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February 2010




Kenny Garrett Band Ravi Coltrane Quartet

with Geri Allen—a very special guest sax appeal exclusive to njpac saturday, Feb 20 at 7:30

Upcoming events sat, mar 6 at 8:00 cassandra Wilson with special guest esperanza spalding An unforgettable night of Contemporary jazz


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RACE AND DEMOCRACY IN THE AGE OF OBAMA A lecture and discussion featuring

Dr. Cornel West Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University One of America’s most provocative public intellectuals, Dr. Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his “ferocious moral vision.” A question-and-answer period and refreshments will follow the program.

Wednesday, February 24 • 7 p.m. Multipurpose Room • Rutgers Student Center 126 College Avenue • New Brunswick, NJ

Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Office of the President, the Department of Africana Studies, and the President’s Council on Institutional Diversity and Equity





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Februar y 2010


41 COVER STORY NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION LEADERSHIP AND THEIR VISION FOR THE FUTURE Cover and Story Photos: Bob Gore Cover Photo L–R: Rev. Dr. Calvin O. McKinney General Secretary, NBC; Rev. Dr. Washington Lundy, Northeast Region Vice President, NBC; Rev. Julius Scruggs President, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.



Masons mark 146 years of service. . . . . . . . 24 Tax Tips from the IRS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Taking it to the next level: Rev. Elizabeth Campbell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Award-Winning educator: Baruti Kafele . . . . . 36 Innovative educational website from Verizon . 38 UWI brings Caribbean flavor to Pierre Hotel . . 48 BlackTop Circus brings the big top to the Bronx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Gospel artists sing for Haiti . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Major African-American exhibit at Montclair Art Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Dorrie Miller honored by U.S.P.S . . . . . . . . . . 70 The One and Only Pastor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Eating Well on a Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 PICO organizes for healthcare reform . . . . . . 74 Harlem Hospital reaches out to African community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

&also inside Guest Editorial. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 A Shepherd’s Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Single, Satisfied & Saved . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


Gospel Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 In Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49


The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 The Last Word. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82





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he following clergy organizations, churches, community businesses and institutions have committed to the purchase of at least one hundred magazines per month at $1.00 each (50% off the cover price) or support this publication through the purchase of advertising for their events, services or consumer products. THIS IS ONLY A PARTIAL LISTING.

Black Ministers Council of NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Exec. Director Beulah B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Gerald L. Dickson, Pastor Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. David Hampton, Pastor Office of Black Ministry Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Exec. Director General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, President United Black Clergy of Westchester Inc. Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Harlem Rev. Charles A. Curtis, Pastor Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Lucille McEwen, President & CEO Manhattan District AME Churches Rev. Harold Rutherford, Presiding Elder Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor Greater New Hope Missionary B.C., NYC Rev. Joan J. Brightharp, Pastor Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, N.J. Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor Paterson’s Pastor’s Workshop* Rev. Dr. James Kuykendall, President Nazarene Congregational Church, Brooklyn—Rev, Conrad B. Tillard, Pastor St. Paul Community B. C., Brooklyn Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor Childs Memorial COGIC, Harlem Bishop Norman N. Quick, Pastor St. John AME Church, Harlem Rev. James E. Booker Jr., Pastor The New Hope B. C., Newark Rev. Joe Carter, Senior Pastor

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

Greater Allen Cathedral, Queens, NY Revs. Floyd and Elaine Flake, Co-Pastors St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Pastor The Cathedral International, Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. William L. Watley, Pastor Paradise B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Jethro James, Pastor Fellowship Missionary B, C,, Newark, NJ Rev. E.T. Byrd, Pastor Community Church of God, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie., Pastor Emeritus Abyssinian B. C., Harlem Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor Metropolitan B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor Masjid Imam Ali K. Muslim, Newark, NJ Imam Akbar Muhammad Concord B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Senior Pastor St Luke B. C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Senior Pastor First B.C. of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ Rev. Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, Pastor Christian Love B..C, Irvington, NJ Rev. Ron Christian, Pastor Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor Berean B. C., Brooklyn Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor

World Gospel Music Association Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder, Newark, N.J.

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Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Pastor

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Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, Harlem Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith, Pastor Thessalonia Worship Center, Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. Shellie Sampson, Pastor Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Peekskill, NY* Rev. Adolphus Lacey, Pastor Friendship Baptist Church, Harlem, NY* Rev. James A. Kilgore, Pastor

Davis Chiropractic, NJ

WBGO-88.3FM WKMB-1070AM Inner City Broadcasting African American Muslims for Interfaith Relationships (AAMIR) The Committee to Preserve Our Heritage and Tradition—Harlem, Muhammad Idris, Chair; Anna Muhammad, Committee Member

Newark Dist. of AME Church, Newark, NJ* Howard Grant, Presiding Elder

Community Bank of Bergen County, Garfield, NJ

First Bethel Baptist Church, Newark, NJ* H. Grady James III, Pastor

Mildred Crump, Newark City Council

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American Heart Association, Northern NJ Medgar Evers College

The Bozeman Law Firm New York Urban League

Carver Federal Savings Bank New Brunswick Theological Seminary

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NAACP New Jersey*

The Sharing Network

National Black United Fund*

The College of New Rochelle Essex County College, NJ New York Theological Seminary

Mt. Neboh Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green Jr., Pastor

Newark School of Theology

Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ. Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Senior Pastor

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All of the above have embraced a practical community building ideal that encourages self acceptance, self reliance and self respect.Enroll your church, business, school or organization today. Contact The Positive Community at 973-233-9200 or e-mail at Building community and economy dollar by dollar. Join the Great Roll Call to Progress today because a positive community is everybody's business . . . it really pays to care!

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guesteditorial Black History Month: Is It Still Necessary? BY W. FRANKLYN RICHARDSON Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Mount Vernon, NY and Chairman of the Board National Action Network

here are those in America who feel that Black History Month is not necessary or even helpful in this postmodern era. They contend that it further polarizes the races, reopens old wounds and some feel this observance gives black people special treatment. Some feel black history ought to be integrated as a part of American history, and others contend that in light of the achievements of African Americans—most recently in the election of the first African American president of the United States of America, Barrack Obama—that the need to differentiate African American achievement is grossly out of step with the times. They argue that race is yesterday’s problem and that we live in a “post-racial society”—post-civil rights era. These positions do not take into consideration the 400 years of mistreatment of blacks in this country and the subsequent actions caused by this racially-biased data. For four centuries, black people have not only been verbally maligned, but unjustly treated and incorrectly labeled. Sadly, that mistreatment and mislabeling was attributed solely to the color of their skin. The impact of discrimination based on skin color can easily be seen in today’s society where individuals with darker shades of skin color are often still viewed as inferior and less acceptable by individuals with lighter skin color. The negative stereotypes that flowed from these definitions became deeply ingrained in American culture. This misrepresentation of black people was driven not by fact, but by economic interest. It became a basis to justify the inhumane treatment of black individuals in this country and after years of recitation and reinforcement is still believed by many to be true. These stereotypes became embedded in American literature, constitutional, legislative and judicial documents as fact. These corrupt designations of black people and the actions they informed—slavery, sexual assault, lynching, discrimination and segregation were woven into the very fabric of American culture for 400 years and for too long went unchallenged and unchanged.



The Positive Community February 2010

Cumulative institutional racism and bigotry and their subsequent fallout still remain and continue to pose obstacles for black people today. Some black people have internalized this racist poison, impairing their self perception and resulting in chronic low self-esteem or even worse, selfhatred. Such self-hatred has been perpetuated by centuries of distortion rooted in crime, violence and the perceived mental and moral inferiority and decay of black people. Who can measure the damage to a people from hundreds of years of racial oppression? The racist formation of America—the dominant super power—has damaged the profile of black people around the world, most significantly in Africa and the Caribbean. The abject poverty of Haiti prior to the recent earthquake is a clear result of neglect grounded in racial bias. If Haiti were a white nation, given it’s proximity to the United States it would never have been allowed to exist in such squalor. Black History Month is one small yet vital attempt to reject centuries of misinformation and reverse the negative stereotypes and racial inferiority projected on a misunderstood people. The roots of black inferiority in American culture run deep and are so firmly entrenched that they are often not easily recognizable. Every time a black person succeeds despite the odds, every time a black student graduates from college, every time a black person excels as a doctor, lawyer or judge or is elected to office, or opens a door that was previously shut for the first time, a brick in the wall of systemic racism is removed. It will take many years, but the walls will come down! I do not expect in my lifetime to see the playing field completely level, but I am certain that the day will come, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We as a people will get to the promised land.” Therefore we must take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate African American achievements, correct misperceptions and reveal blatant lies. Without black history, American history does not exist; without black people and black history, the America the world knows does not exist.

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Rev. Jackson is pastor of St. Matthew A.M.E Church in Orange NJ And executive director of the Black Ministers Council of NJ

Yes, We Will ast year we rejoiced and celebrated the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. Many Americans—African Americans in particular—were euphoric, hopeful that our new president would provide the leadership to address the nation’s many problems and end the polarization that had divided the nation. The nation was fighting two wars, in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the banking and automobile industries were on the verge of collapse, home foreclosures at epidemic proportions, unemployment increasing monthly and an estimated 40 million Americans without healthcare. One year later the euphoria and hope seem to have evaporated and the nation is as divided as ever, if not more. Many Americans are pessimistic and cynical toward government. Sixty percent believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction. Even among African Americans there is concern about the direction of the nation and whether this young African American brother can meet the great challenges of the time. Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt are the only presidents who had more to face than this president. Some say the president is trying to do too much, others that he needs to be stronger; some question his priorities. Some have begun to panic in fear that Barack Obama will be a one term president. I urge Americans, especially African Americans to step back and take a breath. I address this question to the African American community in general and the African American church in particular, “What are we doing to help the president?” The most important institution in our community is the church. It has a responsibility to provide leadership for our community. Historically, nothing for the advancement of African Americans has occurred without the leadership and participation of the African American church, however we are failing to live up to this legacy. President Obama has sought to address the multitude of issues facing our nation; they are major. It seems as if he is trying to do too much because his predecessor did not seek to address them. Look at healthcare reform. Many have criticized the president for seeking to get healthcare reform legislation passed when there are so many other important issues, such as jobs. Healthcare reform has been dema-



The Positive Community February 2010

gogued and mischaracterized by its opponents. We have heard about death panels, people losing their doctors and a host of other false claims. At town hall meetings we have heard screaming and hollering and the formation of “Tea Parties” all in opposition to healthcare reform. The perception is that the majority of the nation is opposed to healthcare reform. The reality is that all we have heard from are those who have healthcare and those making huge profits from it. We have not heard from those who do not have healthcare—primarily African Americans and Hispanics. Senators and Congressmen did not hold town hall meetings in predominantly African American districts and media did not talk to us. The African American Church has not addressed this issue. We must be a prophetic voice, the nation’s conscience, which calls the wealthiest nation in the world to answer the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We must not only praise God, we must also serve God. Hear Jesus as He prays, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.” Reform will not only provide healthcare for the millions whose only access to healthcare is the emergency room at a hospital, but it will drive down costs, create jobs and strengthen our economy. The debate would be much different if the voices of those without healthcare were heard. It would influence members of Congress who represent them. The system needs to be reformed. In fact, the greatest evidence of the need for reform is that Rush Limbaugh was told that he was well when he left the hospital. As President Obama begins his second year we should take heart. I am reminded of former President Ronald Reagan who served under similar economic times. After his first year, many said he would be a one-term president. History reminds us that the economy rebounded and Reagan went on to be re-elected, winning 49 of the 50 states. It is not enough to be glad that an African American is President of the United States. We must not do to him what we have done to others who were elected to office, saying “You were elected; now you are on your own.” We must help him be and do the best he can. I still believe, “Yes, we can” and I pray you will commit yourself to help him and say, “Yes, we will.”














Parents Go Back To School Irvington Public Schools Host Saturday Sessions


tarting in March, the Irvington Public Schools will offer a monthly parent workshop through the Department of Government Programs. “Increasing parental involvement improves student performance, so we are finding ways to help our families get and stay involved in the education of their children,” states Department Director Christy OliverHawley.

The Parent Academy is conducted at the University Middle School in Irvington, NJ on Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and focuses on three topic areas this semester: Raising Readers – Recent research shows a direct correlation between low reading scores and prison entry. Improving reading comprehension, therefore, is imperative! A panel discussion helps indentify a child’s personality type; demonstrates how to talk with teachers about reading scores; and provides hints on designing an in home learning plans. The speakers include Jacqueline Jenkins, Certified True Colors Personality Type Instructor, Lady Rose, author of RITTA BOOK, and Gioya McRae, President of Mocha Minds (March 13, 2010) Fathers Make A Difference – Children with active fathers in their lives have a greater likelihood of doing well in school, graduating on time, and going to college. This panel discussion is led by Irvington Councilman Quinzell R. McKenzie, and focuses on practical methods of helping dads increase involvement in the educational lives of their children. A host of resource organizations will be on hand to answer specific questions about finances, men’s health, legal issues (child support and visitation), and more. (March 20, 2010) Fixing Family Finances - In this economy most American families have had to tighten their belt due to job lose, credit concerns and other financial issues. Kevin Walker, Vice President of Wells Fargo, focuses on credit restoration, and family investment plans. (April 10, 2010). Family Graduation - Upon completion of the classes parents receive a Certificate of Completion. Children and parents are treated to a Family Field Trip to Great Adventures. All workshops provide food and supervised child care for children ages 5-12 (face painting, arts and crafts, recreational activities and video game tournaments.) The Parent Academy is coordinated by RASP Educational Consultants. All activities are FREE for Irvington families and registration is required. Registration forms can be found at all Irvington public schools through the Parent Coordinator. Visit (Parent Academy) or call (973) 3996948 for more information.

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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.


I Remember Percy


remember Percy. Excuse me. I mean decorated veteran and Tuskegee Airman, civil rights activist, attorney, Manhattan Borough President, entrepreneur and Inner City Broadcasting Chairman Emeritus, Percy Sutton. It was a splendid encounter—an encounter that could have only occurred through a man like Mr. Sutton. Several years ago, I wanted to honor black veterans. My own father had died in the 1980s as a veteran of World War II and I wanted to honor him posthumously. He served in the U.S. Navy and I never fail to make mention of the fact that a number of years after he returned home, he, my mother and I made a trek to Houston, TX, the place of his birth. This great father of mine was relegated to the colored only bathrooms, water fountains and less than state-of-the-art sleeping facilities, along with my beloved mother, my cousin and me. I was about 8years-old at the time, but I still remember that humiliating experience as though it were yesterday. Funny, how such indignities stick in your craw. I wanted to remember my father and other black men who had served in “Uncle Sam’s” armed services and thank them for their dedicated stewardship. I reached out to people like my late uncle, Charles Richardson, who also served in WWII and my cousin’s boyfriend who experienced the horrors of the Vietnam War, along with veterans from the Korean War as well. It was a massive undertaking, but it was to be a grand and glorious moment. I needed someone to speak to the men who had served their country—someone who had himself served valiantly. So, with much trepidation, I telephoned Chairman Sutton’s office and spoke with his secretary. I laid out my plans to her and she promised that he’d get back to me. And he did. Imagine my delight when this gracious, debonair, outstanding, handsome human being and Tuskegee Airman said, “Yes,“ immediately. Mr. Sutton noted that he had never attended nor been part of such a tribute honoring black veterans. I kept pinching myself while I talked with him by phone. Yeah, it


The Positive Community February 2010

was that kind of moment in time. He made two requests, however: He made me promise that I wouldn’t tell anyone he was coming gratis (I think he would humbly approve of my revealing this posthumously). And, he insisted that I not send a limo for him. Go figure. I agreed to both stipulations. I needed no written assurances from him because even though I’d never met Mr. Sutton, I just knew the man I spoke with over the phone was a man of his word. I was a columnist for The Herald News at the time, a daily publication in North Jersey and the following week I wrote about my conversation with Mr. Sutton and placed an ad in the paper itself about the event—his photo was part of the advertisement. As God would have it, a few generals who were affiliated with the McGuire Air Force Base got hold of the article and asked if they could come. They wanted to meet the Tuskegee Airman. My response was a resounding yes! The advisor for the ROTC program at Eastside High School in Paterson, also contacted me, asking if his kids could be part of the program. Four area black recruiting officers became part of this festive occasion and I was beyond myself with gladness. The day arrived. My son, Bert and his wife, Lauren, picked Mr. Sutton up at his home in Harlem that morning. When he arrived, the ROTC members made an arch for him with their rifles and the generals stood at attention, saluting him. I wanted to weep. It was so moving and he was so deserving. I gotta’ tell you, Chairman Sutton wowed them that day. He was funny, serious and focused on the price paid by black veterans who served what was and still is a country that discriminates against them. Afterward, Mr. Sutton wrote a letter thanking me for allowing him to be part of that grand moment. I replied, telling him he had made my stock go up in the community 100 fold. And, today I thank God that I can join the chorus of voices proclaiming not only Chairman Sutton’s name, but that I am also able to bear witness to his generous persona, his love for his people, his decision not to live on a flowery bed of ease even though he could have, and his love of life—living it to the fullest each and every day. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I shall never forget.

A columbia black history month quiz

Did you know. . . Lucy Diggs Slowe (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1915), one of the original founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, was also a professional tennis player and the first African American woman to win a major sports title? She became a vocal advocate for women’s rights and academic opportunities.

Hon. Constance Baker Motley (Columbia Law School 1946, 2003) was the first African American woman to serve as a federal judge, as well as the first to be Manhattan borough president? As the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s associate counsel, she helped draft the briefs for the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

that while attending law school, Paul Robeson (Columbia Law School 1923) was already winning acclaim as a singer and stage actor in New York? A two-time All American football star as a Rutgers undergraduate, Robeson went on to become both a beloved concert singer and movie star, whose controversial political beliefs led to the blacklisting that helped end his remarkable career.

