GOOD NEWS FROM THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
â„¢ February 2017
Celebrating African American History
JAMES BROWN FAMILY FOUNDATION A Legacy of Giving
MUHAMMAD ALI: Revolutionary Activist
Columbia University Celebrates Black History Month
The Unwritten History: Alexander Gumby’s African America
From 1900 to 1950, amateur historian L. S. Alexander Gumby amassed a collection of more than 150 scrapbooks containing manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets, artwork, clippings, and ephemera related to African American history from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Gumby described his work as the “unwritten history” of the United States, due to the lack of general scholarly attention paid to African Americans by contemporary historians. Donated to Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 1950, the Gumby collection introduces visitors to Gumby’s remarkable life—his acquaintances included luminaries such as Richard Bruce Nugent, Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes—and situates it and his work in the context of the Harlem Renaissance. The project also places his curatorial efforts in relation to other pioneers of African American history such as Arthur Schomburg and Carter G. Woodson. View the online exhibition at libraries.columbia.edu and learn more about this key part of our local and national history at blackhistory.news.columbia.edu.
Host: Liz Black (WBLS and WLIB Radio)
A night of heart health information and music. FREE!
OPEN TO ALL!
February 17th • 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Englewood Hospital and Medical Center Ferolie Gallery and Chiang Auditorium 350 Engle Street Englewood, NJ 07631
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Mark American Heart month with a buffet dinner and heart health information and conversation with our physicians Soul
Jazz Foundation of America
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Celebrate Black History Month with gospel, R&B, jazz, and hip-hop performances and a Community Leadership Awards Ceremony.
Ray Blue Quintet
RSVP: 201-608-2550 or email@example.com
1/26/17 4:03 PM
CONTENTS Ali at his Pennsylvania training camp (1980) Photo Courtesy Risasi Dais
SECTIONS MONEY ...................................12 HEALTH...................................16 EDUCATION.............................26 CULTURE ................................38
Newark’s Hahne’s Building Opens...................12
MUHAMMAD ALI’S LEGACY INFORMS ATHLETES AND ACTIVISTS
ON THE COVER: Muhammad Ali is seen at a news conference in Louisville, Kentucky, April 20, 1967 to say he will not accept miltary service of any nature when he is called for induction In Houston on April 28. He said “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong,” and that the real enemy of his people “is right here” and not in Vietnam or anywhere else. (AP Photo)
Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Wealth Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Fitness Doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 The Preaching Professor . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Gospel Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Etiquette Power. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 4
The Positive Community
Artie Wassif Joins Robert Treat.........................15 ObamaCare More Popular Than Ever...............16 Eating for Cancer Prevention...............................18 Black Women’s History Conference.................22 Families Celebrate Dr. King’s Legacy...............26 Frontiers International MLK Breakfast.............36 St. Luke AME Celebrates 100 Years.................38 Interchurch Center Hosts MLK Celebration......40 National Action Network Salutes MLK.............42 James Brown’s Foundation Holds Legacy.........44 Elegance at The Pastor’s Ball..........................46 Newark YMCA King Breakfast..........................50 Seacoast Association Builds Relationships......52 www.thepositivecommunity.com
February 2017 The Positive Community
Pride of New York Shirley Chisholm Ruby Dee
Brooklyn College Former Congresswoman and Candidate for Democratic Presidential Nomination In Memoriam
John Jay College of Criminal Justice Brooklyn Borough President Former NY State Senator
Helen Diane Foster
CUNY School of Law Commissioner, New York State Division of Human Rights
Hunter College Award-Winning Stage, Film Actress and Screenwriter In Memoriam
Hunter College New York City Council Member; Chair, Higher Education Committee; Former NYS Assembly Member
Bronx Community College President and CEO, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill
Letitia James Bert Mitchell
Lehman College Public Advocate for the City of New York
Founder, Chairman Emeritus Mitchell & Titus LLP
Colin Powell Muriel A. Howard
City College of New York Former U.S. Secretary of State, Former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
Walter Mosley Stanley Nelson
City College of New York Award-Winning Author Founder, City College Publishing Certificate Program
City College of New York Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker
The City University of New York Celebrates Black History Month
VISIT CUNY.EDU 1-800-CUNY-YES CUNY-TV CHANNEL 75
College of Staten Island President, American Association of State Colleges and Universities
MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!
he clergy organizations, churches, community businesses and institutions listed below have committed to the purchase of at least 50 magazines per month at $1.00 each (one-third of the cover price) or support this publication through the purchase of advertising. Find out more by calling 973-233-9200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Willams, Pastor
Mount Calvary United Methodist Church, New York, NY Rev. Francis Kairson, Pastor
Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn NY Rev. Anthony Trufant, Pastor
Mt. Neboh Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green Jr., Pastor
Empire Missionary B.C., Convention NY Rev. Dr. Ronald Grant, President
Mt. Pisgah B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Pastor
Aenon Baptist Church, Vauxhall NJ Rev Alphonso Williams, Sr Pastor
Fellowship Missionary B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elton T. Byrd Pastor/Founder
Agape Christian Ministries Worship Ctr. Rev. Craig R. Jackson. Pastor
First B.C. of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset NJ Rev. Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, Pastor
Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, Pastor
Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor
First Baptist Church, East Elmhurst, NY Rev Patrick Henry Young, Pastor
Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Office of Black Ministry
First Baptist B.C. of Teaneck, NJ Rev. Marilyn Monroe Harris, Pastor
Berean B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor
First Corinthian Baptist Church, NY Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr. Senior Pastor
Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Adolphus C. Lacey, Sr. Pastor
First Park Baptist Church, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Rufus McClendon, Jr., Pastor
Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Timothy E. Jones, Pastor
Friendship Baptist Church, Rahway, NJ Rev. Allen Thompson, Jr., Pastor
Beulah Bible Cathedral Church, Newark, NJ Gerald Lydell Dickson, Senior Pastor
General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, Jr., Presiden
Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor
Good Neighbor Baptist Church Rev. Dr. George A. Blackwell, III, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church, Morristown, NJ Rev. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., Pastor
Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor
Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem, NY Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor
Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark, NJ Rev. Allen Potts, Senior Pastor
Abyssinian B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor Abyssinian B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, Pastor Abundant Life Fellowship COGIC, Newark, NJ Supt. Edward Bohannon, Jr, Pastor
Mount Zion Baptist Church, Westwood, NJ Rev. Barry R. Miller, Pastor Mt. Olivet B.C, Newark, NJ Rev. André W. Milteer, Pastor Mt. Zion AME Church, Trenton, NJ Rev. J. Stanley Justice, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ Rev. Dr. Ronald L. Owens, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Dr. Frances Mannin-Fontaine, Pastor New Jerusalem Worship Center, Jamaica, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin Rice, Senior Pastor New Life Cathedral, Mt. Holly, NJ Rev. Eric Wallace, Pastor New Zion B.C., Elizabeth, NJ Rev. Kevin James White, Pastor Paradise B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Jethro James, Pastor
Canaan B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Barry L. Graham, Pastor
Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor
Cathedral International., Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor
Park Ave Christian Disciples of Christ, East Orange, NJ Rev. Harriet Wallace, Pastor
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Malcolm A. Punter, President & CEO
Pilgrim B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Glenn Wilson, Pastor
Charity Baptist Church, Bronx, NY Rev. Reginald Williams, Pastor
Imani Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev.Chuch Chamberlayne, Pastor
Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn, NY Rev. A.R. Barnard, Pastor
It Is Well Living Ministries, Clark, NJ Rev. Kahlil Carmichael, Pastor
Christian Love B.C., Irvington, NJ Rev. Dr. Ronald Christian, Pastor
Macedonia Baptist Church, Lakewood, NJ Dr. Edward D. Harper, Pastor
Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Sheila Thorpe, Pastor
Mariners’ Temple B.C., New York, NY Rev. Dr. Henrietta Carter, Pastor
Shiloh B.C., Trenton, NJ Rev. Darell Armstrong, Pastor
Messiah Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT Rev. James Logan, Pastor
St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Dr. Ben Monroe, Pastor
Clear View Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Eric M. Beckham, M.Div., MFT Community B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor, Pastor Community Church of God, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie., Pastor Emeritus Concord B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Pastor
Messiah Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev. Dana Owens, Pastor Metropolitan B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor
Ruth Fellowship Ministries, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracey Brown, Pastor Shiloh AME Zion Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. John D. Givens, Pastor
St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper, Pastor St. John Baptist Church, Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor
St. Luke Baptist Church of Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie McCann, Pastor St Luke B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Pastor St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter, Pastor St. Paul Baptist, Red Bank, NJ Rev. Alexander Brown, Pastor St. Mark Missionary B.C., Jamaica, NY Rev. Owen E. Williams, Pastor St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Dr. Lanel D. Guyton, Pastor St. Paul's B.C., Montclair, NJ Rev. Dr. Bernadette Glover, Pastor St. Paul Community B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor The New Hope B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Joe Carter, Senior Pastor Union Baptist Temple,, Bridgeton, NJ Rev. Albert L. Morgan, Pastor Walker Memorial B.C. Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush Sr., Pastor Welcome Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elijah C.Williams, Pastor World Gospel Music Assoc., Newark, NJ Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder
Businesses & Organizations 125th St. BID City National Bank Essex County College, NJ Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Marion P. Thomas Charter School Mildred Crump, Newark City Council Muslim American Chamber of Commerce NAACP New Jersey* NAACP, NY State Conference* New Brunswick Theological Seminary New Jersey Performing Arts Center New York Theological Seminary NobleNNJ Nubian Conservatory of Music Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center for Research The College of New Rochelle United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc.
“The Positive Community magazine does outstanding work in promoting the good works of the Black Church. All churches and businesses should subscribe to and advertise in The Positive Community. Please support this magazine, the only one that features good news about the black community.”—Rev. Buster Soaries, General Baptist Revival, May 20, 2010
REV. CORNELL EDMONDS GUEST EDITORIAL
“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions… He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told…” Dr. Woodson, offered a positive prescription, Negro History Week, because, “If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race.”
