soon there were 10 and then 20 women talking about the book and The Bibliophiles was born. “We have had an almost 102 percent turnout at every meeting since 1988 and our discussions are rich and deeply rewarding,” Harley boasted. With the magic of Beloved moving through their lives, the women organized into a formal group with a mission to “promote, preserve and share the love of organized readings of literature of the African Diaspora to multi-generational groups so that its benefits may be derived throughout the globe and for future generations.” The group’s first major event was a book signing for Dr. Audrey Edwards’ and Dr. Craig Polite’s work, Children of the Dreams, which examines the lives of upwardly mobile people after the Civil Rights Movement. “On the day of the event, we experienced a record-breaking April snowstorm,” Harley recalled. “Yet more than a hundred people turned up. To us, that was a profound statement


The Positive Community April 2012

that people were hungry for this kind of literature.” Incorporated in 1990, the group began doing more fundraisers and contributed to the United Negro College Fund. In addition to funds, The Bibs has also made contributions of books to libraries in several states. For 2012, The Bibs has chosen as its reading list theme — The Post Civil Rights Era. The reading list includes: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America by Melissa V. Harris-Perry and Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease by Jonathan Metzl. The Bibs operate under a structure of bi-monthly meetings and a bi-annual retreat in November at which time they rededicate themselves to their mission and recite their oath to promote and preserve literature of the African Diaspora. Further, they pledge to assist this same population segment by helping individuals and organizations learn more about its literature, providing advocacy for writers and artists and expanding private sector support. And then in a segment they call “sharing and caring,” the Bibs nurture their friendship. We believe that in each other they see Toni Morrison’s manifest: Beloved, you are my sister, you are my daughter, you are my face; you are me.

Preparing to March, Celebrate and Dedicate The 46th Anniversary of The African American Heritage Statewide Parade Dedicated to Congressman Donald M. Payne Sr.


he Parade Committee proudly presented their annual In the Spirit...Explosive Spiritual Concert at Clinton Memorial AMEZ Church in Newark featuring: Praise & Worship by Levitical Friends Min. Toby Carson & I Worship The Joint Christian Choir Association—USA, Inc. Elder Linell Andrews & One Voice Tim Arrington Su Su Bobien Dance Theatre & Education Center of Irvington Ebenezer Baptist Church Dinosaur Barbeque was on hand with samples

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April 2012 The Positive Community



The Positive Community April 2012


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The Positive Community July/August 2008

April 2012 The Positive Community


Online! Contrary to what mainstream media might tell you, bad behavior isn't always rewarded and good things do happen to good people! As a member of The Positive Community, we want to share with you more than what you read on the pages of our magazine. Check in with us regularly to get special offers and win prizes that appeal to your positive nature. Wanna’ win a Gospel CD or see a Broadway show? Visit us at to win! A joyous musical celebration of African-American women from Bessie Smith to Mary J. Blige

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The Positive Community April 2012

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Christ the King Therefore, Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are you king of the Jews? Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and chief priests delivered You to me; what have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore, Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”—John 18:33-37 (NASB)


his discourse occurred during the second trial of Jesus Christ, after the Jewish colonial ruling council (the Sanhedrin) had arrested and tried him (the first trial) and handed him over to Pontius Pilate, the Roman imperial governor. Later that day and into the night and the next day, Jesus would be tortured and crucified. In ancient times, a king was ruler of the people who pledged loyalty and obedience to him. So “king of the Jews” meant king of the Jewish people more so than ruler of the geographic area called then Judea. During his ministry, Christ had identified himself as “the Light of the world” (John 8:12). Yet, in the above discourse, he says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” So was Jesus king of Jews, king of the world, or king of something else? Study of the Old Testament indicates that God had long wanted His people to view Him as their King.

