GOOD NEWS FROM THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
February 2016 thepositivecommunity.com
CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY
One Hundred Black Men of New York 50 Years of Service
U N IVER SIT Y | N EWAR K
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Pride of New York
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
Lehman College Public Advocate for the City of New York
City College of New York Award-Winning Author Founder, City College Publishing Certificate Program
City College of New York Former U.S. Secretary of State, Former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
The City University of New York Celebrates Black History Month VISIT WWW.CUNY.EDU 1-800-CUNY-YES CUNY-TV CHANNEL 75
Baruch College Founder, Chairman Emeritus Mitchell & Titus LLP
John Jay College of Criminal Justice District Attorney, Kings County
Hunter College Award-Winning Stage, Film Actress and Screenwriter In Memoriam
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
Borough of Manhattan Community College Queens College Vice Chairperson, CUNY Board of Trustees Chief Human Resources Officer Clinton Foundation
Medgar Evers College, CUNY Law School Best-Selling Author, Inspirational Speaker
ON THE COVER:
MONEY ..................................12 HEALTH ..................................18 EDUCATION ............................23 CULTURE ................................36
Features Innovate Your Way to Higher Profit ...............12
Cover Photo: Brian Branch Price
Kennedy Sworn to NYS Supreme Court ...............14 David Dinkins Archives ...................................17 University Hospital’s New Nursing Officer .....18 Mason Named President ...................................22
ONE HUNDRED BLACK MEN CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF SERVICE
Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Columbia Community Scholars .........................23 Are Night time Texts A No-No? .........................25 Wells Fargo Supports NMAAHC ....................36 MLK Celebration at NJPAC ...............................38 Scenes from the Pastors’ Ball ......................41 Susan Taylor’s Foundation Shines at Gala ..........42 Street Name for Theater Pioneer .......................43 Faith & Justice Fellowship Clergy Breakfast ......44 Belafonte Celebrate King in Newark ..................45
Wealth Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Hartsfield Bid Farewell to St. Matthew AME ........46
Fitness Doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Trufants Honored for 25 years of Service ..........47
Gospel Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 4
The Positive Community February 2016
Off the Beaten Path in Jamaica .........................48 Earl Caldwell Speaks! .......................................49 BAM Celebrates Dr.King .....................................52 Protesters Want Kean President to Resign ..........56 www.thepositivecommunity.com
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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
Abyssinian B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor
Ebenezer B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Jovan Troy Davis, M.Div.
Messiah Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT Rev. James Logan, Pastor
St. Luke Baptist Church of Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie McCann, Pastor
Abyssinian B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, Pastor
Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn NY Rev. Anthony Trufant, Pastor
Messiah Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev. Dana Owens, Pastor
St Luke B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Pastor
Abundant Life Fellowship COGIC, Newark, NJ Supt. Edward Bohannon, Jr, Pastor
Empire Missionary B.C., Convention NY Rev. Dr. Ronald Grant, President
Metropolitan B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor
St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter, Pastor
Evening Star B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Washington Lundy, Pastor
Mount Calvary United Methodist Church, New York, NY Rev. Francis Kairson, Pastor
St. Paul Baptist, Red Bank, NJ Rev. Alexander Brown, Pastor
Aenon Baptist Church, Vauxhall NJ Rev Alphonso Williams, Sr Pastor Agape Christian Ministries Worship Ctr. Rev. Craig R. Jackson. Pastor Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor
Fellowship Missionary B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elton T. Byrd Pastor/Founder First B.C. of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset NJ Rev. Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, Pastor
Mt. Neboh Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green Jr., Pastor Mt. Pisgah B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Pastor
Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Office of Black Ministry
First Baptist Church, East Elmhurst, NY Rev Patrick Henry Young, Pastor
Berean B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor
First Baptist B.C. of Teaneck, NJ Rev. Marilyn Monroe Harris, Pastor
Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Adolphus C. Lacey, Sr. Pastor
First Bethel Baptist Church, Newark, NJ H. Grady James III, Pastor
Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Pastor
First Corinthian Baptist Church, NY Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr. Senior Pastor
Beulah Bible Cathedral Church, Newark, NJ Gerald Lydell Dickson, Senior Pastor
First Park Baptist Church, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Rufus McClendon, Jr., Pastor
Black Ministers Council of NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Exec. Director
Friendship Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. James A. Kilgore, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor
General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, President
New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Dr. Frances Mannin-Fontaine, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church, Morristown, NJ Rev. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., Pastor
Good Neighbor Baptist Church Rev. Dr. George A. Blackwell, III, Pastor
New Life Cathedral, Mt. Holly, NJ Rev. Eric Wallace, Pastor
Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem, NY Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor
Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor
New Zion B.C., Elizabeth, NJ Rev. Kevin James White, Pastor
Canaan B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Dr. Gadson L. Graham
Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark, NJ Rev. Allen Potts, Senior Pastor
Paradise B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Jethro James, Pastor
Cathedral International., Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor
Greater Faith Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA Rev. Larry L. Marcus
Park Ave Christian Disciples of Christ, E. Orange, NJ Rev. Harriet Wallace, Pastor
Charity Baptist Church, Bronx, NY Rev. Reginald Williams, Pastor
Greater New Hope Missionary B.C., NYC Rev. Joan J. Brightharp, Pastor
Pilgrim B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Glenn Wilson, Pastor
Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn, NY Rev. A.R. Barnard, Pastor
Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor
Ruth Fellowship Ministries, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracey Brown, Pastor
Christian Love B.C., Irvington, NJ
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Drek E. Broomes, President & CEO
Shiloh AME Zion Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. John D. Givens, 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 Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Willams, Pastor
Imani Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev.Chuch Chamberlayne, Pastor It Is Well Living Ministries, Clark, NJ Rev. Kahlil Carmichael, Pastor Lagree Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Wayland Williams, Jr., Pastor Macedonia Baptist Church, Lakewood, NJ Dr. Edward D. Harper, Pastor Mariners’ Temple B.C., New York, NY Rev. Dr. Henrietta Carter
Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, 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
Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Pastor Shiloh B.C., Trenton, NJ Rev. Darell Armstrong, Pastor St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Dr. Ben Monroe St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper St. John Baptist Church Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor
St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Dr. Lanel D. Guyton, Pastor St. Paul's B.C., Montclair, NJ Rev. Dr. Bernadette Glover 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 World Gospel Music Assoc., Newark, NJ Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder
Businesses & Organizations 125th St. BID African American Heritage Parade American Diabetes Association American Heart Association, Northern, NJ Brown Executive Realty LLC, Morristown, NJ City National Bank Essex County College, NJ Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Marion P. Thomas Charter School Medgar Evers College 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 New York Urban League Newark School of Theology Nubian Conservatory of Music Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center The College of New Rochelle United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. WKMB-1070AM
“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. Michael Bruce Curry is Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church.
A Lenten Address C
larence Jorden of the Koinonia Movement many years ago wrote this:
Jesus founded the most revolutionary movement in human history, a movement built on the unconditional love of God for the world, and the mandate to those who follow to live that love.
The season of Lent is upon us. It is a season of making a renewed commitment to participate and be a part of the movement of Jesus in this world. You can see some of that in the Gospel lesson for the first Sunday of Lent where Luke says that after the Baptism of Jesus he went into the wilderness, there to be tempted of Satan. After the Baptism. Baptism is the sacrament of commitment to the Jesus Movement. It is to be washed, if you will, in the love and the reality of God, and to emerge from that great washing as one whose life is dedicated to living that love in the world. In this season of Lent, we take some time to focus on what that means for our lives, whether it is as simple as giving up chocolate candy or as profound as taking on a commitment to serve the poor or to serve others in some new way. Whatever it is, let that something be something that helps you participate in the movement of God’s love in this world following in the footsteps of Jesus. And the truth is, the fact that Jesus was baptized and began that movement in the world and immediately found himself tempted by the devil is an ever-present reminder that this movement is not without struggle. It is not easy. The truth is, this movement is difficult. It’s hard work. It’s work of following Jesus to the cross. And it’s work of following Jesus through the cross to the Resurrection—to new life, and new possibility. That is our calling. That is the work of the movement. To help this world move from what is often the nightmare of the world itself into the dream that God intends. So I pray that this Lent, as they used to say many years ago, might be the first day of the rest of your life. It might be a new day for this world. God love you. God bless you. Have a blessed Lent, a glorious Easter, and you keep the faith. Photo and Copy: Courtesy of Episcopal News Service
8 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.
LISTEN TO THE POSITIVE COMMUNITY HOUR ON WKMB 1070 AM HARVEST RADIO, MONDAYS, 1:30–2:30 P.M. WITH HOST THERESA NANCE.
A Lesson in History et rid of Black History Month? Perish the thought. Stacey Dash, who acts and is now a contributor at FOX News, told other Fox commentators that we (black people) either want integration or segregation. And, if we want integration, then we ought to get rid of television stations like BET, do away with the IMAGE Awards and God knows what else. It seems that Black History Month is a bone of contention for the lady as well. She feels we should eliminate it because there is no white history month and “we’re all Americans, period.” I love Black History Month. Since the country is woefully ignorant of the great contributions made by black people, it stands to reason that this month-long observance is not only necessary, such highlights about African Americans should be touted throughout the year. I have no argument with this young lady. She is free to think and act as she sees fit. But does she know the price that has been paid that allows her to do some of the things she does in the entertainment arena? Does she realize the late, great Hattie McDaniel, who won an Oscar® for her supporting role in the classic but controversial film Gone With The Wind, perhaps would have given almost anything to have the kinds of opportunities now afforded to Dash herself? Does she understand the struggles and sacrifices made by those who came before her and pried open the gate so that she can stand at the door and see inside? Every now and then, those who apparently want to be liked or applauded by the larger society come up with these puzzling comments —knowing full well that America is still playing catch up for excluding blacks from much of its history. Whether we’re talking about entertainment history, medical history, or literary history, for the most part blacks are not there. It seems the only history that finds us front and center is in the chapter of American history on slavery, which is so easily glossed over and sugarcoated as of late. The observance of Black History Month itself may be no more than a blip on the collective psyche of the larg-
10 The Positive Community
L–R: Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in Gone with the Wind. er society, but it does a body good in black America. At least, I think it does. There’s so much that blacks have done to make the country what it is. How could anyone want to snatch these few crumbs from us? It’s bad enough that little by little, banks, schools and other entities have slowly begun to open on the federal day for observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The schools that open that day claim that it’s a day on which to learn about King. Baloney! Banks and other institutions don’t say anything at all. So, it’s still an ongoing battle to not simply make a mark that can’t be erased in this Republic, but to have those large and in charge record such outstanding feats for posterity’s sake. Generations yet unborn need to know that before there was a Joan Rivers, there was a Moms Mabley. Before there was a Lucille Ball running the RKO Studios, there was a Roberta Martin who owned her own publishing house in the 1930s. Mabley was a great comedian and Martin was a prolific gospel musician and songwriter. I could go on and on but I think you very smart readers get my drift. Some things must stand because they were worth fighting for and they’re worth maintaining. Knowing and celebrating our history and our dignity are most definitely among those things. thepositivecommunity.com
District and Charter School Teachers Partner for Professional Development
n one of the largest charter-district collaborations in the nation, more than 150 teachers and principals from District 23 and District 19 participated in a day-long professional development workshop led by teachers and leaders from Uncommon Schools. The Saturday workshop was part of a groundbreaking partnership launched in 2014 between New York City Department of Education district schools and Uncommon Schools, which operates 21 charter schools in Brooklyn. “The partnership between Uncommon and the New York City Department of Education debunks the damaging myth that charter and district teachers do not or cannot work together,” said Brett Peiser, CEO of Uncommon Schools. “Our workshops prove that teachers from charters and district schools are invested in working together to raise the quality of public education for all children.” The January 30 workshop, held at Uncommon Charter High School on Pacific Street, was the second of three day-long workshops that focus on reading, which has been identified as District 23’s highest-need professional development area. The first workshop was held in November and the third is scheduled for February 27. While the perceived tensions between charters and district schools have garnered attention-grabbing headlines, the reality is that teachers working in charter and district schools share the same goal, said Mauriciere de Govia, su-
perintendent of District 23. “At the end of the day,” said de Govia, “whether you work in a charter school or you work in a district school, the common factor is that we want to make sure that children receive a quality education. There is no divide.” District 23 includes some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods of East New York and Brownsville. Students are overwhelmingly poor and Black or Latino, and the schools, historically, have been some of the lowest performing in the city. As parents have opted for charter schools, like those run by Uncommon, enrollment in District 23 schools has dropped, creating a potential for tension between district and charter schools. Rather than being threatened by Uncommon, however, de Govia said she welcomes the opportunity for her staff to work so closely with Uncommon’s teachers and leaders. “We cannot ignore the fact that our schools have failing statistics and accept it as OK, based on zip code, based on who attends, based on where children live,” de Govia said. “Your zip code can no longer be considered a reason why failure is OK.” Uncommon Schools founded its first school, North Star Academy, in 1997 in New Jersey, and has since grown to a network of 44 schools in New York City, Newark, upstate New York, Boston, and Camden. As Uncommon Schools grew and its schools got better and better at closing the achievement gap for low-income
students of color, its leaders turned to the challenge of identifying and sharing the strategies that had proven most effective in classrooms. They have published seven books, delivered trainings to thousands of teachers and principals nationwide, and created online resources that are available free of charge. “We deeply believe in sharing what we are learning that works with teachers everywhere – both inside and outside of our schools - to ensure all students are benefitting,” Peiser said. Phil Weinberg, deputy chancellor for teaching and learning at NYCDOE, said the partnerships like the one between Uncommon and the district break down the false barriers between charter and traditional public schools. “The strongest lever we have to making sure our students get the best education possible,” Weinberg said, is the power of a “community of educators to share their good thinking with each other so that our students learn more.” The Saturday workshops have two tracks for elementary and middle school teachers. Elementary school teachers are focused on learning critical aspects of reading instruction while middle school teachers are focused on defining and practicing a vision for teaching close reading in the era of the Common Core. “This is by far the best professional development I have ever had in my entire 14 years,” said Robin Williams, the principal of Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School, a district school. “I feel smarter, more equipped, and I am ready to go and make change.”