Why Black History Month Matters
he following is my humble contribution to the list of things that “matter” in the Black community and beyond. Dr. Cornel West contributed, Race Matters, and the countless young people who descended upon Ferguson, and other places to protest state sanctioned violence contributed Black Lives Matter. This magazine, in its efforts to highlight, uplift, and preserve our African-American cultural legacy, contributed Positive Music Matters. My simple contribution to the conversation about what matters is to affirm the wisdom of Dr. Carter G. Woodson by offering an opinion about why Black History Month matters. In his book, The Mis-Education of the Negro, Dr. Woodson wrote, “If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Along with Minister Jesse E. Moorland, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which in 1926 sponsored the first “Negro History Week. Its purpose was “to advance their vision of researching and promoting achievements of people of African descent.” After 91 years, I believe its purpose is as important today as when first conceived. Why? Gil Scott Heron, in his song, “Black History/The World,” wrote how forces had conspired to lead black people to come up with “totally unreliable portraits of ourselves…” Suggesting our own challenges to see the virtues of our “blackness” was the by-product of an insidious effort to subrogate a race of people through miseducation. That helps me appreciate taking, at least annually, special pause to unravel historical noise and unrelenting opposition to African-American efforts at positive self-correction of the “totally unreliable portraits” of ourselves. It’s been said, even by black folk, “Black History Month is ridiculous” and “I don’t want a Black History Month, black history is American history.” Granted, black history is American history. However, American history is not always black history. In my opinion, American history is best understood through a socio-theocratic lens of a nation’s pursuit of www.thepositivecommunity.com
“manifest destiny”; while black history is best seen through the lens of a people’s incarnate struggle for justice, by correcting American history through positive contributions. Black History Month matters because when distorted views of black folk persist in the human psyche, they might inspire a person to ignore all positives of an entire race and publicly declare, “What the hell have you got to lose?” Studying and sharing black history can help dispel many historical untruths we now politely call “alternative facts.” These “alternative facts” have long characterized people of African descent as brutish chattel to be feared, rather than people to be celebrated and loved. Unfounded fears enabled a nation to force black folk to languish in deep canyons of legally-imposed ignorance for “more than a century, beginning with the act of South Carolina in 1740.” When prohibition of blacks to be educated was no longer legally sustainable, it was replaced with a system of imposed social indoctrination through miseducation. This “mere imparting of information” rather than genuine education deeply concerned Dr. Woodson. He knew the insidious and long-term consequences of miseducation, which could serve to keep people in bondage long after emancipation. He wrote, “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions… He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told…” Dr. Woodson, offered a positive prescription, Negro History Week, because, “If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race.” Black History Month matters because each February new opportunities emerge to globally aspire towards equality and justice; because people of African descent and all other races can be empowered to create totally reliable portraits of black folk and honor the positive contributions we have historically made in pursuit of the beloved community. February 2017 The Positive Community
REV. THERESA NANCE MY VIEW
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.
Box-Office Black Girl Magic Should Be More Than a One-Trick Pony
ebruary evokes optimism in yours truly because I know spring can’t be too far behind. At least, that’s what I tell myself. The month is a mixture of candy hearts, a reminder of presidents’ birthdays, and a 28 and sometimes 29-day crash course in remembering. Of course, I’m referring to Black History Month. It’s needed. It’s wanted. And, in my judgment should come with an apology from this country for the treasure trove of information that has been hidden and/or ignored concerning its black citizenry. Yes, I saw Hidden Figures, and I cried—how I cried! The movie, which has done quite well at the box office, tells the story of three black women who were integral in getting America’s space program off the ground, no pun intended. We’re talking about Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan, who suffered many hardships and indignities as “computers” for NASA in Hampton, VA in the 1960s (and beyond). From segregated bathrooms to segregated libraries, these brilliant sisters survived and eventually thrived in a world and workplace where despite their genius, they were still seen as second-class citizens. While neither Mrs. Jackson nor Mrs. Vaughan lived to see their stories told on the big screen, Katherine Johnson is the only one of the truly remarkable trio who is yet with us at the marvelous age of 98. But there are other stories that need to be told. There’s New York realtor Alice Mason who catered to movie stars, Vanderbilts, and political personalities that included former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. And all the while, most never knew nor suspected that Mason was, in fact, a black woman passing as white in the highest stratosphere of white society, atop the highest of upper crusts. Hers is a fascinating story. What about Bricktop? Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria
10 The Positive Community
Louise Virginia Smith was her real name, and she was one of songwriter Cole Porter’s favorite people. Nicknamed for her blazing red hair, she owned Chez Bricktop, a jazz club in Paris where the A-list folks used to gather at her watering hole. A performer herself, Bricktop took on protégés including Duke Ellington, Mabel Mercer, and Josephine Baker. Today, Bricktop might be referred to as a saloon keeper. But she was more. Much more. Do you know about Edna Lewis? Lewis was an AfricanAmerican chef best known for her southern cuisine and the many cookbooks she penned. Trained at home on a wood stove and measuring baking powder on coins for lack of measuring spoons, the Virginia native went on to become first a famed dressmaker (Marilyn Monroe was her breakthrough client) and then restaurant owner whose Café Nicholson boasted famous patrons including Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman Capote. There’s a backstory there, somewhere. And then there was Anne Lowe, a black fashion designer, who created Jackie Kennedy’s wedding gown when Jackie married into America’s so-called royal family. What about black Hollywood itself back in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50’s? There existed such a place. Yes, Hidden Figures was a wonderful flick, but the movie only whet the collective appetite of black Americans who are starving because of the dearth of information regarding our journey in this republic. Black history is as American as apple pie. And, those large-and-in-charge should snap to it and do due diligence for a tribe that has had its valuable contributions locked away in some ghastly storeroom or worse, stolen or altered by many who like neither the color of our skin nor the content of our character. thepositivecommunity.com
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Money BUSINESS, MONEY & WORK
Hahne’s Building Restoration Points to Continued Economic Growth “The reopening of the iconic Hahne’s building is a catalyst to creating a thriving, walkable, 24/7 city that provides access to quality jobs and education while also attracting visitors to our city. The building’s strategic location connects the Rutgers-Newark campus to Prudential’s new tower, Military Park, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, forming the vibrant core that energizes the city,” said Lata Reddy, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, Prudential Financial, Inc.
s Newark continues to attract innovators and dreamers who see the promise of our great city, it is imperative that we incorporate aspects of Newark’s history and authentic character into our continuing development,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. The occasion was the opening of the Hahne’s Building at the former site of the Hahne’s Department Store on Broad Street in Newark. It’s now in the process of being restored to house an arts and cultural center operated by Rutgers University-Newark and around 75,000 square feet of new retail space, including Newark’s first Whole Foods and a restaurant run by chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson. In addition to retail, commercial, and community space the development includes 160 new apartments—64 of which are set aside as affordable homes for low-income and working families earning between 12 The Positive Community February 2017
L–R: Rutgers University Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Mayor Ras Baraka, and (center) jazz drummer T.S. Monk in front of photo display featuring his father, legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk
40 and 60 percent area median income. The new homes are located on the third and fourth floors of the existing Hahne’s building and in a new nine-story residential building on the corner of New and Halsey Streets, which will connect to Hahne’s through a shared lobby and public atrium. The project was accomplished with support from local co-developers Hanini Group and Crawford Street Partners.The beautifully restored edifice had been vacant for over 20 years. Parties to the project include Prudential Financial, Inc.; L+M Development Partners; and The Goldman Sachs Group, in partnership with Citi Community Capital, “The reopening of the iconic Hahne’s building is a catalyst to creating a thriving, walkable, 24/7 city that provides access to quality jobs and education while also attracting visitors to our city. The building’s strategic location connects the Rutgers-Newark campus to Prudential’s new tower, Military Park, and the New www.thepositivecommunity.com
View of the atrium during the opening reception
Jersey Performing Arts Center, forming the vibrant core that energizes the city,” said Lata Reddy, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, Prudential Financial, Inc. “Prudential was founded in Newark more than 140 years ago, and we have been fiercely committed to the city ever since. Through our investments, which total almost $675 million and can be seen across the city, we are dedicated to helping improve Newark’s physical environment as well as providing solutions that advance the upward mobility of the city’s residents.” “We are thrilled to be a part of the public-private partnership that has turned this extraordinary project into a reality,” said Margaret Anadu, managing director and head of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs. John Heppolette, managing director and co-head of Citi Community Capital, spoke about repurposing the building as a community asset.“Citi is proud to have played a role in preserving this historic Newark landmark,” he said.
Celebration after the ribbon cutting
“Beautiful, aspirational spaces like Hahne’s are social bridges,” said Rutgers University – Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “It is civil infrastructure that builds social Mayor Baraka infrastructure. So, the collaboration happening here – holds original between prescient developers, corporate and foundation elevator indicator sponsors, architects, construction teams, artists, and our from the Hayne’s faculty, students, and staff – enables Rutgers-Newark to be Building flanked by Nancy Cantor, not just ‘in’ Newark, but ‘of’ Newark.” Rutgers University “The revitalization of this iconic structure has marand Alan Kane, ried the grandeur of our past with the possibilities of the last CEO of our future,” declared Mayor Baraka. “The reopening of Hahne’s Newark the Hahne & Company building also bridges many of store before its closure in 1987 us, as native Newarkers, with our parents, grandparents, and families who once spent time shopping within these walls. This is a transformative moment for our city.” www.thepositivecommunity.com
February 2017 The Positive Community
REV. DR. CHARLES BUTLER WEALTH BUILDING
Rev. Dr. Charles Butler is the VP of Equitable Development, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI).
Actively Paying on Our Eternal Debt
n 2 Corinthians 8:9, the Apostle Paul writes these words: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich.” This beautiful passage of scripture has at its very core the foundation for spiritual wealth building. God’s plan of salvation is an act of redemption. This act of love governed by grace incorporates Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, thus paying in full a debt that can never be repaid with any currency. The precious blood of Jesus was used to establish an investment account with God the Father on our behalf. By believing in Jesus as the Son of God, our accounts automatically are activated because we are once again members of the family of God. This acceptance as sons of God has a reciprocal action because we now have the privilege and responsibility to share in the generosity of God through helping others (2 Corinthians 8:10-14). Spiritual wealth building then becomes a shared community process. It is an inter-related collaborative effort where we are to assist and look out for the welfare of the other members. “As it is written, he that had gathered much had nothing left over; and he that had gathered little had no lack” (2 Corinthians 8:15). But this concept can only become a reality if we can truly learn to love our neighbors. We must learn to share the wealth and the resources that we have with those who have little. There is an adequate supply for everyone. However, those few who are in a position of power want to maintain their dominance by hording their resources. This minority group does not feel obligated to share with those who are less fortu-
14 The Positive Community
nate. This appears to be a huge challenge we are facing as a nation. Our government threatens the building of a wall to secure the southern border, thus restricting a certain group of immigrants from entering the country — while at the same time, signing an executive order to ban our Muslim brothers and sisters from escaping hostile environments to find a better way of life for their families. It is understandable that our leaders would want to maintain homeland security as a priority. But it is apparent that fear is the primary motivating force for these actions, rather than love. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power love and a sound mind.(2 Timothy 1:7) It is heartwarming to see so many people from different social and economic backgrounds band together, lifting their voices in protest of these policies. We can no longer sit idly by and complain about policy if we are not willing to become actively involved in the struggle. The Apostle Paul stated it best when he said, “Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus. He came down from heaven, made Himself of no reputation and took on the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in the fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8) Jesus did not sit on the sidelines and passively watch our plight. He became actively involved. Why? Because 1st John 4:7-8 tells us: “God is love. Everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love, does not know God.” We can make a difference.
“I wanted to stay in Newark,” says Wassif. “I believe in the growth and future of the city as well as the vision of the Berger Organization and its many contributions to its continual development.”
