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March 2012


Mighty Michelle!

Women’s Women’ History Month Countdown to Freedom:

Slavery in i America

The 125th Street Business Improvement District seeks to develop a community-based vision to maintain the heritage of 125th Street; to help secure future cultural presentation and production in Harlem; and to encourage the ongoing revitalization of 125th Street as a premier art, culture and entertainment destination. Other goals include: event and nightlife promotion; to facilitate active tourism; to celebrate and build upon existing cultural assets; to catalyze economic development; to increase pedestrian mobility; to give the streetscape a cohesive modern appearance and reduce clutter; to develop additional public space; to include public art throughout the area; and to create a high quality urban environment that contributes to an identity for the Harlem community. Take advantage of all that 125th Street has to offer!

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Street Today! Student Discounts: 

Dr Jays: 20% discount until March 31 (Student ID required)

Senior Discounts:     

Applebees: 10% off with Golden Apple Senior Citizen Card Burger King: Free or discounted drinks Dunkin Donuts: 10% off Verizon: $30 wireless plan McDonald’s: 10-20 cents off juice/coffee

 

Modell’s: 10% off Rite Aid: 10% off every Tuesday; 20% off 1st Tuesday every month AT&T: Senior Citizen Plan $29.99 w/ 200 mins

Volunteer Opportunities at the

125th Street BID Interested in becoming a Volunteer? Request more info by clicking “Contact Us” (top right corner) at “Harlem Holiday Lights” 2012 “BID On Culture Banner” Program Afterwork Networking Receptions Annual Meeting Preparation

Follow the 125th Street BID on Twitter and Facebook: &

Announcing - 2012 -

“BID On Culture” Banner Design Competition This Year’s Theme:

Harlem: A Cultural Legacy For information about the program, Request for Proposals, and sponsorship opportunities: 2012 “BID On Culture” program presented by:

March 2012



MONEY ............................................16 EDUCATION......................................23 HEALTH............................................37 CULTURE..........................................48

Features Focus on Divas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Samantha Appleton


&also inside Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Editor’s Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Parenting 101 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Health Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Gospel Train. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 From the Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

Gibson Is Chief Academic Officer at ECC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Students Assist Others with Back On Track Program. . . . . . . . 24 Countdown to Freedom: Slavery in America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Roundtable Wrap-Up. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Maintain Weight & Muscle Mass as You Age . . . . . . . . . . 40 Passion & Commitment at Barnabas Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Williamson Promoted in Newark . . . . . 44 Church Salutes Hal Jackson. . . . . . . . 48 What Women’s History Means to Me . 52

The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Harlem Opera Celebrates 10th Anniversary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Actor Chuck Cooper Takes the Stage . . 62

With you when building your savings is the plan My Savings Plan® It’s time to reflect on financial lessons learned and apply them to the

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

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The General Baptist Convention of Ne J rsey Inc

Rev Kenneth D R Clayton ne D R Cl on 139-145 Albert M Tyler Place Al Tyl r P a Paterson NJ 07501 J 07501 (973) 684-3203 32

2nd Vice President P d Rev Dr Lester Taylor T yl 224 First Street S Englewood NJ 07631 NJ 07 31 (201) 569-7485 97 8 General Secretary S et y


Rev Dr Leo H Graham Leo H a 239 George Street ge S e New Brunswick NJ 08901 c NJ 08901 (609) 324-2751 2751

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

Assistant Secretary t S cr ta y

Rev Dr Edward D Harper E ward H p 126 Wyncrest Road ce Marlboro NJ 07746 NJ 774 (732) 536-6115 115

Treasurer e

Rev Dr Richard Pollard icha la d 40 Eastern Parkway n Pa k y Hillside, NJ 07205 J 07205 (908) 686-6477 477

Financial Secretary l c t y

Romans 1:1‐6 

Rev Dr Milton L Hendricks Milton L e k 829 Tilton Road nR Pleasantville, NJ 08232 le NJ 08232 (609) 646-1815 1815

President Emeritus t m t

Rev Dr Calvin McKinney Cal n K n 419 Harrison Street o S ee Garfield NJ 07026 J 07 26 (973) 478-1033 1 33

Congregational Baptist Church 399-411 Bergen Street Newark, NJ 07103

Women’s Auxiliary xil y

Mrs Thelma Scott ma Sc t 107 Baltimore Avenue mo e u Bridgeton NJ 08302 NJ 08302 (856) 455-3371 3371

Congress of Christian Education s f C i ti d ti Bro James Clark s C ark 452 Franklin Street lin S e Hillside NJ 07205 072 5 (973) 926-2365 23 5

Layman’s Movement ’ Mo nt

Bro Douglas Davis la D s 204 Coudert Place e l So Orange NJ 07079 e J 70 9 (973) 634-3403 3 3

Nurses Ministry st

Sis Serita Lanham Lanh 78 Union Street S Jersey City,NJ 07304 y J 7304 (201) 434-7670

Ushers Ministry Mi

Deacon Johnnie Thomas h ni T o 326 Park Place P Irvington, NJ 07111 J 0711 (973) 372-5050 5 50

Host Association Christian Fellowship

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

          Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell Jr., Convention President  Theme: From From i ons Visions o Vict to ry Victory Answ –riAnswering g God’s God’s all Call Subtheme: Answering the Call to Evangelism Isaiah 6:8 A t Ca l t li Is i h 6 8

Roll Call for PC Jan 12.qxd:Roll Call for PC Document.qxd 2/6/12 7:00 PM Page 1







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

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

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

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

Thessalonia Worship Center, Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. Shellie Sampson, Pastor

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

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

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

Union Baptist Temple,, Bridgeton, NJ Rev. Albert L. Morgan, Pastor

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

New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, NJ

Walker Memorial B.C. Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush Sr., Pastor

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

New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ Rev. Dr. Donald L. Owens, Pastor

West Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Alvin Barnett

First Park Baptist Church, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Rufus McClendon, Jr., Pastor