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (Teachers College 1951) was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress? Chisholm earned acclaim as a tireless advocate for African Americans, women and the urban poor, and as a champion of greater educational opportunity for all. Metropolitan Musical Bureau/ Columbia University Archives

Ben Johnson (Columbia College 1933–38) was once known as the “world’s fastest human?” After he shattered a number of world records in the 1930s—and upset world champions Ralph Metcalfe and Jesse Owens—newspapers dubbed Johnson the “Columbia Comet.” Columbia University Athletics

Columbia University

Kenneth B. Clark (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1940, Columbia Law School 1970) and Mamie Phipps Clark (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1943) did pioneering psychology research that challenged the notion of different mental abilities of black and white children, playing an important role in desegregation?

Columbia University Archives

Eileen Barroso/Columbia University

that when he arrived as a transfer student at Columbia, President Barack Obama (Columbia College 1983) first lived on 109th Street off Amsterdam Avenue while pursuing his degree in political science? Having won 53% of the popular vote and an overwhelming 68% of the Electoral College, Obama was inaugurated as the nation’s first African American president on Jan. 20, 2009.

Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Eileen Barroso/Columbia University

Dustin Ross/Columbia University

Beverly L. Greene (Graduate School of Architecture 1945) is believed to have been the first African American woman licensed to practice architecture in the United States? In 1936, she became the first African American woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign

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 University trustee from 2007 to 2009, Holder is the first African American attorney general of the United States and one of the most experienced government lawyers ever named to the job.

Gov. David A. Paterson (Columbia College 1977) became New York’s youngest-ever state senator when he won election at age 31? Paterson represented Harlem and the Upper West Side in the state Senate from 1985 until 2007 when he was elected New York’s first African American lieutenant governor and became governor a year later. His path-breaking career includes being the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention.

that the work of Charles R. Drew (College of Physicians and Surgeons 1940) in the field of blood transfusions led to his development of the world’s first blood bank? He went on to create large-scale blood banks early in World War II and challenged the scientific fallacy of racial segregation in blood donation.

Hon. Robert L. Carter (Columbia Law School 1941)—chief strategist and lead counsel on Brown v. Board of Education—won a remarkable 21 of 22 cases he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court? He succeeded Thurgood Marshall as general counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1956 and became a federal court judge himself in 1972.

Thomas J. O’Halloran/U.S. News & World Report

To learn more about this key part of our local and national history, visit

NY Knicks Honor Tuskegee Airmen WWII Heroes Receive Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award Members of the Tuskegee Airmen accept a $2,000 check from former NY Knicks star, John Starks as part of the Knicks’ Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration.

Photos: Wali Amin Muhammad

Tuskegee Airman, Dabney Montgomery, who is also the historian for Mother AME Church in Harlem.


he New York Knickerbockers honored the worldrenowned WWII heroes, Tuskegee Airmen, as the winner of the Sweetwater Clifton "City Spirit" Award for the month of January. The award, named in honor of Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, who was the first African American to play for the Knicks, recognizes those who have made a significant difference in the lives of others. Each month, a winner is chosen by members of the Knicks front office staff and honored at center court of a Knicks game. Winners receive a $2,000 donation in their name to a charity of their choice from the New York Knicks. The Tuskegee Airmen were America’s first African American pilots, bombardiers, navigators and support personnel trained during World War II. They were some of the most exceptional military aviators and distinguished themselves in combat, flying over 15,000 sorties in the European theatre from 1944 through 1946. During this trying time, the Tuskegee Airmen did not lose a single member to enemy attack.


The Positive Community February 2010

Adrian Council Jr. of The Positive Community, former NY Knicks star, Allan Houston II and Allan Houston III.

These American heroes did not just fight battles overseas, they also fought battles at home, enduring ridicule, criticism and segregation in America during a time when African Americans were discriminated against on a daily basis. The Airmen’s outstanding courage, persistence and bravery helped pioneer the Civil Rights Movement, which ignited in the mid-1950s. On Monday, January 18 during halftime of the game pitting the Knicks against the Detroit Pistons and in celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, members of the Tuskegee Airmen accepted the City Spirit Award at Madison Square Garden. They will donate the award money to the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. National Youth Program. Oh, by the Way, the Tuskegee heroes put a little City Spirit into the Knicks, who won the game 99-91. Go Knicks! —JNW

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What Men Really Like in a Woman n commemoration of Valentine’s Day I thought it’d be great to prolife some of the most wonderful, earnest men I admire to find out what it is they love most about their women. I’ll admit this article has a bit of an inherent agenda. See, I’m also aiming to glean a few golden nuggets for myself. My inquiring mind wanted to know, what do men like—I mean really, really like—in their women? I am a satisfied single, but nothing beats being “in the know.” I figured I’d make this piece a two-pronged project, half of it a tribute to these men’s “better halves” and the other half a cool, exploratory mission—one in which I’d definitely be taking mental notes. One of the first men I sought for inquiry was the very well-reputed Bishop Charles E. Blake of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles. I immediately liked Bishop Blake and First Lady Mae after watching them in a WORD Network TV special about their lives. Blake, an integrity-filled pastor who oversees a host of domestic and international church ministries with famous parishioners the likes of Magic and Cookie Johnson, director Steve Townsend, Stevie Wonder and actors Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett does so with the support of his much-abled wife. The busy Bishop lavished nothing but praise on his lovely co-laborer and First Lady. “I love so many things about my wife,” Blake said. “It’s difficult to select the thing I love most. She has been and is a wonderful wife and mother. Her sincere love for God, His work and His people is so strong and outstanding. She has labored beside me at an unbelievable level of excellence. She is a primary reason for my success. I love that and so much more about her.” I’d asked Bishop Blake for the thing he loved most in his wife, but like my own venerable pastor, the Reverend Jesse Williams of the historic Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem, proud and plural was the only way to go. Reverend Williams seemed thrilled about the opportunity to lavish praise on his “excellent” First Lady, Gelaine. “What I love most about my wife,” Williams beamed and continued “is the fact that she loves me—



The Positive Community February 2010

unashamedly. [Gelaine] loves me and let’s everybody know it. I also really appreciate how she balances her many different roles so very well with excellence. She is an excellent mother, an excellent wife, and an excellent First Lady. She seems to effortlessly move back and forth Charles E. Blake and between those roles in ways Mae Lawrence Blake. that are just amazing and I just appreciate the many gifts that are in her. She makes me look real good,” Reverend Williams said breaking into a broad smile of delight before adding, “and I appreciate that so very much.” New Jersey Nets rep Zachary James isn’t married just yet, but I was eager to know the opinion of this straightforward and statuesque young executive I befriended at a college alumni event last spring. James quickly cited appealing basics like “attractiveness, compatibility and smarts” before describing the kind of woman men mark “as a keeper.” “It’s what goes on inside [a woman’s] head,” said James. “Is she crazy, deranged? Does she fly off the handle when something seems wrong or can she calmly decide what her first move should be? James went on to report his pleasure with his current, leveled-headed love complement. “I feel I’m very lucky to have found someone who takes these things into account. Any person can say that they have your back, but is it demonstrated? I found someone who is willing to do anything I ask her to do (within reason) and because of that, I return the favor. It’s a great feeling being in a relationship like that.” I love the depth in the answers these men provided and the qualities they extol in the women they love. Could quality be the clincher that makes men love? I’m now more prone to think so. I’m glad I took my little exploration. I’ve got my golden nuggets.

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Iyanla Vanzant Medgar Evers College CUNY Law School Best-selling Author, Inspirational Speaker

Walter Mosley City College of New York Award-winning Author Founder, City College Publishing Certificate Program

Yisa Rumala York College NSF Graduate Research Fellowship 2006 University of Michigan, Ph.D. Program Philip A. Berry Borough of Manhattan Community College Queens College President of Philip Berry Associates, LLC Vice Chairperson, CUNY Board of Trustees

Ruby Dee Hunter College Award-winning Star of Stage and Screen Writer

Kojo Wallace Bronx Community College Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship 2008, Cornell University


Colin Powell City College of New York Former U.S. Secretary of State Former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Augusta S. Kappner Hunter College Former President Bank Street College of Education Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education April Mojica CUNY Baccalaureate Medgar Evers College Thurgood Marshall Scholarship 2005 George Mason University MA Program

Mitsy Chanel-Blot Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College NSF Graduate Research Fellowship 2008 University of Texas, Austin, PH.D. program

Mark A. Smiley Baruch College Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship 2007, University of Pittsburgh Medical School

Teresa Coaxum John Jay College of Criminal Justice Deputy State Director Office of Senator Charles Schumer



Photos: Alex McCoy

Brooklyn Congregations Together MLK Service

L–R: Rev. Steven Carter, “Order of the Day”; Bishop Eric Figueroa, Jr.; Rev. Dr. James Thornton, Host Pastor L–R: Rev. Frederick Ennette, Bedford Central Presbyterian Church; Rev. Steven Carter, Pastor, Mt. Ararat Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. Darren Mitchell, Pastor, First AME Zion Church; Rev. Lawrence Aker, Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. Johnny R. Youngblood, Pastor, Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. Curtis Whitney, Pastor, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. James Thornton, Pastor, Salem Missionary Baptist Church; Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor, St. Paul Community Baptist Church, Bishop Eric Figueroa, Pastor, New Life Tabernacle; Rev. Shaun Lee, Pastor, Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church


The Positive Community February 2010

HCCI MLK Memorial Prayer Breakfast Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad

L–R: Adrian Council, Deacon Ken Radcliffe, Deacon Rodney Beckford, Reverends Harvey Kendricks, Charles Butler, Ida Epps, Dedrick Blue and Edward Ewusu


arlem Congregations for Community Improvement’s (HCCI) General Assembly started 2010 with its Annual MLK Memorial Prayer Breakfast at the organization's Family Life Conference Center. Publisher Adrian Council was invited to share the progress of The Positive Community’s new Entrepreneur Leadership Development Program. Each month magazines are delivered to church youth ministries. The goal is to inspire a generation of job-creating entrepreneurs. The program encourages young people to tithe, save and earn through sales of the magazines to fellow congregation members. HCCI member Friendship Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pastor James Kilgore is a charter member of the program. HCCI, founded in 1986 is a coalition of more than 90 inter-faith congregations with a focus on health, affordable housing, employment, education and public safety for Harlem residents.

For tickets and further information please visit

February 2010 The Positive Community


CACCI Business Power Breakfast Turned to Power for Humanity by Verona Forde


Dr. Roy A. Hastick, President and CEO of CACCI (right) with other Council Member L–R: Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn

Photos: Seitu Oronde

t the historic Brooklyn Borough Hall on January 15, 2010, the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. held their first business power breakfast. The event was to focus on critical small business concerns such as financing, business services, job development. Leaders from the nation, state, city and borough were scheduled to reflect on the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Percy Sutton. CACCI had planned to unveil their 2010 Plan of Action for Small Business and the 2010 Census. However, due to the crisis in Haiti, the event instead became focused on a Plan of Action for Haiti. Dr. Roy A. Hastick, Sr., President and CEO of CACCI; George Hulse, Vice President, HealthFirst; Board Chair Derek E. Broomes, CACCI; Brooklyn Borough President Hon. Marty Markowitz; Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Yvonne Graham; Hon. Sylvia Hinds-Radix, NYS Supreme Court Administrative Judge for Civil Matters and Councilmember Mathieu

L–R: Council Member Mathieu Eugene with Brooklyn Deputy Borough President, Yvonne Graham

Eugene were in attendance, as were Pravina Raghavan, District Director SBA, Jess Knox, Administrator of SBA; Darrell S. Gay, Esq., Arent Fox LLP; Lesia Bates Moss, President, Seedco Financial Services and Gregg Bishop, each of whom expressed their sadness for Haiti and pledged to provide support to CACCI's relief efforts. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hines pledged whatever he and his office could do to ease the pain and to work with CACCI in the Haitian relief effort. Mr. Hines explained the different programs the DA's office implemented to reduce the rate of young people returning to prison. Assemblymen Felix Ortiz and Peter Rivera spoke briefly. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke sent a message via her Chief of Staff Anita Taylor. All of the elected officials, business owners, organizations and individuals in attendance were in one accord to provide help and support for the people of Haiti.


The Positive Community February 2010

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In recognition of the passing of Percy Ellis Sutton, the Chairman, we proudly reprint as a Black History Month feature, his own personal account of his colorful and inspiring life story as told to us for our Summer 2007 issue.

February 2010 The Positive Community


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The Positive Community February 2010

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“I married another woman.” Daughter Cheryl was born of that marriage. “After 13 months, I went back to Leatrice and married her again.” It wasn’t long before he had returned to military service, however, during the Korean War, where he served as an intelligence officer and judge advocate in the U.S. Air Force until 1953.

February 2010 The Positive Community


Adelphic Union Lodge #14 (PHA) Celebrates 146 years of Service in Masonry

Upcoming Special Issue!


Women's History Issue

To Advertise Call: 973-233-9200 or Email: for rates & deadlines


The Positive Community February 2010

tidings to their elder members who have become sick and shut-in, and also to their widows and orphans. More than just providing the food for sustenance, this program gives the Brothers an opportunity to personally assess the condition of their needy and to address other services that may be appropriate. Their most ambitious program to date is “Back to Africa, Back to School,” through which they collect Wayne A. Francis monies and donated school supplies all year, and then travel to Ghana in late July to personally deliver them. In addition to providing the school supplies, members of the Lodge also assist in installing mosquito nets in the homes of the children they support in an effort to reduce the yearly deaths from Malaria in the region. On December 11, 2009, the “Adelphians” assembled at Glen Terrace in Brooklyn, NY, for their annual Adelphous Awards Banquet, hosted by Lodge member and TV News personality Reg Chapman of WCCO in Minneapolis, MN, a CBS affiliate. Among those recognized for various individual accomplishments were Raymond A. Charles, Jr., Carlington Foster and Carl Young, who were all recognized for service in membership in excess of 50 years; the Adakum Educational Foundation as Charity of the Year for their work in installing mosquito nets on the African continent; Ezekiel M. Bey as “Masonic Visionary,” for his work in bringing electronic communication to the Masonic research community; and Kevin P. Wardally as Master Mason of the Year for spearheading many of the Lodge’s initiatives. The Adelphian’s most prestigious award, the Past Grand Master Louis Fair, Jr. Distinguished Service Gold Medal went to Wayne A. Francis, who currently serves as the leader of the Adelphic organization. Brother Francis was personally responsible for the “Back to Africa, Back to School” program, as well as several others that they operate, and is busily planning the next mission to Ghana for the summer of 2010. If you would like to travel to Ghana with Adelphic Union and be a part of this worthy mission or desire any other information regarding this historic Lodge, you may contact them through their website at

Photos: Thomas C. Brooks, Jr.


reemasons are ever prevalent in our society and despite the historical rumors of “secrecy” and “conspiracy,” their presence is hailed in the communities they serve. For those who are familiar with the Masonic character, their leaning toward community service comes as no surprise. Both collectively and separately, Masons are known for assisting those in need and abroad. Adelphic Union Lodge No. 14 is a 146 year old Masonic organization that meets in Harlem NY. The “Adelphians,” as they are known, have an aggressive service agenda that has touched the hearts of recipients from the surrounding New York area through their “Masonic Meals on Wheels” program, all the way to Accra, Ghana through their “Back to Africa, Back to School” program. Via “Masonic Meals on Wheels,” the Brothers of the Lodge assemble every Thanksgiving, Christmas and one day in the summer to prepare and deliver meals and glad

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TAX TIPS FROM THE IRS hile the tax filing deadline is still two months away, it always seems to be here before you know it. Here are the Internal Revenue Service’s top 10 tips that will help your tax filing process run smoother than ever this year.


1) Gather your records Round up any documents or forms you’ll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support an item of income or a deduction you’re taking on your return. 2) W-2s & 1099s If you haven’t already received your W-2 or 1099 forms, check with your current or former employer immediately. You’ll need these to file your tax return. 3) Try e-file When you file electronically, the software will handle the math calculations for you. If you use direct deposit, you will get your refund in about half the time it takes when you file a paper return. E-file is now the way the majority of returns are filed. In fact, last year, 2 out of 3 taxpayers used e-file. 4) Check out Free File If your income is $57,000 or less you may be eligible for free tax preparation software and free electronic filing. The IRS partners with 20 tax software companies to create this free service. Free File is for the cost conscious taxpayer who wants reliable question-and-answer software to help them prepare a return. Visit to learn more. 5) Consider other filing options There are many different options for filing your tax return. You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer. You may be eligible for free face-to-face help at an IRS office or volunteer site. Give yourself time to weigh all the different options and find the one that best suits your needs.

6) Consider Direct Deposit If you elect to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you’ll receive it faster than waiting for a paper check. 7) Visit again and again The official IRS Web site is a great place to find everything you’ll need to file your tax return: forms, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes. 8) Remember this number 17 Check out Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax on It’s a comprehensive collection of information for taxpayers highlighting everything you’ll need to know when filing your return. 9) Review! Review! Review! Don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush. Mistakes will slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double-check all the Social Security Numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors made by taxpayers. 10) Don’t panic! If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is here to help. Try or call our customer service number at 800-829-1040. Source:

Editor’s note: 11) Beware Think twice before agreeing to a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) based on the amount of your return from the IRS. Not only are there fees attached for the filing but the bank that the loans the money charges interest. E-File and you can receive your return in as little as three weeks. Don’t fall for gimmicks! February 2010 The Positive Community


Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg Hosts NJ Small Business Clinic


enator Frank R. Lautenberg in partnership with New Jersey Institute of Technology, North Jersey Partners, WIRED and New Jersey Business Incubation Network hosted a Small Business Clinic providing information and assistance with procurement and business growth. More than 400 small business professionals took advantage of government, nonprofit, and private entities that specialize in small business development, capacity building and technical assistance.  “New Jersey’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” stated Senator Frank R. Lautenberg.  “We need to help these businesses grow by giving them the tools to expand and hire more workers.  Putting these resources under one roof at these clinics will help business men and women gain better access to critical resources and new opportunities.”