Artie Wassif Joins Robert Treat Hotel & Conference Center as Director of Sales A Commitment to Newark Keeps this Hospitality Pro Downtown
he Robert Treat Hotel & Conference Center—a landmark in Newark’s central business district— is undergoing an extensive renovation to its banquet facilities in preparation for its 100th anniversary. In tandem with the new catering look comes the new director of sales, Artie Wassif, an industry veteran who shares a commitment to Newark’s future with his new employer, Berger Organization. Wassif joined the company in early January, after 11 years with the Newark Club, where he was the catering sales manager for the Metropolitan Room, a space that has hosted many famous people over the years. Throughout his hospitality career, Wassif has delivered hundreds of successful corporate and social events, banquets, galas, business meetings, conferences, celebrity balls, fundraisers, and political events. With a professional life that began in retail purchasing, Wassif came to hospitality in the mid-1980s with a side job at a major catering venue in Brooklyn. He decided to leave retail for a full-time career in on-site catering and after many years at the Brooklyn hall, he ventured over to the Newark Club in 2006. The club is closing and opportunity once again knocked with Berger Organization, which owns and operates the Robert Treat property as well as significant office buildings in Newark. The Robert Treat Hotel & Conference Center is located on Military Park, directly across the street from The New Jersey Performing Arts Center and walking distance to the Newark Museum, Prudential Center, and Newark Penn Station. “I wanted to stay in Newark,” says Wassif. “I believe in the growth and future of the city as well as the vision of Berger Organization and its many
contributions to its continual development. And, Newark needs Robert Treat; we are the only venue with the space and flexibility to serve the city’s large corporations and legal community with ease.” Robert Treat Hotel has the region’s largest ballroom and over 25,000 square feet of meeting rooms and banquet space, plus a rooftop space available for cocktail parties. Wassif comes to the hotel at a time of many updates and changes there. These include new carpeting and wall coverings in the banquet spaces, improved and updated light fixtures, and a complete remodel of the hotel’s beautiful Crystal Room and Tri-State Ballroom. In addition, all meeting and banquet spaces are being equipped with the latest AV equipment and other updates to meet the needs of Newark’s business community. A new executive chef is starting soon and Wassif has already begun updating the menus, which boast an array of international and ethnic choices that reflect the area’s multicultural tastes. Ever the gracious maître d’, Wassif’s motto is “today’s guest is tomorrow’s host.” He says, “I have a passion for hospitality, with a mission to leave guests an excellent and lasting impression from the first to the last detail.” Wassif is looking forward to hosting many social and corporate events at the hotel and continue its status as a center for Newark’s continued resurgence. “One reason I joined the organization is that I love the Berger family’s energy and commitment to helping the community and improving the downtown area. I’m happy to be a part of it.” February 2017 The Positive Community
Health P R E V E N T I O N , T R E AT M E N T & C U R E
ObamaCare: More Popular than Ever
More Than 3.6 Million New Yorkers Secure Health Coverage Nearly 50,000 sign up during final two days of Open Enrollment An additional 800,000 New Yorkers enroll through the Marketplace since January 2016 In 2016, New York launched the Essential Plan under the Affordable Care Act’s Basic Health Plan option. Unique to New York, the Essential Plan makes coverage even more affordable for lower-income New Yorkers. As of January 31, enrollment in the Essential Plan reached 665,324, an increase of 75 percent in just one year.
espite the fact that the new administration in Washington says that the Affordable Care Act is unpopular and burdensome and have vowed to repeal it, Americans have rushed to sign up on the last day of the most recent enrollment period. One example is NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace. Records show that more than 3.6 million New Yorkers enrolled in comprehensive health coverage through NY State of Health, a 28 percent increase from 2016. “New York continues its commitment to bring affordable, comprehensive health coverage to New Yorkers,” said NY State of Health Executive Director, Donna Frescatore “New Yorkers now have access to affordable health insurance coverage, giving hundreds of thousands of previously uninsured individuals economic and healthcare security.” In the final two days of the 2017 Open Enrollment period, NY State of Health enrolled 45,807 people in coverage bringing the total number of people who receive coverage through the Marketplace to more than 800,000 people since the end of 2016 Open Enrollment. 16
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January 31, 2017, was the busiest day ever for the NY State of Health Marketplace website. The website provided nearly 3 million page views and was used by more than 110,000 users. This exceeded the prior busiest day of December 15, 2016, in both page views and users. In addition, NY State of Health’s customer service center received more than 100,000 calls on the final day of open enrollment. As of January 31, more than 1.2 million people enrolled in a non-Medicaid program through the Marketplace: 242,880 people enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan–nearly 60 percent of them qualified for federal tax credits, which most use to reduce monthly premiums throughout the year. In 2016, New York launched the Essential Plan under the Affordable Care Act’s Basic Health Plan option. Unique to New York, the Essential Plan makes coverage even more affordable for lower-income New Yorkers. As of January 31, enrollment in the Essential Plan reached 665,324, an increase of 75 percent in just one year. In addition, 299,214 children enrolled in Child Health Plus. A total of 2,427,375 people enrolled in Medicaid as of January 31 through the NY State of Health Marketplace. Total enrollment across all NY State of Health programs as of January 31, 2017 is 3,634,793. So President Trump’s executive order to find a way to repeal the healthcare law has done nothing so far. Republicans are beginning to understand how popular it is, how many people are able to take their healthcare seriously because of it, and how many people with pre-existing conditions are able to see a doctor and obtain the meds they require to stay alive. www.thepositivecommunity.com
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Together, we’ve built one of the nation’s top ﬁve heart transplant centers and are giving hope to patients like Barbara. An inherited heart problem has taken a terrible toll on Barbara Schempp’s family: her 66-year-old brother died from the condition in 2010 and her 6-year-old grand-niece succumbed to the same disease several years earlier. But today, heart transplants and other advanced cardiac treatments at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, are saving people with such serious disorders – including Barbara who received a heart transplant in July 2015. Subtle symptoms Barbara’s heart symptoms started in 2002. At first, she was simply tired all the time; eventually she became short of breath, too. The diagnosis: a hereditary enlargement of the heart, called dilated cardiomyopathy, which prevents it from pumping properly. Medication controlled the problem for a number of years. Then in mid-2014, Barbara developed congestive heart failure – when the heart doesn’t pump enough blood, and fluid builds up in the body. She went to NBIMC, where cardiac specialists implanted a defibrillator – a device that prevents the heart from suddenly stopping. When her symptoms worsened, doctors determined she had just one option left: a heart transplant. Leading cardiologists quickly placed a tiny pump in her failing heart. That emergency procedure would help keep her alive while she waited for a donor heart. After only three days, an organ became available and Barbara received the life-saving transplant by the cardiac team at NBIMC. "I feel great. It's amazing. I can go up and down stairs without having to catch my breath. I started doing exercises two days after the surgery. My energy level came right back.”
A Model Plate for a Cancer Preventive Diet
he New American Plate isn’t a diet or a complex system for calculating calories, fat grams, or carbohydrates. It’s a fresh way of looking at what you eat every day. Create meals that lower your risk for cancer and other chronic diseases and manage your weight at the same time.
How it Works: What you eat and How much
How does the New American Plate work? It’s simple. Look at your plate. Think about what foods you choose and how much of them you eat.
What you eat: Proportion
Aim for meals made up of 2/3 (or more) vegetables, fruits, whole grains, or beans and 1/3 (or less) animal protein.
STRATEGIES FOR CANCER PREVENTION: Eat mostly plant-based foods, which are low in energy density Be physically active Maintain a healthy weight (via steps 1 and 2, as well as reducing portion size)
OPEN IN HARLEM!
How much you eat: Portion size
Portion sizes in America have gradually grown too large. USDA’s standard serving sizes help you assess the portions you eat. The online Serving Size Finder can help you identify standard servings. Then ask yourself how many standard servings go into the portion you regularly eat? If you are overweight, consider gradually reducing that number. Controlling portion size at home and in restaurants makes a long-lasting difference in controlling your weight.
Bradford Washington DMD, MS Licensed Orthodontist Harvard School of Dental Medicine
The report concluded that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. Source: The American Institute for Cancer Research
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The American Institute for Cancer Research’s expert report, “Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective,” found that eating a plant-based diet – as in the New American Plate – may reduce the risk of cancer.
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Hope. Health. Hearts. All transplanted here. RWJBarnabas Health has one of the five largest heart transplant programs in the nation. Our expertise in all matters of cardiac health is why we’re a regional and national training center for clinicians. And together with you, our survival rates consistently meet or exceed all benchmarks. It adds up to the most experienced and comprehensive heart care program in New Jersey—one where hearts are transplanted right along with hope and health. Because, after all, your heart doesn’t beat just for you. To learn more, please visit rwjbh.org/hearttransplant.
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FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL CHILDREN’S DENTAL HEALTH
From school pictures to hundreds of family photos and thousands of selfies, children’s smiles brighten our lives. Let’s give them healthy smiles that will shine for a lifetime. Good dental habits start at a young age and continue as children grow with: • Regular dental checkups (2x a year) • Brushing and flossing (at least 2x a day) • A healthy diet with fruits and vegetables
Fidelis Care covers preventive and routine dental care for kids!
1-888-FIDELIS • fideliscare.org (1-888-343-3547)
Black Women’s History Conference Reunion Breakfast Focuses on Health Photos: Diane Pender
L-R : Diane Pender, Tanya Watson, and Rev. Shirley B. Garrett
he best one yet!” That’s the unanimous opinion of former members and friends of the Black Women’s History Conference who attended the fourth reunion breakfast at the United Church of Christ in Plainfield on September 24, 2016. Keeping with their motto, “Using the past to alert us to the present and plan for the future,“ the breakfast focused the dispensing of valuable information regarding current health conditions among black women. Lynn Parker, medical nurse practitioner and author of What Did the Doctor Just Say? used humor and plain talk to convey how to become one’s own best health advocate. “In view of the short time that doctors spend with their patients, you must prepare for visits to the doctor’s office,” she explained. “You can’t go in saying, ‘My leg hurts.’ You must be able to describe specific symptoms with clarity and intelligence.” It spoke to the legacy of the organization that there were several mothers and daughters in attendance. Some participated in the program. Among them were Tanya Watson, daughter of BWHC co-founder, Dr. Willa Cofield, who moderated the morning session; and Rev.
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Dr. Willa Cofield and Barbara P. Riley
Shirley B.Garrett of Columbus, Ohio, who brought greetings from her mother, Dr. Shirley B. Cathie–part of the BWHC from its inception, 33 years ago. Showing clips from the website she designed for the organization, Karen Riley introduced www.BWHCNJ.Weebly.com. She is daughter of former BWHC chair Barbara Riley. Tracy Walker invited the women to join Girl Trek, a movement grounded in civil rights history through walking, community leadership, and health advocacy. Pat Holmes presented a dramatic representation of the life of Harriet Tubman, recalling her leadership of BWHC in educating thousands of school children and adults about important black women in history. At the end of the morning, the group gathered for a photo, then with harmony and gusto burst into song, voices rising high on “Lean on Me.” From 1983-2004 the Black Women’s History Conference sponsored statewide meetings, developed curriculum, and helped educate children and adults about back women in history. The group’s motto was “Using the past to alert us to the present and plan for the future.”—JNW www.thepositivecommunity.com
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KAHLIL CARMICHAEL THE FITNESS DOCTOR Kahlil Carmichael is the spiritual director and founder of It Is Well Wellness and Worship Center in Somerset, New Jersey. He is a spiritual leader and the owner of The Fitness Doctor; a fitness and wellness consulting company. He writes a monthly column for The Positive Community Magazine and is the author of 50 Tips for a Better You! To grow spiritually and improve physically, or have Pastor Carmichael present his wellness seminar to your church or group you can email Kahlil at Pastor@itiswellchurch.com or call 732-921-3746.