February 2016 The Positive Community
Money BUSINESS, MONEY & WORK
Innovate Your Way to Higher Profit Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Newark Community Economic Development Corporation Host Conference by Cheryl McCants
Newark CEDC CEO Otis Rolley and IFEL CEO Jill Johnson
rad Benson, NY Giant ‘86 Super Bowl-winner turned entrepreneur (Brad Benson Hyundai); Emmet Dennis, Sundial Brands chief community officer; Travis Perry, Shark Tank season three-winner for ChordBuddy; Larry Bailin, Newark-native internet marketing author and Single Throw CEO; Karin Bellantoni, business strategist and Katalyst CEO; and other successful entrepreneurs shared their perspectives on ways to innovate within small businesses. Retailers, service providers, consultants, caterers, and other business owners from around the region participated in a day-long series of keynotes, workshops, and competitions where they learn, first-hand, that innovation is a mindset and is not reserved for tech companies. Rutgers Business School’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development served as host. The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) Next Level Conference, now in its eighth year, present-
The Positive Community February 2016
L-R; Jill Johnson, IFEL CEO; Adrienne Fudge, 40 Dreams Catering; Megan Brenn-White, The Brenn-White Group; Leslie Faulkner, Emerald Advisors & Consultants, INC.; Yvette Gauff, Dreams Alive; Krista Barnett, Boot Band; and Scott Blow, Newark CEDC EVP
ed in partnership with the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (Newark Community EDC), explores innovative start-up, growth, and exit strategies for business owners. “IFEL’s targets are the everyday businesses, service providers, and storefront owners that make Newark and the surrounding areas better communities,” said Jill Johnson, CEO of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. “The conference is for owners who want to get to the million-dollar level and for those who want to figure out how to create wealth through an exit strategy. It’s a great opportunity for people to learn from the successes and failures of highly successful entrepreneurs. Our theme this year is about practical innovation. When you don’t have a lot of resources, you have to take what you have and use what you’ve got, to get what you want. That’s what today was all about.” This year, the City of Newark is partnering with IFEL Continued on next page www.thepositivecommunity.com
Conference Speaker & CCO Sundial Brands, Emmet Dennis with IFEL CEO Jill Johnson
NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK MLK TRIBUTE
New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (center) and Rev. Al Sharpton greet audience members at National Action Network (NAN) annual Martin Luther King Holiday Tribute at The House of Justice Harlem, NY. This year marks NAN’s 25th anniversary.
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February 2016 The Positive Community
Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad
to ensure that Newark residents are aware of the many resources available to business owners as they work hard to strengthen the city’s economic foundation. “Mayor Baraka has made it clear that we are to move the economic needle and help business owners achieve better outcomes by doings things differently,” said Newark Community Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Otis Rolley. “This conference does just that. Innovation in business ties in perfectly with our goal of doing whatever is necessary to spur economic growth and development in Newark.”
Tanya Kennedy Sworn-in as NYS Supreme Court Justice Honorable Tanya R. Kennedy
on. Tanya R. Kennedy took the oath as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at the New York County Courthouse Rotunda on Centre Street in Manhattan. Former Supervising Judge of Civil Court, New York County, Justice Kennedy was elected to Civil Court in 2005, and presided in the Criminal and Civil Courts of the City of
New York, as well as the Family and Supreme Courts of the State of New York. Since 2006, she has taught a juvenile justice seminar course as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law. Justice Kennedy served as principal law clerk to former Associate Justice Barry A. Cozier in the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, and the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme
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The Positive Community February 2016
Court. She began her legal career at the New York City Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, where she worked in both the Bronx Family Court and Bronx Tort Divisions and was promoted to deputy assistant chief while assigned to the Tort Division. Kennedy received her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1992 and has kept a strong bond with the school through it’s alumni association, working with various student organizations and serving as an instructor for Cardozo’s Intensive Trial Advocacy Program. Committed to the pursuit of higher education, Justice Kennedy serves as a mentor and visits various churches, schools and other institutions as a motivational speaker. Her greatest pride and joy is the speakers’ bureau she founded in October 2011 targeting at-risk youth. Guests are invited to discuss their past mistakes and difficult life stories with the youngsters and provide advice on how to avoid the pitfalls that they encountered in their youth. Justice Kennedy also promotes the advancement and empowerment of women through her membership in the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Tau Omega Chapter. She is a life member and board member of the NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch, and is a member of the Abyssinian Baptist Church. —JNW
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REV. DR. CHARLES BUTLER WEALTH BUILDING
Rev. Dr. Charles Butler is the VP of Equitable Development, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI).
Humility is Essential ecently, there have been an alarming number of terrorist attacks and random acts of violence plaguing our communities. These attacks have claimed the lives of many innocent people around the world. Most of the victims were not involved directly in any personal dispute. They were caught up in the depraved madness of a few very sick individuals bent on inflicting as much physical pain, anguish, and destruction as possible. Their entire purpose appears to be to wreak havoc on everyone who does not support their philosophical or political ideologies. So the question that must be asked is who exactly are our neighbors? In Luke 18:9-14 we find Jesus teaching His disciples a valuable lesson in humility by sharing with them the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. What is interesting about this passage as it relates to spiritual wealth building is the fact that the Pharisee was tithing, but he lacked humility. Tithing with the wrong attitude will not impress God. Although this man was a religious leader for the nation of Israel, his attitude toward other people was extremely poor. He thanked God for not making him like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like the tax collector standing near him. In his mind, these people were beneath him because they were sinners. However, he did not see himself as a sinner. He felt justified by his own actions. Therefore, he did not need a Savior. Romans 3:23 states, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But that did not apply to this man because he could not see his own faults. He was blinded by his own self righteousness. This was the problem the Pharisees had with Jesus; they felt their religious position was enough to have relationship with God. However, the prophet Isaiah states in 64:6, “All of us have become like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousness is as filthy rags, we all fade away like a dried up leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Tithing alone will not build spiritual wealth. It is not enough to be a “good” person. It is only through the blood of Christ Jesus that our sins are washed away. It is only by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior that we can obtain salvation
16 The Positive Community
and eternal life. Salvation is found in no other name but by the name of Jesus, for there is no other name given by which we can be saved. (Acts 4:12) The tax collector on the other hand, could not even lift up his head toward heaven. He just beat on his chest and cried out to God to have mercy on him. He realized he was a sinner. He realized he could not save himself. He understood that the punishment waiting for him was spiritual death and destruction. He had nothing to boast about and understood he needed the God of creation to save him. He did not brag about past accomplishments because all of it meant absolutely nothing to God. Being forgiven of his sins was the only thing that mattered for this man. Humility is essential in building spiritual wealth. We must remain humble before God, knowing that we cannot save ourselves. Jesus said to His disciples, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” God wants us to come before Him confessing our sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9 states. God is faithful and He will do for us what He has promised. He loves us and does not want us to perish, but have everlasting life. My brothers and sisters, let us resolve to walk in the light, to love one another as God loves us, and to remain humble. Dear God, please help us to remain humble before you. Let us not forget that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. Let us rejoice in knowing that we have the victory through Christ Jesus.
Health P R E V E N T I O N , T R E AT M E N T & C U R E
University Hospital Welcomes New Nursing Officer by Mary Sue Baum
arl Kirton, DNP, MBA, RN, ANP, has joined University Hospital (UH) in Newark as the Chief Nursing Officer. He comes to UH from Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, in Bronx, NY, a teaching hospital for Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Kirton’s special area of interest and expertise is the care of patients with HIV/AIDS. He is an AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN) and has taught future nurses and physicians to care for patients with this disease in both the classroom and in the clinic. HIV/AIDS is very complex, so patients have specific needs that are critical to their survival. For example, their environment must be as germ-free as possible, since their compromised immune systems put them at high risk of getting life-threatening infections. Equally important is strictly adhering to the drug regimen. “A patient can’t miss even one dose; the protocol has to be followed 100 percent,” says Kirton. “The nursing staff has to be extremely vigilant.” There are also specific nutritional needs, and because of general weakness, HIV patients are at greater risk for falling. But treating the physical aspect of the disease is only part of the caregiver’s job. There are also the psychological needs of the patients and their families. The virus can affect the patient’s brain, causing confusion, forgetfulness and behavioral changes, and sometimes the ability to learn and process thoughts becomes impaired. “That takes a toll on everyone, not just the patient,” says Dr. Kirton. “And unlike any other disease, this is a social one; it still carries a bit of a stigma. The patients’ healthcare professionals actually become part of the whole family’s support system.”
The Positive Community February 2016
So what exactly drew Dr. Kirton to the field of nursing and HIV/AIDS care in particular? On track to become a teacher, he got a clerical job in a doctor’s office during high school. It was then he decided he wanted to help people live healthier lives. He went on to earn a BS in nursing and started his career in the late 1980s at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “At the time there were no real treatments, so it was all about caring rather than curing,” he says. “Many of the patients died. I started working with these patients and immediately knew I wanted that to be my main focus as a nurse.” Hoping to help find better treatments or even perhaps a cure, the Clifton, NJ resident began doing research on HIV/AIDS, including testing a possible vaccine. He is currently studying the correlation between certain types of patients and adherence to the drug regimen. And he’s incorporated his first love, teaching, into his career. He has taught at colleges and universities in New York and New Jersey and has traveled as far as Africa to teach other healthcare professionals. As if that weren’t enough, he has written numerous papers and two books and speaks at events across the country. Dr. Kirton has always worked at inner-city hospitals, where he believes he can help the most people. He is especially happy to have landed in Newark. “University Hospital is a large and highly respected medical center, which is an idea place for me to continue my work,” he says. “I’m looking forward to working with the staff to heal our patients and help community members live healthier lives. Inner-city hospitals offer help and hope for those who have very little. I’ve always found that mission very rewarding.” www.thepositivecommunity.com
A night of heart health information and music. FREE!