New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Dr. Frances Mannin-Fontaine, Pastor

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

Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Office of Black Ministry Berean B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. David Hampton, Pastor Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ. Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Pastor Beulah Bible Cathedral Church, Newark, NJ Gerald Lydell Dickson, Senior Pastor Black Ministers Council of NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Exec. Director Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem, NY Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor Childs Memorial COGIC, Harlem, NY Bishop Norman N. Quick, Pastor

Friendship Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. James A. Kilgore, Pastor General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, President Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark, NJ Rev. Allen Potts, Senior Pastor Greater Allen Cathedral, Queens, NY Revs. Floyd and Elaine Flake, Co-Pastors Greater New Hope Missionary B.C., NYC Rev. Joan J. Brightharp, Pastor Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor

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

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Lucille McEwen, President & CEO

Christian Love B.C., Irvington, NJ Rev. Ron Christian, Pastor

New Life Cathedral, Mt. Holly, NJ Rev. Eric Wallace, Pastor

Businesses & Organizations

New Zion B.C., Elizabeth, NJ Rev. Kevin James White, Pastor

125th St. BID

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

American Diabetes Association

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

African American Heritage Parade American Heart Association, Northern, NJ Brown Executive Realty, LLC

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

City National Bank

St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper

Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce

St. John Baptist Church

Medgar Evers College

Camden, NJ

Mildred Crump, Newark City Council

Essex County College, NJ Inner City Broadcasting

Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor

Muslim American Chamber of Commerce NAACP New Jersey*

It Is Well Living Ministries, Clark, NJ Rev. Kahlil Carmichael, Pastor

St. Luke Baptist Church of Harlem, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie McCann, Pastor

Community B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor, Pastor

Jesus Christ Family Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Jason Sumner, Senior Pastor

St Luke B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Pastor

Community Church of God, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie., Pastor Emeritus

Messiah Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev. Dana Owens, Pastor

St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Ben Monroe

Concord B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Pastor

Metropolitan B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor

St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter, Pastor

Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Willams, Pastor

Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, Harlem Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith, Pastor

St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Pastor

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

St. Paul Community B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor

Empire Missionary B.C., Convention NY Rev. Washington Lundy, President Evening Star B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Washington Lundy, Pastor Fellowship Missionary B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Kippie C. Brown, Pastor

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

The Cathedral Int’l., Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor The New Hope B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Joe Carter, Senior Pastor

NAACP, NY State Conference* New Jersey Performing Arts Center New York Theological Seminary New York Urban League Newark School of Theology Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center The College of New Rochelle The United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM


“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

Our Lord be with you always!!! Bumala Wabureme Sunwanda!!!

Ekene diri Chukwu

Chukwu nonyelu Gi

(Thanks be to God)

(God be with you)

“Yεma wo AYEKOO!”

“Que le Seigneur “Allahi soit avec vous” baragi” Your EminEncE, cardinal TimoThY Kojo dolan :


s Black Catholics of the Archdiocese of New York, we bring you greetings and best wishes, on the joyous occasion of your elevation to the College of Cardinals by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in this year of our Lord 2012.

Cardinal Dolan, as members of your diverse, multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual Black Catholic community, we extend to you our loving arms, our faith-filled hearts, and our willing hands, as you lead us to Christ Jesus, on the road to Emmaus. We walk by faith, with inspiration from our great ancestors like Venerable Pierre Toussaint, believing that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the human heart what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) “Kojo” is a name/title given to Cardinal Dolan by the members of the Ghanaian Catholic community at their Independence Day Mass in 2011, in recognition of his being Monday-born.

officE of BlacK minisTrY archdiocEsE of nEw YorK


The Positive Community March 2012


Joe A. Carter is pastor of The New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, NJ

Pray for Us

the cannon of the wicked than the prayers of the righteous.” Here is a man who understood the explosive power of praying saints. In the book of Acts, chapter 12, the Apostle Peter was in prison for preaching the Gospel, but the church gathered at Mary’s house and began to pray for him. While they were praying, Peter was miraculously released. Thomas Watson said “It was an angel that fetched Peter out of prison but it was prayer that fetched the angel.” So, again, I repeat these words with a greater confidence, “Pray for us!” Don’t stop praying for us, because when you can’t do anything else, you can pray. When you can’t use your influence to fix a problem, you can pray. When your money is not enough, you can pray. When you lose your strength, you can pray. There is nothing outside of the reach of prayer.

between success and failure “Theisdifference prayer. The difference between joy


ray for us” are common words spoken in an hour of need. So common, that when spoken, many people agree to pray for a person, yet sad to say with little follow through. This, however, was not the case when it came to the tragic loss of Whitney Elizabeth Houston. The Houston Family and The New Hope Baptist Church sent out a cry to the whole world, “Pray for us.” And the world did just that! I would like to thank both the local and global communities for their prayers and support in helping the family through a very difficult time and for celebrating the life of Whitney Houston. No one can put into words the gratitude that the Houston family and The New Hope Baptist Church have for the thousands upon thousands of cards of comfort, expressions of love and acts of kindness displayed over these last three weeks. There are times in life when service—to the community and God—runs the risk of making the most committed servant a bit cynical. But God says in Romans 5:20, “Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds.” Although we live in a world fraught with hatred, wickedness, and evil, there is far more love in the world that eclipses those things that seek to make life darker. And, it all happens through prayer. The book of James 5:16 declares, “…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” What a beautiful and poetic way of simply saying when your heart is right, prayer makes a difference. The difference between success and failure is prayer. The difference between joy and sorrow is prayer. The difference between chaos and peace is prayer. We have been surrounded by praying people, which has helped heal the hurt in these troubling times. We cannot go back in time to change hurtful events in our past. We cannot continue to rehearse moments of pain and believe that joy will overflow in our lives. But we can get on our knees and give our problems to the Lord and trust that He will work it out. I want you to think back in your life to some of your deepest, darkest moments and ask yourself “Where would I be if no one had prayed for me?” The great Thomas Lye said “I’d rather stand against

and sorrow is prayer. The difference between chaos and peace is prayer.