Overcoming Junk Food
s we celebrate African American History this month, February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. Here is one small change you can make that will help not only your heart health, but your overall well-being and weight management: I have decided to stop eating all forms of junk food. I know I am the Fitness Doctor, but I have a life and I have children. But, no excuses! I am getting rid of junk food and so should you. Here’s why: Junk food is a general term that has come to encompass the bad foods that offer little in terms of protein, minerals, or vitamins, and lots of calories from sugar or fat. We’re talking about high-sugar, low fiber, and high fat foods that attract us and our children like magnets and put enormous stress on our healing system.While there is no definitive list of junk food, most authorities include foods that are high in salt, sugar, or fat calories, and low in nutrient content. The big hitters on most people’s list include fried fast food, salted snack foods, carbonated beverages, candies, gum, and most sweet desserts. The term “empty calories” reflects the lack of nutrients found in junk food Per a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one-third of the average American’s diet is made up of junk food. Because junk food takes the place of healthier foods, these same Americans are depending on the other two-thirds of their diet to get 100 percent of the recommended dietary intake of vitamins and nutrients. Studies show that the average American gets 27 percent of their total daily energy from junk food and an additional four percent from alcoholic beverages. Researchers are certain that such patterns of eating may have long-term—even life-threatening—health consequences. Here are some tips to help you stop eating junk food. Stop buying junk food. Keeping junk food around when you are trying to avoid it is a recipe for failure. If you have lots of junk food on hand, you will be much more likely to eat it. Stop buying junk food and keep it out of your house, car, and office.
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Buy healthy food only. Buy whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, milk, eggs, and whole grains. Selecting foods on the outer ring of the grocery store or foods with five ingredients or less is an easy way to make sure that you are making healthy choices. Keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand. The healthier the food that is readily available for you to choose from, the easier it will be for you to keep yourself from chowing down on junk. Keep granola bars, fresh fruit, almonds, and low-fat yogurt in your refrigerator and always stash a couple of snacks in your car or purse. Set a spiritual fast once per week. Our church just completed a 21-day fast and consecration that challenged us to avoid all food between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily (water only) while eating baked chicken, fish, and vegetables after 6 p.m.We also gave up all sweets and junk food for 21 days. The fast was so powerful we decided to continue the fast beyond the 21 days and set a fast for every Tuesday 0f 2017. I encourage you to fast once per week. Of course, with your doctor’s permission. Unfortunately, the African American community still struggles with sweets and junk food. I cannot tell you how many people I meet within our community who still consume “honeybuns,” soda, and candy by the pound. I am talking about adults not just our children. There are many reasons for this but that’s for another time. The bible teaches us that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) So, let’s stop eating junk food . . . together!!! Happy Heart Month! Peace and blessings. Disclaimer: The information contained in this column is of a general nature. You should consult your physician or health care professional before beginning any exercise prgram or changing your dietary regimen. thepositivecommunity.com
Healthfirst proudly celebrates
Black History Month Recognizing the legacy of the African-American community’s past, present, and future
For more information about our health plans, call 1-888-974-9901 (TTY 1-888-542-3821), 7 days a week, 8am–8pm, or visit www.HFhealthplan.org. Plans are offered by affiliates of Healthfirst, Inc. ©2017 HF Management Services, LLC.
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Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church invites you to a joyful celebration
Rev. Dr. Frank Blackshear Senior Pastor
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Family Celebration of Dr. King’s Legacy
Featured Award-winning Work By Central Brooklyn Student and Artistic Preformance
rooklyn’s oldest annual Family Celebration of Dr. King’s legacy, sponsored by the Central Brooklyn Martin Luther King Commission, was a free event featuring student art, essay, and poetry presentations, as well as special guest performances by the choruses and dance company of the Brooklyn School for Music and Theatre. Approximately 500 people attended the celebration. From the 23 participating schools, 27 winning students received cash scholarship awards for their essays, poems, and art work. In addition, Brooklyn Technical High School received the award for recruiting the largest number of contestants, and The Glenwood Academy of Science
All the Art and Poetry winners
& Technology, Public School 109, received the award for the most successful cohort of students. Photos: Lem Peterkin
President Chris Owens, MLK Commission; Assemblyman Walter Mosley, Public Advocate Leticia Tish James, Judge Devon Cohen presenting school and teacher awards to Tracey LottDavis, principal PS/IS 45 accepting award for Mary Ellen Waters Staff DeveloperMichael Anger, Brooklyn Tech; Joan Rowe, Midwood HS; Thomas Hinchen, St. Catherine/St. Therese, and Marina Kharkover, PS 109
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Children who attended the family celebration received a gift, book, or educational toy, and families participated in a free raffle -including a computer. Congress member Yvette Clarke and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, as well as New York State Assembly members Jo Anne Simon, Diana Richardson, and Walter Mosley and New York City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo attended the event. Both Clarke and James mentioned the appropriateness of remembering Dr. King’s vision and work in the context of the new administration in Washington, DC “The submissions from our students reflected strong concerns Continued on page 28 www.thepositivecommunity.com
L–R: Past Pres. Newark Chapter National Council of Negro Women, Inc., Hon. Bessie Walker; Hon. Pamela E. Gardner, Ret. Hudson County Registrar & member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Postmaster Eddie Banner; NJ State Senator (D-31st District) Hon. Sandra Cunningham; Jersey City’s own Mr. Chris Royster; Della Moses Walker, NJ dir. Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections; Omar & Dante, students, Fred Martin Center for the Arts
Dorothy Height Stamp Issued
ivil rights leader Dorothy Height is the nost recent African American to be honored in the U.S. Postal Service Black Heritage Forever series. Height (1912–2010) was a tireless activist who dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. She lived a remarkable life in service to her community, but African-American women in particular. Continued on page 28 Dr. Marc Lamont Hill
Spoken Word Artist known as Purple
Sing in Praise of King The Mighty Clouds of Joy
Tyrone “Tye” Tribbett
or more than two decades, the City of Newark has celebrated the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with songs of praise, musical performances, and powerful oratory. As happens annually, delighted Newark residents packed Newark Symphony Hall on January 26, 2017 to hear words of encouragement and renewal from keynote speaker Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. Dr. Hill is an academic, journalist, author, activist, television personality, and professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Performances by gospel music singer and songwriter Tyrone “Tye” Tribbett and gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy were warmly received by the enthusiastic audience and everyone joined in to sing in praise of King. February 2017 The Positive Community
DR. KING’S LEGACY
DOROTHY HEIGHT STAMP
Continued from page 26 about police brutality, climate change, prejudice against immigrants and Muslims, and gun A dramatic Poetry reading by violence, among other isAbbay Lynn Gonzalez sues,” said Christopher R. Owens, commission president and son of the late Congressman and Commission founder Major Owens. “This celebration never ceases to uplift those in attendance,” said Owens, “because we see in real time the evolution of our future leaders. There is no better two-hour investment in Dr. King’s legacy anywhere.” Owens continued: “Children today are both optimistic and pessimistic. One of our essay winners invoked Dr. King’s courage as she wrote about her mother wearing a hijab when others were afraid to do so. In praising Dr. King’s opposition to the Vietnam War and those who resisted World War I, another winner asked ‘When do we draw the line between what our government tells us and what we know are facts?’” “Another essay winner declared that “If I were Dr. King, I would probably try to lead protests just like the people are doing now” with regard to police brutality, while a poetry winner wrote “Colored individuals have struggled for a very long time. It almost seems like a war crime. Don’t get me wrong, the times have changed. But they’ve only been slightly rearranged.”
Continued from page 27
Although she rarely gained the recognition granted her male contemporaries, she became one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the 20th century. She was president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994. In 1990, Height, along with 15 other African Americans, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom. She served as national president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority from 1947 to 1956; was the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; and an honored guest at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009, where she was seated on stage. Height is the 15th African American woman to appear in the series. The painting of Height is based on a 2009 photograph shot by Lateef Mangum. Derry Noyes designed the stamp. Thomas Blackshear II created the painting. The stamp became available on February 1, 2017. Led by Philatelost Della Moses Walker, serveral aficionados went to Jersey City, NJ, Post Office named after The Honorable Judge Shirley Tolentino. an African American Woman on the first day of sale to purchase their stamps.
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JOANNE J. NOEL THE PREACHING PROFESSOR
Professor Joanne J. Noel, B.A., M.A., M. DIV., DMIN is Chair of General Studies and Associate Professor of English, Pillar College.
Inheriting Our Inheritance
f we lean more on God-unction for 2017, perhaps for many of us, this is the year that we will inherit our inheritance. God-unction inspires us to move God from the periphery of our life and place God at the center. God-unction drives us to practice the presence of God, to establish a portable altar, and to make our hearts the throne room of God. Every year some of us make New Year’s resolutions that are never fulfilled. Perhaps this occurs because we leave God out of the planning stages. Leaning on God-unction requires our participation in the process of achieving our goals; that means that not only do we create SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound), but we present those goals before God for directional clarity. Let’s make our plan but allow God to establish our steps. We need God’s anointing to direct us to do what we do so our plans become a vision on which purpose and destiny are constructed. God has a plan for a community of people and a plan for the individual in the community. When we practice God- unction, we create better plans that God strengthens us to accomplish. God reminded Israel in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” God promised an inheritance of comfort, prosperity, and security to a rebellious nation who had been driven into exile because they had not practiced God-unction. They had broken the commandments, practiced injustice, not taken care of widows and orphans, and worshipped multiple false gods. Their daily resolve was not focused on aligning their lives in God’s will, so their bad choices derailed their future. Yet, in their exile, God is merciful and gracious enough to promise them an inheritance of a better tomorrow. Some of us may never see that better tomorrow. That is, some of our New Year’s resolutions may never be fully realized because some of us “lean on our own understanding” and do not “acknowledge God in all our ways.” (Proverbs 3:5) We set unrealistic goals for weight loss, for
spiritual development, for attracting the right spouse, for job promotions, for educational accomplishment, etc. Statistic Brain Research Institute indicates that about 58% of Americans are likely to make New Year’s Resolutions and only about 9.2% are “successful” in achieving their resolution. Israel’s plan for how they governed themselves had deviated from God’s plans for them, and many of their resolutions were not accomplished. The false prophets of Jeremiah’s time, 6th century BCE, had contributed to the apostasy and sacrilegious complacency of the Israelites by telling them not to believe Jeremiah’s prophecy about the coming exile. These false prophets were incorrigible because they lulled the community into believing that their ungodly behavior was not stirring God’s ire. Even as the Israelites were sent into exile in Babylon under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar, the false prophets were still trying to convince them that the exile would be would short. Jeremiah wrote this letter to them containing a Word from the Lord, “Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 29:8) False prophets of self-delusion can also speak lies to us that we don’t need to include God in our decision-making processes. So some resolutions are our grandiose perspective of our ability to perform; wishful thinking that underscores conflated, unrealistic expectations. They create false hope. Some of that false hope can be summed up: unrealistic weight loss, Forbes magazine’s contributor Henna Inam suggests that we should ask ourselves 10 questions (based on Marshall Goldsmith’s book, Triggers) every day to create good habits to meet a New Year’s resolution. However, if Williams jammin’ we lean more on God-unction when making resolutions, on his harmonica perhaps we will fully obtain in 2017 the prosperity, hope, and bright future that is our inheritance.