L–R: Aide Talia Young and Sen. Frank L. Lautenberg

L–R: Entrepreneurs Jeffrey Dunn and his father Malcolm Dunn

PNC Salutes Those Whose Commitment to Justice Has Passed the Verdict of History. PNC is a proud supporter of "Fiat Justitia: Let Justice Be Done" as part of Black History Month at the Newark Public Library.

©2008 The PNC Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


The Positive Community February 2010

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February 2010 The Positive Community


Black Agency Executives’ 33rd Annual Founders Awards By Pat Hurlock L–R: Livingston Francis and Hon. David N. Dinkins

Photos: Margot Jordan

L–R: Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Darwin Davis President, BAE, Honoree Dr Edison O. Jackson and Ralph Dickerson SEATED Lifetime Achievement honoree Horace W. Morace


lack Agency Executives (BAE) held its 33rd Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon and 21st Annual Founders’ Awards on January 21, 2010. The luncheon honored Verna Eggleston, Bloomberg Philanthropies; Debra Y. Fraser-Howze, OraSure Technologies; President Emeritus of Medgar Evers College Dr. Edison O. Jackson, and State Farm Insurance. Stephanie Palmer (immediate past BAE president and executive director of New York City Mission Society) and long-time BAE supporter, Anna Carbonell, vice president, WNBC-TV received special recognition. Horace W. Morris, well known Human Services executive, management consultant and mentor was honored with BAE’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his decades of service to the community. Professor Dennis Kimbro, author of What Makes the Great Great: Strategies for Extraordinary Achievement, was keynote speaker and delivered an inspiring message that touched on the luncheon theme: Educate. Engage. Empower. The event, which took place at the Hilton New York Hotel, drew over 500 executives and professionals from the non-profit, corporate and faith-based communities. L–R: Darwin Davis, Stephanie Palmer, honoree Anna Carbonell WNBC-TV, Mary Redd and Master of Ceremonies DeMarco Morgan, WNBC-TV













The Positive Community February 2010


L–R: Maria Willis Luncheon Co Chair, Carla D. Brown Luncheon Chairperson and Honoree Blossom Martindale State Farm.

Healthfirst Opens New Office in Downtown Brooklyn

L–R: George Hulse; VP, External Affairs, Healthfirst, Willie Walker; Superintendent, ACP StateOffice Building, Ricot Dupree; General Manager for Radio Soleil D’Haiti and Dan McCarthy; EVP & COO, Healthfirst


ealthfirst, the not-for-profit health services company celebrated the grand opening of its new community office at 635 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The full-service satellite facility provides easy access to the community for enrollment of prospective members, recertification of existing members and member services. The site will also host community outreach events including family days, senior seminars, recertification days and health education events throughout the year. “With over half-a -million members enrolled of which 117,000 are in Brooklyn, the office will serve as an extension of Healthfirst, giving members a place where they can renew their health insurance coverage or inquire about other health insurance services offered in their community,”said Patricia Wang, president/CEO. Representatives from Brooklyn hospitals, physicians, community partners and elected officials were in attendance. These included New York State Assemblyman Nick Perry and New York City Councilman Dr. Mathieu Eugene, Anita Taylor for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Deidra Towns representing Congressman Ed Towns, Mercedes Narcisse for NY State Senator John Sampson and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz . Ricot Dupree, general manager of Radio Soleil D’Haiti recounted the many contributions to freedom made by Haitians and provided an update on the conditions in Haiti. Ms. Wang announced a donation of over $60,000 raised by Healthfirst and its employees to aid earthquake victims. The funds will be donated to UNICEF and Partners in Health. Healthfirst , which is sponsored by 19 of the most prestigious and nationally recognized hospitals and medical centers in New York City and Long Island was established in 1993. With a network of over 20,000

By Victor Pupo

participating physicians and specialists in the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and Westchester, Healthfirst offers a variety of free or low-cost government-sponsored health insurance programs including: Medicaid, Medicare, New York State’s Child Health Plus, and Family Health Plus. For more information visit

February 2010 The Positive Community



he Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of America’s oldest civil rights organizations held their 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ambassadorial Reception and Awards Dinner at the New York Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Manhaattan on January 18. Past CORE honorees include Nobel Prize winner Elie Weisel, international women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, actors Morgan Freeman and Charlton Heston, sports legends Muhammad Ali and Hank Aaron, music superstars Brandy, Janet Jackson and Usher, civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks and, posthumously, former CORE workers and civil rights heroes James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner

This year’s event honored three outstanding individuals: Mrs. Tova Leidesdorf continues the family tradition of philanthropic and pioneering activities. She is the widow of Arthur Leidesdorf, whose ancestor William Leidesdorf (1810-1848) the son of a black mother and Danish father, was a true pioneer who migrated to America from St.

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The Positive Community February 2010


Photo: Gerald Peart

CORE 25th Annual Ambassador Awards

Michael S. Steele, Mrs. Tova Leidesdorf and Hon. James A. Young

Croix and settled in California, where he distinguished himself in business and government. He became the US Consul to Mexico and played an important part in California's journey to statehood. Arthur and his father, Sam, are remembered for helping to create the Israeli Bonds program, assisting with the establishment of the United Negro College Fund, helping to build the 92nd Street Y, bringing Albert Einstein to America, creating the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton and the Coalition between Christians and Jews among many other accomplishments. Sam Leidesdorf’s accounting firm, S.D. Leidesdorf & Co. is today known as Ernst & Young.  Hon. James A. Young,  the first African American Mayor of Philadelphia, MS, a feat that has great significance for CORE in particular and the country in general.  It was in that town that three CORE members were attacked and murdered. Andy Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney - two Jews and a Black - lost their lives trying to help blacks register to vote. As the first African American Mayor of Philadelphia, James Young is a living symbol of the success of their effort. Michael S. Steele is the first African American Chairman of the Republic National Committee. From 2003 to 2007, he was Lieutenant Governorof Maryland, the first African American elected to statewide office in that state. During his time as Lieutenant Governor, he chaired the Minority Business Enterprise taskforce, actively promoting an expansion of affirmative action in the corporate world. In 2006, Steele made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, losing to Democrat Ben Cardin. He then served as chairman of GOPAC, the political training organization of the Republican party, was a political commentator for Fox News and a partner at the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf before making his bid for RNC Chairman. He co-founded the Republican Leadership Council, a “fiscally conservative and socially inclusive” political action committee in 1993. — JNW


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The Positive Community February 2010

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Taking It to the Next Level

Baptist Ministers Conference of Newark elects woman president By g.r. mattox


he Baptist Ministers Conference of Newark and Vicinity (BMC) began a new chapter in its 100-year history when Rev. Elizabeth “Liz” Campbell was elected to head that organization. Campbell, pastor of Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Montclair, is the first woman to be elected Rev. Elizabeth Campbell to the presidency. She joined BMC in 2002 and has served in several positions including second vice-president. Last month she and her 13-member cabinet were installed as a near-capacity crowd filled the sanctuary of Saint Paul Baptist Church in Montclair to witness the solemn ceremony. Rev. Guy Campbell, president of the General Baptist Convention of New Jersey and pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church, Palmyra, NJ, presided over the ceremony, while Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, Jr., pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Newark, NJ, preached the installation sermon. A fellowship of Baptist ministers, BMC members meet to share ideas among members through sermons, presentations and papers. It is a time for ministers to get together to refresh, regroup and share ideas and a place for growth, mentoring and networking. Other clergy participating in the installation service included Rev. Dr. Calvin E. Owens, Community Protestant Baptist Church, Bronx, NY; Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack; Rev. Dr. Harold E. Pinkston, Professor Emeritus, Ohio Wesleyan U.; Rev. Dr. M. Francis Manning-Fontaine, New Hope Baptist Church, Hackensack and Rev. Dr. Walter L. Parrish, III, Union Baptist Church, Montclair, who noted that the organization elected to its highest post the daughter of a minister who was turned down for membership “because she was a woman.” Representatives from the community included Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried, Montclair councilperson Dr. Renee Baskerville, Newark City Council President Mildred Crump and State Senator Nia Gill who recited a poem, “Wise Advice from Mother Teresa.” Rev. Campbell comes to the position with varied and impeccable credentials. Through the twists and turns that make up the life of Elizabeth Campbell, one thing is sure; she was called to

profiles preach the Gospel. As a child, Campbell, went door-to-door in her Montclair neighborhood, encouraging people to go to church. She was a guest speaker at area churches and preached to her childhood friends. Her father, the late Rev. James Jackson, founded Rising Mt. Zion; her mother, who as noted above, was rejected by the Conference, the late Rev. Dr. Myrile Jackson, became pastor after her husband’s death. Campbell’s call to preach was confirmed while she was a teenager attending the Baptist Summer Assembly in Bordentown, NJ. Guidance from several prominent missionaries led to her decision to become a medical missionary. Preparing for what she thought would be her life’s work, she attended Simmons College in Boston, earned a nursing diploma from New England Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in Boston, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy and a master’s degree in Social Services from Boston University. Attending Fairview Baptist Church in Cambridge, MA she recalls noticing that the young people were not involved in the service. “I saw a lot of the young people coming in and just sitting around, looking bored,” she said, so she started a junior church that emulated the regular church. “Whatever we did, we did with them in mind. I was dealing with my desire and my call to be a pastor and a minister,” she mused, “and at that time females were not ministers in the Baptist Church.” But back at school, it was not an easy time for Liz. It was the 1950’s and experiencing overt racism on campus, she changed her mind about being a missionary. At the time she was the only black female on campus and when she arrived at the college she was separated from the other freshman students. When she went into the bathroom, other students left; when she walked to class or the cafeteria, some students stepped off the sidewalk to avoid her. She ate alone. She fought to stop a musical that included the Stephen Foster tune “Old Black Joe.” “Within the first couple of months of living on campus, my advisor called me in and told me I was not college material;” she recalled. “I would never make it and I should go home—stop wasting my parent’s money; what I needed to do was take up a vocation like cooking or sewing.” After a long distance call to her mother, Liz made the decision to tough it out. At graduation the advisor who told her she wouldn’t make it handed her the degree. The experience caused her to change her mind about becoming a missionary and going to far off places. “The American Baptists were courting me to become the first African American missionary and they were mentoring me in what the mission field was like, but with what was happening in the country and at my own school, I could not see myself going to another country carrying a message when a message needed to be held forth here.” She married and moved to Cleveland, OH, where she directed programs in family and childcare. In the early 80s, along with several social workers, Campbell established Harambee Services for Black Families, an innovative adoption agency that included a pioneercontinued on next page February 2010 The Positive Community


THE ONE AND ONLY PASTOR In a year of Jubilee By g.r. mattox


he golden anniversary of Faith Temple Original Freewill Baptist Church #1 is as much a milestone for the church as it is a devotionfilled testament of its founder. It is also an example of some anointed staying power. Pastor Limmie Nathanial Forbes founded the church in East Orange along with four others in December 1959. Bishop Forbes remains Pastor and Founder 50 years later— a man full of love and concern who is known to proclaim to members and friends, “I love you more than you do me — and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Faith Temple, aptly named for it was truly founded by the five individuals upon faith and not by sight, has been in the same location for 40 years and the church has not experienced a split in its 50-year history. With 800 on its membership roll, the church is also proud and blessed to act as overseer of 33 other churches and 20 schools in Haiti, the Caribbean and Africa. In his desire to personally spread the word of God, Bishop Forbes founded Faith Temple #2 in Maryland, and in recent years, the Faith Temple extension church in Wilson, NC, populated with members of both Faith Temple #1 and #2 who have retired and relocated to communities from Virginia down to Georgia. The church’s Jubilee anniversary was celebrated with three days of worship services featuring guest ministers including Rev. Reginald Jackson, St. Matthews AME Church, Orange, NJ; Dr. Byron Lennon, Divinity Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ; Bishop A.C. Speakman, Bethel House of God, Decatur, GA and Bishop Robert Blount, Union Gospel Tabernacle United Holiness Church, Newark, NJ. Events also included a Friday evening banquet held at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, NJ, with over 300 in attendance — many coming from as far as California for what was described as a great spiritual celebration. After the Sunday morning service and before the final afternoon worship, the church served a full dinner in the fellowship hall and annex. While Faith Temple has evolved over its 50 years, the challenge to trust God, stand on His promises and be firm in faith has left many rewarded and blessed. Congressman Donald Payne, who claims attendance at every anniversary for the past 10 years, praised Bishop Forbes, the steadfast congregation and the spirited Sunday morning service: “Anyone who has had 50 years of anything is a miracle!,” he said.” Rev. Julius R. Scruggs


The Positive Community February 2010

Founder and Pastor L.N. Forbes has led Faith Temple OFW Baptist Church for 50 years.

The Next Level continued from previous page

ing program for teen fathers. “We saw that our children were in institutions or foster care because it was said that Blacks did not adopt.” Started as a recruitment agency it became a licensed adoption agency. “We moved to educate and assist the families that did adopt, especially children with special needs,” she said, “and speed up the adoption process.” Campbell acknowledged her calling to preach the Gospel publicly in 1995 at her home church in Montclair. Four years later after serving as a lay minister she was licensed to preach at Rising Mt. Zion and two years afterward the church, which has over 100 members, called her to be its pastor. Currently pursuing further studies at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Rev. Campbell is a member of the Montclair Clergy Association and the immediate past president. “We’re honored to share her energy and leadership capabilities in whatever way the Lord leads her,” said Rising Mt Zion Deacon Calvin Jackson. “We’re grateful the Conference found that she was of the caliber to lead them. That says a lot.” The Rev. Dr. Leo H. Graham, Pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church, New Brunswick, N.J., and President Emeritus of BMC believes that strong leadership will continue under Rev. Campbell’s watch. “I believe she’s a God sent woman and I seriously believe that she is going to take the Conference to another level,” he said. “One thing that is crucial is that the brothers are leaning towards and supporting her; she knows where she’s going and she’s headed in the right direction, and we’re going to employ every effort to support her. Our conference needs a leader like her.”

Postive Community_feb010_half_Layout 1 2/3/10 5:49 PM Page 1

Wall Street Project Returns to NYC 2010

MAJOR EVENT SPONSORS, CORPORATE EXHIBITORS & VENDORS Don’t miss this great opportunity to be a part of the

North East’s largest public summer festival:

Rev. Susan Johnson Cooke, Rev. Jesse Jackson and honoree Gov. David Paterson



Honoree, WLIB’s Rev. Hezekiah Walker


“A Great Day In Harlem” Saluting Percy Sutton


NYC Economic & Business Development Conference

Jackie Jackson, WBLS’ Dr. Bob Lee and Malaak Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X

Urban Fashion Showcase


NYC Senior Citizens Day SATURDAY, AUGUST 14th

“Summer in the City” • College Fair and Expo • “Dancin’ in the Streets” • Urban Fashion Show • “Uptown Saturday Nite” Saluting Teddy Pendergrass


HARLEM DAY Children’s Festival •

A crowd shot of HARLEM DAY

Saluting “The Children of Haiti”

•NYC Health Village •Outdoor Auto Show •Tri-State Jr. Tennis Championships • 3 Stages of Live Entertainment

Michael Garner, MTA Diversity chief and Adrian Council


The Family Health Walk-A-Thon & The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run

The start of the Harlem 5k Run


Jazz Great Ornette Coleman

Political consultant Lloyd Douglas

JULY 25TH - AUGUST 25TH For sponsorship, marketing, sales, or corporate exhibit information please call Ms. T. Smalling or Mr. E. Causey at 212-862-8477

visit us at



nce again, Rainbow Push held its Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit, January 13-15 at the Sheraton New York Hotel in Manhattan. The event commemorates the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and seeks to narrow what its founder, Rev. Jesse Jackson calls “an opportunity gap” in American business. Rev. Jackson believes that “…if the struggle for the American Dream were a symphony it would contain four movements: First Movement, abolition of slavery; Second Movement, end of legal segregation; Third Movement, voting rights for all; and the Fourth Movement–in which we currently live–is access to capital and technology. This is the unfinished movement.” The Wall Street Project is intent on finishing that movement through research, education, negotiation, and demonstration (if neccesary). February 2010 The Positive Community



T e achi n g , L e ar n i n g , M aki n g a Diff e r e n c e

And The $25,000 Milken Educator Award Goes To... Newark Tech High School Principal

Baruti Kafele!

By Barbara Bowers


Congratulating Newark Tech High School Principal Baruti Kafele (4th from left) on receiving a $25,000 Milken Educator Award are (L-R)) Milken Family Foundation Chairman Lowell Milken, New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy, Essex County Vocational Technical School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Pennella, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVencenzo Jr. and Newark Mayor Cory Booker

hen Principal Baruti Kafele planned the schoolwide assembly at Newark Technical High School, he had no idea he was actually setting the stage for his own surprise party! Unbeknownst to him, the dignitaries on hand, including Milken Family Foundation Chairman Lowell Milken, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy, had come to the school to present a $25,000 Milken Educator Award to the principal whose leadership has transformed Newark Tech from a poorly performing school into one of the nation’s finest. Dubbed “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards were conceived by Lowell Milken to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter the teaching profession. Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process. Each


The Positive Community February 2010

year exceptional teachers, principals and specialists— recommended without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education—are surprised with the news of their awards. “Highly effective educators are the human capital that will equip America’s youth in this increasingly competitive global economy,” said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. “By shining a national spotlight on exceptional people like Baruti Kefele, the Milken Educator Awards send a powerful message of the critical role that talented teachers play in preparing young people for a bright future.” Just a few years ago, Newark Technical High School was a severely underachieving school labeled a “School in Need of Assistance.” When Baruti Kafele accepted the job as principal of the vocational school, he saw opportunity rather than obstacles. In just four years, Continued on page 67

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“As a student at Bergen Community College, I have developed strong leadership and public speaking skills that extend beyond the realm of the classroom. With the support of my professors, I am confident that I can build a successful career as an entrepreneur.” Keisha Branch Student Bergen Community College

Bergen Community College was Keisha’s No.1 choice when starting her journey to success. Bergen Community College is more than just an academic institution to Keisha Branch. It’s a place where community matters. As president of the College’s Business and Finance Club and vice president of the Honors Association, Keisha is not only a top student, she’s making a difference. Keisha demonstrates her commitment to public service through volunteer initiatives. This spring, under the guidance of Bergen Professor Dr. Ursula Parrish Daniels, Keisha will serve as a mentor with the National Black Child Development Institute to help improve the quality of life for black children.