When the ancient Israelites asked Prophet Samuel to give them an earthly king, God told Samuel, “. . . they have rejected me from being king over them . . . they have forsaken me and served other gods . . .” (1 Samuel 8:7-8). Centuries later, when God prophesied through Isaiah about the coming Messiah, He said, “and the government will be on his shoulders….Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end…” (Isaiah 9:6-7). So God’s intent appears to have always been to be His people’s king, ultimately through Jesus Christ. And through Christ, the concept of God’s kingdom expanded beyond biological descendants of Jacob (i.e. Israel) to include all persons who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But the ancient Jewish nation was slow to recognize this. Even just before Christ’s ascension, the apostles asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Their use of the word “restore” suggests that they were referring to the Jewish kingdom(s) that had been subjugated by non-Jews over the preceding centuries. Part of Jesus’ answer restated, in effect, the Great Commission: “…and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”—Acts 1:8 (NASB) Christ’s earlier statement of the Great Commission, issued in Galilee soon after the resurrection, commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”–Matthew 28:19 (NASB) So Christ’s everlasting kingdom includes believers drawn from many nations, including Jews who accept Jesus as Lord. Today, we Christians, of whatever earthly nation, claimed by whatever earthly government, should first obey the Biblically recorded commands of King Jesus, even when those commands contradict the commands and customs of the world. During the resurrection season and beyond, studying the discourse between Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate, along with its proper Biblical correlations, can deepen and reinforce our understanding of God’s will that we obey Him as king, through Jesus Christ.

April 2012 The Positive Community



The Last Word

April 2012


Vol. 12, No. 4

Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr. Editor-in-Chief Jean Nash Wells Associate Editor R. L. Witter Sales Angela Ridenour Adrian Council, Jr. NGS Communications, Inc. Satori MPR Church/Community Affairs Coordinator Faith Jackson Contributing Writers Sonja Gracy Dr. Phillip Bonaparte Linda Armstrong Mwandikaji K. Mwanafunzi g.r. mattox Rosemary Sinclair Patricia Baldwin Rev. Theresa Nance Rev. Reginald T. Jackson Herb Boyd Glenda Cadogan Toni Parker Helene Fox Rev. Dr. Joanne Noel Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood William Parrish Jeanne Parnell Photographers Bob Gore Wali A. Muhammad Seitu Oronde Rev. Dr. William L. Watkins, Jr. Darryl Hall Vincent Bryant Donovan Gopie Linda Pace Hubert Williams Art Direction & Layout Penguin Design Group Martin Maishman The Positive Community Corp. 133 Glenridge Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042 973-233-9200 Fax: 973-233-9201 Email: Website: All contents © 2010 The Positve Community Corporation. All Rights Reserved. This publication, in whole or in part, may not be reproduced, stored in a computerized or other retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means whatsoever without the prior written permission of The Positive Community Corporation. Any opinions expressed herein are solely the opinions of the writer(s) and not necessarily those of The Positive CommunityTM, its management or staff. The Positive CommunityTM reserves the right to retain all materials and does not assume reponsibility for unsolicited materials.


The Positive Community April 2012

THE RIGHT WAY TO STAND YOUR GROUND rayvon Martin has become the symbol of the myriad other unarmed black men who have seemingly died for no reason other than the color of their skin and another person’s itchy trigger finger. The only difference between Trayvon’s death and the others is that George Zimmerman, the man who shot him, is not a police officer. Zimmerman is reportedly a selfappointed Neighborhood Watch volunteer. The local police in Sanford, Florida, where Trayvon was killed, contend that racism played no part in their decision not to arrest or charge Zimmerman with any crime on the night of the shooting or in the month since then. Instead, they say the state’s “Stand Your Ground Law” prevents them from charging him, since Zimmerman is claiming self-defense. In the meantime, marches and protests have taken place across the country, social media has spread the story like wildfire and sides have been taken. Martin’s family and friends have taken to the airwaves in a quest for answers and justice regarding the death of their 17-yearold son. Zimmerman’s friends and family are claiming that Martin assaulted him and beat him within an inch of his life before attempting to take the gun, and threatened Zimmerman with death. Meanwhile, websites and message boards are filled with hate speech and inflammatory insults; white supremacists have hacked Martin’s email and social media accounts. Zimmerman has been called a vigilante, a woman-beater, a liar and a racist. Martin’s confidential school records have been made public, revealing suspensions and truancy. He has been called a thug, a thief, a drug user and dealer—just about everything but a child of God. But aren’t we all God’s children? Don’t we all have at least one inci-