February 2017 The Positive Community
BLACK HISTORY MATTERS
NYACK ALUMNI SINCE 1882
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MUHAMMAD ALI AS A REVOLUTIONARY ACTIVIST Risasi with The Champ
STORY AND PHOTOS BY RISASI DAIS
February 2017 The Positive Community
n 2016, Muhammad Ali lost his biggest bout. Though he fought a good fight, he was unable to knockout Parkinson’s Disease. He kept it on the ropes in a valiant battle for years; but when Ali lost this fight, the world lost a beloved champion of more than just boxing.
Ali, the incomparable former three-time world heavyweight boxing champion, who would have been 75yearsold on January 17, 2017, was more than just a colorful boxer. Full of self-aggrandizing trash talk in the ring, he transcended the world of boxing to become an endearing personality the world over. “The Champ” appeared in movies and on television, and even on Broadway in the musical Buck White. His talent, charisma, and personality were too big not to shine across all forms of media and entertainment (he even recorded an album, The Greatest). After achieving fame for both his athletic prowess and his controversial political views, Ali subsequently converted to the Islamic faith as a member of the Nation of Islam, led by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, where he was befriended by Malcolm X. After joining the Nation of Islam, the Louisville-born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. dropped his birth name. He was briefly known as “Cassius X” before adopting his permanent appellation saying, “Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don’t belong anymore to anyone, that I’m not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one.” More than just his name changed. In 1967 Ali refused to be inducted into the Army. He attributed his refusal to his religious beliefs and the tenets of Islam. He said he would not go overseas to kill Vietnamese soldiers because “No Vietcong ever called me a ni**er.” Of his seeming
“The People’s Champ” participating in a protest march in 1975 to free middleweight boxing contender Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in Trenton, New Jersey. (1975)
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enlightenment from his knowledge of Islam Ali said, “A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.” There were consequences for his stance against serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. He was in his prime when he was stripped of both his title and his passport, depriving him of any opportunity to fight and make millions of dollars. He was sentenced to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, though he remained out on bail while he appealed. “My principles are more important than the money or my title.” was his stoic response when questioned about his decision. While barred from boxing, Ali became more outspoken and took up the mantle of activism. He participated in several protest marches and demonstrations. In June of 1967, Ali spoke In Los Angeles at an anti-war rally of over 10,000 protestors saying, “Anything designed for peace to stop the killing of people, I’m for it 1,000 percent.” Thousands assembled around the Washington Monument in July of 1967 for an anti-war demonstration and praised Ali for refusing to go to war. Ali continued speaking out against the war for years stating, “I didn’t want to submit to the army and then, on the Day of Judgment have God say to me, ‘Why did you do that?’ This life is a trial, and you realize that what you do is going to be written down for Judgment Day.” Ali returned to boxing in 1970; his conviction was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 1971.
Sprucing up after training.
Ali speaking after receiving an award in Newark, NJ.
In 1980, this writer spent three days at Ali’s Pennsylvania training camp, interviewing and photographing him for a New York magazine. When asked about his admiration of the nation’s first African American heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson, Ali replied, “I always really admired Jack Johnson as a great fighter in the ring and out of the ring. And although I know that I am pretty and ‘The Greatest of All Time’ as I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in destroying many of my opponents, I never possessed the courage of Jack Johnson.” He continued, “He viciously knocked out all of his white fighters, then openly dated and married white women during the time when black men were constantly being lynched— and he did this alone, when it was illegal, without the support of the Nation of Islam F.O.I. as I have. So this was a ‘baaaadd brother!’” A true patriot, Ali continued his activism after he retired from boxing. He traveled to Iraq in 1990 prior to the Gulf War, met with Saddam Hussein, and successfully secured the release of American hostages in exchange for promising Hussein that he’d bring America “an honest account” of Iraq. Despite rescuing hostages, he received criticism from President George H. W. Bush. In 1996, he had the honor of lighting the flame at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Ali’s defiant stance against the Vietnam War would inspire other athletes such as Tommy Smith and John Carlos to raise their fists in a Black Power protest salute dur-
ing the 1968 Olympics. Almost 50 years later in 2016, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand for the National Anthem before all games in the season. While many (mostly white) football fans and critics became enraged and called him disgraceful, disrespectful, and unpatriotic, many progressive thinkers and activists across the nation hailed Kaepernick as an activist hero. Consequently, other professional football and basketball players of the NFL, NBA, and WNBA were inspired to similarly protest during the National Anthem prior to their games in solidarity. Even school children knelt at middle and high school games in support of the ideals of freedom and equality. When Kaepernick’s motives were questioned and his wealth and privilege as a professional athlete were cited in an effort to minimize the importance of his protest, his reply, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” echoed the words of The Greatest, “I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin’ hell, but as long as they ain’t free, I ain’t free.” Ali, as “The People’s Champion,” inspired athletes and activists of the Black Power Movement and continues to inspire today as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony protest police brutality and killings of black people, and the Black Lives Matter movement has spread nationwide. It seems that it’s back to business as usual for black Americans as we recently bid farewell to President Obama. However, as a people inspired by Muhammad Ali’s courageous activism, we can view the lives of Ali, Paul Robeson, and former President Obama as blueprints to build a plan of action; keenly listen to their powerful speeches; then organize our communities to become the best of ourselves. So, “Yes We Can” and we must do this to move forward by fighting and protesting against Trump’s racist, sexist, and fascist repeal and replacement of Obama-Care, revoking of Civil Rights legislation, and women’s reproductive issues, the Muslim travel ban, and the deportation of immigrants of color “By Any Means Necessary” as Brother Malcolm X taught us. And as for The Champ, Muhammad Ali? He once said, “I wanted to use my fame and this face that everyone knows so well to help uplift and inspire people around the world.” Rest easy, Brother Muhammad. You’ve done your part, now it’s up to us to make you proud.
Protest march to free Reuben “Hurricane” Carter. (1975)
Ali relaxing. (1980)
February 2017 The Positive Community
GIVE THEM EVERY ADVANTAGE.
Apply now for kindergarten! School code: 726 i
C A L L 9 7 3 . 7 5 0 . 8 3 2 6 | W W W. K I P P N J . O R G
SUBMIT YOUR SCHOOL ENROLLMENT APPLICATION AT WWW.NEWARKENROLLS.ORG BY FEBRUARY 28TH.
Who should fill out an application? • Students who are enrolling in school for the first time. • Students who are in the last grade of their current JANUARY 7 - FEBRUARY 28
school and need a new school for next year. • Students who want to change schools for next year.
How will families learn about their offer? • A letter will be sent in the mail to all families who submitted an application. • Families can call the Contact Center at 973-733-7333. • Families can log into their Newark Enrolls account if they
submitted an application online at newarkenrolls.org. • Families can also learn about the status of their application at their current school.
School Registration/Enrollment If you received a match: • You must register at your new school. MID APRIL - SUMMER
If you did not receive a match to a new school or if you need a new school for next year: • Visit newarkenrolls.org to learn about your next steps. • Visit the Family Support Center at 301 West Kinney.
COMPLETE THE APPLICATION ONLINE STEP 1: Get your child’s student ID Number • Call the NPS Contact Center at 973-733-7333 • Charter and Pre-K students will receive Student ID Numbers from their current school STEP 2: Visit the Newark Enrolls website: • www.newarkenrolls.org
COMPLETE A PAPER APPLICATION STEP 1: Pick up a paper application from your school, 2 Cedar Street, the Family Support Center, or print the form at www.newarkenrolls.org STEP 2: Get your child’s student ID number • Call the NPS Contact Center at 973-733-7333 • Charter and Pre-K students will receive Student ID numbers from their current school
STEP 3: Complete the application by February 28, 2017. STEP 3: Fill out and return the paper application to your school, 2 Cedar, or the Family Support Center by February 28, 2017.
973-733-7333 | www.newarkenrolls.org
L–R; Plainfield Frontiers members with awardee, Nancy Jordan, Mayor Adrian Mapp, Keynote Speaker Larry Hamm, and School Superintendent Anna Belin-Pyles.
Frontiers International 41st Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Memorial Breakfast
YF Darryl Clark; Service to Youth recipient, Nancy Jordan; YF President Rev. Louis Slade
Participants in the MLK Breakfast with a symbolic march lead by students from Cook School.
he Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club held their 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast on Monday, January 16, 2017, at the Plainfield High School cafeteria and auditorium. The breakfast is the longest running tribute of its kind to Dr. King in New Jersey. Guest speaker Lawrence Hamm is the founder and chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), a premiere grassroots independent political organization. An annual commemoration of the life of Dr. King, the breakfast highlights student groups, awards scholarships, and recognizes those in the community who have made outstanding contributions. This year’s honorees were: Nancy Jordan, Service to Youth; Bernel Harrison, Community Service; and the Westry Horne “Excellence in Education” award to Gregory
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Keynote speaker, Larry Hamm, founder and chairman Peoples Organization for Progress (POP)
O. Williams. Scholarship recipients were: Ashley Noelle Pyne, Kenar Lynne Myers, Farjah Aliyya Muhammad-Huggins, Jovan Kenneth Fuller, and Dejanay Monet Caldwell. Student organization participants included: Plainfield Jr. ROTC; PHS VIP group; PHS Basketball team; Boy Scouts Troop 5; PHS Choir; Evergreen and Cook Elementary schools’ choirs; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Steppers and Praise Dancers; PAAAS Jazz Ensemble; and Maxson School Dancers. The breakfast was a tremendous success with more than 400 attendees and a fitting tribute to Dr. King. For more information visit Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club on Facebook. Photos by Gladston Hackett www.thepositivecommunity.com
The 37th Annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series
Black Urban History Since 1967
MOVES: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2017
The Paul Robeson Campus Center Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
The Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series is made possible by funds and support from Prudential; the New Jersey Council for the Humanities; the New Jersey Historical Commission, Department of State; and the Rutgers Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes.
New Jersey CouNCil For The humaNiTies
MARION THOMPSON WRIGHT SPEAKERS:
Presented by the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience; the Federated Department of History, Rutgers University-Newark/New Jersey Institute of Technology; and the Department of African American and African Studies.
Thomas J. Sugrue New York University
Johns Hopkins University
PHOTO: Photos courtesy of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library
For more information, visit http://ethnicity.rutgers.edu or call 973-353-3891 IECME
Design: Diane Cuddy Design, LLC, Bloomfield, NJ Printing: Hanover Printing of NJ, Inc.