February 2010 The Positive Community


Verizon Partners for Education—Thinkfinity Innovative website makes learning fun

By R. L. Witter


ids and teens all love Verizon phones and highspeed internet service, often to their parents’ frustration. Now, parents can feel better about the hours their children spend online and connect with great educational resources, thanks to Verizon’s website. is the cornerstone of Verizon Foundation's literacy, education and technology initiatives and literally offers something for everyone! makes it easy for educators to enhance their classroom instruction with lesson plans, interactive activities and other online resources. It also provides a wealth of educational and literacy resources for students, parents and after-school programs. The site features 55,000 standards-based K-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools and reference materials with content that is accurate, up-to-date, unbiased and appropriate for students. It’s also fun! The game “Perfect Pitch” allows kids to choose different instruments from various eras; kids can create their own songs and mixes using one or several instruments, which just might encourage them to pick up a real instrument. Other games focus on Math, Science, Geography and Literacy. There is even a “Comic book Creator” to build, name and animate your very own superhero. But Thinkfinity is not just another website that offers games for kids and plenty of advertising and pop-ups. It was developed in partnership with several leading national and state education organizations and because of those partnerships as well as funding from The Verizon Foundation, users can enjoy the site free of all advertisements. Innovative activities and lesson plans are grade-


The Positive Community February 2010

specific for easy navigation and are always aligned with state standards. In addition to playing games, students can utilize the Homework Help section for assistance in writing reports, essays and letters. Parents can use Homework Help to reinforce specific subjects, including Language Arts, Social Studies and the Arts. The Social Studies materials show particular diversity with offerings on Puerto Rican Culture, Black History Month, Ancient Egyptian Culture and an adorable story, “Lizzie’s Morning,” which follows a young girl as she gets ready for school in the morning and discusses the various countries involved in the invention and manufacturing of the various things she uses, does and eats. Educators can register to download materials and information for lesson plans. Subjects range from the traditional “3 Rs” to current events such as The Olympics and information about earthquakes. Teachers can take advantage of online training and forums to share experiences and ideas. There are even in-person training events scheduled throughout the year for teachers to connect and learn. Bringing together content from The Smithsonian’s History Explorer, National Geographic’s Xpedition, the National Education Association, Literacy Network and several other established education leaders, Thinkfinity offers students, parents and teachers viable tools to become involved in and be able to aid their children’s education. Beyond homework and last-minute reports, the interactive tools make for great summertime or rainy day fun for children and adults alike. Visit www. to get started today!


things families can do to help children succeed in school

1. Get involved in your child’s school. 2. Make a quiet place at home where your child can study. 3. Limit how much and what kind of TV programs your child can watch. 4. Make a family reading hour, a time when everyone reads. 5. Have books and magazines around your home. 6. Call teachers early if your child has a problem. 7. Support school rules. 8. Tell your child that studying is important. 9. Encourage your child to do his or her best. 10. Set goals your child can achieve and praise his or her progress. When families and school staff work together, our children are the winners.

Joyce Powell, President Barbara Keshishian, Vice President Wendell Steinhauer, Secretary-Treasurer Vincent Giordano, Executive Director Richard Gray, NJEA Assistant Executive Director/Research Director

Let’s Go Forward New Leadership for the National Baptist Convention sees a bright future By Glenda Cadogan


lected the 17th President of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., Rev. Dr. Julius R. Scruggs articulated a well-defined vision that has at its center, a precise message to trust in God. In fact, all of his 49 years in the ministry and most of his life before that, Rev. Scruggs embraced as his personal motto—“God can be trusted.” This faith is anchored in the scripture—Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5,6 His thematic vision for an absolute and complete trust in God is one that he hopes will be cradled by the ministers of his administration who have been charged with leading the 124-year-old organization for the next five years. “As president, what I need are people of intelligence and good morals who trust God and so can buy into this vision,” says Rev. Scruggs. “Because I know that as we trust God together, He can and will do great things through all of us.”   With a powerful board of directors sincerely behind him, Rev. Scruggs is now focused on accomplishing a multi-layered vision for the organization. Chief among them is building a stronger and more unified convention. “The strength of our convention lies with cooperation and unification among our churches,” he says. “In addition, we need to strengthen our seven mission stations and our home mission board so we can empower our churches as well as help them to cultivate ministries.” Rev. Scruggs identified the refurbishing of the decades old building that houses the publishing board as one of the main projects to be undertaken by the home mission board. “This stands out as one of our major challenges estimated to cost several million dollars,” he noted.   Under Rev. Scruggs’ leadership, social justice and related issues will also be in focus. “We will strengthen our public policy committee, which addresses such issues in a way that we become advocates for national issues such as President Obama’s healthcare program that he is trying to push through congress,” he explained. Finally, the American Baptist College —the Christian education arm of the convention—is on the table to receive a shot in the arm with increased monthly contributions over the next five years. With a membership of seven and a half million, the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. is the largest and oldest African American religious organization in the country. Evidently, leading such a powerful organization at a time like this is no trifling task. But with a campaign theme of Solidarity with the Savior, Rev. Scruggs received an over-

Rev. Dr. Julius Scruggs

whelming leadership mandate at the 129th session of the convention in September 2009. He stands ready and more than equal to the task of leading this Joshua generation. In addition to a rich history of being a preacher’s preacher, he also exudes a kind of ‘Christ-like’ humility and compassion. “My leadership style is one of a servant leader which I developed from the Bible,” he told The Positive Community. “Jesus was a servant leader and so, I lead by his example. As a servant of the people, my aim is to address their needs as wisely and methodically as possible.” It is this same Christ-like approach to leadership and his abiding faith in God that has helped Rev. Scruggs’ home church – the First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL—to grow and prosper. Rev. Scruggs has led the congregation for the past 33 years. Known as a spirited and community-oriented congregation, the church boasts a membership of 2,500 and is one of the beacons of light in its community. “We believe in giving back to our community,” says Rev. Scruggs. “So as a church we give a tithe of our budget for community, mission and education causes through various sources including the National Baptist Convention. We have also been working with Habitat for Humanity and to date have built 17 houses in our community.”  As president of the National Baptist Convention, Rev. Scruggs follows in the footsteps of mighty men of God who have led the convenFebruary 2010 The Positive Community


NBC Leadership continued from previous page

tion during its rich history. They have left indelible marks in the sands of time and tangible evidence of their accomplishments. And though he is well on the path to creating his own legacy with the NBC, Rev. Scruggs believes that his mission will be fulfilled if, at the end of his tenure, people learn to trust God. “When people look back at my administration, I want them to say with assurance that under the leadership of Julius Scruggs, the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. was strengthened and that we learned to trust God more fully and obey him more completely. And in doing so we saw God work miracles in all ministries of our convention.” And for this cause, Rev. Scruggs continues to trust God with all his heart and acknowledge Him in all His way


ith more than 100 years of combined service in God’s ministry, two stalwart preachers from the Northeast area have been elected to leadership positions in the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. Rev. Washington L. Lundy and Rev. Dr. Calvin McKinney were elected as VP Northeastern Region and General Secretary respectively at the 129th session of the convention held last year in Nashville, TN. They form a part of the formidable Rev. Dr. Julius R. Scruggs’ administration that will lead the convention until 2014. Both men expressed their commitment to carrying out the vision of Rev. Scruggs as he so eloquently outlined in his presidential message, “Let’s Go Forward.”


A native of Virginia, Rev. Lundy has been in the ministry for the past 68 years. He has been the pastor of Evening Star Baptist Church, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn for 42 of those years. In his words, he has been “married 42 years to Evening Star Baptist Church and 52 years to my wife Dorothy.” The 700-member congregation organized in 1916 has a unique history. In its 94 years, the church has had only two pastors and though small, is established as a Brooklyn institution. Called to the ministry at the age of seven, Rev. Lundy says he has known no other life but that of service to God. “This is my life,” he says. “Serving God is all that I know how to do.” And at age 75, this life of service continues as VP of the Northeastern Region of National Baptist Convention USA Inc. with responsibility for state conventions from Washington, D.C. to Massachusetts. However, according to Rev. Lundy, his primary responsibility is to know what Rev. Scruggs needs to successfully market the National Baptist Convention and work to get it done. “Our goal is to work

L-R: Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, president General Baptist Convention of NJ; Rev. Washington Lundy who is also president of the Empire Baptist Missionary Convention of New York State, Rev. Scruggs and Rev. McKinney


The Positive Community February 2010

NBC Leadership continued from previous page

harmoniously as churches in the Northeastern Region to fulfill the wishes of Rev. Scruggs,” he says. ”When we work together, there are no limits. If we are prepared in head and hearts, then there are no barriers that can hold us back.” His motto moving forward is concise, but powerful—“Together for the cause of Jesus Christ.”


It was on a Monday morning 40 years ago that Rev. McKinney accepted his calling to the ministry. It had been five years prior that he began wrestling with the decision. Finally, at age 17, he submitted to God’s anointing and stepped into the pulpit. As General Secretary of the NBC, he and the president are the official representatives of the convention. His years of service as pastor of the prominent Calvary Baptist Church of New Jersey at Garfield, along with other leadership roles and a ministry steeped in social activism, have prepared him to take on this leadership role. A son of New Jersey soil, Rev. McKinney received the pulpit at Calvary Baptist 37 years ago when the church had just 150 members. Now, the high-spirited congregation of 1,500 is known by its mission to ‘teach and grow.’ However, this ‘growing’ is not only defined by the increase in members in the pews or by the construction of a $12 million edifice, but extends to the larger community in which the church is located. “With our mission—which we call TAG—fully in focus, we have literally raised the village around us,” says Rev. McKinney. With this history of teaching and growing congregations, Rev. McKinney is well equipped to carry out the vision of Rev. Scruggs. “Our president has determined that rather than casting an individual vision, he would embrace a vision of collaboration that would be developed by the entire executive team,” he says. ”Our aim is to look at how best we can represent eight million people and be a voice for Baptists, in the world.” And when his term is over, he wishes that his legacy will be that he made a literal difference. “I want people to say that I helped to raise standards and bring hope to the people who make up this denomination and the communities in which our churches exist, ” he adds. Working together with Rev. Scruggs at the helm of their National Convention, both men seem ready to face the red seas of our time and to move forward as God has commanded.

February 2010 The Positive Community


ntion of New Jersey, Inc. The General Baptist Co, nve Jr. C o nve ntio n P res ide nt R ev. D r. Guy Cam p bell s e y 080 65 P .O . Box 4 7 P alm yr a, Ne w Jer (85 6) 824 -94 2 9

1st Vice President Rev. Kenneth D. R. Clayton 139 Albert M. Tyler Place (Carroll Street) Paterson NJ 07501 (973) 345-4309 2nd Vice President Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor 224 First Street Englewood NJ 07631 (201) 568-6369 General Secretary Rev. Dr. Leo H. Graham 68 Greenbrook Drive Columbus, NJ 08022 (609) 324-2751 Assistant Secretary Rev. Dr. Edward D. Harper 143 John Street Lakewood NJ 08701 Treasurer Rev. Dr. Richard Pollard 40 Eastern Pkwy Hillside, NJ 07205 (908) 686-6477 Financial Secretary Rev. Dr. Milton L. Hendricks 829 Tilton Road Pleasantville, NJ 08232 (609) 646-1815 President Emeritus Rev. Dr. Calvin McKinney 217 Passaic Street Garfield NJ 07026 (973) 773-2444 Women’s Auxiliary Mrs. Thelma Scott 107 Baltimore Avenue Bridgeton NJ 08302 (856) 455-3371 Congress of Christian Education Bro. James Clark 1452 Franklin Street Hillside NJ 07205 (973) 926-2365

February, 2010 Past Greetings to the Moderators, Officers, Convention of New Jersey:

ors and Laity of the General Baptist

National President, Rev. Dr. Julius R. It is with much joy that I join with our st Calvin McKinney, our esteemed Northea Scruggs, honorable Secretary, Rev. Dr. ), (NY ion vent Con e t of the Empire Stat Regional Vice-President, and Presiden and adoration to our Lord and Savior se prai in dy, Rev. Dr. Washington Lun Jesus Christ. nd nity during our 32 Annual Worker’s I thank God for the fellowship opportu on hotel in East Brunswick, NJ. In spite Conference weekend at the beautiful Hilt erful learning and joyful worship of the inclement weather, we had a pow cers, Congress leaders, support staff, and experience. Special thanks to the Offi cated service to the Workers participants for your faithful and dedi Conference.”To God Be The Glory”.

four to serve in leadership of approximately Please know that I am humbly grateful can am convinced if we unite in prayer, we hundred New Jersey churches. And, I accomplish our goals. will convene with the St. Luke Baptist As a reminder, the Semi-Annual Session Host 22, 20l0, Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Church in Paterson, NJ, April 20-April erator. Please plan now to attend. Pastor, Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Turner, Mod may God bestow His richest blessings Again, thank you for your support, and upon you. Dr. Guy Campbell, Jr. President ey, Inc General Baptist Convention of New Jers

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

ering God’s Call Theme: From Visions to Victory – Answ m Isaiah 6:8 gelis Evan to Call the ering Answ e: Subthem

Sandy F. Ray Headquarters Building 63 - 65 West 125 Street Harlem, New York

President Scruggs discusses Haiti Relief effort with Deacon Richard Stanard

L–R: Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, First Lady Dorothy Campbell, Rev. Scruggs, First Lady Brendalyn McKinney and Rev. Calvin McKinney

President Campbell Convenes NJ State Christian Education Conference


nder the theme “From Vision to Victory: Preparing Christian Workers for Service,” the Congress of Christian Education hosted its 32nd Annual Workers Conference in East Brunswick, NJ. The twoday conference brought together clergy leadership and laymen from throughout the state. The highlight of the event was an address by Rev. Julius Scruggs, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell is president of the General Baptist Convention of New Jersey.

L-R: Rev. Julius Scruggs greets State Missionary Chairperson Cheryl Riley-Lutz as Sis. Nellie Suggs (center) looks on. Rev. Evan Spagner, dean of Congress of Christian Education Photos: Vincent Bryant

Rev. Washington Lundy and First Lady Dorothy Lundy

Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Jackie Carter, Rev. Leroy Jefferson and Rev. Keith Marshall


The Positive Community February 2010

Reverends John Teabout, Elizabeth Campbell and Milton Byrd

Sis. Linda Martin, Deaconess Dorothy Clark and Congress President Deacon James Clark

St. Luke Baptist Church Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Sr. Pastor Invites you to worship with us for

Ash Wednesday Worship Service Wednesday, February 17 2010, 7:00 pm And For

Guest Preacher Bishop Dennis V. Proctor, Western Episcopal District AME Zion Church

Heritage Sunday Worship Service Sunday, February 28, 2010, 10:00 am Pastor Emeritus New Bethel Baptist Church Washington, DC Former United States Congressman

139 A.M. Tyler Place (Carroll Street) Paterson, NJ 07501 Tel. (973) 345-4309 Fax (973) 345--9454

“A Church Determined to Know Christ and Make Him Known”








27—33 Branford Place • Newark, New Jersey 07102 Phone: (973) 623-4433 • WWW.DANSHATS.COM

February 2010 The Positive Community


Caribbean Flavor in the Air at the Pierre Hotel Annual Awards Gala Of The American Foundation Of The University Of The West Indies Rev. Dennis Dillon and Attorney Clover Barret

L–R: UWI Vice Chancellor E. Nigel Harris, honoree Lowell Hawthorne, UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne & Michael Flanigan, Chairman AFUWI


he record of University of the West Indies in training heads of state is unsurpassed. Nearly every prime minister and president in the English-speaking Caribbean since the 1960s has been a graduate of that prestigious institution. Four of them were honored on January 28, 2010 when the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies held its 13th annual “The Legacy Continues” Award Dinner at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. Prime Ministers David Thompson of Barbados, Dr. Dean Barrow of Belize, Tillman Thomas of Grenada and Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago each received the Legacy Award. “The prime ministers who are being honored are shining examples of the high quality of leadership molded by our university,” said Michael Flanigan, Chair of the Foundation’s Board. Producer/director Spike Lee received the Bob Marley


The Positive Community February 2010

Harry Belafonte Photos: Margot Jordan & T. Rasheed

Ann-Marie Francis, Manager, Air Jamaica

L–R: AFUWI Honorees Sybil F. Chester, Sr. Manager Multicultural Relations, Moet Hennessy USA, Maxine Griffith, Executive V.P. Government & Community Relations, Columbia University, Dr. Karlene ChinQuee, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., Founder, Heartbeats of The World, and Janet Rolle, Executive V.P. Chief Marketing Officer, BET Networks

Award. Sybil Chester, Dr. Carlene Chin-Quee, Maxine Griffith and Janet Rolle received the UWI Vice Chancellor’s Award; and Lowell Hawthorne, Earl Jarrett, Dr. Lesley Kerrisant and R. “Danny Williams were honored as luminaries. Usain Bolt, the multiple 2008 Olympic gold medalist and Dr. Edison O. Jackson, recently retired president of Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, were also honored. Brenda Blackmon, News Anchor, My 9, WWOR-TV, Maurice Dubois, News Anchor, WABC-TV and Lola Ogunnaike, CNN Correspondent served as hosts for the evening. The primary fund-raising arm of the UWI in its capital campaign and other fund-raising efforts in the United States, the American Foundation of the University of the West Indies is provided $350,000 in scholarships and $300,000 in books and equipment to the University during the past three years.