Host: Liz Black (WBLS and WLIB Radio)
OPEN TO ALL!
February 26th • 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center Ferolie Gallery and Chiang Auditorium 350 Engle Street Englewood, NJ 07631 Featuring:
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Mark American Heart Month with a buffet dinner, heart health information, one-onone conversations with physicians and a tour through our “virtual heart unit.” Soul
Charisa the Violin Diva
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. RSVP: 201-608-2550 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Better Starts Now try my best to limit the amount of clichés I use when motivating others to live healthy lives. However, there are a few clichés that seem to ring true to me —especially at this time in my life. “There is no time like the present” is one that resonates profoundly with me because I sincerely believe this present time—now is ripe for better living. Better living means different things for different people. For some, better living starts with better relationships, better employment opportunities, and better life circumstances. For others, better living starts with better thinking. I am inclined to the latter; better thinking equates to better living. And when you think differently, you will make better decisions to support the life you desire. Motivational speaker Jack Canfield sheds some light on this in his book, The Success Principles. Canfield writes, “As long as you keep complaining about your present circumstances your mind will focus on it.” By continually talking about, thinking about, and writing about the way things are, you are continually reinforcing those very same neural pathways in your brain that got you where you are today. Canfield goes on to say, “And you are continually sending out the same vibrations that will keep attracting the same people and circumstances that you have already created.” This principle is especially true as it pertains to living healthier, fitter, stronger, and whole. When we allow negative thoughts to flood our minds concerning our inability to exercise consistently and eat healthier, our thoughts become reality. We are caught in a perpetual cycle of missed workouts, poor food choices, and obesity related illnesses. Canfield concludes by saying, “To change this cycle, you must focus instead on thinking, talking, and writing about the reality you want to create. You must flood your unconscious with thoughts and images of this new reality.” In other words, when you begin to think good thoughts, your better can begin immediately. Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”
20 The Positive Community
You can experience better health now through consistent exercise and healthy eating by applying these three techniques: Affirm your better thinking through biblical affirmations and positive self talk. Say things such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13NKLV) Say to yourself, “Yes I can exercise consistently and eat healthier. Yes I can lose weight and improve my health. Yes I can, because God is with me and helping me.” Create powerful and compelling new internal images doing what you have not been able to do. Begin to see yourself walking on the treadmill, lifting the weights, or working out with your trainer. Visualize yourself eating a healthy salad or delicious piece of grilled salmon with quinoa and steamed vegetables. The bible tells us “as a man thinks so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) Begin to think yourself clear so you can experience better, now. Change your behavior. Visualizing and thinking good thoughts are catalysts to better behavior. The psalmist in Psalm 119:59 says, “I thought on my ways and I turned.” I encourage you to eventually get out of your head and change the behavior that is keeping you from experiencing healthier and better living. Watching television, improper time management, and procrastination are major hindrances to incorporating a consistent exercise program into your life. When we take the time to think on our ways we can change dysfunctional behaviors and live better. It is my life mission to help people live well and live better physically and spiritually. As the founder of The Fitness Doctor and pastor of it Is Well Living Church, I instruct my fitness disciples and faithful congregation to live well through faith in God, by way of prayer, physical fitness, pastoral care and counseling. I would like to add positive thinking. Think good thoughts by faith, Beloved, so your better can start now. Exercise consistently, eat healthy, and live well!! If you’re interested in a free consultation or more information on FitCare, call 732-921-3746 or email email@example.com. thepositivecommunity.com
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Hope L. Mason
n October 27th, 2015 the NYR Chapter of NAHSE held their officer installation at Harlem Hospital Center. Percy Allen, Modern Healthcare Health Care Hall of Fame Inductee and Past President of NAHSE, officiated the installation ceremony, installing Hope L. Mason, MPA as president along with the following newly elected officers:
• • • •
President-Elect: Abigail Nimako, MPH Secretary: Vanessa White, MPH Treasurer: Ariel Cordero, BS Parliamentarian: Steve A. Phillips, MPH
Health care professonals, friends, and family on hand to congratulate the new officers include: • • • • •
Antonio Martin, Executive Vice President, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation; C. Virginia Fields, President and CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.; Brian McIndoe, President and CEO, Ryan Community Health Center and Network; Ron Guy, Chairman of the Board, Ryan Community Health Center; and Linda Guy, Staff member of State Senator Bill Perkins.
Outgoing President Marian Scott was recognized for her dedication and service to the organization, both locally and nationally. Incoming President Hope Mason’s remarks focused on the future of the local chapter, as well as continuing the distinguished legacy of the chapter. Over the next two years, NYR NAHSE hopes to expand its membership base, advocate for health issues, contribute to improving the health status of local communities served, and encourage the professional advancement of black and ethnic minority healthcare professionals into senior management positions within health service organizations. NAHSE is a non-profit association of black healthcare executives founded for the purpose of promoting the advancement and development of black health care leaders and elevating the quality of health care services rendered to minority and underserved communities. It also works to ensure greater participation of minority groups in the health field.
OPEN IN HARLEM!
THRIVE NYC Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad
Bradford Washington DMD, MS Licensed Orthodontist Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Ce ntr a
L-R; Mayor Bill deBlasio, guest, and First Lady Chirlane McCray at NYC public library to announce their mental health initiative called THRIVE NYC www.nyc.gov/thrivenyc
The Positive Community February 2016
Marcus Garvey Memorial Park
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Education TEACHING, LEARNING, MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Columbia Community Scholars Photo: Barbara Alper
ne morning this summer, Eric K. Washington led an attentive group through the streets of Harlem, telling the story of the neighborhood’s renowned cultural renaissance in the 1920s. The occasion was the historic revival of Harlem Renaissance composer H. Lawrence Freeman’s grand opera, Voodoo, at the Miller Theater at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. In addition to the walking tour, Washington also presented at a two-day symposium on campus entitled, “Restaging the Harlem Renaissance.” “I am so psyched that I got to see Eric’s presentation,” said Columbia Professor Matthew Sandler. “It very much set the tone.” Washington is one of thirteen local, independent scholars who spend time on campus as part of the Columbia Community Scholars Program. A joint initiative of Columbia’s Office of Government and Community Affairs, the Office of the Provost, and the School of Continuing Education, the program allows promising candidates from Northern Manhattan libraries access and course auditing privileges as they work toward the completion of a project. Washington has audited courses, including Sandler’s MA seminar in American Studies, and conducts research toward his current book project, which explores black upward mobility in the early 20th Century through the life of a porter at Grand Central Terminal. Another scholar, Adarsh Alphons, is the founder and executive director of Project Art, an organization which provides public school students with free art education. Alphons has taken advantage of courses at Columbia in fundraising and non-profit management in order to grow the venture. “When I applied to the program last spring, we were in about three or four public librar-
Columbia Community Scholars Cohorts I and II meet at a reception in Low Library: (from left to right) Mariama Keita, John Reddick, Sheila Anderson, Martha Diaz, Steve A. Watkins, Paula Kimper, and Eric K. Washington
“You really see the resources available in your community,” ies,” Alphons said. “Now we’re in 26 locations across all five boroughs.” Alphons’ success has landed him a spot in Town and Country Magazine’s “Top 50 Best Philanthropists” as well as recognition as a CNN “Hero.” His focus now is on taking Project Art national, with programs set to launch in Miami and Detroit. Martha Diaz is an advocate for using hip-hop as a teaching tool; she is using her time as a Community Scholar to access resources at Columbia Teacher’s College in the design of a hip-hop teaching certificate program. So far, Continued on page 54
February 2016 The Positive Community
THE FINAL 2016 DEADLINE
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Texting at Night Affects Teens’ Sleep, Academic Performance Rutgers researcher finds that instant messaging in the dark makes a difference compared to having the lights on BY PATTI VERBANAS/RUTGERS TODAY
s your teenager a constant texter? If so, texting, especially at night after the lights are turned out, may be to blame for falling grades and increased yawning in school, according to a new Rutgers study. The study, published in the Journal of Child Neurology, is the first of its kind to link nighttime instant messaging habits of American teenagers to sleep health and school performance. “We need to be aware that teenagers are using electronic devices excessively and have a unique physiology,” says study author Xue Ming, professor of neuroscience and neurology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “They tend to go to sleep late and get up late. When we go against that natural rhythm, students become less efficient.” The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that media use among children of all ages is increasing exponentially; studies have found that children ages 8 to 18 use electronic devices approximately seven-and-a-half hours daily. Ming’s research is part of a small but growing body of evidence on the negative effects of electronics on sleep and school performance. But few studies, Ming says, have focused specifically on instant messaging. “During the last few years I have noticed an increased use of smartphones by my patients with sleep problems,” Ming says. “I wanted to isolate how messaging alone – especially after the lights are out – contributes to sleep-related problems and academic performance.” To conduct her study, Ming distributed surveys to three New Jersey high schools – a suburban and an urban public school and a private school – and evaluated the 1,537 responses contrasting grades, sexes, messaging duration, and whether the texting occurred before or after lights out. She found that students who turned off their devices or who messaged for less than 30 minutes after lights out performed significantly better in school than those who messaged for more than 30 minutes after lights out. Students who texted longer in the dark also slept fewer hours. They were sleepier during the day than
those who stopped messaging when they went to bed. Texting before lights out did not affect academic performance, the study found. Although females reported more messaging overall and more daytime sleepiness, they had better academic performance than males. “I attribute this to the fact that the girls texted primarily before turning off the light,” Ming says. The effects of “blue light” emitted from smartphones and tablets are intensified when viewed in a dark room, Ming says. This short wavelength light can have a strong impact on daytime sleepiness symptoms since it can delay melatonin release, making it more difficult to fall asleep – even when seen through closed eyelids. “When we turn the lights off, it should be to make a gradual transition from wakefulness to sleep,” Ming says. Getting text messages with alerts and light emission can also disrupt the circadian rhythm. Rapid Eye Movement sleep is the period during sleep most important to learning, memory consolidation, and social adjustment in adolescents. When falling asleep is delayed but rising time is not, REM sleep will be cut short, which can affect learning and memory,” she explained. Ming notes some benefits to early-evening media use, such as facilitating collaboration for school projects, providing resources for tutoring, increasing school readiness and possibly offering emotional support systems. She suggests that educators recognize the sleep needs of teenagers and incorporate sleep education in their curriculum. “Sleep is not a luxury; it’s a biological necessity. “Adolescents are not receiving the optimal amount of sleep; they should be getting 8-and-a-half hours a night,” says Ming. “Sleep deprivation is a strong argument in favor of later start times for high schools – like 9 a.m.” For more information, contact Patti Verbanas at 848-932-0551 or firstname.lastname@example.org February 2016 The Positive Community
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Considering His Legacy: Michael J. Garner talks about his term as president of 100 Black Men of New York BY GLENDA CADOGAN Brian Branch Price
is term in office as president of The One Hundred Black Men Inc., NYC (OHBM) will not be up until May, at which time he is eligible for reelection to a second term. Yet, Michael, J. Garner, who was elected as the 10th president of OHBM in July of 2014, is already thinking about his legacy and what he would like people to say about his presidency. “I want people to say that I came in and took the organization to the next level,” he told The Positive Community magazine. “Specifically, I want it to be said that I focused on solutions to problems, increased the budget, and that many of the government contracts awarded to minority and women owned businesses in the city were as a result of the advocacy and influence of the leadership of One Hundred Black Men of New York.” In order to get “there” Garner is working in the “here” and now with a robust vision plan focused on four main areas—finding solutions to historical problems faced by the black community, increasing funding, economic empowerment, and health and wellness. “For the past six years we have been focused on finding solutions to the historical problems that are plaguing our communities,” he said. “We have met with the
mayor and the police commissioner and voiced our concerns about various policies. But now we need to do even more.” One of the ways in which the organization is being more aggressive is with the recent creation of a gun buy back program. “We feel that as opposed to sitting around a table and talking about the issues, we should be proactive in being part of the solution. Gun violence is one such issue because there are too many mothers who have been senselessly losing their sons.” Overall, Garner is committed to more effective fundraising that will in turn help fund all of OHBM’s programs, particularly mentoring, tutoring, and economic development. With economic empowerment in mind, Garner said that his vision is to expose his members to greater access to contracting opportunities in both the private and public sectors. “We understand that access to government contracts equals job creation in the black community,” he said. “Moreover, it means increased college scholarships and education opportunities, which we know are the keys to getting our young men to the mainstream.” But even with the best contracting, fundraising, and February 2016 The Positive Community
mentoring programs in place, Garner recognizes that it adds up to naught without a health and wellness focus. “In general we need to be aggressively pursuing health and wellness programs that can assist our black males to live better and healthier lives,” he said. In his reflections about the organization, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of service to the community, Garner said: “I remember my grandfather telling me that if you live long enough, everything will eventually come full circle. And unfortunately, many of the issues that existed in 1963 when the organization was formed are occurring in 2016.” He continued, “Therefore, issues like access to education, homeownership, and healthcare and street violence that are common to both eras need to be focused on with an aim of finally eradicating them from our communities.” Garner, who in his professional life is the first chief diversity officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), was born in Harlem and grew up on the South side of Chicago. It was his early influences in life that inspired him to build a career in assisting minority and women owned businesses and ultimately empowering black males. “Growing up in Chicago had a great influence on the choices I have made in my life,” he said. “Though it is still one of the most segregated cities America, Chicago has created so many black millionaires. That’s because at the time, blacks had no options but to go to black businesses and this created wealth in our community. Then being exposed to Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Operation Bread Basket and PUSH further influenced my thinking and focused my emphasis on building the black community.” Another of Garner’s influencers was the late Harold Washington, the first
“We feel that as opposed to sitting around a table and talking about the issues, we should be proactive in being part of the solution. Gun violence is one such issue because there are too many mothers who have been senselessly losing their sons.”