dent in our history that might render a very different opinion of us than our other deeds? Have we all acted responsibly in our youth? Have the rest of us never regretted a decision made in-the-moment that in hindsight we might have handled differently? He among you who is without sin, let him cast the first stone . . . or in this case, the first bullet. However the details unfold, I pray that we all realize that not only could the actions of both Zimmerman and Martin have been different that night, but the law could have been different as well. Florida is one of 25 states that do not require a person to retreat or try to get away before using deadly force in self-defense. Perhaps if mandatory retreat was part of that law there would be less speculation on all parts. So many “what ifs” and “if onlys.” What if Zimmerman hadn’t taken his gun with him that evening? If only he had heeded the direction of the 911 dispatcher and stopped his pursuit of Trayvon. What if Trayvon hadn’t been wearing a hoodie? If only he hadn’t been out in the rain… If only we made a point of being well-versed on pending legislation on our local ballots. What if every citizen exercised the right to vote? If only we all decided that every human life is precious… Finally, let’s not do what many feel George Zimmerman did and rush to judgment. Judge not, lest we be judged. Let us all remember that whether or not we feel that justice is served here on earth, it will be served in the afterlife. God has cautioned us that vengeance is His alone and in Matthew 25:46-47 His son, Jesus did say, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Positive Community’s

Great Countdown to Freedom The Grand Jubilee


n one year, America will observe the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation—the sesquicentennial commemoration. From the date of January 1, 1863 through January 1, 2013 we, as a group are blessed with an enormous opportunity to measure, assess and define our American journey, our claim on the American Dream.

Below is a cultural narrative—our story—an oral history, a brief presentation of our deep collective experience that dates back

to before this nation’s founding: The Cultural Narrative African Americans are a unique people with a peculiar history in this land. Brought to these shores in chains from Africa as slaves in the early 1600s, our people toiled and suffered as captives in brutal bondage for a quarter of a millennium (250 years). On January 1st 1863, two years into the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, became law, signaling an end to slavery. On that day, the African American community of the United States of America was born. One hundred years later, in August, 1963, at the height of the civil rights movement, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial as he led hundreds of thousands to a “April on Washington” seeking an end to discrimination and Jim Crow segregation in the South. It was a demand for full citizenship rights for the people in what has been called “The Second Emancipation.” Forty years after Martin Luther King’s tragic assassination in 1968, America elected its first black president, Barack Obama (2008). In one hundred years between the first and “second emancipation,” in the midst of bitter persecution, humiliation, lynching and the denial of basic human rights, the resiliency of the African American spirit continued to shine brightly in religion, invention, sports and in the creative arts—music, fashion, dance, language, literature and theater. Indeed, original American art forms and a popular culture which has become the envy of the world were founded upon the souls of a forlorn people! And that is our story-the Truth, Beauty and Goodness of a loving and gifted race revealed! An Extraordinary History Ours is an extraordinary history of trial, tribulation and triumph that we must never forget! This is the story that we must tell our children and be ever remembered by the young and the old. We the people, descendants of the Emancipation Proclamation, must tell our story to each other reminding ourselves, over and over again of the great, noble struggle and sacrifices of those who came before us. This is our story, our cultural narrative, our Grand Jubilee and springboard into a great and prosperous future—a vision of hope and progress; health and wholeness; peace and goodwill!! Stay tuned to The Positive Community magazine and online for features and updates on news, church events, concerts, and other activities leading up to January 1, 2013—the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation—our Great Countdown to Freedom: The Grand Jubilee!! To become a Community Partner or Sponsor: Call Today 973-233-9200.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

New Jersey Education Association‌ working for great public schools for every child. Barbara Keshishian, President Wendell Steinhauer, Vice President Marie Blistan, Secretary-Treasurer Vince Giordano, Executive Director Richard Gray, Assistant Executive Director/Research Director

April 2012 Issue  

The Positive Community is the only faith-based lifestyle magazine targeted to the African American market in the New York /New Jersey area....

April 2012 Issue  

The Positive Community is the only faith-based lifestyle magazine targeted to the African American market in the New York /New Jersey area....