What Church Should Know about Hip-Hop By Antoinette Ellis-Williams


here is growing debate and, indeed, a desire in many churches to pull in the Hip-Hop generation. Before we think everyone with iPods, sagging pants or “mad rap skills” is from that era, bear this in mind: the first wave of Hip-Hop began between 1979 and1982; the second wave from 1983 to 1984. The “fathers” and “mothers” of this cultural and musical genre were born between 1958 and1970, and on average, they are now between the ages of 38 and 52. This is important demographic data to note because we have somehow left this generation out in planning and have lumped them in with anyone “young.” Post hip-hop Generation X-ers are on average between 28–37 years old. These self-proclaimed “new skool” youth voices have picked up the revolutionary message of their predecessors but are even more idiosyncratic than their Hip-Hop elders. They have witnessed more family trauma/dysfunction, urban violence and class warfare, and arguably have not gained the support from traditional community agents, such as the church or schools. Their “church” needs, in many respects must be analyzed through different lenses than older Hip-Hop brothers and sisters. Many old school Hip-hop babies went to church, attended Sunday school and participated in church activities. However, this generation has flipped the script on what it means to “do church”—it is not the church of our mothers, grandmothers or granddaddies.

Forget hymnals and the call to worship liturgy; no need for traditional Sunday school or Bible classes. White hats and ties are not the dress code. The informal, less “religious” mega-church generation is looking for flavor, freedom and honest connections. Remix the beat of repressive tradition and get ready for wireless network churches with jeans, sneakers and green baseball caps on first Sunday (Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin). Tweet and text message the announcements to members, prepare for Bible study filled with doubt, critical inquiry, knowledge and debate. Raise the volume for fusion sounds of jazz, Latin, R&B, rock, contemporary, country, pop and gospel sounds in service. India Arie’s song “There’s Hope” says “Paradise is in your mind… don’t have to pay to laugh, better thank God for that... There’s hope… taking back my power today . . . stand up for your rights . . .” That is the Gospel message. Facebook evangelism is the way to spread the Word. Place a stool in the pulpit and deliver the Word with poetic and rhythmic beats. Meet in the café with cats who want to speak their piece, shed tears and find a way to hold on. Practice the street message echoed in the songs of Run DMC, Public Enemy, Talib Kweli, The Roots and Jesus. It is more than flash over substance; rather the methodology relies heavily on the traditions of Big Momma’s pots of collard greens, grits and cornbread; warm and comforting. There is an aching for deeper relationships with God and saints; substance over style. Hip-hop voices have been lost and misunderstood in the shuffle, squeezed out between baby boomers and Generation Y. The nomadic Hip-Hop generation is bouncing from church to church in search of connection, relevance of yesterday’s church and answers to the large issues of unemployment, recession, war, global warming, discrimination, violence, miseducation, and freedom. Many of my Hip-Hop peers are opting out of the traditional churches and creating new cutting edge places of worship—in their living rooms, in coffee clubs, or in cyber space, wanting desperately to know God. Jesus was Hip-Hop before there was Hip-Hop music. His words were rhythmic and poetic, able to reach the souls of men and women. His rap was tight and on point. He walked with dirt on his feet, travelling from place to place to set men free. In the beginning was the Word; the Word was Christ. Are we a church ready to walk with dirt on our feet and a message in our soul? February 2010 The Positive Community


McDonald’s & BET’s Terrence J Help Students Pay for College


onald McDonald House Charities and BET personality Terrence J are spreading the word to high school juniors and seniors in the tri-state area about $500,000 in available scholarships. Terrence J (TJ) got his start working at a McDonald’s restaurant in Rocky Mountain, NC at the age of 14 and says that talking to youngsters about attending college is “coming full circle for me. I worked at McDonald’s. Terrence received a degree in Mass Communications in 2004 from North Carolina A&T. He is now the host of BET’s 106 & Park. He’ll be making his feature film debut in Stomp the Yard 2, followed by Burlesque with Cher, Christina Aguilera and Kristin Bell. TJ, a member of HarlemCares, is currently visiting area schools for McDonald’s “Believe It and Achieve It

By R.L. Witter

tour.” Said TJ of the experience, “It’s the greatest part of my year. I get to go into schools and I sit in the middle of the audience and have a conversation with the kids and talk to them frankly. They can ask me anything about my college experience. I give them the one-on-one to encourage them.” This is TJ’s third year doing the tour and he explained that “as long as I am working in the entertainment field in the New York area, I plan to continue doing it.” Ever humble despite new and larger projects happening in his career, TJ reminds students of the importance of education, “If you want a long lasting career in any field, it’s important to have a good foundation—that’s an education.” Scholarship eligibility requires applicants to be currently enrolled high school seniors who are eligible to attend a 2-year or 4-year college,

university or vocational/ technical school with a complete course of study. Applicants must have at least one parent of African American or Black Caribbean heritage; must be a legal U.S. resident, be less than 21 years of age, have a minimum 2.7 GPA and reside within the geographic boundaries of the RMHC-NYTSA Chapter. The application deadline is February 16, 2010, so for further information about the program and scholarship call 877249-6262 or visit now!

The History of Black History Month


id you ever wonder when we began celebrating Black History Month or why we do it during the month of February? Many comedians have joked about February being the shortest month and “The Man” being behind that, but whose idea was it? What prompted the idea? That honor and foresight is accredited to Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Dr. Woodson was born the youngest of 15 children to parents who were former slaves. He worked in Kentucky coal mines as a child and didn’t begin high school until he was 20 years old, but he went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard by the time he was 37 years old. Woodson decided to take on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation's history and established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) in 1915. A year later he founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. Woodson was motivated to form “Negro History Week” in 1926, after his studies showed him that despite being part of American culture and history for hundreds of years, African Americans


The Positive Community February 2010

were rarely included in American history books beyond being mentioned as savages and slaves. “Negro History Week” was started at a time when black history had barely begun to be studied or even documented. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American experience and whom he admired—Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Eventually, the week-long celebration was expanded to cover the entire month of February and became Black History Month. There is an annual celebration of Dr. Woodson’s life at his home in Washington, D.C. —a red brick house on 9th Street, which is now a National Historic Landmark. More than just a historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson travelled throughout Europe and Asia, studied at the Sorbonne, taught school in America and the Philippines and authored several books. Dr. Woodson believed “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” It was with that belief that he became known as “The Father of Black History” instilling pride and inspiration in the knowledge of who they are and who and where they came from for generations of African Americans. —R.L.W.

Culture M u sic , A rt & L it e rat u r e

BlackTop Circus: A New Generation Big Top Family entertainment with a Hip Hop Flare: It’s all positive By John W. Ellis, IV


he BlackTop Circus, a unique family variety show where Hip Hop meets Cirque du Soleil, debuts this month at the Paradise Theater, 2403 Grand Concourse, in the Bronx from February 26 through March 12. Although the BlackTop Circus is relatively new to the stage, the show is the outgrowth of the King Charles Troupe, a team of unicycle riding, basketball dunking performers who have been electrifying family audiences at circuses for more than 40 years. In addition to the King Charles Troupe, the variety show features aerial gymnastics, juggling, break dancing and other acts that are woven together with fun, laughter and positive Hip Hop music. “The BlackTop Circus is phase two of the King Charles Troupe story,” says Winston Britton, co-founder of the group. “My brother (Charles) always wanted to start a black circus. He always pondered the question: ‘Why do we need to be artists rather than entrepreneurs?’ He wanted to own a circus.” Britton’s brother, Charles King, originally founded the high-energy basketball unicycle group as a response to the social challenges he saw in his own community. He demanded that participants follow guidelines based on discipline, direction and Christian principles. When King died in a car accident, the dream of a positive place for African American youth to express themselves passed to a

new leadership—Britton and cofounder Ken Jones. Britton has experience as a circus performer (he did a stint with Siegfried and Roy and still teaches youth to ride unicycles), but focused in recent years on starting a new brand of family variety show featuring the positive elements and strengths of Hip Hop culture and music, and presenting them in the playful yet professional arena of the circus. Continued on page 52 February 2010 The Positive Community


Continued from page 51 In 2002 the city of Mahwah, New Jersey, invited the King Charles Troupe to perform. “That’s where the dream actually started,” Britton says. “That is where the BlackTop Circus was born.” Britton and Jones took the opportunity to expand the show and added other performance acts, uplifting Hip Hop music and an MC. The King Charles Troupe continued to perform solo acts, as well, and performed in Germany with the internationally known show “Afrika! Afrika!” from 2005 to 2009. In late 2009 Britton began discussing the BlackTop Circus experience with Paradise Theater owners, who wanted to add to their list of concert events something the entire family could enjoy. Performing at the Paradise Theater is significant, Britton says, because the Bronx is the birthplace of both the BlackTop Circus and Hip Hop. Keeping true to Charles King’s vision of empowering youth through their own talents, the BlackTop Circus expresses the positive dance, fashion, music and art elements of Hip Hop culture. “If you want to see a circus show people have to go downtown, but Paradise Theater is in the middle of the Bronx community,” Britton says. “We want to bring the circus to the community.” “I think that a circus is the last wholesome form of entertainment,” says former Ringling Bros. animal trainer Emanuel “Junior” Ruffin. “You don’t have to hold your kids’ ears when you go.”


The Positive Community February 2010

This year the BlackTop Circus added several acts including: King Charles Troupe jumping rope on unicycles • The   Elliot Zinet, a Hip Hop illusionist •  Tip & Tap, two break dancers and a drummer • who have appeared in an Alicia Keys video and NBA half-time shows an Ethiopian juggler who performed in Europe •  Addi,   The Kenyan Safarai Exhibition Group • who perform tumbling and human sculpture Blair, an aerial gymnast from the San Francisco Bay Area •  Veronica Sousa, a Puerto Rican contortionist •  Ricardo   Rob Walton, performing BMX bike tricks • Ruffin broke race and performance barriers in the segregated South in the 1950s by directing up to 15 lions and tigers in a cage, and recently became the first African American inducted into the prestigious Sarasota, Fla., St. Armand’s Circle “Ring of Fame” for prominent circus performers. “The BlackTop Circus is a great thing, and there is a demand for this,” Ruffin says. “It gives people a lift in life.” “We want to make this an inspirational message,” Britton says. “We want kids to be inspired to be anything they want to be.” For more information about the BlackTop Circus, call 917-434-2211 or visit For information about tickets, contact the Paradise Theater at 718220-1015 or visit

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The Positive Community February 2010

BY PATRICIA BALDWIN UNSUNG: THE GLORY OF BLACK GOSPEL MUSIC k, its Black History Month and you know that gospel music is the root of the colored folk— excuse me— African-American people. It’s a known fact that we have influenced all of the popular music genres. This month we pay homage to those who paved the way and give us reason not take this gift for granted. So in honor of Black History and in representation of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I give you three gospel music legends (who are also musically, professionally and geographically connected) on my The Glory of Black Gospel CD. Alex Bradford (1926–1978) was born in Bessemer, AL and sang with various groups before organizing his own allmale chorus, the Bradford Specials in 1954. Bro. Bradford was noted as the creator of the mass choir. He is responsible for being an influence in the careers of Bob Marley, Little Richard and Ray Charles. He moved to the north to fellowship and resided in NJ. While the choir director at Newark’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, Bradford gave a big push in assisting cousins Cissy Houston and Dionne Warwick to their destiny in music. This gifted alto could land a falsetto soprano at the drop of a dime if he had to. He was a minister, but he also took Gospel music out of the church. Min. Bradford enjoyed living life and sharing his gift as he sang in Langston Hughes’ musical “Black Nativity” (1961). During the 1970s, he founded the Creative Movement Repertory Company. While living in New Jersey, he wrote music and directed musicals. One to remember is Your Arms Too Short to Box with God. Unfortunately it was while this musical was in production that he died. You may remember some of his songs: “One Step,” “If You See My Savior,” and “It’s A Highway To Heaven, “ but the most recognized is “Too Close.” Rosetta Tharpe (1921–1973) was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. The daughter of Katie Bell, a traveling missionary and Gospel shouter who loved to sing. Ms. Thorpe won over producers at Decca Records when she was just 17years-old. She recorded memorable greats like “Precious Lord,” “End of My Journey,” and “Down by the Riverside.” In 1944, she began recording with


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pianist Sammy Price. Their first collaboration, “Strange Things Happening Every Day” even cracked Billboard’s Race Records Top 10. She’s also known for her very public marriage to Russell Morrison in 1951. The ceremony was held at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. Thorpe worked with greats like Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman and recorded with Marie Knight to make “I’m Bound For Higher Ground” and “Up Above My Head.” She continued to tour into the mid 60’s with such gospel stalwarts as The Caravans, James Cleveland, and Prof. Alex Bradford. Sister Tharpe suffered a stroke and lost her speech, but it could not stop her from singing. It was another stroke that led to her death in 1973. Known for her bluesy sound and not being afraid to cross the line into nightclubs and big bands, she is said to be the first great recording star of gospel music in the late 1930s. She was often called the “original soul sister” of recorded music. This guitar-playing, songwriting, Gospel-singing great influenced Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. Marie Knight (1925–2009) A native of Sanford, Florida, she was raised in Newark, NJ. She got her start as a member of her church’s youth choir and was soon elevated to soloist and taught herself to play piano. Like her close friend,

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, she was also signed by Decca Records and by the late 1940s, Marie and Rosetta split to pursue separate musical projects—Marie to do solo gospel work. Then in the 1960’s Marie had several R&B hits, touring with the likes of Brooke Benton, the Drifters, and Clyde McPhatter. After a hiatus in 1970’s Marie rededicated herself to Gospel music and became a minister at the Gates of Prayer Church in New York City. She made a comeback when she recorded “Shout Sister, Shout: A Tribute To Sister Rosetta Tharpe.” After that, she toured regularly. In 2007 Mark Carpentieri, her manager, put together Knight’s first full length album in over 25 years called Let Us Get Together. The record was a critical success with great reviews from The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer and many more. In August 2009, at the peak of her comeback career, she died in New York City due to complications from pneumonia. Long live the music of all legends who sing of His Glory! Our hearts go out to the families of: Theodore DeReese “Teddy“ Pendergrass (3/26/50–1/13/10) & the victims of Haiti’s disaster . . . in the time of trouble, He will give you a song, Show yourself mighty-show yourself strong. (Albert Jamison and the NY Mass Choir)

February 2010 The Positive Community


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The Positive Community February 2010

RUN FOR HAITI Saturday February 20, 2010 9am/Central Park

Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti and to our neighbors in the New York-area Haitian communities. To show our support, New York Road Runners and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation are sponsoring a four-mile Run and Walk for Haiti in Central Park on February 20. There will be live music and post-race activities for families including free kids’ races. So please join us and show your support for the people of Haiti in their time of need. For more information, go to


Photos © Monique Carboni



February 2010 The Positive Community


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Symphony Hall Holiday Party


ewark Symphony Hall recently hosted its Community Holiday Party for a Cause in the Terrace Ballroom. Newark native and star of stage and screen, tap dancer Savion Glover and his mom, vocalist Yvette Glover donated their time and talent to lead a drive for children’s toys, school supplies and winter clothes. The program was rounded out with performances by the Newark Boy’s Chorus, Dr. Albert Lewis and his Gospel Ensemble, Brothers 2+2 and dance music by DJ Slim. The event was sponsored by The Positive Community and PNC Bank.

Savion Glover and members of the Newark Boys’ Choir

Yvette Glover

Savion Glover and Dr. Albert Lewis

Phillip Thomas, executive director, Newark Symphony Hall with sponsors Adrian Council, The Positive Community and Artie Collins, PNC Bank

Photos: Wali Amin Muhammad

Albert Lewis and his Gospel Ensemble

Savion Glover

February 2010 The Positive Community


HOPEFUL NEWS FROM HAITI Text and Photos by Bob Gore


aiti seems to only appear in the news when misfortune unfolds. For many, this poorest country in our hemisphere is defined by natural disasters and loss of life. Prior to recent events, the last major reporting occurred in November of 2008 when four successive hurricanes killed 800 in one month. With the exception of occasional accounts of those who died at sea while fleeing poverty, the media devotes little attention to the country. Sadly, bad news has more sticky appeal, remaining in our consciousness and conversations long after the events are reported. On Tuesday January 12, 2010 a massive 7.0 earthquake leveled much of the capital city, Port Au Prince, and killed hundreds of thousands in the nation’s most densely populated area. News reporting, especially television coverage, galvanized viewers worldwide who generously responded with record donations. The round-the-clock reporting from the most damaged areas left many with the impression that the whole country was in shambles. Though the toll was massive, losses were concentrated largely in the southern region. Beyond the quake’s center, people continue to toil daily against a hostile environment and intractable poverty as they have for decades.