Some people believe that when it comes to burying a loved one, if they can just get through the funeral, they have met their finish line. Those of us who have experienced real grief know that when the funeral is over, the phone stops ringing and people stop bringing food to the house. That is when the real grieving process begins to set in. So we know that the Houston family, The New Hope Baptist Church family and those who are mourning around the world are going to need all the prayer they can get. There is a story that says when the early Africans were converted to Christianity, they would walk deep into the thicket and pour their hearts out to God, so much so, that the thicket became be their place of prayer. When one of them had not gone to pray in a while, someone would admonish him “don’t let the grass grow on your path.” When it comes to seeing this tragedy turned to joy, “don’t let the grass grow on your path.” March 2012 The Positive Community



A Cautionary Tale: Be Careful of What They Teach Your Children ven with an extra day courtesy of Leap Year, February seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye. As the Black History Month posters come down in our schools and the Afrocentric commercials disappear from the airwaves, I’d like to take a moment to remind you that Black History is part of American History and should not be relegated to being taught, studied and celebrated for only the month of February. As the month came to a close, my godson, Jay, had some unsettling questions and surprising remarks regarding some of what he learned in his kindergarten class. At five years old, he is a bright child who can read, count and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Spiderman! But he cannot understand the concept of time as it relates to history and the idea of 30, 50 or 200 years. To make a long story short, he was confused and bewildered by the way some of his Black History Month lessons were taught. It was bad enough when he asked his mother if she had any white friends and then questioned why she did, since to his understanding, “white people are mean; they whip and kill black people.” But when he was playing around the house saying, “They tease me about my hair. They tease me for my clothes. They say I’m dirty. I don’t want to go to school; I don’t want to learn,” something had to be done. Immediately. I relate this story to impress upon everyone not only the importance of teaching our children Black History but the importance of how it is taught and by whom. When Jay’s teacher was questioned about his disturbing mantra, she explained that he was rehearsing lines for the class play. When Jay’s mother expressed concern about the negativity of what her son was saying and how it might affect Jay and the other black children the teacher replied, “His negative lines are balanced by the positive lines the boy playing Barack Obama says.” Really? Perhaps in her mind, but in my mind I see a 5-year-old black boy learning and repeating words that discourage his academic career before it even gets started. Maybe because his teacher isn’t black she doesn’t see the potential harm? At best that would explain it, but at worst


this could be that systematic racism that seems to provide an express lane for our sons from kindergarten to prison. It was a great reminder for us all that we have to be involved in our children’s education and be aware of what they are being taught. It’s not enough to know that Black History is being taught. We need to know how and by whom and be ready to supplement that curriculum with accurate information our children might not otherwise receive. With that said, The Positive Community is pleased to introduce “Slavery in America,” the first of eight features to be published in 2012 in conjunction with our Great Countdown to Freedom initiative. These monthly features will delve more deeply into the history and events introduced in “The Cultural Narrative.” You’ll find these two-page features in the center of the magazine each month so you can read and discuss our history with the next generation and make sure it is being presented in a way that is accurate and appropriate for them. Jay’s mother is meeting with the school principal and speaking with other parents about Jay’s reactions, so the conversation continues. It’s not always pleasant, but it is our history. We need to know it, teach it and build upon it. March 2012 The Positive Community



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.


The Girl with the Golden Voice he was gorgeous. She was smart. And, yes, sometimes she was terrible. But she was worth it. Whitney Houston, without a doubt, during this observance of Women’s History Month, is my feature column. The girl with the golden voice has departed this earth, but what a body of work this truly incredible human being has left. In many ways, Whitney reminded me of the late Dorothy Dandridge, the beauty who was the first AfricanAmerican to garner a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the title character in Carmen Jones. Houston, like Dandridge, appeared to have everything one needed to be successful, even in a racist entertainment business. Their lives paralleled so much in my judgment that it really is uncanny. Houston had a famous mother, Cissy Houston, who was a backup singer for many well-known singers and a Gospel star in her own right. And, Cissy still has the chops to out-sing many of today’s contemporary yellers. Dandridge’s mother was Ruby Dandridge, also well-known in Tinsel Town, portraying sundry maids in a number of “B” films. Whitney, like Dorothy Dandridge before her, appeared to be unlucky in love as well. I won’t attempt to rehash her failed marriage with singer Bobby Brown. What’s the point? In fact, there was a time several years ago when



The Positive Community March 2012

Whitney said she had the screenplay on Dandridge’s life and was going to portray her on the silver screen. That privilege, however, went to Halle Berry, who was splendid and received an Emmy for that HBO film. Boy, could Whitney sing! Her riffs were out of this world and unlike some of today’s singers, Whitney sang effortlessly without screeching to try to whip up an audience. Dandridge was a nightclub singer and when Hollywood was finished with her, she went back on the circuit looking gorgeous in those stunning gowns with her chiseled face. I wish both women had possessed more love for themselves. Dandridge, like Houston, was found dead by someone after reportedly taking prescription pills. To this day, there are still questions surrounding her death and whether it was an accidental overdose, suicide or the result of foul play. And similarly, with Whitney’s death we may never know. I assure you, Whitney will be remembered for her matchless talent, her philanthropy and her ability to keep on keepin’ on in spite of the pain. Oh, there must have been so much pain. But, when folks can see the outward appearance only, they sometimes miss the fact that there’s a human being inside that façade —a person who faces the day-to-day challenges of life like anybody else, but on a much more public scale. To the credit of many of the female vocalists coming behind her, she is often mentioned as their role model. Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say, and Whitney has a whole lot of imitators trying to sound like her. But, let’s face it. There was only one Whitney Houston. And, we’re not likely to see the likes of her again. If you would indulge me for a moment, I recall one of the songs Whitney sang, “I’m Your Baby Tonight.” Would it not be wonderful if she stepped out of this earthly realm and looked into the face of Almighty God saying, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”? I’m just sayin’.