Culture L I F E , M U S I C , A R T & L I T E R AT U R E
St. Luke A.M.E. Church 100 Years of Service, Purpose, Pastors, and Progress
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end
BY ROSIE M. GREGGS
elebrating the year of their church’s one hundredth anniversary, members of St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey reflected on the past, celebrated the present, and looked forward in faith with great expectations. In 1916, the Walsh Peterson family, who worshiped together regularly, saw a need for another A.M.E. Church in Newark. Bro. Peterson gathered his family and a few others and formed the Exodus AME Church on Broome Street. Brother Walsh Peterson petitioned the New Jersey Conference for a minister, which led to Rev. W. C. McDonald becoming the first pastor. Through the years, our faith in God and strong determination to remain a viable part of this Spiritual Community have led us through a name change, a mortgage burning, ebbs and tides of membership, a burned down and rebuilt edifice, a total of nineteen (19) pastors and many other faith strengthening situations. St. Luke has been host to some of the county’s most influential voices 38
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of the world.” ( Matthew 28:19-20) including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, countless governors, and New Jersey political officials. Singing sensation Dionne Warwick began her career here under the tutelage of her grandfather, Rev. Elzae Warwick, our 12th pastor. “When my grandfather, asked me to sing at his church, one Sunday morning, I was truly surprised. As I entered his pulpit, I looked up at him, wondering why he wanted me to sing,” Warwick recalled. “He simply said, ‘Sing for me the song you sing in Sunday school.’ I was only six years old, and this would be the first time I would sing in front of a large congregation of people.” Today under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Hooper, the church is focused on growing the congregation guided by The Great Commission which states: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”( Matthew 28:19-20)
Dr. Joseph A. Hooper, pastor
Many activities have taken place during this centennial year, beginning with a “Young People’s Choir Reunion Kickoff Concert” in June. The concert brought together almost 50 now young adults from all over the country—Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, Washington State, Washington DC, and Maryland under the weekend theme: “Reuniting for Revival.” It did our hearts proud to see so many of St. Luke’s Young people return home one more time. The year of celebration culminated in the month of October, with www.thepositivecommunity.com
We are encouraged by their strength, their fortitude, their belief in Matthew 7:7 and their accomplishments with what they had. By the grace of God, they make us who we are today and we are determined to run on and see what the Lord will do.
Worship on Wednesdays and the Fresh Fire Revival Series, meant to encourage us on our journey of spiritual preparation for the centennial celebration. The powerful revivalists included: Rev. Ellis I. Washington of St. Paul AME Church, Cambridge, MA; Rev. Kenneth L. Saunders of North Stelton AME Church, Piscataway, NJ; Rev. Marcellus A. Norris of St. Luke AME Church of Harlem, NY; Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter of St. James AME Church of Newark, NJ; and Rev. Rakeem S. Thomas of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Newark, NJ. They each blessed us with their sermons, prayers, and medleys by their choirs. On Sunday, October 16, Sis. Joyce Clement, one of our longest tenured members (1930s); Phil Murphy, Democratic Party candidate for Governor of New Jersey; his Chief of Staff Rev. Derrick L. Green; South Ward Councilman John Sharp James; Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins; her Chief of Staff Cynthia Reese; and other dignitaries worshiped with us for our Centennial Worship Service. On Friday evening, October 22, we celebrated 100 years of service, www.thepositivecommunity.com
purpose, pastors, and progress with a wonderful Centennial Gala Affair at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel. Sis Brenda Lazier chaired the celebration. Quinting Lacewell of Atlanta, GA served as master of ceremonies. It was an affair to be remembered for a very long time. Over 230 people, happy to see one another, came from near and far. Best of all, we all looked sparkly for this occasion! Pastor Hooper presented three former pastors and their spouses: Rev. Dr. & Mrs. John Gussie Ragin, retired Presiding Elder and our longest tenured pastor (29 years); Presiding Elder & Mrs. Howard L. Grant; and Rev. Dr. and Mrs. James E. Deas, Sr. In a strong keynote speech, Mayor Ras Baraka explained that he and his administration needed the help of our churches in the fight for young men in the streets. He asked that we mentor and encourage our young men toward a better life. In addition, members of the Mayor’s senior staff, Newark City Councilmembers, and our very own member Assemblywoman Blonnie R. Watson (NJ-29) were on
hand to show their support. The Rt. Rev. Gregory G. M. Ingram, presiding prelate of the 1st District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, delivered a rousing sermon from the 100th Psalm titled “Every Praise Is to Our God!” When the doors of the church were opened, five promising new members joined the church. We praise and thank God for the increase and anointing of our Bishop. Looking forward, St. Luke members have our sights of faith set on higher heights of service in the Lord. We look back and savor the strength of our forefathers, for it gives us the courage to push forward. We are encouraged by their strength, their fortitude, their belief in Matthew 7:7 and their accomplishments with what they had. By the grace of God, they make us who we are today and we are determined to run on and see what the Lord will do. Rosie M. Greggs is the Christian education director of St. Luke AME Church and dedicated member for over 30 years.
February 2017 The Positive Community
Interchurch Center Hosts King Day Celebration Forbes Brings Message Paula Mayo
Interchurch Center Gospel Choir
Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes
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Photos: Bob Gore
he Interchurch Center (TIC) hosted their Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration on Wednesday, January 11, 2017. The service began with the call to worship, delivered by Rev. Dionne P. Boissière, chaplain of the Church Center for the United Nations. In his message, renowned pastor of pastors Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., senior minister emeritus of The Riverside Church and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, brought to life the words of Dr. King and their meaning today. TIC President/Executive Director Paula M. Mayo gave welcoming remarks. The Interchurch Center at 475 Riverside Drive in Harlem is owned and managed under the auspices of several Christian Organizations as a Class A office facility, with the mission to provide a working environment that is conducive to ecumenism and interreligious involvement.
L–R: Rev. Dionne P. Boissière; James Durrah, Board Chair, Municipal Credit Union (MCU); Louis P. Barbarin, CEO, MMBB Financial Services; former NYC Mayor David Dinkins; Paula Mayo; and Dale Irvin, president, NYTS www.thepositivecommunity.com
Rev. Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network and host of Annual King Day
L-R; New York City officials Comptroller Scott Stringer, NY State Senator Jamaal Bailey, Public Advocate Letitia James, and Mayor Bill de Blasio
National Action Network (NAN) Annual MLK Tradition
ational Action Network Headquarters, known as “The House of Justice,” hosted their annual NAN King day, Monday, January 18, 2017. Civil Rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network, along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; and other elected officials, labor and faith leaders attended. Immediately following the forum, labor and faith leaders joined Rev. Al Sharpton and NAN, along
with members of 1199 SEIU, who marched from the House Of Justice to the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. statue on MLK Blvd. Dr. King’s last crusade before he was assassinated in Memphis, TN was dealing with wages and the labor rights of union members and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. led fellow congressmen in increasing the minimum wage during Dr. King’s era. “On the day we honor the legacy of Dr. King, it is essential to do things that embody the principles he preached and lived by – that is exactly why we are rallying and marching,” declared Rev. Sharpton. Photos: Seitu Oronde
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
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Harlem Congressman Adriano Espaillat February 2017
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer www.thepositivecommunity.com
Masterpiece, Collector’s Edition
Barack Obama Keepsake
124 ! Pages
By popular demand, We are releasing a limited print run of the original blockbuster Winter ’17 Issue. Don’t Miss Out. Order your copy of the ULTIMATE MASTERPIECE EDITION Save this keepsake issue for future generations. Let us never forget this special time on our freedom journey in American history. Invest in the future. Own your history today! Only $13.99 includes shipping and handling. Order by March 6, 2017 Order online www.thepositivecommunity.com. Allow 6 weeks for delivery. Call 973-233-9200 for more information.
The Godfather of Soul Grants Gifts As Part of His Legacy BY MADINAH N. JAMES
ames Brown was an iconic figure of music and dance, aptly nicknamed “The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business.” With a career that spanned over 50 years, Brown, the official and certified “Godfather of Soul,” was a prolific singer, songwriter, and bandleader. But many are unaware that he was also a humanitarian, social activist and education advocate. Perhaps due to his own hardscrabble youth that forced him to drop out of school in the 7th grade, Brown was passionate about education and well known in certain circles for offering financial assistance and providing gifts to underprivileged children and impoverished families. During the holidays he funded the Annual James Brown Turkey and Toy Giveaway. Since his death in 2006, Brown’s family has been committed to keeping his legacy of philanthropy and humanitarianism alive through the James Brown Family Foundation (JBFF). The goal of JBFF is to continue what Brown began. “My father was given many gifts and blessings from God to make an impact and change people’s lives on so many different levels...those gifts keep on giving,” says Brown’s daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas, JBFF president. One such gift is the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils (JAMP), an initiative to motivate, educate and inspire children through the universal language of music and discover hidden musical talents. “Music education held a special place in my father’s heart....his music touched
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so many, from the millions of people who grew up listening to him, to the artists who sampled his music and emulated him. He made a tremendous impact and he would be proud of what we have accomplished in his memory and definitely would be involved,” his daughter stated. The James Brown Family Performing Arts Center (JBFPAC) is another labor of love. It launched both a theater arts and a fashion program, “Fashion Inspires!” Some of the students have worked alongside professional actors, performing in the play Worth the Wait, starring actor Dorien Wilson from The Parkers, and singer Issa Pointer, the daughter of singers Ruth Pointer and Dennis Edwards. Fashion Inspires! launched in the NY area for teens ages 14 to 18 interested in learning about the fashion industry. Several students have modeled in fashion shows at the New York, LA, and DC Fashion Weeks, and African Fashion Week in Toronto, Canada. www.thepositivecommunity.com
Photos: Courtesy James Brown Family Foundation
The James Brown Family Historical Tour —an extension of the James Brown Family Foundation— focuses on the man, his music, and his legacy. Brown’s fans are guided on a narrated tour tracing his steps growing up in Augusta, GA. Highlights include his childhood home and elementary school, a James Brown statue, the James Brown Arena and much more! The tour, which is also on exhibit at the Augusta Museum of History, houses the largest existing collection of James Brown memorabilia in the world. In addition to his phenomenal music career, Brown was also a successful entrepreneur. He owned restaurants throughout the South, had vested ownership in various businesses throughout the country, and was one of the first entertainers to own a private Learjet. “My father created his own personal inspired brand,” Brown-Thomas explained. “He had a tailor, but was his own stylist. He had his own hairstyle and his own creative get down!” Through strategic partnerships with other organizations throughout the country and globally, the JBFF has been a catalyst to facilitate effective community outreach as a result of like-minded alliances. “We at the JBFF have been afforded many opportunities because of the James Brown legacy,” boasted Brown-Thomas. “The spirit of that legacy has provided me with a team to create opportunities for youth. I am truly grateful to God and my father, ‘The Godfather of Soul,’ for opening these doors.” Through the James Brown Family Foundation, Deanna Brown-Thomas plans to continue to share the legacy James Brown left through his music and both cultivate and nourish the seeds he planted. “By traveling the world and having an opportunity to impact a new generation and a group of youth who ‘wanna’ get funky one time and stay on the good foot,’ we continue to fight and maintain our dedication to honor my father’s wishes a decade after his death. His empowering rags to riches story helped solidify him as an American icon and legend. The riches he received and gave as a gift from God continue to give abundantly to the world and I am truly thankful for that.”