The Positive Community February 2010

With the help of many, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) have been working to build a better future for Haitians. One such organization I’ve come to know is Bethlehem Ministry, an all volunteer, US charity raising funds for programs in northern Haiti, an area dotted with small, very poor towns with a per capita income of under $2 per day. Bethlehem Ministry began working in Haiti a quarter century ago and has produced schools, nutrition programs and micro loans for budding entrepreneurs. It has also developed a bio fuel program designed to reduce reliance on charcoal, the major cause of tree loss, the cause of severe soil erosion and flooding that plagues much of the country during the rainy season. The Ministry’s most recent achievement is the completion of its clinic, offering medical help to scores of patients daily. Thanks to the generosity of individuals and churches, Bethlehem Ministry is preparing to receive a greatly increased patient count. Survivors of the horrific quake are arriving in significant numbers with ailments not previously seen at our location. Several suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. One man was brought in with a partially amputated leg.

worldnews Though the earthquakes did not directly affect the north country, a significant ripple effect is occurring. In the week following the quake, our doctors performed thirty sight- restoring cataract surgeries, fed hundreds in area villages and cared for many expectant mothers. The following account is especially noteworthy. Without fanfare, and with no outside support, the head of Bethlehem Ministry’s operation, Father Jean Monique Bruno, an Episcopal priest, organized his own food distribution. This is an excerpt from his letter of January 20, 2010, describing the Ministry’s heroic mission to bring aid to the stricken area.

Dear friends, I left Terrier Rouge on Sunday 17th at 5.00 am with a truck loaded with food for 250 families affected by the earthquake and 10 young volunteers. After eight hours on the road we arrived at the Capital of Haiti. I took to Portau-Prince: rice, beans, corn, charcoal, oil, spaghetti, matches, cassava, bread, biscuits, candles, dry fish and water. Immediately we started our relief work by visiting the most affected areas. I could not believe what I saw. The City where I grew up does not exist any longer. The Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Church attended by my family, the temple that witnessed my ordinations was completely destroyed. My primary and high school where I had my education was leveled. Most of the government buildings including the National Palace either were severely damaged or do not exist any longer. One cannot describe the scene. One has to be there. TV coverage shows only part of the devastated Port-au-Prince. Tears came down as I was walking between the bodies of the dead who were still laying on the pedestrian walkway waiting to be picking up by the truck to be buried in a common grave. As I was walking I visited a community of 300 families gathered together on a small property without water, food and so on. They were practically dying. I stopped and was watching them. One guy who happens to be their leader approached me and talked to me. He asked me for help for those people. I agreed to provide food to them. Immediately he gathered the community and we discussed how we would proceed. They formed a committee for the distribution. The next day we drove the truck there and they received the food, which was going to be distributed. I gave them food for two hundred people but they told me that everybody would find something. They started reducing the packages we had prepared in Terrier Rouge so instead of 200 families, 300 may have something to eat. They show a real concern for everyone. The remaining 50 packages were distributed in the area where my family lives to the neighbors. With the volunteers we participated in the recovery of the bodies of my cousin and her granddaughter who were under the rumblings. After we found them, we buried them not too far from their destroyed home. What we are doing is very small compared to the massive aid that the international community is pouring on Haiti. But it is very significant in the sense that in distributing our help we do not need an army to protect us. We use the channel of community leaders. We do it with discretion. Nobody has noticed that we were transporting food for the victims. There was no fight, no riot and everyone we reach had received something. Neither I nor the volunteers ever felt threatened, on the contrary we did our work with joy trusting in the Lord’s power for protection. This comes with the assurance of my prayers, JMB

Sarah Rice, a volunteer from California summed up her visit during the week of the earthquake this way, “Haitians don't need to be told what to do. They need to be given the right resources and opportunities to help them rebuild a nation that was once great and can be great again.” Bethlehem Ministry is a 501c(3) charity located in Athens, GA and supports programs in Terrier Rouge, Haiti. For more information visit

February 2010 The Positive Community


Gospel Artists Unite for Haiti Kirk Franklin Enlists Top Gospel Artists To Aid Relief Efforts

Pastor Shirley Caesar

Marvin Sapp

Yolanda Adams


ospel music artists gathered in Nashville, TN to celebrate the biggest and brightest at the 25th Stellar Awards on the weekend of January 16, 2010, but the weekend was about more than the awards, it was about lending a helping hand. Kirk Franklin assembled a group of award-winning gospel artists in Nashville's Quad Studios to record a song to support relief efforts in Haiti following the devastating earthquake the country suffered in January. They also hope the song, titled “Are You Listening?” will inspire the survivors.

SCHOMBURG CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN BLACK CULTURE In Honor of Black History Month two exciting exhibitions:

President Barack Obama The First Year PHOTOGRAPHS BY PETE SOUZA Chief Official White House Photographer President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dance at the Governors Ball in the East Room of the White House 2/22/09.

Jerry Pinkney’s African-American Journey to Freedom THE SEAGRAM COLLECTION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN ART

Now through April 18, 2010 The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture The New York Public Library 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037


The Great Migration, 1900-1920. 1976, watercolor, 20 x 11 1/2 inches

David & Tamela Mann

Artists United for Haiti includes (listed in alphabetical order) Yolanda Adams, Jeremy Camp, Shirley Caesar, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Natalie Grant, Fred Hammond, Tamela & David Mann, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Paul S. Morton, J. Moss, Smokie Norful, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kiera “KiKi” Sheard, BeBe Winans, CeCe Winans and Marvin Winans along with other gospel artists featured in choir including Shari Addison, Kathy Taylor Brown, John Gray, Bishop Darryl Hines, Stephen Hurd, Karima Kibble, Judith McAllister, Nicole C. Mullen; Jessica Reedy, The Neville Sisters, Troy Sneed, Micah Stampley, Melinda Watts and Brian Courtney Wilson. “All the artists associated with the project donated their talent and gifts for this project,” said song and project producer Kirk Franklin. “This initiative is so important because while we are asking America to give we know that many are giving sacrificially. The people of Haiti are very spiritual people with an unwavering faith and belief in God and still count The Lord as the main source and provider. We will continue to pray and stand with them. We hope this song will bring much needed support and awareness in an effort to raise funds in the near and long-term future.” “Are You Listening” also features top musicians in popular music including GRAMMY Award-winning co-producer Shaun Martin. Franklin is the executive producer along with, James “Jazzy” Jordan, executive vice president/GM of Verity Gospel Music Group; and Carla Williams and Jessie Hurst of FoYo Soul Entertainment. Radio hosts Steve Harvey and Tom Joyner are supporting Franklin in this effort. A behind the scenes special “A Love Song for Haiti: The Making of 'Are You Listening'” will air on the Gospel Music Channel in February. “Are You Listening” is available for purchase at, iTunes, Wal-Mart and other major retailers. For additional information on the project, please visit, —JNW

The Positive Community February 2010

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Kirk Franklin 2/1/10 8:03:16 PM

CJCDC Announces $25 Million to help NJ Homeowners Rev. DeForest B. Soaries Jr.

Photos: Nat Clymer

Angela Guy, Senior VP/GM SoftSheen


L-R: Darryl Jeffries, CJCDC Volunteer; Angela Guy, Senior VP/ GM SoftSheen- Carson; Chris Kjeldsen, Community Service Award recipient; Rudine Smith, president/CEO Neighborhood Health Services Corporation, Barbara Jones, Board trustee/event chair; Steve Adubato Jr., Ph.D., president, Stand & Deliver: Communication Tools for Tomorrow's Leaders and host, THIRTEEN (PBS), Legacy Leadership Award recipient; Rev. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., CEO of CJCDC; Robert Wilson, Board trustee

he Central Jersey Community Development Corporation (CJCDC) hosted its annual fundraiser and awards breakfast on December 2, 2009 to honor corporations and individuals that have made a significant difference in the community. Probably no one deserves such an award more than the founder and CEO of CJCDC, Rev. DeForest B. Soaries, who made an announcement at the breakfast that CJCDC has generated a $25 million investment from private sources to buy mortgages and bank-owned properties in eight New Jersey towns. “Instead of negotiating with the bank, we’ll become the bank,” said Soaries. The program, in partnership with a minority-owned Atlanta-

based firm, APD Solutions, will generate an additional $25 million in public funds and benefit 620 families. The program will help some families stay in their homes and allow others to buy homes at below market prices. Rev. Soaries is pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ. CJCDC 2009 honorees are: Legacy Leadership Award Steve Adubato, PhD, president, Stand & Deliver and Emmy Award-winning host, THIRTEEN (PBS); Chris Kjeldsen Community Service Award; Angela Guy, senior VP/General Manager, SoftSheen-Carson and Rudine Smith, President/CEO, Neighborhood Health Services Corporation.

Authors in Conversation at Cathedral International


athedral International recently hosted “An Evening of Conversation” with Dr. Cornel West, noted author, activist and educator and James Brown, Emmy Award-winning sports commentator. It was a compelling and inspiring conversation, which focused on the release of their latest books – Dr. West: Living and Loving Out Loud and Mr. Brown: Role of a Lifetime: Reflections on Faith, Family and significant Living. Cathedral International is the historic Second Baptist Church celebrating 105 years. Under the leadership of Bishop Donald Hilliard, the 5500 member, multi-generational, multicultural church serves the communities of Perth Amboy, Asbury Park and Plainfield, NJ

Bishop Donald Hilliard, First Lady Phyllis Hilliard with Dr. Cornell West and James Brown

February 2010 The Positive Community


Feeding the Needy

Appreciation Sunday


Gabourey Sidibe (Center) with Monique Sharpton (Left) and her father Rev. Al Sharpton

Rev. Joan BrightharpDargan, pastor and her husband Min. Cornelius Dargan

ev. Joan Brightharp-Dargan, pastor and her husband, Min. Cornelius Dargan celebrated Pastor Appreciation Sunday at their church, Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church of Christ on Ninth Street in the East Village. Rev. Joan Brightharp Ministries can be seen on Manhattan Neighborhood Network, Channel 52 on Saturdays at 10:00 p.m.


abourey Sidibe who played the title role in the critically acclaimed movie, Precious, visited the National Action Network’s House of Justice and teamed up with the Rev. Al Sharpton to feed the needy over the holidays. 09OCT Positive Comunity Pierre:nyack

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Monday, March 8, 2010 Rockland Campus, 1 South Blvd., Nyack, NY 10960 Call 800-336-9225 to register today.

The Positive Community February 2010

Every year the City Hall Restaurant opens its doors to feed needy families. New York Governor David Paterson was on hand for the festivities. Governor Paterson is pictured above with an aide and Taneeka Hardnett and her sons, Jacob and Elijah (seated).

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change comes to montclair art museum


Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund on view at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) until July 25, 2010 is the first exhibition to explore the legacy of the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Created in 1917 for “the well-being of mankind,” by the well-known Chicago businessman and philanthropist, the Rosenwald Fund’s Fellowship Program was designed to foster black leadership through the arts, literature, and scholarship, and between 1928 and 1948, the program awarded stipends to hundreds of African American artists, writers, and scholars across many disciplines. Rosenwald became a partner in Sears, Roebuck and Co. and brought a rational management philosophy to Richard Sears’ welltuned sales instincts. From 1895 to 1907, annual sales skyrocketed from $750,000 to $50 million. Rosenwald served as president of Sears, Roebuck and Co. until 1924, when he became chairman of the board, a position he held until his death in 1932. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Tuskegee Institute, and remained so for the rest of his life. After he stepped down as Sears’ president in 1924, he devoted most of his time to philanthropy. Of all his philanthropic efforts, Rosenwald was most famous for the more than 5,000 “Rosenwald schools” he helped fund throughout the South for poor, rural black youth from 1917 to 1932 and the 4,000 libraries he added to existing schools. Rosenwald provided 50-60 percent of the necessary funds and the community raised the rest and built the schools. The network of new public schools subsequently employed more than 14,000 teachers. Many of the Rosenwald school buildings still exist and are being put to good use. In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Rosenwald Schools near the top of the country’s most endangered places and created a campaign to raise awareness and money for preservation, with renovation projects in process throughout the south. Some schools have been put to new uses. Walnut Cove Colored School in Stokes County, North Carolina won a National Preservation Honor Award for its rehabilitation for use as a senior citizens‘ community center. The Hope Rosenwald School in Pomaria, South Carolina will be used as a community center, too. The Highland Park School in Prince George’s County, Maryland had been in continuous use by the school system. It was recently renovated for use as a Headstart center. A Force for Change presents the artistic products of Julius Rosenwald’s support. It includes more than 60 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by 22 Rosenwald fellows, as well as an original short documentary film. The artists in the exhibition are among the foremost of their era: Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Rose Piper, Augusta Savage, Charles White, Hale Woodruff, and more. The list of Rosenwald Fellows also includes some of the most influential writers and intellectuals in 20th-century America, including James Baldwin, W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. The exhibition includes archival footage of performances by dancers and Rosenwald Fellows, Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus. Also included is an original short documentary film titled Julius Rosenwald: A Force for Change that will run on a continuous loop as part of the exhibition. A related exhibition, Exploring Identities: African American Works from the Collection examines some of the ways that contemporary African American artists have explored issues of individual and culturally determined identity in their works. The approximately 20 works are taken from MAM’s permanent collection. An exhibit of Martin Puryear Prints, Selections from the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection will also be on display. A variety of educational programs for all ages in connection with the exhibition can be found at

Elizabeth Catlett I HAVE SPECIAL RESERVATIONS Linoleum cut 6 x 6 in. Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC Rose Piper SLOW DOWN FREIGHT TRAIN, 1946-47 Oil on canvas 29 1/2 x 23 1/8 in. Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC Ackland Fund, 91.8 Gordon Parks AMERICAN GOTHIC, WASHINGTON, DC, 1942 Gelatin silver print Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 1998.25.003 February 2010 The Positive Community


aren L. Clark has been promoted to Vice President, Medicaid, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and will her continue in her role as President, Horizon NJ Health. Horizon NJ Health is New Jersey’s largest managed healthcare company serving the publicly insured, providing health services to more than 449,000 people in all 21 New Jersey counties. Ms. Clarke was featured as one of the ”Women of Inspiration if the March 2007 issue of The Positive Community.

Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad


Applebees Comes to Harlem

Karen Clark Promoted

Front Row L–R: Rita St. John, Neesha Seervai, Erick Johnson, Zane Tankel, Miguel Fernandez, Roy Raeburn, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Voza Rivers and Winston Majette Back Row: Frank Venice, Mike Archer Tom Giusto, Tony Corley, Tom Giusto, Sam Rrothschild, and Dan Cummins Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad

Photo: Damion Newman

Columbia University Hosts Community Breakfast Columbia University President Lee Bollinger at the annual community breakfast hosted by the university


NC Bank opened it sixth Newark, NJ branch on December 10, 2009. The branch at 46 Edison Place in downtown Newark is in proximity to the Prudential Center sports and entertainment complex. Seen at the opening reception are PNC Bank Vice Presidents Artie Collins (left) Theresa de Leon, (2nd right) and Regional President Linda Bowden (far right). Also pictured is Thomas ShoolBraid, managing director of The New Jersey Chamber Of Commerce.


The Positive Community February 2010

Apollo Theater Celebrates Kwanzaa Camille Yarbrough with WBLS & WLIB’s Imhotep Gary Byrd at the Apollo Theater's Kwanzaa celebration

Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad

PNC Newark Branch Opening

Continued from page 36 Kafele has since transformed Newark Tech High School into not only an achieving school, but one recognized among the best high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report for two years in a row. To improve Newark Tech’s academic status, Kafele spends every day with at least two classes (or, as he calls them, “Learning Labs”), reading with students and observing teachers, making sure both groups know that he is interested in what they learn and how they learn. Kafele has all students write about their goals, then post them in the classrooms to keep one another motivated. He introduced the school’s Young Men and Women Empowerment Group to give his students a stronger voice on campus, and twice daily he uses his own voice to speak to the student body, keeping them informed. In addition to improving his own school, Kafele has reached out to the greater educational community to improve schools across the country. He is a mentor for new and aspiring principals for public and charter schools in the area. He has published two books on leading and teaching in an urban setting: Handbook for Teachers of African American Children and Black Parents Handbook to Educating Your Children. A third book, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School & in Life, has just been released. Kafele is a motivational speaker who travels across the country and presents at conferences, such as the ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), the National Association of Secondary School

Principals (NASSP), and the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE). Since first presented in 1987 to 12 exemplary California teachers, the Milken Educator Awards program is now the nation’s largest teacher recognition program having honored more than 2,400 educators from coast to coast with over $60 million. The Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary educators. This year, 54 educators are being presented with nostrings-attached cash prizes totaling $1.35 million. In addition to their cash prizes, the recipients will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the Milken Educator Forum, a national gathering of award-winning educators to address innovative strategies for advancing teacher effectiveness. A highlight of the Forum will be the presentation of the $25,000 Milken Educator Awards at a recognition dinner and ceremony. They will also join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education. For more information about the Milken Educator Awards and the surprise notification events held across the nation, visit or call (310) 570-4773. Follow the tour on the Foundation’s National Notifications blog (via, YouTube ( com/milken), Facebook (Search for “Milken Educator Award.”) and Twitter (

NJ Sharing Network invites you to join us for our 11th Annual Heritage Awards Gala honoring: • Honorable Jose Torres, Mayor of Paterson, NJ Heritage Community Advocacy Award • National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc Epsilon Alpha Chapter Heritage Community Advocacy Award • Dennis John Malloosseril Ray of Hope Award • Ericka Pino of Telemundo Heritage Voice Award Special acknowledgement to SAMAR for college outreach initiatives For information and to secure tickets, please contact Alida Sandoval at (908) 516-5429 or email at

Community Heroes: Saving lives through organ and tissue donation

Suggested attire: Black Tie Optional

February 26,2010 • 6:30pm • The Palace at Somerset Park • Somerset, New Jersey

February 2010 The Positive Community







Positive Community The

for the 3rd Annual Montclair African American Film Festival! The Montclair Art Museum' s African American Cultural Committee (AACC) proudly collaborates with the Montclair African American Heritage Committee for the third Annual Film Festival. The festival will include film screenings and discussions on topics relevant to the evolution of black American cinema from the early 20th century to the present. Two short films will be presented on February 21 (approx. 30 minutes each) on Anne Spencer. A poet during the Harlem Renaissance, she was also an avid gardener. Two of Ms. Spencer's granddaughters will be present at the screening. MAM will also be screening the 1989 film Tap, on February 28, starring Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Savion Glover. Yvette Glover (Savion's mother) will be present at the screening. Running time: 110 minutes. This film is rated PG-13.