28 The Positive Community
black mayor of Chicago who once told him: “if you are not planning, you are being planned.” “That has stuck with me all my life and therefore, I am always in planning mode.” Garner returned to the east coast to attend college and after attending the Million Man March in 1995, he joined the One Hundred Black Men. “We came from the March with a call to arms for black men to build our neighborhoods and get involved by creating solution oriented programs,” he said. “As a result, the OHBM created the Eagle Academy after doing the research and learning that 45 percent of the upstate prison population came from seven zip codes in New York City.” Though Garner is following his heart and planning for his legacy, two of his successes have already placed a “shine” on his presidency. This year and under his watch, OHBM awarded $100,000 in college scholarships; the highest in its history. Another milestone was the organization’s partnership with Wal-Mart in feeding twelve thousand people over the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. “In addition, we have partnered with 16 black churches and the National Action Network, and are working to alleviate hardships and increase the quality of life for many in our communities,” he said. “The black church is in the business of saving souls and we are working on changing outcomes. It is a perfect union. In this—the Fortune 500 Capital of the world, we recognize there are many people who still have to make tough choices. There are senior citizens who have to make the hard choice between paying rent, buying food, or paying for medicine. These are the kinds of outcomes we must influence for the better,” he said, adding, “and that’s what I am committed to doing during my term as president of this great organization.” Therefore, an anticipatory legacy written in Garner’s name could read something like: ‘He created avenues for positive outcomes for the people of New York City.’ thepositivecommunity.com
50 years later… Three Special Men Still Making a Difference BY GLENDA CADOGAN
merica in 1963 was a hotbed of Civil Rights issues as African Americans from Birmingham to Brooklyn fought for equality and inclusion. Observing a pattern of unwarranted attacks against people who were speaking out at an individual level, a group of African American men came together with the aim of constructively strengthening the cooperation in black communities. They were men with power and influence, and their aim was to form a base from which to collectively address quality of life issues affecting the African American community. They first called
themselves One Hundred Men, which was subsequently changed to One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of New York. The formal structure of the organization emerged after an incident involving a black woman who was arrested for a minor traffic offense. Among the founders were men like: Robert J. Mangum, David Dinkins, Godfrey Murrain, J. Bruce Llewellyn, Cyril deGrasse Tyson, Jackie Robinson, and Roscoe Brown.
Subsequently, the One Hundred Black Men of New York metamorphosed into a national organization—The One Hundred Black Men of America—spawning chapters in 116 cities like Los Angeles, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Newark. The current national membership stands at about 10,000. The organization focuses on seven different program areas including education, mentoring, youth development, arts and culture, economic empowerment, health and wellness, and international affairs. This month, The One Hundred Black Men of New York celebrates its 50th year of service and its 36th Annual Black Tie Gala. It is against this backdrop that we take a look at three of the surviving founders who ignited the flame of what is now called—a powerful force in New York City politics and civic life. GODFREY MURRAIN Godfrey H. Murrain is a native New Yorker proud of the fact that he was born on 130th Street in Harlem. He is an attorney at law and served as general counsel to The One Hundred Black Men Inc. New York for 16 years. He recalled being excited about receiving the invitation to the first meeting of The 100. “I remember that one of the main purposes we addressed at that meeting was the need to create creditable demands for thepositivecommunity.com
the people of the black community,” he told The Positive Community. “We felt that by bringing together men who had achieved a modicum of success, we could speak collectively to the establishment. We met at an apartment in Manhattan and thereafter our meetings were held at various restaurants especially in Lower Manhattan because a majority of our members worked in that area.” Murrain’s most distinct memory of a successful fight that the organization undertook involved the placement of the superintendent of New York City public schools. According to Murrain, then Mayor Robert Wagner was aiming to place his son in the position, but the organization felt they had a candidate who was a much better choice. They took on the administration and won. The 100, he said, had a similar victory fighting the John Lindsay Administration over a deputy commissioner of Housing placement. Murrain resigned from the organization during the presidency of Roscoe Brown but he reflected on his time of service with pride. “I am particularly proud of the excellent work being done with the Eagle Academy,” he said with obvious pride. However Murrain believes that some of the younger members seem to have forgotten the kinds of struggles the founders had to endure. “It took more courage to step forward then, than it does now,” he said. “I meet a lot of very smart and accomplished young men today who are VPs in banks and heads of corporations. But in my day I had a degree in accounting but could not get a job as a cashier even after applying to every bank New York City.”
February 2016 The Positive Community
DAVID N. DINKINS A politician and educator, David N. Dinkins was the 106th Mayor of New York City serving from 1990 to 1993. He was the first and, to date, only African American to hold that office. Before entering politics, Dinkins served in the U.S. Marine Corps, was Manhattan Borough President, and a New York State Assembly Member prior to becoming mayor. He is one of the principal founders of The One Hundred Black Men Inc. of New York. In his recollection, the first meeting was held at Skiz Watson’s [Federal Judge James Lopez Watson] apartment on Riverside Drive. “One of the first things we recognized as we gathered to discuss the incident with the arrest of the black woman driver was that though we were all men of power and influence in our varied fields, we did not know each other. In crystal clear details he recounted the incident that fueled the formation of the organization. “A black woman was arrested and charged for making an illegal turn,” he said. Bob Mangum, one of the principal founders of our organization, was a police lieutenant at the time. He was so incensed by the absurdity of the incident that he charged into the precinct and ‘unbooked’ her,” Dinkins explained. But then, Mangum fueled that outrage with constructive action by calling a group of other like-minded men to meet. “The intent was to have 100 men stand up to speak out on issues affecting our community,” he said. “After a few meetings we convened somewhat of a retreat at the YMCA on 125th Street in Harlem and that’s when we changed the name of the organization to One Hundred Black Men. Now here we are 50 years later,” he mused. Dinkins is especially proud of the fact that at various points throughout their history they have always been able to help each other. But like his colleagues, the Eagle Academy is what brings the greatest satisfaction. “The work being done with the school is really very remarkable,” he said. Still an active member of the organization, Dinkins served as its 1st vice president for a record number of years and is credited in part and considered by some to be one of the godfathers of the Coalition of One Hundred Black Women. DR. ROSCOE C. BROWN, JR. Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. is one of the history-making Tuskegee Airmen and former squadron commander of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group. He served as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II. Dr. Brown is currently the director of the Center for Urban Education Policy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He was also
30 The Positive Community
president of Bronx Community College for 16 years and during his time of joining The One Hundred Black Men was professor at New York University. According to Dr. Brown, he was not at the initial meeting of the organization but was called in to serve during its infancy. “I remember that our main focus was to address the various issues of concern in the black community particularly in the areas of education, criminal justice, international affairs, and health. “In doing so we worked with various mayors and department heads to make sure that the concerns of the African American community were being addressed. But we also immediately developed a major funding program in order to issue scholarships to African American youth.” It is based on this model that the Eagle Academy, which provides opportunities for African American men to go to school, was born. Dr. Brown served as president of the The 100 from 1985–1992 and under his watch, fundraising programs were expanded. It was also during his presidency that David Dinkins was elected New York City mayor with the help of One Hundred Black Men. As he reflected on the history of the organization he mused about its relevance after five decades. “I believe that The One Hundred Black Men is probably more relevant today that it was in 1963,” he said. “Even though the obvious forms of discrimination have disappeared, some still exist under the surface. So much so that some African Americans mistakenly felt that we had made it. That was until the emergence of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations in which we had not been included. Now once again we have to work to get the attention of the powerbrokers.” His recommendation is that the current leadership seek to expand membership. “At one point we were up to 500 and now we may be around 150. We need to get more young people involved and reenergize our committees in particular in the areas of housing and economic development,” he concluded As articulated by all three founders, The Eagle Academy is the crowning glory of the organization. With schools in all five boroughs of NYC and one in Newark, New Jersey, the Eagle Academy is an all-male public school serving more than 2,000 predominately African-American and Latino students. The first Eagle Academy School was opened in the South Bronx in 2004. It became the first all boys’ school to open in the city in nearly 30 years. With its mission to improve the quality of life and enhance educational opportunities for African Americans as strong and clear as the day they first met in an apartment building in Manhattan, The One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of New York serves as a strong force not just in America but the world, and continues to eliminate the barriers that have limited the achievements of some African Americans. In celebration of 50 years of service, the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Ladder of St. Augustine, seem as a fitting tribute to their steadfastness: “The heights that great men reached and kept were not attained in sudden flight but, they while their companions slept, they were toiling upwards in the night.” thepositivecommunity.com
Rev. Jacques DeGraff One of 100 Black Men and One in a Million BY R.L. WITTER n a room full of 100 Black Men, Rev. Jacques DeGraff stands out. His calm demeanor and air of approachable knowledge identify him as a person you want to meet, to speak with beyond the pleasantries. There’s a reason—actually several for that. His sincerity and dedication are the perfect combination that fuels his commitment to the revered organization that strives to give back to the community. “To be a young African American male in New York City and to be involved in leadership and social justice,
the role models and the men I admired most were in 100 Black Men (OBM),” said DeGraff explaining his early interest in the organization. “When I was a senior in high school . . . the smoothest, slickest man that I had ever seen came and spoke to us, and his name was Percy Ellis Sutton. And I said ‘One day, I’m going to be able to speak like that. One day, I’m going to be able to command the attention of an audience just like that, and one day, he’s going to know who I am.’” Only a few short years later, through an introduction by DeGraff’s mentor, Lloyd Williams, Sutton did. “I went on to become a founding member of Harlem Day and Harlem Week; I worked on Sutton’s mayoral campaign. And in the course of doing those things, I met the 100 Black Men and the arc was set for my life.” DeGraff’s life is full. His resumé reads like one of a person who has somehow found more than 24 hours in each day. He has served on the pastoral staff at Canaan Baptist Church and under Rev. SuJay at the Hampton University, was chief of protocol for the National Action Network, co-chair of Nielsen’s African-American Consumer Advisory Council, and so many other prestigious positions that if I listed them here, there’d be no room left for anything else. But while those titles and accolades might have been enough for any other man, Rev. DeGraff dug down deeper into his heart to help birth a project that would transform lives and leave a legacy of leadership, activism, hope, and education. He reminisced on hearing Harry Belafonte recount the story of the 1996 U.S. Track Team. They had assembled an unbeatable relay team and were expected to easily win gold at the Olympic Games. Instead, “they dropped the baton,” DeGraff explained. “What will history say of us if we fail to pass the baton?” To combat that notion, DeGraff and his 100 Black Men brethren founded the Eagle Academy Schools for young boys throughout New York City. “100 Black Men is passing the baton of leadership and service to a new generation,” he beamed. “We came back from the Million Man March and adopted a school in the Bronx and helped turn it around . . . we said ‘we can do this,’ and that’s how the Eagle Academy was born.” In addition to the Eagle Academy, OBM founded the Junior 100 and the Collegiate 100 to continue the mentorship after the Academy and serve as a pipeline for future OBM members. “We mentor them and we like to think that we model and serve throughout the community. It’s not enough to write a check and send them off to college and say ‘Good luck!’” He continued, “We proudly assert our heritage and our identity in a variety of ways… We march in the African American Day parade, we partner with WalMart to feed families at Thanksgiving.” February 2016 The Positive Community
Brian Branch Price
Members of the next generation of 100 Black Men leadership
DeGraff’s generosity and civic-mindedness are firmly rooted in his spiritual foundation and he switches effortlessly between clergyman, cultural observer, and scholar. His work both with the church and the Eagle Academy place him in an interesting position where he has a front row seat to both the tradition of the church and the thoroughly modern world of the millennials the academy is educating. Efforts to meld the two can seem Herculean, but armed with his wisdom and determination, DeGraff is equal to the task. “We don’t want to sing the old songs,” he lamented. “The same people who will watch a basketball game go into triple overtime don’t want to be in God’s house for 90 minutes on Sunday. And, they really want a Sunday morning church —they don’t want a church that talks about sin or right and wrong, or tells you how to live your life the other six days of the week.” It’s that honesty and understanding that empowers DeGraff to be an effective mentor and