The goal of JBFF is to continue what Brown began
Deanna Brown-Thomas receiving proclamation from Osner Charles, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, director. East Orange, on behalf of Mayor Lester E. Taylor, III
February 2017 The Positive Community
(Center rear) Rev. Dr. Terry Richardson, L–R: Alanna Dade, First Lady Nadeen Richardson, Leah Dade, and Dr. Mamie Bridgeforth
L–R: Pastor Lewis Collier, Dr. Albert Lewis, Rev. Vincent Rouse, and famed dancer, Savion Glover
Pastor’s Ball A Night of Elegance
Apostle Joel D. Rudolph, Sr. and Lady Sheila Rudolph
Rev Dr. Perry and Emma Simmons
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L–R: Pastor Mary and Bishop George C. Searight, Abundant Life Family Center with Toya Beasley, radio personality
Photos: Karen Waters
he 2nd annual Pastor’s Ball at The Grove in Cedar Grove, NJ was designed by Julia Feacher of Got Vizon. The event acknowledges, honors, and celebrates men and women of God serving in the metropolitan New Jersey/ New York Tri-state area who have unselfishly dedicated their lives, remained committed, and shared their gifts and talents to impact and change lives “While Serving This Present Age, Their Calling to Fulfill.” Honorees celebrating their tenacity in their individual ministry, government, and community assignments were: Barbara Arroyo (Milagros Angels); Mayor Ras J. Baraka; Rev. Dr. Steffie Bartley; Dr. Mamie Bridgeforth; Rev. Dr. Elton T. Byrd; Adrian Council, Sr.; Bishop Albert L. Jamison; Dr. Albert Lewis; Bishop Jacqueline E. McCullough; Virginia Perry; Pastor Hilton Rawls Jr; Apostle Joel D. Rudolph Sr; Dr. David Schroeder; Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons; Rev. Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries; Ray and Joyce Tidwell; and Atty. Junius and Dr. Antoinette Williams.
Adrian Council, Sr. publisher, TPC and Julia Feacher
Rev Dr. Elton T. and Lady Luberta Byrd www.thepositivecommunity.com
L–R: Bishop Jethro and Dr. Kim Yancey James; Linda L. and Bishop Rudy V. Carlton
L–R: Stellar Award-winner Stanley Brown, radio personality Toya Beasley and music producer, James D. Robinson.
L-R: Rev. Timothy Levi Jones, pastor, Bethany B.C., Newark; Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree, director, Clergy Affairs and Interfaith Alliance, Newark, NJ; Dr. Antoinette EllisWilliams; Atty. Junius Williams; Councilwoman Mildred Crump; Rev. Eyesha Marable, director, Liturgical Dance, Community Engagement, NJPAC
L-R: Rev. Timothy Levi Jones, pastor, Bethany B.C., Newark; Rev. SATURDAYS 12PM Louise Scott-Rountree, director, Clergy Affairs and Interfaith Alliance, NJ; Dr. Antoinette Ellis Williams; Atty. Junius WilSTRAWBERRYNewark, FIELDS liams; Councilwoman Mildred Crump; Rev. Eyesha Marable, director, Liturgical Dance, Community Engagement, NJPAC
GOSPEL BRUNCH HARLEM GOSPEL CHOIR
Valentine’s Celebration with
28 5th ANNUAL FUNKY FAT TUESDAY
feat. LARRY BLACKMON
& PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC
JEFF BRADSHAW & ALGEBRA BLESSETT
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO
MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS
PRIVATE EVENTS & GROUPS OF 10+ CONTACT: EVENTS@BBKINGBLUES.COM | 237 WEST 42 STREET | (212)997-4144 | TICKETMASTER.COM (800)745-3000 www.thepositivecommunity.com
February 2017 The Positive Community
L–R: Rev. James. B. Barnwell; Rev. Jessie Williams, host pastor; Rev. James D. Morrison; Michael Mulgrew, president, United Federation of Teachers; Rev. Dr. Charles Curtis; and Rev. Dr. Betty Spencer
The Baptist Ministers’ Conference Of Greater NY and Vicinity
he Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Greater NY and Vicinity recently hosted their annual Martin Luther King worship service on Monday, January 16, 2016 at Convent Avenue B.C. in Harlem. Each year, religious leaders and community leaders con-
verge to pay homage to the legacy of civil rights and recommit themselves to the ideals of this great 20th century prophet. BMCGNY&V is New York City’s oldest and largest clergy leadership organization and was founded in 1898.
Men Standing on the Promises of God
he Men’s Ministry of St. John’s Baptist Church in Scotch Plains, NJ hosted their annual Men’s Day on October 23, 2016.
L–R: Les Judkins, owner/ director Judkins Colonial Home; Bro. Ronald Suggs, Coordinator; Rev. Arthur Jackson; and Tony Flagg of Tony Flagg Builders
Nine-year-old Jeremiah Chadwick recited Rev. Kings’ “I have a Dream” speech
L–R: Rev. Morrison and Anthony Harmon, UFT
L–R: Guest Speaker Rev. Dr. J. Michael Sanders, pastor Fountain B.C. Summit, NJ; and St. John’s Interim Pastor Rev. Dr. Evans L. Spagner
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Photos: Seitu Oronde
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, former NYC Mayor David C. Dinkins, and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
A Valentine’s Celebration with Michael Bolton and special guest Stephanie Mills • 2/17
Memories of these shows will last a lifetime!
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Year of the Rooster Saturday, January 28 at 2pm Sunday, January 29 at 2pm One of the most colorful and joyus family traditions at NJPAC!
Peking Acrobats Saturday, February 18 at 1pm A dazzling show of bravery and dexterity featuring live music!
$25 Tickets! Use code: FAMILY
Orchestre National de Lyon Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Arlo Guthrie Taj Mahal
Sunday, February 19 at 3pm
The folk music icon and country & blues artist together on stage!
Works by Ravel, Slatkin, Liszt and Berlioz
Friday, March 3 at 8pm
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ in Concert Saturday March 11 at 2pm Relive the magic of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ on the big screen, accompanied live by the N JSO. HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. J.K. ROWLING`S WIZARDING WORLD™ J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s16)
Yannick Lebrun. Photo by Andrew Eccles
Coming this April—Wayne Shorter Weekend!
Swan Lake Moscow Festival Ballet
Peppa Pig’s Big Splash Live!
Saturday, April 15 at 8pm
Thursday, April 27 at 6pm
A company of 50 dancers performs the tale of a beautiful woman doomed to be a swan, set to the Tchaikovsky’s glorious score.
An action-packed live show featuring your favorite characters as life-size puppets and costume characters!
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Friday, May 12 at 8pm Saturday, May 13 at 8pm Sunday, May 14 at 3pm This always dazzling company returns with new works and classics.
Featuring Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride, Joe Lovano and more!
1.888.GO.NJPAC • NJPAC.ORG/PC • GROUPS OF 10 OR MORE 973.297.5804 • ONE CENTER STREET, NEWARK, NJ
L-R: Chip Hallock, Newark Regional Business Partnership; Terri Seeney, manager, Corporate Outreach Programs for Panasonic; and John Harmon, CEO/president, African American Chamber of Commerce
L–R: Dr. Susan Cole, president, Montclair State University; Richard A. Levao, president,Bloomfield College; Adrienne Snead Byers, YMCA board member; and Michael Bright, president/ CEO, Newark YMCA
The YMCA of Newark and Vicinity 46th Annual MLK Memorial Breakfast
L–R: Michelle Abel, PNC Bank; Angela Ridenour, TPC; and Dr. Jennifer Robinson, Montclair State University
Keynote Speaker Dr. Susan Cole
L–R: City National Bank, with L–R: Linda Campbell, Tasha Lohman, Somali Wright, Mary Hankins and at right Willie Blalock.
he YMCA of Newark and Vicinity has honored the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the past 45 years with an annual memorial breakfast. In fact, the YMCA was the first local organization to hold an event honoring Dr. King. Breakfast participants can reflect on Dr. King’s vision of a community and world of peace, love, and understanding. The YMCA’s mission is to provide opportunities for individual growth, youth and family development, and overall enhancement of the quality of life in its community through programs that include health, housing, recreation, education, and social direction. “We need to do more, and, today, I pledge to you that we will do more to contribute to your efforts,” vowed Montclair State University President Dr. Susan Cole, keynote speaker. 50
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“If you invite us, we will come to your schools and work with your teachers and the students. If you invite us, we will come to your community organizations and your churches and talk to the young people and their families. And we will expand the opportunities for you and your children to visit the university so that they can see for themselves what the world of higher education looks like and see for themselves that it is for them, that the doors are open for them.” “As I think of Dr. King and what he achieved and where we are now,” she said, “I find myself thinking of something that Eleanor Roosevelt said. She said, ‘We should rejoice in the accomplishments of those before us, be proud of the heritage that we inherit, but be always vigilant that the future is ours alone to make.’ The future is ours alone to make.” www.thepositivecommunity.com
Photos: John Henry and Mike Peters
L–R: Rev. Marilyn A. Harris, VP of Community Relations and Darrell K. Terry, Sr., president and CEO both for Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE AND
THE CITY IN THE MACHINE AGE On view now in Seeing America – 20 galleries of world-class American art GALLERY & SHOP HOURS Wednesday – Sunday, Noon–5 pm MUSEUM ADMISSION Adults: $15; Children, Seniors, Veterans & Students with valid ID: $8; Members, Newark Residents & Active Duty Military: FREE Raymond Steth, The Evolution of Swing, ca. 1935. Lithograph on paper, 14 x 19 in. Courtesy of the Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U. S. General Services Administration. Commissioned through the New Deal art projects, 1945 45.727
49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 973.596.6550 TTY 711 On-site parking available for a fee.
February 2017 The Positive Community
Seacoast Association Striving to Build Relationships and Relevant Minstry in 2017
he Seacoast Missionary Baptist Association held its service of installation and consecration on Jan. 8, 2017. The event, which was hosted by Second Baptist Church in Long Branch, was attended by nearly 400 people. Pastor James H. Brown, Sr. was installed as the association’s 24th moderator. “I am excited about what God is about to do in this next season of the Seacoast Association,” said Moderator Brown, who also serves as pastor of United Fellowship Baptist Church in Asbury Park. “I feel honored and privileged to serve as Moderator as we engage in carrying out the vision Relationship Building and Relevant Ministry.” Moderator Brown has chosen “We Can Do Better Together” as the theme for his biennium of service. In addition to Moderator Brown, Rev. Aaron N. Gibson, Sr., pastor of Second Baptist Church in Long Branch, was named First Vice Moderator; and Rev. Gary Brandon, pastor of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Temple in Asbury Park, was named Second Vice Moderator.
The Positive Community
L–R: First Vice Moderator Rev. Aaron N. Gibson, Sr.; newly installed Moderator James H. Brown, Sr.; and, Second Vice Moderator Rev. Gary Brandon
The keynote speaker was Bishop Heber M. Brown II. Bishop Brown, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Edgemere, Maryland and elder brother to Moderator Brown, challenged association officers and members to check their egos at the door and celebrate diversity if they are to affect change in the communities they serve. For Moderator Brown, his brother’s remarks were right on time. “Realizing that the church has historically been out front in transformational movements, it is our desire to serve as the connecting trumpeter that brings the various religious, civic, and social organizations together under one banner,” Moderator Brown added. The Seacoast Missionary Baptist Association represents 23 Baptist churches in the Monmouth and Ocean County New Jersey Area. —JNW
A JOYFULLY INTOXICATING
CELEBRATION. BEN BRANTLEY, THE NEW YORK TIMES
THE BEST PLAY ON BROADWAY! An all-star cast delivers riveting performances. LINDA ARMSTRONG, THE AMSTERDAM NEWS
HARVY BLANKS, ANTHONY CHISHOLM, BRANDON J. DIRDEN, ANDRÉ HOLLAND CARRA PATTERSON, MICHAEL POTTS, KEITH RANDOLPH SMITH, RAY ANTHONY THOMAS, JOHN DOUGLAS THOMPSON
N OW P L AY I N G O N B ROA DWAY SAMUEL J. FRIEDMAN THEATRE , 261 W. 47TH ST.