Sunday, February 21, at 2 p.m. Anne Spencer Revisited and Garden Story: Inspiring Spaces, Healing Places



Visit and use code MEM4TPC BOX OFFICE


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MEMPHISTHEMUSICAL.COM *Offer is subject to availability and prior sale and valid on selected locations. Regular Orch/Mezz prices $121.50 (Tue – Fri), $126.50 (Sat – Sun). Regular Front Balcony price $66.50. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer and may be revoked or modified at any time. Not valid on prior purchases. Limit 8 tickets per order. No refunds or exchanges. Telephone and Internet orders are subject to standard service fees. All prices include a $1.50 facilities fee. Valid for performances through 3/14/10. PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS


Sunday, February 28 at 2 p.m. Tap starring Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Savion Glover

The Positive Community February 2010

The African American Film Festival is sponsored by the Montclair African American Heritage Committee, MAM, Montclair Public Library, Township of Montclair, Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, the Montclair Chapter of Drifters Incorporated, and The Positive Community. Funding provided by Bank of America.

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Dwight 'Doc' Gooden ewark just got a little healthier! On January 14—a Essex County Executive meets Mildred Crump cold winter morning, many New Jersey residents Joseph DiVincenzo were sweating and celebrating in the new YMCA facility located at UMDNJ. The state-of-the-art facility After speeches, presentations and the official ribwelcomed local luminaries to get some cardio and pump bon cutting, the crowd was wowed by The East Village some iron to kick-off the fitness center’s grand opening. People, a Village People tribute group and their rousing Hosted by YMCA of Newark and Vicinity President/ rendition of “Y.M.C.A.” Both Mildred Crump and Joseph CEO George Shinhoster, guests were invited to tour the DiVincenzo vowed to make use of the new facility in their 7,400 square foot facility and get their hearts pumping personal quests to improve their health and fitness. The while moving to the beat of the Zumba music as the YMCA at UMDNJ offers cardio, free weights, spin classes, bright morning sun reflected off the mirrors and brand Zumba, yoga, kick-boxing and step aerobics—the variety new hardwood dance floor. of which will assist Crump and DiVincenzo in keeping Guests included Dr. William Owen, President, UMDNJ; their commitments. Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo; Jr., Senator TeThe new facility is located at University of Medicine resa Ruiz and members of Newark City Council including and Dentistry of New Jersey, inside the Doctors Office President Mildred Crump, Carlos Gonzalez and Anibal Ra- Center, at 90 Bergen Street. It is open Monday through Suggested Menu Combinations mos. The Newark Bears were represented by team owner Saturday and like other YMCA facilities, C L A S S I aC financial aid These are only suggestions, we will gladly customize any combination. Tom Cetnarr, III; Senior Vice President, Dwight “Doc” program is available to ensure that no one is turned away CELEBRATION SIX CELEBRATION ONE Finger Foods Repast (After Funeral Meal) S Gooden and players Brian Shubsda and Willie Banks. due to the inability to pay membership fees. S I CEggs Assorted CruditesL•ADeviled Suggested Menu Combinations Baked Chicken or Fried Chicken Fruit Kabobs •CCocktail Shrimp Yellow Rice Pilaf • Fresh Green Beans These are only suggestions, we will gladly customize any combination. O U Fried Wingettes • BBQ Wingettes Cornbread LFOO Honey Mustard Wingettes CELEBRATION SIX $ 95 CELEBRATION ONE 12 Finger Foods $1795 Repast (After Funeral Meal) Assorted Crudites • Deviled Eggs Baked Chicken or Fried Chicken CELEBRATION TWO Fruit Kabobs • Cocktail Shrimp Yellow Rice Pilaf • Fresh Green Beans O U SEVEN CELEBRATION O S S Fried Wingettes • BBQBakedChicken•FriedWhitingFish Wingettes A Cornbread L F OSauce I Jerk Chicken with Mango L C Macaroni&Cheese•CollardGreens Honey Mustard Wingettes C Fried Catfish • Oxtails $1295 Cornbread•TossedSalad $1795 Rice with Beans • Plantains $16 95 Macaroni&Cheese•Mustard Greens CELEBRATION TWO Blue & Yellow Cornbread Muffins CELEBRATION SEVEN BakedChicken•FriedWhitingFish Jerk Chicken with Mango Sauce $1995 CELEBRATION THREE Macaroni&Cheese•CollardGreens Fried Catfish • Oxtails Cornbread•TossedSalad FriedWhitingFish•BBQChicken Rice with Beans • Plantains CELEBRATION EIGHT BBQBabyBackRibs $16 95 Macaroni&Cheese•Mustard Greens Wedding Reception YellowRicePilaf•CollardGreens OU Blue & Yellow Cornbread Muffins O PotatoSalad•Cornbread Fruit Display O L F $1995 EXQUISITELY PREPARED BY OUR GOURMET STAFF CELEBRATION THREE Cheese & Cracker Display $19 95 Baked Salmon • Cornish Hens FriedWhitingFish•BBQChicken



Dr. William Owen, President, UMDNJ

Photos & Text: RL Witter



Newark Opens YMCA at UMDNJ

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CELEBRATION EIGHT CELEBRATION FOUR Wedding Reception Succulent Beef Ribs, Smothered in Gravy

Shrimp Kabobs Wild Rice • Fresh Green Beans Mesculine Salad • Dinner Rolls Fruit Display Baked Salmon • Garlic Mashed Potatoes EXQUISITELY PREPARED BY OUR GOURMET STAFF A lasting impression Cheese & Cracker Display $ 95 per Green Peas • Mesculine Salad person Baked Salmon • Cornish Hens Dinner Rolls Shrimp Kabobs that your guests will always remember CELEBRATION NINE per 95 $ Wild Rice • Fresh Green Beans person Wedding Reception Mesculine Salad • Dinner Rolls is what we strive for at Assorted Crudites A lasting impression $ 95 per CELEBRATION FIVE Cocktail Shrimp• Deviled Eggs person Roasted Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing Lobster Tail • Grilled Filet Mignon guests always remember Honey Glazed Baked Ham that your Roasted Red will Bliss Potatoes CELEBRATION NINE Roasted Broccoli with Butter Wedding ReceptionMacaroni & Cheese Candied Yam Souffle • Collard Greens is what we strive for at Mesculine Orange & Walnut Salad Assorted Crudites Dinner Rolls with Butter Cocktail Shrimp• Deviled Eggs Dinner Rolls Call our Catering Hotline: per $ 95 per Lobster Tail • Grilled Filet Mignon $ 95 person person Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes Roasted Broccoli with Butter Call our Catering Hotline: Mesculine Orange & Walnut Salad 732.699.9181 or 908.227.9065 Dinner Rolls with Butter

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February 2010 The Positive Community


Doris Miller: An American Hero U.S. Postal Service Issues Stamp In His Honor Source:USPS:


he U.S. Postal Service will immortalize Doris (known as Dorie to family, friends and shipmates) Miller and three other sailors when it issues the Distinguished Sailors stamps on February 4, 2010. In addition to Miller, others commemorated on the stamps include: William S. Sims, Arleigh A. Burke and John McCloy. The first black American hero of World War II, Miller (1919-1943) became an inspiration to generations of Americans for his actions at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Serving aboard the battleship West Virginia as a mess attendant—the only job rating open to blacks at the time—Miller helped rescue scores of shipmates wounded or trapped in wreckage. He was later ordered to the bridge to help move the ship’s mortally wounded captain. Never trained in its operation, he then manned an unattended 50-caliber machine gun to fire on Japanese aircraft until ordered to abandon the bridge as fires raged out of control. For his bravery under fire Miller was awarded the Navy

Cross, the highest medal that can be awarded by the United States Department of the Navy and the second highest award given for valor. Miller was promoted in June 1943 to Officer’s Cook Third Class aboard the new escort aircraft carrier Liscome Bay and was killed in action on November 24 that year along with more than 600 shipmates when an enemy torpedo sank the ship during the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. His body was lost at sea. Miller has received a host of posthumous honors with streets, schools, housing developments and an American Legion post named for him. He was portrayed by Elven Havard in the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora! and in 2001 Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., portrayed him in the movie Pearl Harbor. USS Miller (DE/FF-1091), a destroyer escort was commissioned on June 30, 1973 in honor of Miller. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. dedicated a bronze commemorative plaque of Miller at the Miller Family Park located on the U.S. Naval Base, Pearl Harbor. In 2007, the historian Bill O'Neal published Doris Miller: Hero of Pearl Harbor. His stamp is based on a 1942 photograph and depicts the crest of the USS Miller. —The Positive Community Staff

United Way Kicks-Off African Community Engagement Initiative Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, Stephanie Bush-Easkette, Adrienne Sneed-Byers, aide to Rep. Donald Payne Sr.; Keith Green, executive director UWEWH

Photos: Damion Newman

Rev. Dr. Obiri Addo pastor 1st Presbyterian Church of Irvington

Newark City Councilman Donald Payne Jr.


Keith Green, George Xuereb, director, resource Development UWEWH and Lorna K. Johnson

The Positive Community February 2010


he United Way of Essex and West Hudson (UWEWH) announced an initiative to strengthen ties with African communities in its service area in New Jersey. The African Community Engagement (ACE) initiative is part of UWEWH’s program to reach out to diverse immigrant populations, designing programs that will meet the specific needs of the communities it serves. There are nearly 450,000 African immigrants, mostly from West Africa living in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area and many may come from places that do not have United Way. The ACE Advisory Council is being convened by Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, a Ghanaian and outgoing president of Essex County College, and co-chaired by UWEHW Board member, Mayor Wayne Smith of Irvington, a city with a significant population of African immigrants. The ACE coordinator is Lorna K. Johnson, of Global Linkages, Inc. who has worked extensively in Africa building partnerships between American and African institutes. A kick-off event was held recently at UWEHW office in Newark for leaders from the African community.

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P R E V E N T I O N , T R E AT M E N T & C U R E

TEN TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK t’s 2010—a new year—and people are trying to keep resolutions and two of the most common ones made are to adopt a more healthy diet and to better manage money. The following ten tips will help you do both with common items found in any grocery store.


1. Go for the Grains! You can’t beat old-fashioned oatmeal or pearled barley. Loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber, they moderate blood sugar for hours, which helps keep you feeling full longer. Give your children oatmeal (make sure it is the oldfashioned kind, not the instant kind) for breakfast, and they won’t be raiding the refrigerator before lunchtime. At about $3 for a big canister that provides 30 servings, a single bowl of oatmeal is a bargain at about 10 cents. Pearl barley runs about 89 cents to $1.50 for a bag with 18 servings. Even at the higher price, it comes out to less than 10 cents a serving. Pearl barley is one of the healthiest foods nobody has ever heard of. Similar to rice, it ‘s great in soups, as a side dish, or even for breakfast. Mix it with oatmeal to create “porridge,” a favorite breakfast food in Europe.

2. Save with Frozen Vegetables Vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. Stock up on frozen vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and carrots whenever you get to a supermarket or warehouse store like Costco. Yes, the freezing process does remove some of the vitamin content, but frozen vegetables are still a great source of brain-boosting, anti-aging, diseasefighting nutrients. And with prices like $1 for 3 12-oz. packages of broccoli, a 4 oz. serving costs just 11 cents. 3. Apples, Oranges and Bananas Boost Antioxidants Apples, oranges, and bananas are full of vitamins and antioxidants that promote heart health, reduce the risk for cancer, and boost brain performance. One apple contains about 15 percent of your daily fiber requirement and costs well under 50 cents. Just one orange can provide more than 200 percent of the daily vitamin C requirement and comes with a similar price tag. Eating an orange is so much better for you than drinking orange juice—and cheaper, too thanks to the fiber in the pulp. As low as 20 cents a pop, bananas are full of potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Pack these affordable fruits in kids ‘ lunch boxes, take them with you to work, and leave them on the kitchen counter at home to encourage healthy snacking. 4. Say Cheese - Cottage Cheese, That Is Dairy is a major priority for good health, and there‘s nothing better than cottage cheese. It‘s packed with protein, calcium, and vitamins A and D. It is a dietary protein that primes dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter that is involved with attention span. When kids eat 15-20 grams of protein at breakfast, their brains work better and they are better able to concentrate in class. With a single serving of cottage cheese, you get 13 grams of protein for about 75 cents. 5. Affordable Eggs—Packed with Protein! Getting adequate amounts of protein doesn’t have to involve eating expensive meat. The average cost of a dozen continued on next page

February 2010 The Positive Community


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TEN TIPS FOR HEALTHY LIVING continued from previous page

eggs in 2009 was $2.89 and they are a great source of protein. If you have high cholesterol, toss the yolks and just eat the egg whites, the only food source that is a perfect protein, which means that 100 percent of the protein is absorbed by the body‘s tissues. At less than 25 cents each, eggs are an affordable option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 6. Beans are High-Fiber Yet Low-Cost Loaded with fiber and high in protein, beans should be a staple in any household. To be extra economical, choose uncooked black beans, red beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, or any other variety rather than canned beans. 7. There’s Nothing Fishy about Canned Tuna Eating fish like tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve heart health, reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer‘s disease, reduce depression, and lower blood pressure. You can get a threepack of tuna for about $2.50, which means for about 83 cents a can, you get 22 grams of protein and a good amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Without question, canned tuna is the best buy for fish. 8. Replace Soda and Energy Drinks with Skim Milk and Water Your brain is 80 percent water and needs plenty of liquids to keep it from becoming dehydrated, something that can decrease your thinking and impair your judgment. Two of the best and cheapest beverages you can drink are skim milk and water. Low in fat and high in protein and calcium, skim milk is fortified with vitamins A and D to provide a nutritional punch. With prices around $2 a half a gallon, one serving will only set you back about 25 cents. Compare that to more than $1 for a single soda or energy drink from the local convenience store. Water is one of the best things for your brain and body health. Fortunately, you don’t need to buy pricey bottled water. With a $15-$20 water filter that fits on your kitchen faucet, you can drink from the tap and get


The Positive Community February 2010

Eating fish like tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve heart health, reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer‘s disease, reduce depression, and lower blood pressure. healthy, filtered water that will keep your brain and body hydrated for optimal performance. For a more flavorful beverage, fill up a jug with filtered water, add a few orange slices, and keep it in the refrigerator for easy access. 9. Spice It Up! With just a few spices in your cupboard, you can enhance the flavor of any dish without using a lot of unhealthy butter, cream, or salt. You can find spices for a few dollars each - they‘re even cheaper if you can buy them loose where you scoop the spices into bags rather than buying them in a bottle. Many spices have been found to have brain and body health benefits. For example, cinnamon (great on oatmeal) lowers blood sugar levels, ingredients in curry may protect against Alzheimer‘s disease, garlic promotes cardiovascular health, and sage improves memory. 10. Shop Smart! Knowing which foods are the best nutritional bargains is only half the battle; you also have to learn to be a smart shopper. You can save a bundle if you buy items that have a long shelf life - like canned tuna, beans, oatmeal, barley, and frozen vegetables - in bulk. Look for sales and specials, use coupons, and buy generic brands when possible. You can even shop online for many food items or look for coupons online from local stores to find the best deals. Source: Dr. Amen’s 10 Steps to Healthy Eating

Navy Honors Dr. Charles Drew


r. Charles Drew, the former chair of the Department of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine who saved an untold number of lives through his pioneering work with blood, is being honored by the U.S. Navy with a ship. Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter recently announced that a 689-foot, 42,000-ton Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo/ammunition ship, T-AKE 10, will be named the USNS Charles R. Drew in honor of the physician and medical researcher whose trailblazing work led to the discovery that blood could be separated into plasma. The model for blood and plasma storage developed by Drew in the 1930s and 1940s -- separating the liquid red blood cells from the near solid plasma and freezing the two separately -- has saved millions of lives over the years and is the same process used today by the Red Cross. Source: Howard University

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February 2010 The Positive Community


Faith Based Organization Advocates For Universal Health Care BY Glenn Townes Rev. Dr. Patricia Haggler


or nearly 40 years, a community faith-based organization in California has been at the forefront of healthcare reform and other social issues affecting mostly urban and some suburban communities. People Improving Communities through Organization (PICO) based in Oakland CA., is a coalition of more than 50 faith-based organizations that represents more than one million families in 150 cities and 17 states across the country. PICO partnered with 1199 SEIU, the largest healthcare workers union in New York, to bring the importance of national healthcare reform to New York with an exhibition titled “Bearing Witness: Faces of America’s Healthcare Crisis.” 1199 SEIU, representing more than 300,000 members and retirees in New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, is also the largest local union in the world. Displayed at the union’s Bread and Roses Gallery, “Bearing Witness” featured vibrant portraits of ordinary Americans and honored the path of portrait as personal testimony. In more than 1,000 photos and stories gathered from around the country, a powerful narrative emerged underscoring the urgent need for members of Congress to act to ensure that national healthcare reform means affordable care for all. Speakers included and Rev. Dr. Patricia Haggler, associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Corona, Queens, NY and Rev. Diane Lacey, of the Good Shepherd Faith Presbyterian Church and vice-chair of the Board of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corp. The gallery, located at 310 West 43rd Street, the only permanent union exhibition space in the country, exhibits works in various media, particularly realist photography. According to Cliff Frasier, faith coordinator for healthcare reform at the SEIU in New York, this was the first time SEIU hosted a freestanding exhibit at the Bread and Roses Gallery. New York was the final stop of the PICO exhibition tour. Senior officials from PICO and members of the clergy from across the country were in Washington, D.C.