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inspiring minister, regardless of age, creed, or economic background. His work with young people and in the community keeps his finger on the pulse of the current political and social climate as he rattles off the names of Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant and the issues in Ferguson, Flint, and at the Oscars. “These things are not coincidences. There are still consequences for being black in America,” he warned. “We’ve got folk who look like us, have the same DNA, but see the world in a radically different way. So we collectively have to figure out a way to move forward together…” And he sees 100 Black Men as a big part of the solution. “The thing with 100 Black Men, there is still something that stirs in the hearts of young, black men when they see other men acting in a certain way… We must pass the baton; our survival is at stake.” He reflected upon a moment at last year’s Howard University graduation that filled him with pride and hope for the future. “The fifty year class donated $1 million… It was such a moment! There was this feeling of ‘THAT’S how WE do it.’ We have to pay it forward and backward.” He continued, “The question is how do we impact people in their day-to-day lives, and I think that is where the 100 Black Men have the greatest opportunity…We need to be intentional about going out and proclaiming our faith, our values, and our rights. And it starts at home.” In addition to his time, knowledge, dedication, and talents, DeGraff gifted the Eagle Academy with both its name and the principle of character development. “It has to be inculcated,” he proclaimed, and that’s what the organization strives to do. He models good character both in his professional life and his more than 40 years of marriage to his lovely wife, Jacqueline. “…We had an elite group of men who were the founders… when they came together originally, they came together because they were black,” he explained. We have held the bar high, but we try to be inclusive… We’re always looking for a few good men. We need brothers to stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we take stands for social justice…” He continued, “And in so doing, we have to say that men stand for something. It’s not simply a biological category; it is a category that includes values and backbone. And 100 Black Men have been about values and backbone for over 50 years, and we encourage men to consider us if they want to make a difference.” He paused for a moment before saying with pride, “It’s not an elitist organization. Our members are an elite core of men.” They are, indeed. And Rev. DeGraff is both one of 100 Black Men, and one in a million. thepositivecommunity.com
The Positive Community February 2016
February 2016 The Positive Community
TouroCOM Commends Their Community Partner One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of New York For Championing:
TOURO COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE (TOUROCOM) Robert Goldberg, DO, Executive Dean
Mentoring of African American Males Combating Gun Violence, Educating African American Males, and Philanthropic Support of Underrepresented Minority Students
t ourocom.t ouro.edu
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Culture L I F E , M U S I C , A R T & L I T E R AT U R E
Wells Fargo Gift Honors African American History and Culture Gifts $1 million and historical artifacts to the National Museum of African American History and Culture
he National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is currently under construction in Washington, DC and scheduled to open in September of 2016. The 19th museum under the aegis of the Smithsonian Institute, America’s national museum, NMAAHC is being built on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. Since its start in 2003, the museum has built collections and designed 11 inaugural exhibitions covering major periods of African American history from its origins in Africa and continuing through slavery, the civil rights era, the Harlem Renaissance, the great migrations north and west, and into the 21st century. At the beginning of the year, Wells Fargo announced the donation to the museum of $1 million and a collection of historical artifacts, specifically two mining stock certificates and one piece of letterhead featuring the work of African American artist Grafton Tyler Brown. The documents will be on display in NMAAHC’s inaugural exhibition in September. Grafton Tyler Brown was an American painter, lithographer, and cartographer who owned and operated his lithography company in San Francisco from 1867 to 1879. Brown was the first African American artist to create works depicting the Pacific Northwest and California. During this time, he created lithographs for stock certificates, and letterheads for numerous companies in the area. The mining stock certificates and letterhead come
“African American history is American history,” directly from the Wells Fargo History Museum collection, which showcases the company’s shared history with communities in a network of 11 museums across the U.S., and will accompany a Grafton Tyler Brown oil painting already in the NMAAHC collection. View of Lake Okanagan(British Columbia), 1882, which was a gift of Curtis E. Ransom in memory of Julia Turner Ransom. Together, these items will help tell the story of the artist and the time that he spent in California. These items will be part of the exhibition “Visual Art and the American Experience.” “As one of the founding donors to our museum, Wells Fargo has provided invaluable support to help us create a museum like no other in the world,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, director of the museum. “The documents are coming into a collection of more than 40,000 objects, which will help us tell the African American story in a rich and compelling way, reaching millions of visitors through exhibitions, interactive platforms, and the website.” “African American history is American history,” says Lisa Frison, vice president, African American Segment manager, Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is committed to celebrating the stories of African Americans in the hope of Continued on next page
The Positive Community February 2016
bringing broader visibility to the experiences that best represent an extraordinary community. We embrace the arts as a vehicle to highlight history and culture, and feel deeply honored to support the Smithsonian in bringing the African American story to life in such a significant way.” Support of the NMAAHC aligns with the company’s ongoing strategy to cultivate a deeper appreciation of the African American experience. Through The Untold Stories Collection platform — which includes a national celebratory tour featuring The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey – Where Art and History Intersect and #MyUntoldSM— Wells Fargo is working to promote dialogue around the experiences and contributions of African Americans to American history and culture. The company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion dates back more than 160 years. In 1888, an instruction booklet distributed to Wells Fargo agents noted, “Proper respect must be shown to all — let them be men, women, or children, rich or poor, white or black.” For more information about Wells Fargo’s commitment to the community, visitwww.wellsfargo.com/ about/csr. For more about NMAAHC visit nmaahc. si.edu. You will be delighted.
Harem #1, Lalla Essaydi, 2009; Chromogenic print (triptych)
ON VIEW FEBRUARY 12 – MAY 15 49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ newarkmuseum.org This exhibition is supported in part by:
Schumann Fund for New Jersey
This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, ﬁndings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
February 2016 The Positive Community
NJPAC Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. and Community Leaders
elebrating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) held a three-day series of events that was also part of the Newark Celebration 350, the year-long jubilee of unique events and festivities commemorating the 350th anniversary of Newark’s founding. Over 150 marquee programs will highlight the city’s rich history, remarkable achievements, diverse communities, and extraordinary culture presented by a unique coalition of citizens, educational institutions, and cultural organizations and community groups. NJPAC’s MLK Celebration also recognized two Newark leaders whose contributions to the community exemplify the ideas and principles espoused by the late Civil Rights leader.
L-R: John Schreiber, President/CEO, NJPAC; Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Steward of the Dream award, professor, New Jersey City University; Shané Harris, Visionary of the Future award, executive director, The Prudential Foundation; Donna Walker-Kuhne, VP, Community Engagement, NJPAC; and Rick Thigpen, VP, State Governmental Affairs, PSEG
L-R: Junius Williams, Esq., director, Abbott Leadership Institute at Rutgers-Newark and chairman of Newark Celebration 350; Tai Cooper, chief policy advisor for City of Newark and 2015 Visionary of the Future award; and Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Bethany Baptist Church, Newark
Gwen Moten, executive director, The Mayor’s Office of Arts, Cultural Development and Tourism/Newark with her daughter Pretar Passé, founder/CEO, Health Awakening LLC
The Positive Community February 2016
Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams received the 2016 “Steward of the Dream,” award. She is a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at New Jersey City University, author of two books of poetry, and a minister at Bethany Baptist Church. Shané Harris received NJPAC’s “Visionary of the Future” award. Ms. Harris serves as vice president of The Prudential Foundation, is the chair of The Newark Trust for Education, and president of the Board of Trustees for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark. “The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is one of justice, equality and freedom,” stated John Schreiber, NJPAC’s president and CEO. “The Arts Center’s tribute to this legacy plays out every year in one big, joyous celebration that engages the Newark community and beyond.” Donna Walker-Kuhne, NJPAC’s vice president of Community Engagement said, “The principals espoused by Dr. King: compassion, peace, and respecting the dignity and worth of all people, needs to be heard now more than ever. These performances and activities illustrate how the arts convey and express Dr. King’s message and legacy.” The Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration is also an opportunity to acknowledge and thank the over 275 vol-
unteers who play a supportive and important role in NJPAC’s success. —JNW www.thepositivecommunity.com
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BY PATRICIA BALDWIN
Black Music Matters Grace & Peace n the spirit of Black History and Valentine’s Day, we can say we love our Gospel Music! We also love the Stellar Awards, which will be taped at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday, February 20, for a March broadcast on TV One. Returning as hosts are comedian Rickey Smiley and actress/daytime talk show host Sherri Shepherd, and if you watched last year, you know why they are a duo worth watching. Even Don Jackson, Stellar Awards founder and executive producer, is excited. “I am pleased that God has blessed us with celebrating 31 years as the most respected awards brand in gospel music and in the faith-based community,” he remarked. “We will honor those who have contributed to the growth and success of gospel music as a genre, as well as demonstrate why this art form remains critical to the legacy of American music.” Several nominees will perform, including Anthony Brown & Group Therapy, Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago, and Casey J. Also performing is Travis Greene. Now he may not have been nominated, but his radio hit “Intentional” debuted at No. 1 in sales on the current Gospel Chart and No.2 on Billboard’s Top Christian/Gospel Albums Chart. So as the young people say, “WINNING!” Lastly, but certainly not least is a gentleman who is no stranger to the Stellars and has 15 of his own . . . Mr. Sunday Best, Kirk Franklin! He missed being on this ballot due to the late coming of his eleventh studio album, Losing My Religion, but believe me, this album is another Franklin hit! Don’t weep for Kirk Franklin, because he just received a Grammy® nomination for Best Gospel Song/Performance for his single, “Wanna Be Happy?” Nevertheless, let’s get back to the Stellar Awards. This is an amazing event that gathers all of the gospel music legends, legends in the making, radio hosts, preachers, members, saints, and friends together in one place, on one accord to commend the success and hard work of the laborers who are on a mission for Christ. And you know the saints love to play dress up, so you better believe that red carpet will be laced with the ladies with the biggest, brightest, beaded and blinged
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dresses, and the men with their sharpest “casket-ready” suits—and that’s not even the industry populace! However, during this celebration, acknowledgements are being distributed and we can’t forget the two prestigious special honor awards given out every year. The James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award will honor singer/radio host, Ms. Yolanda Adams, comedian (if you look on You Tube, you’ll see this man keeping the laughter going in between takes) Jonathan Slocumb, and the late legendary O’landa Draper. The Ambassador Bobby Jones Legends Award will be presented to Mighty Clouds of Joy lead singer, the incomparable Joe Ligon. Other nominations also include the areas of Market of The Year, Internet Radio Station of the Year, and Gospel Announcer of The Year. Now that I have you excited, I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait until the week of March 6th to view the broadcast, but I’m anticipating a great show and lots of suspense as they reveal each winner, because many of your favorite songs and artists are in multiple categories with one another, so it’s hard to cheer for just one artist/group. Just know that we are proud of all of the nominees as well as everyone who made a contribution to the gospel music industry representing the Kingdom. There is no competition in God because through Christ’s love, we’re ALL winners. Here’s a synopsis of the 2016 Stellar Awards Top Nominees: Anthony Brown & Group Therapy— 10 Total Nominations Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago— 8 Total Nominations Erica Campbell—8 Total Nominations Tasha Cobbs—6 Total Nominations Richard Smallwood—5 Total Nominations Israel & New Breed—4 Total Nominations Jonathan McReynolds—4 Total Nominations Casey J—3 Total Nominations Tina Campbell—3 Total Nominations Dorinda Clark Cole—3 Nominations The Rance Allen Group— 3 Nominations thepositivecommunity.com
Julia A. Feacher, Got Vizion, president & CEO with Bishop Jethro C. James, Jr.