New York Theological Seminary 9th Annual


Awards Gala March 29, 2012

Join us...

Thursday, March 29, 2012 Silent Auction and Reception; 6:00 pm/ Dinner; 7:00 pm

Mandarin Oriental, New York 80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street New York, New York 10023

semi-formal attire

The evening’s music will feature renowned musician-composer

Curtis Lundy

and a

special guest


The Board of Trustees of

New York Theological Seminary

is honored and pleased to present 2012 Urban Angel Awardees:

The Rev. Floyd H. Flake, D.min. The Rev. Elaine McCollins Flake, D.min. Pastor and Co-Pastor, The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York


Michelle Paige Paterson Former First Lady, New York State, and Healthcare Professional

For additional information, visit or contact Ms. Karen Leahy 212-870-1203, Please visit our online auction

Money Business, Money & work

Focus On Divas By Glenda Cadogan


ith spirited dedication to duty, Camille Fanfair and Marissa Moreno freely gave of their creative talents in service to their church, and by extension their community, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. They were church sisters and part of the decorating team for various church events, but in effect, this service was also preparing them for what were to be much larger roles as business owners, community leaders and role models for a whole generation of young church sisters. The enterprising 36-year-olds are the owners and operators of the successful event planning and decorating company, FocusonDivas. Their story is one that speaks of tenacity, the power of positive thinking and prayer. Since launching the company six years ago, Brooklyn’s Caribbean community has focused on these divas for decorating and event planning. But it was not always so. In fact, the road toward this number one spot was encumbered by barriers and a few oversized stones thrown in their paths. “The concept of FocusonDivas was one we had a long time ago,” said Fanfair. “But with little or no start up money and even less encouragement from the people around us, it seemed like a pipe-dream. Then, along with two other church sisters, we started decorating for our prayer breakfasts and pastoral dinners.” According to Fanfair, it was after another church member commented that “they could do this for a living” that they initiated plans to formalize the business.


The Positive Community March 2012

L–R: Marissa Moreno and Camille Fanfair

In search of their dream, they became mountain movers and climbed the slippery slopes of doubt and criticism. “At every turn we encountered someone who told us that we could not do this,” reflected Moreno. “People had so many negative things to say but we just persevered, prayed and stayed positive. After going though several major growing pains, FocusonDivas was launched in April 2006. Fanfair and Moreno were the only two left standing. In an effort to raise the seed money, the divas started to set aside $100 from their regular paychecks. “Then we promoted parties with a twofold purpose—to show off our design work and raise capital,” Fanfair recalled. At the time, Fanfair, a born Brooklynite, was a business development manager with the BBC. She had been in that field for all of her adult working life and toiled her way up from sales assistant. She had the business mindset. Moreno worked as a secretary in her native Trinidad &

Tobago before migrating to the United States 10 years ago. She worked at a flower shop where she picked up a few ideas about decorating. She had the creative mindset. The business mind and the creative mind merged and FocusonDivas was born. Their big break came when they were given the opportunity to plan the wedding of their church pastor. To further complicate things, both ladies were also part of the wedding party. “This was a huge challenge for us,” Moreno explained. “It was an outdoor wedding and the night before, while everyone else was asleep, we were putting up table arrangements in the dark. The next morning we were ready and in the wedding party. People were nervous and unsure about our ability to pull off the whole thing but in the end, everyone was amazed. That’s The State of New York Mortgage Agency offers: when people started taking notice.” • 30 & 40 year fixed mortgages But it was not just the public appreciation that in• down payment assistance spired the divas. The wedding was a motivational boost and confidence builder, as well. They began to expand • no points their reach and influence, adding birthday parties, baby showers, concerts, weddings and large scale entertain1-800-382-HOME(4663) ment productions to their panoply of services. Five years into the business, each was able to leave her job and make the business a full time endeavor. Their current client list includes: entertainers, politicians, business owners and churches throughout New York City. “No event is too big or too small for us,” boasted Fanfair. “Whether it’s a small space or an elaborate hall, we can bring it to life.” To which Moreno added, “We work with whatever the client has. If someone just wants to use twigs we Public Service Service Announcement Announcement: can work with that too.” Public After six years of working toIndependent Foreclosure Foreclosure Review Review Independent gether, Fanfair and Moreno complement each other to the point foreclosure 2009 or or 2010 2010? IIn fore losure in n 2009 that they are equally creative and You may may be be eligible eligible for for compensation or other other remed remedy You ompe sation or business minded. When it comes to the creative aspect, they work toiff your primary residen residence was involved. o r primary e was nvolved gether with a cohesion that seems Visit: com/ as though they are in each other’s sit http://independentforeclosurereview tp //i dependentfore os rereview com/ head. “People are intrigued by the or Ca Call: or l 11-888-952-9105 888-952-9105 way we work,” said Moreno. “We Must apply by by July July 31 31, 2012 2012. look at a space and even without M s apply ________________________________________________________________________ discussion come up with the same kinds of ideas that just blend toNewark/Essex Foreclosure Newark/E sex Foreclos re Taskforce skforce gether.” “And we never do the same Free Foreclos Foreclosure Workshops Free re Works ops and nd Information nformation or Call: (973) 733 733-4771 Email: info@neftaskforce org or design twice,” added Fanfair. “Even Ema fo@neft skforce org al (973 477 Website: www neftaskforce org Website ww neft skforce org if a client asks for a design they saw at another event, we will always put in a little something extra.” This comes as no surprise because with FocusonDivas, every design lives up to their motto: “An eye for style and a touch of elegance.”