The Positive Community February 2010

last month to advocate PICO’s most vital social cause--the contentious issue of affordable healthcare for individuals and families. “Health reform is an expression of our moral commitment to protect all families and affordability is the key to its success,” said Rev. Dr. George Cummings, co-chair of PICO and a pastor at the Imani Community Church in Oakland, CA. “Everyone agrees that the House subsidies would do a much better job at putting affordable coverage within reach of people of limited means.” Rev. Heyward Wiggins, pastor of Camden Bible Tabernacle Church in Camden, NJ said, “Getting affordability right is the single most important thing we can do to build and sustain public support for reform.” With a solid alliance of more than 40 different religious denominations and faiths represented, including about a dozen mostly African-American churches and sects, Lilienthal noted that PICO remains steadfast in its goals and priorities regarding healthcare reform. “Reform needs to cover everyone, so that no person relies on an emergency room for their health care or delays treatment because they lack insurance or have been denied coverage,” he said. “Reform needs to protect and enhance the health of lower-income families and children by strengthening Medicaid and SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program).” Despite its grassroots efforts, organizations like PICO and other proponents of universal healthcare coverage continue to face an uphill battle, with some believing universal healthcare is still years away from becoming a reality. “The ambitious goal of dramatically expanding health insurance coverage is out of reach now,” said Rick Mayes, associate professor of public policy at the University of Richmond and author of the book, Universal Coverage: The Elusive quest for National Health Insurance. “{The Obama Administration} may be able to challenge the Republicans to find areas of agreement that can be turned into bipartisan health legislation.” Photos from the exhibit can be viewed at: www.

Hackensack University Medical Center is the only NJ hospital named a

“Top 100 Hospital” for cardiovascular care by Thomson Reuters.


Hospitals such as Hackensack University Medical Center set national standards for cardiovascular disease outcomes, process of care, efficiency, and lowered costs.

Thomson Reuters’ objective data shows that hospitals named to the “Top 100 Hospitals®” list have lower mortality rates, fewer post-operative complications (99 percent of patients were complication-free), and shorter hospital stays.

Having been named a top hospital seven times, and building on that expertise, the medical center is elevating cardiovascular care services to an unprecedented state-of-the-art level with the construction of its new Heart and Vascular Hospital.

For a renowned cardiac or vascular physician affiliated with Hackensack University Medical Center, call

Hackensack University Medical Center

Proudly serving the community since 1888.














Bring Health Care Reform to Northern New Jersey


he Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. left the world an unbelievable legacy of timeless quotes, including one that remains as relevant today as we celebrate Black History Month as it was when he first said: "life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others.' " At Heinz Family Philanthropies we're helping craft a blueprint for healthcare reform in Newark with Mayor Cory Booker, the Newark Now non-profit he founded in 2003, pharmaceutical manufacturers, the American Heart Association and the private sector. We're providing free medical care and prescription drugs to people with chronic illnesses who lack health insurance under the Newark Health Safety Net. Many of those we're helping are in their 40s and 50s, ineligible for Medicare, and have lost a job the past two years. They typically suffer from diabetes, heart disease, or both. The safety net provides them with a family physician through a program called Newark Health+ and access to name brand prescription medication through another program called NewarkRx. We've enrolled more than 260 people in NewarkHealth+ since it started in September and have room for another 140. We've enrolled more than 300 in NewarkRx and there's no limit to how many more we can help. They're receiving free testing from LabCorp, free meds from the pharmaceutical industry and local assistance from Forest Hill Family Health Associates in Newark. If you'd like to do something for others, please help us make full use of these worthy programs by scouring your congregation for those in need. Times are tough and many of the people who need these programs the most are ineligible for other supports because they're newly unemployed. Unlike some programs that depend on tax forms that reflect past income, this public-private initiative accepts unemployment check stubs as proof of present income.

That means help now, not later. NewarkRx and Newark Health+ both have eligibility requirements that restrict a qualifying family's income to twice the federal poverty line. That's about $21,660 for a one person, $44,100 for a family of four and $74,020 for a family of eight. Only Newark residents are eligible. However, a third program in the safety net – Brick City Respite – has no restrictions. It provides a 30-day supply of more than 300 of the most common generic medications to anyone from anywhere for just $2. That's a fraction of what most people with health care insurance pay right now. Brick City Respite currently operates out of one location – Liss Pharmacy in Newark. All you have to do is show up there with a generic prescription as more than 330 others have. You don't have to be from Newark. If Donald Trump showed up tomorrow he'd get some sour looks, but "The Donald" would still pay only $2 for his generic meds. Why are we doing this? Mayor Booker believes that the time to do something is right now, amid one of the deepest recessions in American history. The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 27-year high of 10 percent. More than 40 million people are without health insurance. Nearly a third of New Jersey residents lack health insurance. The percentage without coverage is even higher in Newark, where the median family income of $41,625 compares with $84,743 statewide. People are hurting. We're helping. To get involved all you have to do is look around, see who needs help and point them to this article. As Dr. King would say, "the time is always right to do what is right."

To enroll in NewarkHealth+ and Newark Rx call (973) 350-0008 or visit the Newark Now centers at 103 Bloomfield Ave, 250 West Market St., and 48 Munn Ave. There are no eligibility restrictions for Brick City Respite, which operates out of Liss Pharmacy, at 794 Mount Prospect Ave. Online contributions to the Newark Health Safety Net can be made at "

National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Bergen/Passaic Chapter Invites you to a special abbreviated screening of the award winning PBS Documentary

UNNATURAL CAUSES: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? Raising awareness to understand how race, class, wealth, housing, power and education translate into poor health and life expectancy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Englewood Hospital & Medical Center Auditorium 350 Engle Street, Englewood, NJ 07631 The screening will be followed by a forum addressing Health and Advocacy Issues in Bergen and Passaic Counties and beyond …. Speakers and Panelists include: • Steve Adubato, Ph.D., Host of New Jersey Capitol Report THIRTEEN/WNET(PBS) • Michellene Davis, Esq., SVP, Policy Dev. & Gov. Affairs, St. Barnabas Health Care System • Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH, Sr. VP, Healthy Communities, The California Endowment • Robert L. Johnson, M.D., FAAP, Interim Dean, UMDNJ, New Jersey Medical School • Colette Lamothe-Galette, Acting Exec. Dir., NJ Dept. of Health, OMMH • Janet Taylor, M.D., MPH, Bd. Chair, National Black Women's Health Imperative • Senator Loretta Weinberg (District 37, NJ) For more information, please visit or call (201) 287-9600

Harlem Hospital’s Medina Clinic A Beacon of Health for West Africans


hen the medical professionals at Harlem Hospital noticed a steady increase in the numbers of West African immigrants seeking treatment in its emergency room at the end stages of what is, in many cases, preventable disease, the hospital responded. The Medina Clinic, the first in New York City to provide “culturally sensitive primary care” to the underserved and rapidly growing West African Muslim population in Harlem, opened its doors last November, “We were seeing patients with high blood pressure who were suffering from thrombosis and diabetics who were having strokes,” said Dr. Monqidh M. Al-Sawwaf, the hospital’s chief of Adult Surgical Care, describing the situation as “heartbreaking.” Dr. John Palmer, the executive director of Harlem Hospital Center and the Renaissance Health Care Network, explained, “we needed to confront this problem head on, so we turned to community and religious leaders to determine how we can avert a potential health crisis in our community. We had to get answers as to why people were not seeking medical attention sooner.” One of the first persons Dr. Palmer and his staff turned to for answers was Imam Souleimane Konate, who serves as general secretary of the Council of Imams and is the leader of Mosque Masjid in the heart of Harlem’s Little Senegal, with nearly one thousand congregants mainly from West Africa. He heard firsthand the challenges they have navigating the healthcare system. The hospital saw this as an opportunity to make primary healthcare more accessible and affordable, for what Dr. Al-Sawwaf describes as Harlem’s “transforming population.” With two sites, one in the Ronald H. Brown Pavilion in Harlem Hospital Center and a satellite office in Little Senegal on 116th Street and Lenox Avenue, the Medina Clinic provides a range of medical services: pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology as well as HIV/AIDS testing, and patient health education. Key to upholding the clinic’s emphasis on cultural sensitivity was accommodating the religious needs of its predominantly Muslim patients. The Koran’s emphasis on modesty factored heavily in the composition of the clinic staff. Imam Souleimane explains, “In our culture women want to be treated by women doctors and men, by men. At the

By Celeste Joseph-Jennings

Medina Clinic if you want a woman doctor you got it, you want a male doctor you got it.” Committed to upholding the culturally sensitive mission is Medina Clinic chief, Dr. Naureen Zafar. Dr. Zafar speaks Arabic, Spanish and French as does most of her staff and since a fair number of her patients are from Francophone countries, the clinic’s signage is also in French. Operating on a grant from the New York State Health Fund, the clinic must treat at least 2,000 patients over the course of a year, a goal that Dr. Zafar is confident it will meet if not surpass. To date, she estimates 700 people have been seen. However, Dr. Al-Sawwaf believes the number of people affected is far greater. He describes a situation: “If a father comes in for treatment for high blood pressure, we ask about his children and it may be revealed that have they have not received any vaccinations. By placing the emphasis on family medicine, The Medina Clinic is able to become an essential part of their lives. We want to see what a healthy family can produce.” Dr. Zafar says, “We see everyone from 0 to 100 walk through the door and they don’t complain; they are so modest. You have to reach in their hearts and pull out what’s bothering them.” What she and her staff found are patients who have been living with symptoms of various ailments for upwards of fifteen years. She does not confine her treatment and diagnosis of her patients inside the walls of the examining room. “Healthcare cannot be done in isolation in terms of medication or surgery.” She cited one patient who came in with very high cholesterol. During the course of the assessment she discovered he was reduced to eating a bottle of mayonnaise for breakfast, unable to afford groceries. She had her residents find food pantries, took the patient grocery shopping and sought out other social services for him. Along with the cultural and religious considerations, hospital officials knew they had to keep out-of-pocket costs at a minimum. Clinic patients are charged a fifteen-dollar co-pay for a visit and two dollars for prescriptions, keeping costs within reach for most patients. “Let me tell you straight, you have to be in it to understand it,” says, an Ibrahima Diapoune, president of the Association of Senegalese in America as well as a clinic patient. “Healthcare is a big concern for us. Our population doesn’t have insurance cards.” He estimates that nearly 80 percent of Senegalese immigrants are self-employed as either taxi drivers, hair braiders or street vendors, professions that do not offer healthcare plans and where taking time off work to sit in emergency rooms for hours means lost wages, which his constituency can ill afford. While by law, hospital emergency rooms are prohibited from denying treatment based on immigration status or ability to pay, the fears of undocumented immigrants are not ameliorated. “Africans fear immigration going door-to-door to send them back,” says Imam Souleimane. The clinic takes its name from the city in Saudi Arabia where the prophet Mohammed sought refuge. Patients are assured confidentiality, and says Imam Souleimane, “They are confident Medina will protect them.” Though West African Muslims are the target demographic, the Medina Clinic is open to all regardless of religion or ethnicity. Dr. Zafar stresses, “We want to help the underserved community. We want to help anyone who doesn’t have access to healthcare for whatever reason, patient by patient. ” Ramatu Ahmed, West African community activist and one of the clinic’s earliest supporters, is encouraged by its success. Her hope is that the Medina model is replicated all over the country. “We are not doing this just for ourselves, we are doing this for our families and our community.

February 2010 The Positive Community






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Islam and Christianity in Nigeria he Christmas 2009 attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian to ignite an incendiary device aboard a Detroit-bound passenger airplane draws my attention to relations between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. February is Black History Month. Let’s dig historically. Islam entered sub-Saharan West Africa in 1076 when the Almoravids of North Africa conquered and destroyed the Ghana Empire, which, during prior centuries, had occupied a sizeable chunk of the Sahel (i.e. the grassy plains between the Sahara desert and the coastal rain forest). The Mali Empire eventually replaced the Ghana Empire, and Islam replaced traditional African religion as the dominant faith. As Islam spread eastward within the Sahel, two additional black Islamic empires, Songhay and Kanem-Bornu, arose. Through further military conquest, Islam spread southward to include the Hausa citystates in the southern Sahel. During ensuing centuries, however, the Hausa, though nominally Muslim, mixed Islam with traditional African religious practices. During the early 1800s, Muslim reformers, led by Uthman dan Fodio, of the Fula people, re-conquered the Hausa States and imposed more fundamentalist Islam. This stricter Islam survived the British conquest, colonization and indirect rule of the later 1800s through 1900s. It also survived independence from Britain, which was achieved during the early 1960s. As a result, in northern portions of the country now called Nigeria, the Hausa/Fulani predominate and Islam is the dominant religion. Southern Nigeria consists mostly of the Yoruba people in the southwest and the Igbo people in the southeast. Traditional African religion dominated both southern areas well into the early 1800s, although Uthman dan Fodio’s conquests included some of the northern-most Yoruba city-states (Additionally, some Igbo claim descent from ancient Israel). European Christian missionary work increased in southern Nigeria throughout the 1800s, followed up by African Christian evangelism. The most enlightened white missionaries encouraged African evangelism, correctly recognizing it as the most effective means of spreading the faith to the masses. African evangelists frequently replaced European cultural impositions with African cultural elements, while retaining Christ. Belief in Christ has expanded rapidly in southern Nigeria throughout the 20th century and into the


nascent 21st century. Today, professed Christianity predominates in southern Nigeria. In recent years, Nigerian Muslim mobs have often physically attacked smaller Christian communities situated in the north. Sometimes the Christians have retaliated. We should pray and work toward ending such violence. Peace is God’s will. The prevalence of violence was a cause of God’s decision to re-start the world in Noah’s day (Genesis 8:11-13). Millenniums later, Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9). Christ’s statement implies that we should not merely favor peace: we should strive to make it happen. In this Light, we should work as well as pray to bring about peace in Nigeria, the rest of Africa, the African Diaspora, and the world. Nigeria comprises a significant component of the black world. Its population of 149,229,090 includes more black people than live in any other single country. Brazil is number two with approximately 99,200,000 blacks. The United States is third with a black population of approximately 40,700,000. As increasing numbers of Nigerians migrate to the United States and establish congregations here, often affiliated with Africa-headquartered denominations, African Americans of faith should seize opportunities to worship with them and invite them to worship with us. African Americans are in a unique position to provide a peace example for Nigerians because of our history of relatively friendly relations between African American Christians and African American Muslims. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King, despite religious and ideological differences, established a friendly relationship with Malcolm X. In the 1990s, many African American Christians participated in the Muslim-led Million Man March. In fact, some brothers accepted Christ shortly before or after attending the March. In the 21st Century, African American Christians and Muslims work together in community organizations. Relatively few Nigerians have drifted toward global terrorism. But too many Nigerians have become embroiled in religious violence or strife within their own country. We African-Americans must encourage our Nigerian brothers to refrain from the latter as well as the former. We who follow Christ can encourage peace from the core teaching of our Master, without compromising our faith.

February 2010 The Positive Community


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The Last Word February 2010


Vol. 10, No. 2

Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.

Adrian Council, Jr. NGS Communications, Inc. Satori MPR Contributing Writers Sonja Gracy Dr. Phillip Bonaparte Dr. John Palmer Mwandikaji K. Mwanafunzi g.r. mattox Rosemary Sinclair Patricia Baldwin Rev. Theresa Nance Rev. Reginald T. Jackson Herb Boyd Glenda Codogan Toni Parker Helene Fox Photographers Bob Gore Wali A. Muhammad Seitu Oronde Rev. Dr. William L. Watkins, Jr. Darryl Hall Herb Glenn Vincent Bryant 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 © 2009 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 February 2010

Bob Gore

Associate Editor R. L. Witter Sales Angela Ridenour

s we celebrate Black History Month and laud the myriad accomplishments of our brothers and sisters throughout America’s history, Haiti stays on my mind. The pictures and videos are heart-wrenching one moment and inspirational the next. People pulled from rubble one week after being trapped by an earthquake with nothing but hunger, thirst and prayer raising their arms and hands toward the heavens and singing a song of praise, or smiling despite the pain; the 28-year-old man who survived beneath the ruins of a supermarket for 28 days—these people are the epitome of resilience and strength. My stomach churned as I heard pundits and commentators from mainstream media sources refer to hungry Haitian people as violent criminals when they took food from an abandoned store. When white California mudslide victims did it, they were surviving—not looting. My blood boiled and my brow furrowed when I heard Pat Robertson say that Haiti’s troubles are the result of a pact made with the devil in the late 18th century. Why does that voodoo ceremony/pact with the devil story even exist and why would anybody believe it? So why are there so many negative things said about Haiti? Why is Haiti so impoverished? The short answer: Haitians are blacks. Haiti is the second oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere, second only to the United States of America. In stark contrast, while America is the richest nation, Haiti is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Haitians were ruled by Europeans for hundreds of years and subjected to the evil of slavery by the Spanish, Dutch, British and French. Despite all they endured, they fought to obtain basic human rights and be recognized as full citizens of a French republic. Haitians—black people—successfully


Editor-in-Chief Jean Nash Wells

revolted and overthrew their oppressors to obtain their freedom. Charles Baudelaire once said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The voodoo pact story had the same effect. In order for white Americans to keep black slaves in line and subservient, Haiti’s successful revolt could not be acknowledged by other countries as legitimate and black American slaves could not know that a slave revolt could work lest they do the same and demand their rights and freedom. This month, I reflect upon and celebrate those that came before me and did so much for so many without thought of their own personal sacrifice. I remember Martin, Malcolm, Harriet, Sojourner, Frederick, Booker T. and all of the other people studied in school each February. As I see Black History Month presentations on television and in magazines, I search the faces for some of my new heroes, the people of Haiti—revolutionaries, pioneers, survivors. As I search for words to describe such strong, faithful and resilient people, I find them in a poem by Sister Maya Angelou: You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries. Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave I am the dream and the hope of the slave I rise I rise Excerpted from Still I Rise

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Open Your Heart and Help Haiti

February 2010  

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

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