Bishop Rudy V. & Lady Linda L. Carlton, Bishop Carlton received the Pastor of The Year Award
Dr. Albert J. Lewis, Jr. and the Honorable Mayor Ras J. Baraka
lder Julia Feacher of Got Vizion, Inc. recently presided over the organization’s first Pastors’ Ball — Celebrating Christ and Honoring Servants, a formal black tie dinner and awards gala to acknowledge and honor clergy serving in the Greater Newark Metro Area on Monday, December 7, 2015 at the Galloping Hill Country Club in Kenilworth, NJ. “We desire to celebrate men and women of God who have unselfishly dedicated their lives, remained committed, and have shared their gifts and talents to impact and change lives, while serving this present age, their calling to fulfill,” said Elder Feacher.
L-R: The Honorable Mayor of the City of Newark, Mayor Ras J. Baraka; Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree, director of Newark Clergy Affairs & Interfaith Alliance Recipient of the Richard Allen Feacher, Sr. Humanitarian Award; Newark Councilwoman and President, Honorable Mildred Crump Recipient of the Minority Women Building Bridges Between Church and Government www.thepositivecommunity.com
Rev. Kim Yancy-James and Biship Jethro James, Jr. Pastor, Paradise Baptist Church
Vy Higginson, producer of popular gospel stage play, Mama I Want to Sing
February 2016 The Positive Community
Susan Taylor & her husband Kephra Burns
For The Love of Our Children Dr. Michael Eric Dyson Host for the evening
Edward Lewis, co-founder of Essence magazine and legendary activist Harry Belafonte
Susan Taylor Raises Funds for Mentoring and Celebrates 70th Birthday
usan L. Taylor, Essence magazine editor-in-chief emerita, looking lovely, celebrated her (hard to believe) 70th birthday at a gala event on Monday, January 25, 2016. Taylor, not one to grab the spotlight for herself, and well-known for her caring spirit, shared the milestone event as a fundraiser for her organization, The National CARES Mentoring Movement. Presented by writer/director Lee Daniels and hosted by Michael Eric Dyson, the gala, themed “For The Love of Our Children,” raised funds to support the expansion of the organization’s mentoring programs. During the event, philanthropists Eddie and C. Sylvia Brown were honored for their support of educational initiatives through the Brown Family Foundation, and ongoing commitment to the CARES mission. Taylor had been with Essence since its founding in 1970, first as a free-lance fashion and beauty editor then as editor-in-chief beginning in 1981. She became editorial director in 2000 and retired in 2006 to devote her energies to the organization she founded, National CARES Mentoring Movement, full time. The organization provides mentoring by able and caring adults to vulnerable youth. Go to www.caresmentoring.org for more information. — JNW
B. Smith & her husband Dan Gaby
L-R: Kephra Burns (Susan’s husband), Susan Taylor, Debra Lee, Sylvia Brown and Eddie Brown of Brown Capital Management
Jazz bassist Ron Carter & his wife
L-R: Alyson Williams, Valerie Simpson, Susan Taylor & Vivian Reed
The Positive Community February 2016
O N E
TH E G R E ATES T A C T O R S A L I V E.”
A C A D E M Y
A W A R D® W I N N E R
FOREST W H I TAK E R O N
B R O A D W A Y
L-R: New York State Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright; N.Y. City Council Harlem Community Liaison Dominique Lynch, Grant Harper Reed, and Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III
Leonard Harper Gets his Way
Street Named for Theater Pioneer
E U G E N E O ’ N E I L L’ S
Photo: Marc Brenner
eonard Harper was a producer, stager, and choreographer in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s. Harper’s works spanned the worlds of Vaudeville, Cabaret, Burlesque and Broadway musical comedy. His work is credited with creating opportunities for many other African Americans in the entertainment industry. Harper was only 44 years-old when he died in 1943. His grandson, Grant Harper Reid, has made an effort to have his grandfather remembered for the importance he played in furthering the careers of many of the finest performers of his time, but also for his own talents as a dancer, producer, and director. His first book, Rhythm for Sale, published in 2001, a biography of his grandfather, received excellent reviews. Kirkus Review said “Reid’s biographical debut ventures into the beating heart of the Harlem Renaissance through the life of his grandfather, Leonard Harper,” and that it is “An entertaining biography that circles the theater and taps into an important cultural movement.” The street naming in Harlem is the crowning glory for a genuine Harlem Renaissance man. —JNW
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FPWA Hosts Second Annual Faith & Justice Fellowship Clergy Breakfast Rev. Herbert Daughtry Sr. Receives Torchbearer Award “The Faith & Justice Program recognizes that and supports the need to bring informed and focused voices of members of the faith community to major social service issues at the city, state, and federal levels.” Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and executive director of FPWA, were speakers at the breakfast. “Faith-based leaders have historically been at the center of responding to human needs, both through direct service and by raising their voices to challenge policies and change conditions,” said Jones Austin in her remarks. “The Faith & Justice Program recognizes that and supports the need to bring informed and focused voices of members of the faith community to major social service issues at the city, state, and federal levels.” Accepting the Torchbearer award, Rev. Daughtry said he was honored to be the first recipient of the Faith & Justice Torchbearer Award from FPWA. “I consider Ms. Jones Austin’s father (the late Rev. Dr. William Augustus Jones), to be an essential pillar in the faith and social justice movement, and I am proud to have served the community for 58 years.” —JNW
ECUMENICAL CLERGY BREAKFAST
L-R; Honorable Annette Robinson, member NYS Assembly; Rev. Dr. Robert M. Waterman, host pastor and president of African American Clergy and Elected Officials (AACEO); and NYS Assembly woman Latrice Monique Walker. The organization meets monthly, every first Friday, 9:00 AM at Antioch Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY.
The Positive Community February 2016
Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad
he Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) held its second annual Faith & Justice Clergy Breakfast at the historic Riverside Church in Harlem on January 14, 2016. More than 100 faith-based leaders from across the city gathered with participants of the FPWA Faith & Justice Fellowship Program to discuss the role of prophetic witness and what faith and justice look like in the faith community. Rev. Dr. Herbert Daniel Daughtry, Sr., pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, who epitomizes the concept of faith and justice as evidenced by his long years as a fighter for justice through his walk in faith, was honored at the event. Launched last year in collaboration with the New York Theological Seminary (NYTS), the Faith & Justice Fellowship Program has as its mission to give its participants enhanced skills, enabling them to be more effective advocates on behalf of those most in need, and to help promote NYC as a place of equal opportunity for all. The fellowship program trains faith leaders to become prophetic witnesses for fair social policies and equal justice. Fellows participate in a series of theologically based courses, seminars related to understanding civic engagement from a theological and biblical perspective, and group retreats centering on personal formation and reflection. Rev. Daughtry; Rev. Michael Walrond, pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem; Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center; and
Belafonte in Newark: Sing in Praise of King Photos: Karen Waters
Harry Belafonte and Mayor Ras Baraka
n January 14, 2016 Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka hosted the 28th Annual Celebration of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sing in Praise of King at Newark Symphony Hall’s historic Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall. The tribute’s co-hosts were Michele Morgan and Tobias Truvillion. Iconic artist and activist Harry Belafonte delivered the keynote address. Sir Joshua Nelson, The Prince of Kosher Gospel
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UPCOMING FEATURED PREACHERS
Rev. William D. Watley, Ph.D. Senior Pastor
Dr. Gina Stewart
Saint Philip AME Church Atlanta, GA
Christ Missionary Baptist Church Memphis, TN
Rev. Teresa Fry Brown, Ph.D. Brandy Chair of Preaching
Candler School of Theology Emory University Atlanta, GA
USE YOUR SMARTPHONE, TABLET, OR COMPUTER TO ENTER GOD’S PRESENCE ANYWHERE AND ANYTIME! www.thepositivecommunity.com
February 2016 The Positive Community
L-R; Shannon Stukes, Beverley Henderson-Hartsfield, and husband David Hartsfield
Pastor Lionel Guyton
Hartsfields Bid Farewell to St. Matthew AME
he congregation of St. Matthew AME, East Orange, NJ bid a heartfelt farewell to long-time congregation members David and Beverley Hartsfield, both of whom have been actively involved in the church and community. Beverley, a registered nurse, has been at the forefront of regional health initiatives and is a founding member of African Americans for Health Awareness (AAHA), health advocacy volunteers. David is a founding member of St. Matthewâ€™s acclaimed all male choir, Sons of Thunder. The Hartfields are relocating to Florida.
The Positive Community February 2016
Celebrating 25 Years of Service to the Local and Global Community Pastor and First Lady Trufant honored in Brooklyn
he congregation, friends, and family of Rev. Anthony Lavay Trufant and First Lady Muriel Goode-Trufant gathered on the evening of Friday, November 13, 2015 to celebrate and honor them on the 25th anniversary of their pastoral leadership at Emanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn. This event at the beautiful Liberty Warehouse on the waterfront in Brooklyn saluted 25 years of vision, mission, service, and love that bound together the beautiful people at the gala, and those who were present in spirit only, to the beloved pastor and first lady. “I remember when they were young newlyweds, settling in Brooklyn to make an impact on the Kingdom of God. I’m still amazed at how God blesses the work of their hands and their hearts. They are living examples of God’s love in action, and an inspiration to so many,” said Executive Pastor Rev. Shareka N. Newton. “Pastor Trufant,” she continued, “We thank you for preaching God’s Word in season and out of season, for marrying us, baptizing us and our babies, for visiting us when we’re sick or deeply saddened, for praying over us. Thank you for ably eulogizing our loved ones, for reminding us that every good thing belongs to and comes from God. To Mrs.. Trufant: We thank you for your great grace, your ample love, your leadership, your abundant laughter. You and your man are a mighty duo in marriage, parenting and every conceivable aspect of ministry. May God bless you both richly for the duration of your tenure at EBC. May you be blessed beyond EBC’s borders as you finish your divinely ordained assignments. “Tonight, we dance, selfie, and celebrate. And when the morning comes-bringing its assorted tasks, bringing lives that beg to be transformed and connected to Christ, we will be with you still. We’re your kinfolks. We could not love the two of you more than we do right now,” she concluded.