March 2012 The Positive Community


One Hundred Black Men Raise $800,000 NYC Schools Chancellor, Dennis Walcott and David C. Banks, president/CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation. Photos: Margot Jordan

LEFT: Mike Muse, honoree CENTER: Jesse Wooten, Mentor of the Year FAR LEFT; L–R: Dinner co-chairs Michael Garner and Hilton O. Smith


Commitment to Excellence was the theme of the 32nd Annual benefit gala of the One Hundred Black Men of New York, Inc. (OHBM). Over 600 guests attended the event at the New York Hilton in Manhattan on February 23, 2012. More than $800,000 was raised to support the organization’s programs to empower and improve our community. Honorees were Cheryl McKissack Daniel, president and CEO of the McKissack Group, Inc., a construction management and consulting firm; Roger W. Ferguson, president and CEO of TIAA-CREF, a Fortune 100 financial services organization; Michelle Lee, Northeast Community Banking regional president for Wells Fargo, the fourth largest U.S. Bank; Mike Muse, co-founder of Muse Recordings and political fundraiser and consultant; Dennis Walcott, chancellor of the NYC Department of Education and Jesse Wooten, OHBM Mentor of the Year.

Five students from New York City Public Schools who submitted winning business plans were each presented with a $20,000 college scholarship from Loida N. Lewis, chair and chief executive officer of TLC Beatrice, LLC. The talented students are Julio Trujillo of Benjamin N. Cardozo High School; Ramel McIntosh of Queens Preparatory High School; Kwasi Atiba of Bedford Academy; Akil Hollington of the Eagle Academy and Nicholas Legare also from Benjamin N. Cardozo High School. Brenda Blackmon, co-anchor of My9 TV’s The 10 O’clock News; Fox 5 meteorologist Mike Woods, and Reverend Jacques Andre DeGraff, second vice present, OHBM, served as co-emcees and the event was chaired by Michael Garner and Hilton O. Smith. OHBM President Philip Banks, whose term ends this year, was given a surprise award by the organization for his outstanding work in moving OHBM forward.

L–R: George Hulse, SVP Healthfirst; Jay Hershenson, vice chancellor City Universities of New York; Michelle Lee and William Pollard, president, Medger Evers College

L–R: Phillip Banks, president, OHBM; CBSTV Morning Show host, Gayle King; Hon. David Dinkins; Loida Lewis, and Dennis Walcott

L–R Marjorie Perry, president & CEO, MZM Construction & Management Co.; Talia Young, aide to Sen. Frank Lautenberg; Brenda Ross Dulan, Wells Fargo regional president, South NJ; Michelle Lee, Wells Fargo lead regional president, Northeast (NY/NJ/CT); Linnette Shaver-Johnson, Learning & Development Mgr, Wells Fargo and Lucia Gibbons, regional president, North NJ March 2012 The Positive Community


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" And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" - Ephesians 4:11-12

Friday March 30th

Saturday March 31st

Ruth Fellowship Ministries 733 S. 2nd Street, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracey L. Brown, Senior Pastor

Rose of Sharon Community Church 825 W. 7th Street, Plainfield, NJ Rev. M. LaVerne Ball, Senior Pastor

Saturday will include our Youth Session - YOUTH ARE FREE!!! Fri., & Sat. F 9

$25.00 0 0

Saturday Only $15.00 ,



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Rev. Dr. J. G. McCann

Rev. John Teabout

Dr. Vernon C. Walton Rev. Shawn Wallace Rev. Kyshon Mitchell

St. Luke Baptist Church New York, New York

Greater Friendship Baptist Church Newark, New Jersey

Mount Calvary Peoples Baptist Church Baptist Church Newark, New Jersey Englewood, New Jersey

Rose of Sharon Community Church Plainfield, New Jersey

Rev. Keith Marshall Macedonia Baptist Church Trenton, New Jersey

proudly sponsored the

2nd Annual National

Urban Health Conference

Black History Month 2012









1 Henr etta Ly e, Chair, Man. CB #10, presen s he 1st Dr Mur e Petion B ack H story Month Award o Hon. Dr. Haze N. Dukes, Presiden , NAACP NY S a eConference, a The Ci y College of New York Ga a Reception 2 Dr. L sa S. Co co, Presiden of CCNY, Hon.

Donna M Chr stensen, Congress Member, U.S. Virgin Islands, Hon. Darry C. Towns,

Commissioner/CEO of NYS Homes and Communi y Renewal, Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, Presiden , NY Academy of Medicine speakers he conference on Asthma and other Resp ratory nesses. 3 Marc McCa , Manager New Business Sales & Marketing, Emblem Heal h & Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Presiden , Power Living En erprises, Inc. a he Women’s F nanc a Hea th Conference a A.C. Powell, r. S a e Office Building 4 Rev. Dr. Ca v n O. Butts, III, Sr. Pas or, Abyssinian Baptis Church addresses Sp r tua Hea th Day 5. Dr. Esqu re Anthony, Touro College, Dr. Matthews Hur ey, Harlem Hospi al Cen er, Dr. Rona d Cobbs, Harlem Hospi al, Kenne h S eier, D.O. MPH, Touro College of Os eopa hic Medicine address Men’s Hea th a Harlem Hospi al 6 K m Jasm n, Vice Presiden , P Morgan Chase Foundation & Conference co-shairperson modera es he Women’s F nanc a Hea th Panel 7. Voza R vers, 1s Vice Presiden The Grea er Harlem Chamber of Commerce, W e Wa ker, Manager, NYS Office of General Services, Pau W ams, Esq., Presiden , Dormi ory Au hori y S a e of NY, Dr. John Pa mer, Chairman, Chamber Heal h Committee address he audience a he Gun V o ence Our Youth vs Our Youth” Conference. 8. Jack e Rowe-Adams, Founder, Harlem Mo her S.A.V.E. speakes o he audience a he Gun V o ence Our Youth vs Our Youth” Conference 9 Karen W therspoon, Vice Presiden of The Ci y College of New York address he audience a he Asthma and other Resp ratory nesses Conference


Celebrate National Reading Month by sharing a book with a child Reading is the most important thing you can do to help a child learn. Here are a few tips for getting started: ■ Choose good books. Encourage children to select books they like as well as trying out different kinds of books. Use your local library, exchange books with other families, and use suggested reading lists offered by your child’s teacher or school librarian. ■ Create reading spaces. Help your child create a special place to keep his or her books. Find comfortable, well-lit places to read. ■ Make it a habit. Invite your child to read with you and to you every day to help build a lifelong love of learning.