TELECHARGE .COM • (212) 239-6200 • JitneyBroadway.com Lead support for August Wilson’s Jitney has been provided by MTC’s Producing Fund Partner, Andrew Martin-Weber. Special thanks to The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting Manhattan Theatre Club. Photographs by Kareem Black.
February 2017 The Positive Community
BY PATRICIA BALDWIN
What’s Going On? GRACE & PEACE
come to you with the Motown classic “What’s Goin’ On?” by Mr. Marvin Gaye, from an era when change was questioned with a song that was not necessarily gospel, but it awakened the spirit. This song was even played on gospel radio stations because of the connection it had to encourage a society with the social awareness that we have the power to create and take back our destiny. Please believe, God is in control and He has predestined what is to come. Remember, He is God! So with that being said, Motown Gospel has decided to address that question with a compilation album, Heal: Songs of Hope for Our Nation. The project boasts songs from well-known artists like Tasha Cobbs, Ty Tribbett, Smokie Norful, and Myron Butler and Levi to name a few. Even Mr. “Worth Fighting For,” gospel artist Brian Courtney Wilson is added to this project with the title song “Heal (Find a Way)” produced by Baby Dubb, aka Mr. Warryn Campbell. Wilson states, “This song is for anyone who believes in God’s power to heal and refuses to give up hope.” Also, the 18th annual BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music was held at the Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA, honoring the great Marvin Sapp. Some of you may recall when “Never Would Have Made It” became a crossover hit. For many that was his introduction as a recording artist, but the real lovers of gospel music remember Sapp from his Commission days. BMI couldn’t have picked a better honoree with his 22 Stellar Awards®, two Dove Awards®, two Soul Train Music Awards®, two BET Awards, 8 BMI Songwriters Awards, several Billboard and GRAMMY® nominations—not to mention all the shows and concerts Pastor Sapp did for just the song “Never Would Have Made It,” which brought him to another level because it was a song that connected to the spirit of humanity. Everybody’s been through something, and when you
54 The Positive Community
make it through the toughest time of your life and realize that it was a BUT GOD moment… that song right there— Yeah! Congrats to you Pastor Sapp, well deserved. Speaking of awards, Pastor Shirley Caesar will add to her recent Hollywood Walk of Fame star a Lifetime Achievement Award from the GRAMMYs®. This 11-time GRAMMY Award® recipient (in addition to other awards—too many in number to list here) has been in the industry for over four decades. Pastor Caesar has never sugarcoated the truth of gospel music. Never crossing over or bowing down to the secular side of the industry. However, she has embraced the new generation lending her love and support as they in turn give ideas to help build and promote her charities (remember the “You Name It” challenge that went viral over Thanksgiving touting beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, lamb, ham…). She’s also the singer of the theme song for Oprah Winfrey’s Greenleaf Series on OWN. Continued success to you Mama Shirley, you are unstoppable with your Kingdom Building! We want to continue to keep our brothers Cory “Coco Brother” Condrey and James Fortune in prayer for God to manifest His power for total healing. Both gentlemen were in serious car accidents—BUT GOD! We believe in a full recovery for you both, as well as the awesome testimony that comes with it. One last thing, we celebrated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. last month and honored the dream and vision that was fulfilled in 2009 with President Barack Obama. Although this is a new season of uncertainty, keep your head up. Remember the struggle was not in vain, nor is your living. Be of good courage; know in your heart that His word is true! “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Romans 4:21 We can do this! Rest Easy Bishop Eddie Long.
American Foundation for The University of the West Indies invites you to attend our
Thursday, February 23, 2017 AT THE PIERRE HOTEL - 2 E 61st St. New York Master / Mistresses of Ceremonies Maurice DuBois Dahved Levy Angela Yee Honorary Patron Dr. The Hon. Harry Belafonte, OJ Honorary Dinner Chair Hon. David N. Dinkins
Dinner Patrons Larry Quinlan & Diane Jaffe
Vice Chancellorâ€™s Achievement Award Rachel Baker Humanitarian Award Paul Salmon, The Rockhouse Foundation
Gala Chair Paxton Baker
Gala Co-Chair Janell Snowden
Champions of Community Engagement Dennis Shipping Company Inc. Earl Phillips Finn Partners The Door Restaurant Corp. The Kimberly Hotel Sesame Flyers International, Inc.
Chair, Planning Committee Lloyd Williams
Bob Marley Award Doug E. Fresh Inaugural Hon. Shirley Chisholm Award Hon. Yvette D. Clarke Congresswoman, New York 20th Anniversary Salute to Past Honorees
Caribbean Luminary Award Estelle Reception: 6:00 PM â€˘ Dinner, Program & Dessert Party: 7:00 PM
For Seats and Tables: Ms. Grant - Tel. (212) 759-9345 or email: email@example.com 767 3rd Ave, Suite 301, New York, NY 10017
357 Seventh Ave. New York, NY 10001 (between 29th & 30th Sts.) www.Panzai.com • Office:212.594.6697 • Mobile: 917.567.4550 John Naftali
MWANDIKAJI K. MWANAFUNZI THE WAY AHEAD
Contemplating the Next Four Years
he United States of America has a new president whose words and actions reveal plans to manage this nation very differently from the way it has been managed in the recent past. Let’s pray that what actually results reflects God’s will. Also, let’s beseech God’s guidance as we, individually and collectively, strive to achieve God’s will. God commands: “You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in Egypt.” Exodus 23:9 (New American Standard Bible) Another reliable Bible version translates “a stranger” as “an alien.” The current president’s efforts to ban immigration of Muslims and Syrians into the U.S., and even to deport Muslims presently living here, seems to me to violate God’s law, as expressed through the prophet Moses in Exodus 23:9. So does the president’s executive order to allow completion of an oil pipeline that could disproportionately pollute lands inhabited by Native Americans. Even though Native Americans were on the land we now call the United States long before whites and blacks arrived, Native Americans today are, effectively, “strangers” and/or “aliens” in the minds of much of the overall American population. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute! Exodus 23:9 was spoken to ancient Jews, not to present-day American Christians.” But Exodus 23:9 is part of God’s Law. Remember what Jesus Christ said about the Law: Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of thepositivecommunity.com
the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20, NASB)
Moreover, Christ commands us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB) Christians with whom I have worshipped over the years include people who have been converted to Christianity from the Muslim faith. It is going to be more difficult for such conversions to occur in America in the future if the U.S. government purposely keeps Muslims out of the country. As Christians, let’s support, encourage, and strive toward peacemaking efforts in general, and remember that toward the end of His 3-year ministry, Christ prophesized: . . . when the Son of Man comes in His glory . . . then he will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him . . . Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me . . . Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we . . . feed You . . . give You something to drink . . . invite You in . . . clothe You . . . come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:31-40, NASB)
So God commands us to help people in need. Efforts to make healthcare affordable to Americans of lesser incomes began decades ago, and finally became federal law, the Affordable Care Act, during the past eight years. One of the goals of the new presidential administration is to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Let’s pray that the final result is more in line with Christ’s value system, as expressed in the 25th chapter of the Book of Matthew. February 2017 The Positive Community
GOOD NEWS FROM THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
thepositivecommunity.com February 2017
Vol. 17, No. 2
Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.
BY R.L. WITTER
IT’S TIME TO MAKE BLACK HISTORY AND CHANGE OUR FUTURE
Editor-in-Chief Jean Nash Wells Associate Editor R. L. Witter
Sales Angela Ridenour Adrian Council, Jr. NGS Communications, Inc. Satori MPR Marc Williams
Contributing Writers Mwandikaji K. Mwanafunzi g.r. mattox Patricia Baldwin Rev. Theresa Nance Glenda Cadogan Helene Fox Rev. Dr. Joanne Noel Photographers Bob Gore Wali A. Muhammad Seitu Oronde Rev. Dr. William L. Watkins, Jr. Darryl Hall Vincent Bryant Hubert Williams Brian Branch Price Karen Waters Art Direction & Layout Penguin Design Group Peter Gillo The Positive Community Corp. 133 Glenridge Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042 973-233-9200 Fax: 973-233-9201 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: thepositivecommunity.com All contents © 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.
58 The Positive Community
The Last Word
ust the other day a friend asked me how I acquired what she called “a great amount of Black History knowledge.” I struggled to answer the question as Black History has always been an interest of mine and a factor in my education. Ironically, I’ve known this friend for more than 30 years; we attended both middle and high school together. It immediately became clear to me that my knowledge of Black History could less be attributed to my formal public education than the efforts of my parents, relatives, and those few special teachers who made a herculean effort to impart to me the wisdom and truth of the ages. Whether it was the 3-foot tall Black History coloring book I received for Christmas; the carefully chosen storybooks by black authors with illustrations of brown children with coiled hair; or my parents’ friends and acquaintances who included a congressman, a state senator, several judges, doctors, dentists, lawyers, professors, musicians, and myriad other accomplished people of a darker hue, who affectionately referred to one another as “Brother” and “Sister.” Upon entering college at an HBCU, my knowledge base was expanded tenfold. Between the assigned reading, related texts, and intriguing conversation with other black students from all over the world, I was steeped in the history of a people that existed, survived, thrived, and ruled long before the history of slavery in America we were taught annually each February. I have come to the realization that the crises in our community cannot and will not be resolved until we educate ourselves and our children regarding our true history —centuries and millennia— the one that stretches eons before slavery to the days when we ruled the world, invented mathematics, built the world’s first university, and Greeks and Romans
were sent to Africa to be educated. I’ve also recently noted that African Americans don’t behave as immigrants. While yes, we’ve been here longer than the pilgrims and Plymouth Rock, we are still foreigners in a land where our native languages are not generally spoken, nor is our culture celebrated and acknowledged (unless a another community appropriates them). We need to take a page from other immigrants like the Jews, Swedes, Asians, and even other collective groups like Catholics. We need to educate our own. I grew up in an ethnically diverse area where several afternoons each week, children attended Hebrew school, Swedish school, catechism, a Chinese cultural center, or other afterschool activity centered around their culture or religion. Their parents thought it a worthwhile investment to expose their children to the art, language, culture, or religion of their specific group as a supplement to the American education their children received. We as black Americans need to duplicate this model so we can enroll our children in classes and programs that will not only enlighten them to our original history, but allow them to socialize and network with other black children in a constructive, educational environment. I can’t tell you how often I was the only black student in a class or club growing up, and it was often difficult. As Muhammad Ali said, “A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow.” Well, I have seen the light and I’m crowing.” My brothers and sisters, it’s morning in America and with the current political climate we need to fight the encroaching darkness with every fiber of our collective being. There is light, I’m awake, and I’m sounding the alarm . . . COCK-ADOODLE-DOO!!! thepositivecommunity.com
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Published on Feb 14, 2017
Black History Month. Muhammad Ali, James Brown Family Foundation, African American History Month, Newark’s Hahne’s Building Opens, Artie Was...