For Emanuel Kindergarten Daycare Center, Jazz Vespers, the Homes for Haiti Ministry, and the ongoing caring and support of not only the Emanuel congregation but its ministry beyond the walls of the church, The Positive Community salutes our faithful Roll Call member, Emanuel Baptist Church. Thank you for all you do.— JNW
“We thank you for your great grace, your ample love, your leadership, your abundant laughter.” www.thepositivecommunity.com
February 2016 The Positive Community
Off the Beaten Path In Jamaica TEXT AND PHOTOS BY BOB GORE
ecause of its close proximity and great weather, Jamaica is a favorite vacation destination for Americans. Having visited the island many times for business and pleasure, I feel I’m somewhat knowledgeable about the home of reggae and have written about my visits in this publication. My last visit began with a two-day meeting in Kingston, leaving the weekend to explore. A close friend, Leonard McKenzie, who knew of my fondness for Jamaican culture—especially exploring worship traditions on the island, suggested a stay for the weekend at his home in the countryside. Straying from the familiar can yield uncommon delights. By car we traveled south toward the pristine seaside town of Leithall, nestled in the mountains in St. Thomas Parish. Weaving our way through several hamlets was a treat. Along the way we gorged ourselves on jerk chicken and natural fruit juices. At one point we stopped for a half hour as an enormous funeral parade with hundreds of mourners and a marching band passed by. This was not your typical vacation community. There is no all-inclusive hotel; there were no bars serving drinks with little umbrellas, and there was none of the pampering vacationers often seek. The town, which takes its name from the plantation owner, Col. Alexander Leith, on whose land the town stands, has the loveliest pastel colored houses with lush yards filled with mango, breadfruit, avocado pears, and Malay apples. Though my traveling companion has lived in New York for decades, he seemed to know everyone in his hometown. After 25 visits to Jamaica, this was my most interesting and engaging experience ever. The all night Kumina ceremony in honor of the queen’s passing was amazing. Kumina, an African religious experience incorporating spirit possession, dancing, intense drumming, and singing, has followers throughout Jamaica. Historian Elizabeth Nelson wrote: “The drum is the heartbeat of Africa, the heartbeat of the ancestor, and the dancing is the African body partaking in an ancient expression of identity. The dancing becomes so rigorous that the spirit of the ancestor takes control of the dancer’s body until the dancer loses control of their own
The Positive Community February 2016
agency and actually becomes the ancestor.” My Sunday morning walk was reminiscent in so many ways of my hometown, Robbins, Illinois. Robbins was settled by southern Blacks seeking factory jobs in the Chicago area, but wanting quiet living, gardens and maybe chickens or two in the backyard. The slow pace was familiar to me. In the early morning they tended their gardens, cooked, or chatted across fences reflecting the village homey-ness I knew as a child. Each person said they were headed for one church or another, if not that day, then next Sunday. After breakfast we made our way toward church, offering rides to women until the car was full. Like me, three of our passengers were headed for Rose of Sharon Praise House, a Revivalist congregation that locals call “Pocomania Church.” The service was a powerfully engaging, three hour Pentecostal service with dance, drumming, and other African worship elements. Other elements were quite familiar. A hymn, “Precious Memories,” I’ve known for many years. The pastor and founder, Bishop E.V. Heath is a warm, powerful female preacher and pillar in the community. Jamaica is a profoundly religious country where many Christian, non-Christian, and traditional African beliefs are practiced openly. Some I met subscribed to multiple faiths, borrowing from different influences to meet life’s circumstances. From my observations, there was complete acceptance of different faiths and a universal respect for those rooted in African traditions. Of all the joys, my highpoint was the conversation with the 104-year-old Agatha Payton, a charming lady with an incredible memory. In a clear and steady voice she recalled the early days of her catering enterprise. “Business was good in those days. The port was busy with ships coming in every week with sailors who loved my cooking.” When I asked if she goes to church, she responded somewhat apologetically, “For the past year my bad knee won’t allow walking to church anymore.” I would enjoy much more time with Sister Payton. Two days provided a brief introduction to this fascinating and historic community. If I am lucky to revisit I will be sure share my report with you.
Earl Caldwell Featured Speaker at Frontiers Breakfast
ationally-renowned journalist Earl Caldwell, the last person to interview Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the featured speaker at The Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club 40th Annual King Memorial Breakfast. The longest running tribute of its kind to honor Dr. King in New Jersey, the event took place on the official King Holiday at Plainfield High School. Caldwell was the lone reporter at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in April 1968 to witness Dr. King’s assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He was staying at the motel and covering Dr. King for the New York Times. The theme for the breakfast was “The Last Message,” referring to the speech Dr. King made on April 3, 1968, the night before his assassination. About 350 people attended the event, which also honored several residents. The awardees this year included: Terrence Johnson and Clifford R. Holmes for their “Service to Youth”; Michael E. Jones for his “Community Service”; and Darrell Clark for his “Community Spirit.” Sheila Smith received the Westry Horne “Excellence in Education” award for her contribution to the Plainfield School System. Westry Horne, one of the founders of the Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club, was an avid tennis player and master educator. The auditorium at Plainfield High School bears his name. In a surprise visit to the event, Miss India NJ Raani Iyer shared heartwarming remarks. For more information call John Brinkley at (908) 868-8704.— JNW PAAAS Jazz Band
L-R: Michael Pyne; Gene Baucum; Earl Caldwell; Darryl Clarke, and Vincent Chiles
Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp and First Lady Amelia Mapp
Clinton School Singers
Rev. Louis Slade, Frontiers president with scholarship winners: Lavor G. Brown, Nikiyiah S. Morris, Kamar J. Kellam, and Plainfield Schools Superintendent Anna Belin-Pyles
February 2016 The Positive Community
L-R: Bruce Harman, special assistant to the president of NOBLE; Jiles Ship, newly elected president of NOBLE Northern New Jersey; and William H.L. Oliver, vice president
On page twenty-two of the 2016 Winter issue, the photo below with Baye Adofo-Wilson, City of Newark; Norma Jean Darden, Spoonbread Caters; and guest was actually David Adjaye Architect of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opening September 24th, 2016.
Historic Legislation Adds NOBLE to Police Training Commission
n Tuesday, January 19, 2016 history was made when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed Senate Bill No. 3282 into law, which expands Police Training Commission (PTC) membership to include a representative from National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. This a most important development since the commission is responsible for developing and certifying basic training courses for law enforcement officers at the state, county, and local level. L-R: Baye Adofo-Wilson, City of Newark; Norma Jean Darden, SpoonThe commission is comprised of public members, bread Caterers; David Adjaye, Architect of the Smithsonian National state officials and representatives of various organiza- Museum of African American History and Culture tions in New Jersey, most of which are law enforcement associations including Association of Chiefs On page twenty-two of the 2016 Winter issue, of Police; Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Inc.; this photo was incorrectly captioned. The correct caption is below. League of Municipalities; Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police; County Prosecutors’ Association; Sheriffs’ Association; Police Academy Directors Association; County Jail Wardens Association; Juvenile Detention Association. The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) serves as the conscience of law enforcement. Committed to justice by action, NOBLE has nearly 60 chapters and represents over 3,000 members worldwide who represent chief executive officers and command-level law enforcement officials from federal, state, county, municipal law enforcement agencies, and criminal justice practitioners. The legislation was sponsored by NJ State Senators Ronald L. Rice and Sandra B. Cunningham; Assemblymen Benjie E. Wimberly, Charles Mainor, and Gordon L-R: Municipal Councilman Joe McCallum, (West Ward); Vivian Cox M. Johnson; and co-sponsored by Senators Sweeney, Fraser, CEO, Urban League of Essex; Hon. Mayor Ras J. Baraka Turner and P. Barnes, III. —JNW
The Positive Community February 2016
February 2016 The Positive Community
BAM Celebrates Dr. King Annual celebration is New York’s largest public tribute to Dr. King’s life and vision BAM held its 30th annual celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 18, 2016. BAM boasts that it is the largest public celebration of the great civil rights leader in New York City.
very January, artists, activists, civic leaders, and community members come together in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House to honor the legacy and share the dream of Dr. King. The largest event of its kind in New York City, this celebration is presented in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Medgar Evers College President Rudy Crew, and has been a BAM tradition since 1990. This year’s tribute featured a host of events celebrating Dr. King’s vision of social activism and equality, including a rousing keynote address by Michael Eric Dyson, academic, author, and radio host and professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. The weekend of events included musical performances, a free screening of the groundbreaking film exploring the history of the Black Panthers by visionary director Stanley Nelson, and an art exhibition featuring original student work based on the theme “Picture the Dream.”—JNW Photos:Seitu Oronde
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray
Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir
Michael Eric Dyson
The Positive Community February 2016
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February 2016 The Positive Community
Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad
she has presented her research at the Annual Diversity in Research and Practice Conference at Teachers College and launched the Reel Justice film series as part of the Education in Justice Initiative at Columbia’s Center for Justice. Diaz also says that she has been able to leverage her University affiliation to form new alliances with community and business leaders. “You really see the resources available in your community,” she said. For his part, Washington has created two new walking tours of Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill in Harlem in partnership with the Municipal Art Society of New York and continues to push ahead with work on his book. “Use of libraries, where I can comb over old newspapers going back to the last century and beyond has been invaluable,” he said. “Access to interviews and profiles of people who were living then sheds an incredible amount of light on [my work].” Interested in learning more about the Columbia University Community Scholars Program? An open house for perspective applicants will be held on Thursday, March 17th from 6-7 p.m. in room 206 of Low Library on Columbia’s Morningside Campus, 116th Street and Broadway. For more information, please call: 212-8543117 or e-mail: email@example.com
L-R: Abiodun Oyewole, founding member of The Last Poets and Malaak Shabazz, youngest daughter of Malik EL-Shabazz, AKA Malcolm X
This article first appeared in The Columbia Newsletter: News for Our Neighbors, Fall 2015.
The Positive Community February 2016
live at the Hall
featuring Gospel choirs from worship centers throughout the City of Newark Gospel Workshops and Lectures to be announced
Register your choir!
$10 for one performance ($15 for both) free admission for workshops and lectures
Walking & Standing in Victory is done in partnership with the Newark Symphony Hall Ministers Council and Newark Celebrate 350. To purchase tickets please visit the Newark Symphony Hall Box Office located at 1030 Broad Street in Newark, NJ 07102 or to order by telephone please call (973) 643-8014.