NJEA members: working to make public schools great for every child. Barbara Keshishian, President Wendell Steinhauer, Vice President Marie Blistan, Secretary-Treasurer Vincent Giordano, Executive Director Richard Gray, NJEA Assistant Executive Director/Research Director

Education Teaching, Learning, Making a Difference

Former Medgar Evers College Professor Now ECC’s Chief Academic Officer Dr. Gale Gibson, New Essex County College Senior Vice President


r. Gale E. Gibson, Essex County College’s (ECC) new senior vice president for Academic Affairs and chief academic officer, was appointed by the ECC Board of Trustees at its December, 2011 meeting and started work in January 2012. She comes to ECC after serving as founding dean of the College of Freshman Studies, and professor in the Department of Student Affairs and Services, at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. Dr. Gibson will provide strategic vision and leadership for the development, implementation, staffing, assessment and grant funding initiatives for academic programs, as well as establish and oversee programs consistent with the college’s long-range strategic goals and objectives. In addition, she will provide the college with direction and leadership in curricular affairs, planning, instruction, student and academic assessment, and the overall accreditation “Education is a lifelong transformative process and that is what ECC is about. I see Essex as one of the most promising community colleges in this area,” said

Gibson. “I very much want to be a part of the college’s future success.” Dr. Gibson exemplified a similarly strong student-centered perspective during her years at Medgar Evers College. During her sixteen-year career there, she oversaw nine departments critical to student retention, progression and graduation. She also taught at North Carolina State University. Working with faculty to ensure that all their classroom needs are met, made her vision clear. “We must always work to improve and augment the academic enterprise. I want to ensure that faculty has the necessary resources to promote student success.” Dr. Gibson earned her Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University. She received a Master of Arts in Social Sciences and Counseling, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Binghamton University – State University of New York. In addition to her love of higher education, Dr. Gibson loves spending time with her two young sons, traveling and is an avid tennis player. —JNW March 2012 The Positive Community


Preparing for their Futures while Helping Others Medgar Evers College Social Work Students Assist At-Risk Students at Innovative Brownsville Youth Center Program

Nicole Franklin


eta-Ann Bigby and Nicole Franklin, top students from the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program at Medgar Evers College (MEC) are interning at a community center in central Brooklyn this school year as part of a multidisciplinary effort to increase student involvement in social justice initiatives. The Community Justice Program combines aspects of the Brooklyn district attorney’s renowned reentry and diversion initiatives with programs offered by MEC and creates additional opportunities for students interested in law and social justice to gain experience in the field. Franklin and Bigby are continuing the work they began last fall in the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, assisting students in the Back on Track program at the CPCA Community Enrichment Center in Brownsville, where they plan and implement activities designed to steer at-risk youth away from criminal activity. Nicole and Peta-Ann work with field instructor Joann Robinson, a licensed social worker in the district attorney’s ofice, to facilitate mental health counseling sessions that offer conflict resolution skills, methods on building self-esteem and proper ways to argue a point, as well as acting as a support for families of alcoholics and those affected by gang violence. “At the Back on Track site I have the opportunity to bring my education to the field and use it in a practical way,” said Peta-Ann. “I get to use what I have learned in the classroom to improve students’ lives.” Nicole feels that “The learning experience at Back on Track has been very enlightening and has reinforced my commitment to pursue a career in social work.” “The College is proud of these two Social Work students’ service to at-risk youth in our underserved neighborhoods,” said MEC President Dr. William L.


The Positive Community March 2012

Peta-Ann Bigby

Pollard, an experienced social worker. Pollard, who in addition to his duties as president also teaches an undergraduate course in social work at the College, extolled the students and the work, “Their efforts are exemplary of our institution’s commitment to social justice. Our Community Justice Program will continue to make these important opportunities available through our ongoing collaboration with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.” “We are preparing the next generation of social workers at a time when there are so many challenges – high unemployment, domestic violence, substance abuse, to name a few,” Dr. Eda Harris-Hastick, director of the BSSW program, pointed out. “So, we are so delighted to have this partnership that offers us opportunities to lend our expertise where needed.” BSSW Field Education Coordinator Elaine Reid added, “Since the Back on Track field placement offers such positive opportunities for our BSSW students to connect theories learned in the classroom with practical real-life experiences, we hope to continue and expand this placement in the future.” Field Instructor Joann Robinson summed it up, “The MEC students are a great asset to this program, and their hard work and dedication are instrumental to its success.” Also part of the Community Justice Program, MEC students interested in social justice initiatives may apply to intern in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, where they learn what it takes to become an attorney from some of the borough’s top prosecutors. In the last year, four MEC students – Nathalie Duton, Landry Sen, Lissette Ortiz and Omalola Marsh – have completed internships.

Medgar Evers College Rising!