Protestors Call for Resignation of Kean University President L-R: NJ State Senator Ronald Rice (tan coat); Rev. Ronald Slaughter, (with bullhorn) chair of the Ministerial Alliance; and NJ State NAACP President Richard Smith (far right) join protestors outside Kean College
jority at Kean, which is in Union, NJ. “President Farahi has long overstayed his welcome,” said Rev. Ronald Slaughter, the chair of the Ministerial Alliance. “It’s time for him to go so Kean University can move forward to a new day when minority students are treated with the respect they deserve.” Slaughter said structural racism permeates that university under the Farahi administration in ways that hurt minority students. Under the Farahi administration, operating funds have been diverted from the classroom to build vanity projects that most students are not allowed to use and that sit largely vacant. “To pay for these projects, the faculty size has been dramatically cut, college advisors were eliminated, and funds for critical academic and student support services have been reduced,” Slaughter claimed. The Rev. George Britt, pastor of Greater Mount Teman AME Church in Elizabeth and a member of the Union County Ministerial Alliance, supports the Ministerial Alliance’s call for Farahi to resign. “It is apparent that he has failed to incorporate equity into accountability systems – systems that ensure equiRace and gender inequality are the major issues of concern for those ty for all, including faculty who protesting outside Kean University coalition of black ministers, state lawmakers, civil rights activists, labor unions, students, faculty, and alumni rallied outside Kean University in December to call for President Dawood Farahi’s resignation. The Ministerial Alliance in partnership with the Newark North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen, was joined by the NAACP, National Action Network, People’s Organization for Progress, Women’s Democratic Club of New Jersey, Kean Federation of Teachers Local 2187, IFPTE Local 195, and CWA Local 1031. In addition, Sen. Ron Rice, Sen. Sandra Cunningham, Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, and Assemblywoman Grace Spencer all supported the rally and call for Farahi to resign. According to the protestors, Farahi has presided over a culture of fear and intimidation that has hurt minority students, who are in the ma-
The Positive Community February 2016
should be fully supported in their pursuit of a providing a world-class education,” Britt said. “The Farahi administration’s indifference to the issues is creating institutional inequities — inequities that are hampering the support systems needed by the students who are pursuing the world-class education Kean promotes.” The Ministerial Alliance includes Slaughter and Britt along with Bishop Jethro James, president of the Newark/North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen; Rev. Joe Carter, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church; Steffi Bartley, pastor of New Hope Memorial Baptist Church in Elizabeth, a national board member of the National Action Network and a member of the Union County Ministerial Alliance; and Pastors Joseph Hooper, St. Luke AME Church, Newark; Jerome Stembridge, Saint Paul AME Church, East Orange; Lanel Guyton, Saint Matthew AME Church, Orange; Dr. Erika Crawford, Ebenezer AME Church, Rahway and the chair of the Union County Ministerial Alliance; Rev. Dennis Hughes, Bethel AME, Vauxhall; Rev. Vanessa Perry, Saint Paul AME, Kenilworth; Rev. Kenneth Mitchem, Saint Mark AME, East Orange; Rev. Vincent Grove, Providence Baptist Church, Newark; Rev. Carmine Pernini, Zion Lutheran Church, Rahway; and Rev. Ralph Terrell, Mount Zion United Methodist Church, Hillsboro. Protest leaders are continuing to seek resolution of their demands. www.thepositivecommunity.com
MWANDIKAJI K. MWANAFUNZI THE WAY AHEAD
Bible Translations, History, and Truth here are many English translations of the Bible. On which should we rely? Studying history and comparing translations provides some answers. Centuries before Christ was born, Alexander the Great, who was Greek, conquered much of the lands bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea. As a result, Greek language and culture increasingly dominated that area. At some point before 200 B.C., the Pentateuch (i.e. the first five books of the Old Testament) was translated from ancient Hebrew and Aramaic into ancient Greek to accommodate the large Jewish population in the Greek-ruled city of Alexandria, Egypt, who, after generations of exile from Israel, no longer understood ancient Hebrew. This Greek translation came to be called the “Septuagint.” After 200 A.D., more of the Old Testament was translated into Greek. Later, as the Christian faith spread, New Testament books were added to the Septuagint. Much of Alexander the Great’s empire later became part of the Roman Empire. As a result of Latin gradually beginning to replace Greek as the dominant language in the Roman Empire, translations into Latin occurred. Between 1380 and 1384, a preacher/scholar named Wycliffe translated the entire Latin Vulgate Bible into English. Wycliffe’s translation was essentially word-for-word from the Latin Bible. Eleven years after Wycliffe’s death, his secretary, Jon Purvey, produced a second Wycliffe Bible, based on the earlier version but translated into the more idiomatic English spoken by more people of that time. Commonly spoken English changed rapidly over the next century, and in 1525 a scholar named William Tyndale completed a newer English translation of the New Testament from Latin into English. By this time the printing press had been invented, so the Tyndale Bible was printed, rather than hand-copied as earlier translations had been. During ensuing years, Tyndale published separate English translations of the Pentateuch, the Book of Jonah, and revisions of Genesis and his earlier published New Testament. Later, in 1603, King James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne as King James I. He convened a conference to settle disputed matters within the Church of England, which approved that work begin on the King James Version of the English Bible. The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible was published in 1611.
The KJV has remained a dominant translation within the English-speaking world. Nonetheless, many other translations have since appeared. I’ll briefly discuss three of these. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) published in 1971, is the product of an editorial board of 54 scholars who began work in the 1960s. This update of the American Standard Version (published in 1901) is translated directly from those ancient Hebrew and Greek texts that the 54 scholars considered most reliable. It has been described as an attempt at “word-for-word” translation of these ancient texts. The New International Version (NIV) was published in 1978, with a revision (described as “modest”) in 1983. Sponsored by the International Bible Society, it is a translation by scholars drawn from various denominations in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. It has been described as a “thought for thought” translation. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), published in 1990, is a revision of the Revised Standard Version (RSV). The RSV was authorized by the International Council of Religious Education, and is reported to be “widely accepted” throughout the English-speaking world. It is also reported to have been “approved for use by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and the Greek Orthodox Church.” I rely mostly (but not exclusively) on the NASB, NIV, and NRSV because they are translated directly from original ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. They are also well-footnoted, pointing out when source manuscripts differ. I seek God’s truth, and have concluded that comparing and analyzing translations helps steer me around human translators’ idiosyncrasies better than if I relied on just one translation. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.’” (NASB) “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (NIV) “Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” (KJV) The essence of Christ’s instruction is essentially the same within each of these translations of John 14:6, so I believe I am safe in my understanding of that scripture. This understanding is, after all, what we seek in studying God’s word. February 2016 The Positive Community
GOOD NEWS FROM THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
The Last Word thepositivecommunity.com February 2016
BY R.L. WITTER
Vol. 16, No. 2
#OscarsSoWhite: SAME AS IT EVER WAS Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.
Editor-in-Chief Jean Nash Wells Associate Editor R. L. Witter
Sales Angela Ridenour Adrian Council, Jr. NGS Communications, Inc. Satori MPR 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, winter 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
his February seems to have brought more than the usual snow, football, Mardi Gras, and chocolate hearts. This year we all got a big bag of supposed controversy that none of us requested. I’m referring to the Oscar Awards® boycott that became a trending topic after no actors or actresses of color were nominated for a second year in a row. For most black folks, this isn’t controversial, nor does it measure one iota of importance in our daily lives. Sure, if you’re an actor or actress it might seem like a big deal, but the rest of us are more concerned with paying our bills, raising our families, and living our lives far from Hollywood. To some, it’s not even a controversy. Oscar-winners Michael Caine and Charlotte Rampling—both very British and very white—made comments that unbeknownst to them showcased their privilege. Said Caine, “You have to give a good performance, and I’m sure people have. I saw Idris Elba [in Beasts of No Nation]. I thought he was wonderful . . . Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar—years.” Rampling commented, “It’s racist to white people… but do we have to take from this that there should be lots of minorities everywhere?” Yes, yes there should be minorities everywhere—not just in slave stories and as comic relief. Minorities are literally everywhere, except (I guess) in the elite Hollywood circles that don’t feel the need to include or acknowledge them. You see, they know what we know but don’t want to accept. White people have been boycotting black people since they began stealing us from African shores more than 400 years ago. They have boycotted and continue to boycott our culture, our education, our beauty, our language, our dignity, and our humanity. It’s evidenced when a movie like Creed, pro-
duced by and starring black men, garners only one Oscar nomination and it’s for a white supporting actor. Not to take anything away from the actor, Sylvester Stallone, but to me, it means that all the Academy saw and took away from that film was the supporting white man in it. Or how about the film Straight Outta Compton? Black actors, black producers, black director. The only Oscar nod was for Best Screenplay, which nominated four white writers. So I chuckle when white actors, producers, and other Hollywood types express their frustration and how bothered they are by the idea of black people boycotting the Oscars® this year. By and large, they don’t want to make or see movies of substance starring or featuring black actors and actresses. And it’s not just in film. You’ve got Macklemore and Iggy Azalea winning Rap/Hip Hop awards at the Grammys® and American Music Awards, despite their music being decidedly more pop than hip hop. And I’m not even going to get into the way Maria Sharapova is treated as tennis royalty and earns nearly twice as much in endorsements as Serena Williams does, despite Williams’ 20year career and being widely recognized as the greatest female tennis player of all time. Meanwhile, for nearly eight years, President Barack Obama has endured more disrespect than any other president in U.S. history, while naysayers assure the world it is due to his lack of qualifications and leadership, rather than his race. But our actors, artists, athletes, and others can all take a page from President Obama’s book. We can remain calm and dignified, and continue to hold our heads high and do our very best. Despite what most media tells you and refuses to show you, that is our history; that is Black History. We overcome. thepositivecommunity.com
WE’RE TURNIN’ UP THE HEAT! Mike Epps with Gary Owen and Cocoa Brown • 3/11
Russian National Ballet Theatre
The 60th Anniversary Tour
Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat
A company of 50 dancers perform the enchanting tale of everlasting love, featuring a sprightly score by Prokofiev, lush scenery and colorful costumes.
The legendary singer returns to NJPAC to perform his greatest hits and personal favorites.
A family production based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved book is full of non-stop antics from the minute Sally and her brother open the door to the most mischievous cat they will ever meet.
Friday, March 18 at 8pm
Thursday, March 10 at 8pm
A non-stop celebration of Motown’s greatest songs performed by an electrifying cast of singers, dancers and an onstage band. Wednesday, April 6 at 8pm
Carolyn Dorfman Dance Carolyn Dorfman conjures rich worlds for audiences to enter, with a program that features the world premiere of Traces. Friday, April 8 at 8pm
Rachael McLaren. Photo by Andrew Eccles
Saturday, March 19 at 2pm
Dancing in the Streets
Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance
Riverdance 20 Years The Anniversary Tour
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Jessye Norman with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Richard Nader’s 27th Annual Summer Doo Wop Concert
Invincible A Glorious Tribute to Michael Jackson
This international Irish dance phenomenon captures the imagination of audiences across all ages with an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song.
This always dazzling company returns with programs that include some of its newest works as well as company classics like Alvin Ailey’s masterwork, Revelations.
The NJSO and NJPAC are thrilled to welcome superstar soprano Jessye Norman, a legendary performer of electrifying magnitude.
The world’s number 1 tribute show to Michael Jackson honors this phenomenal talent from the Jackson 5 to solo artist.
Friday, April 22 at 8pm Saturday, April 23 at 2pm & 8pm Sunday, April 24 at 2pm & 7pm
Friday, May 6 at 8pm Saturday, May 7 at 8pm Sunday, May 8 at 1pm
Featuring Charlie Thomas (The Drifters), Lou Christie, “Duke of Earl” Gene Chandler, The Duprees, Shirley Alston Reeves (The Shirelles), The Coasters, Jay Siegel’s Tokens, Tommy Mara and The Crests and special guest Ladd Vance.
Saturday, May 21 at 8pm
Saturday, June 11 at 8pm
Sunday, June 5 at 3pm
For tickets and a full schedule visit njpac.org or call 1.888.GO.NJPAC • Groups: 973.297.5804 NEW JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER • One Center Street, Newark, NJ
World Music Series sponsored by American Express
1/5/16 10:39 AM
There’s power in every story. We believe every voice deserves to be heard. And the greatest untold story is your own. Wells Fargo’s MyUntold Story Collection celebrates voices from every generation across the African American community and we encourage you to share your story. We proudly shine a light on an enduring legacy of triumph, spirit, and achievement simply because African American history is American history. Watch the stories and share your own at wellsfargo.com/myuntold.
© 2016 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. (2165402_17241)
Published on Feb 21, 2016
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