+20% Enrollees


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

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

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

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

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

It’s happening at

Columbia in March

Monday, March 5–Friday, July 27 Exhibition: Illustrator Edward Gorey Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Morningside campus For more info, call (212) 854-7309 or visit https:// alumni

Tuesday, March 6 Concert: Playing Games With Kurtág 5:30 p.m. Miller Theatre Bring a friend to enjoy the International Contemporary Ensemble’s daring pianist, Jacob Greenberg, as he takes on György Kurtág’s playful Játékok (“Games”), a series of experiments premised on the idea that “Playing is just playing.” For more info call (212) 854-7799 or visit

Thursday, March 8 The Money Series: Debt: The Long View 6:15 p.m. Davis Auditorium, Schapiro Center, Morningside campus Panelists: David Graeber, Goldsmiths College, University of London; Greta Kippner, University of Michigan; Louis Hyman, Cornell University; and moderators Peter Goodman, of the Huffington Post, and Daniel Immerwahr, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 8548443 or visit

Wallace Shawn: Why I Call Myself a Socialist 6:00 p.m. Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard campus Reading and book signing by playwright and actor Wallace Shawn. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit

Wednesday, March 21 Vital Transformations: Fusion’s Young Discontents 8:00 p.m. 622 Dodge, Morningside campus Kevin Fellezs, assistant professor of music, Columbia University, will discuss the early formative years of fusion, outlining the rationales and aesthetics of young “fusioneers,” who were criticized by jazz writers and fans for merging jazz with rock and funk. For more info, call (212) 8511633 or visit

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

Wednesday, March 21 The Idea of Development: Development and Empire 4:00 p.m. Common Room, Heyman Center, East Campus, Morningside campus Speakers: Frederick Cooper, New York University; David Engerman, Brandeis University; Julian Go, Boston University; Odd Arne Westad, London School of Economics and Political Science; and moderator Daniel Immerwahr, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 8548443 or visit

Salon Magazine Series: Private Bodies, Public Texts 6:30 p.m. Sulzberger Parlor, Barnard Hall, Barnard campus The second installation in Salon magazine’s series discusses Karla F.C. Holloway’s new book, Private Bodies, Public Texts: Race, Gender, and a Cultural Bioethics. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit

Thursday, March 22 Dominican York Proyecto Gráfica 6:00 p.m. Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard campus A panel and opening night reception for new art by the Dominican York Proyecto Gráfica. The exhibition runs through April 3. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit

Whitney Biennial Artist Talk: Georgia Sagri 7:30 p.m. Prentis Hall, 632 W. 125th St. Georgia Sagri’s work examines the way in which social structures, such as technology, transform and shape society’s perceptions and interactions. For more info, call (212) 854-2875 or visit

Saturday, March 24– Sunday, March 25 Comic New York 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Faculty Room, Low Library, Morningside campus The Comic New York symposium brings together creators and academics to discuss the intertwined histories of New York City and the comics who were born here. For more info, call 212-854-7309 or email

Sunday, March 25 Italian Academy Spring Concert Series: Emanuele Arciuli, Piano 6:00 p.m. The Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave., Morningside campus Music by Morton Feldman, Peter Garland, Marcello Panni and Giacinto Scelsi. For more info, call (212) 854-2306 or visit

Monday, March 26 Where is New York? Affordability at Via Verde 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wood Auditorium, Avery, Morningside campus Speakers Vincent Chang, Grimshaw Architects; Paul Freitag, Jonathan Rose Companies; William Stein, Dattner Architects; and Michael Wadman, Phipps Houses, will discuss the impact of this green housing project on its neighborhood. For more info, call (212) 854-3414 or visit www.arch

Colonial Rights & Migration: Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines in the 19th Century 6:00 p.m. Barnard Hall, Barnard campus Speaker: Josep M. Fradera Barceló, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit

Café Social Science: Is Refugee Repatriation a Solution or a Problem? 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PicNic Café, 2665 Broadway at 102nd Street Speaker: Elazar Barkan, professor, international and public affairs, Columbia University. $10 per person. Seating is limited. For more info, call (877) 854-2586 or visit www.cafes

Tuesday, March 27 Immigration and Demographic Crisis: A New Identity for Europe 5:30 p.m. 1219 International Affairs, Morningside campus Speaker: Philippe Fargues, Euro-Mediterranean Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration, European University Institute. For more info, call (212) 854-8443 or visit

Wednesday, March 28 A New Look at Global Ecology 6:30 p.m. Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard campus An interdisciplinary panel with filmmaker Nora Bateson and Greenpeace co-founder Rex Weyler. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit www

The Money Series: An Anthropologist in Wall Street 6:15 p.m. Rennert Auditorium, Kraft Center, 606 W. 115th St., Morningside campus Speaker: Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor and assistant editor, Financial Times. For more info, call (212) 854-8443 or visit www.heymancenter .org/events.php.

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

Thursday, March 29 The Scapegoating of Bradley Manning: Wikileaks and the Terror of the War Against Terror 7:30 p.m. Prentis Hall, 632 W. 125th St. Great Small Works, famous for their giant puppets, presents The Toy Theater of Terror as Usual: Episode 13. For more info, call (212) 854-2875 or visit

Sports & Ethnicity: Jewish and Palestinian Soccer Teams in Argentina and Chile 6:00 p.m. Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard campus Speaker: Raanan Rein, professor of Latin American and Spanish history, Tel Aviv University. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit www.barnard .edu/events.

Friday, March 30 Ancient Soundscapes Reborn 8:00 p.m. Miller Theatre, Morningside campus Miller Theatre presents Glories of the Japanese Music Heritage: Sacred Gagaku Court Music and Secular Art Music. For more info, call (212) 854-7799 or visit www.millertheatre .com/events.

Saturday, March 31 The Fitch Colloquium: Why Preserve Public Housing? 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wood Auditorium, Avery, Morningside campus Speakers: Andrew Dolkart, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University; Dirk van den Heuvel, Delft University of Technology; and Levan Asabashvili, Urban Reactor. For more info, call (212) 854-3414 or visit www.arch.columbia .edu/events.

Friday, February 10– Saturday, March 31 Exhibition: Felix Candela: 1910-2010 Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 826 Schermerhorn, Morningside campus The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery offers American audiences, for the first time, a comprehensive look at the architectural career of “the wizard of concrete shells.” For more info, call (212) 854-7288 or visit cu/wallach.












It Is Easier than Ever to Apply to Public Charter Schools in NYC Each year, thousands of New York City parents ponder over school choices for their children. In addition to traditional public schools, there are now 136 public charter schools operating in New York City, educating more than 45,000 students.

Now, it is easier than ever to apply to charter schools!

The New York City Charter School Center has launched an exciting initiative to make it easier for parents all across New York City to apply to public charter schools by the April 1 deadline. You can learn about and apply to more than 120 New York City charter schools through the new Common Online Charter School Application, located on the Charter Center’s website, Through just one application, offered in Spanish, Haitian Creole and French, parents can apply to multiple charter schools at once. The Charter Center's public advertising campaign conducted in partnership with KISS FM, LA MEGA, AMOR radio stations, the Hispanic Federation, Children’s Aid Society and other partners is the largest effort ever to get the word out about applying online. Check out the radio stations’ websites to get more information and to potentially win tickets to concerts through the “Charter Schools Myth Busters” quiz.

Charter schools are free public schools that are open to all New York City students. Unlike traditional district schools, charter schools operate independent of the NY Department of Education and can develop their own academic program, choose staff and set their own educational goals and standards for student behavior. Charter schools tend to emphasize not only the core subjects of English and math, but the arts, science, and languages. Many also have longer school days and a longer school year, and they tend to be smaller overall, providing a more intimate atmosphere for learning. Most charter schools have a strong record of achievement overall, with some that are truly exceptional. Don’t miss the April 1 deadline for applications! now for more information. Join us for an Education Town Hall to learn about charters at Bronx Preparatory Charter School on March 16th at 6 pm. The Town Hall will be hosted by Bob Slade as part of the Open Line radio show. RSVP is required and seats are limited:

education town hall NYC’s Public Charter Schools

Join KISS FM’s Bob Slade and the Open Line team for an Education Town Hall that will be broadcast on air! Learn more about charter schools and their role in the City’s public education system. Don’t miss the Application deadline on April, 1.

hosts: KISS FM's Bob Slade, James Mtume and Bob Pickett where: Bronx Preparatory Charter School 3872 3rd Avenue, Bronx 10457

RSVP required. Register online at:

date: Friday, March 16, 2012

time: 7:00pm - 9:00 pm doors open at 6:00pm

March 2012 The Positive Community


MIGHTY Michelle A Different Kind of First Lady



n a world where all too often, style trumps substance and in a position in which many of her predecessors were more seen than heard, Michelle Obama bucks the trend. “Cute’s good,” the First Lady once told Glamour magazine. “But cute only lasts for so long, and then it’s, ‘Who are you as a person?’” A bona fide style icon, Mrs. Obama can out-glam, out-bling and out-couture the best of them. In a nod to her sculptured arms, sleeveless dresses are all the rage regardless of the season. But it’s her down-to-earth attitude and warm, caring nature that make her stand out from the other beauties in pretty dresses. If Michelle Obama had a theme song, it would either be “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan or “Super Woman” by Alicia Keys. And Michelle Obama figurines should not be classified as dolls, but rather, as action figures! Yes, her husband may be the President and Commander-in Chief of the United States, but Mrs. Obama is the CEO of the White House and First Family. She keeps tabs on all aspects of


The Positive Community March 2012

daughters Sasha and Malia while taking on various platforms and projects that affect the American people. Probably her most high-profile campaign to date has been the “Let’s Move!” program to combat childhood obesity. “This isn’t just a policy issue for me... I am determined to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition,” the First Lady has said. And it’s not just talk. The White House now boasts an organic garden and beehives, which supply organic produce and honey for the First Family and at state dinners and official gatherings. “Let’s Move!” aims to address the fact that the number of obese American children has tripled since 1970, so the goal is to resolve the issue in one generation. The program takes a comprehensive approach, focusing on making more fresh produce available to lower-income families, portion control and exercise. It also addresses meals served in schools and asks for not just parents, children and educators to get involved, but the entire community, including churches


and other religious institutions. “America’s faith communities play a crucial role in guiding and strengthening not only our spiritual health, but our emotional and physical health as well,” the First Lady has said. “I’ve been inspired by all of the faith leaders and congregations who have taken action to get active and eat healthier.” Mrs. Obama has helped bring salad bars to school cafeterias and asks parents to make sure that their children’s plates consist of lean, healthy protein, whole grains and that at least one half of the plate be filled with fruits and vegetables. While such actions might prompt kids to give other people dirty looks and cold stares, the First Lady keeps them all smiles while on her healthier children crusade. Maybe it’s her approachable warmth, maybe it’s her sheer star power or maybe it’s the way she moves? Our First Lady Obama has been filmed and photographed dancing with students at “Let’s Move!” events. So far, she’s done “the interlude,” “the platypus walk” and “the dougie” and made it look easy! Having been a working mother with a husband who was often away when he was an Illinois Senator, Mrs. Obama has an idea of some of the challenges facing today’s military families. It was with them in mind that she launched her Joining Forces initiative with Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden. Joining Forces focuses on employment, education and and the challenges specific to armed forces families. Regarding employment, the program has spearheaded efforts around license portability between states to assist military spouses whose professions require professional licensing. Portability helps eliminate application fees and wait times when they seek employment in a new state. Joining Forces also helps military spouses secure employment through job fairs created especially for them. On the education front, Joining Forces recognizes that frequent moves can make it difficult for students to transfer records, secure spaces in courses, stay included in extra-curricular activities, and complete required testing on time. It works to alleviate those issues by connecting military families with higher education institutions and programs that expand education opportunities, easing transferability for military-connected students. The wellness component serves to address the increased stress many military families experience. In addition to visiting schools and military bases, Mrs. Obama has also been on television quite a bit lately getting the word out about her initiatives. In just the past two months, she’s done push-ups on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, beaten Jimmy Fallon in a tug-of-war and gotten Jay Leno, an admitted fruit and vegetable hater, to share a veggie pizza— showing more of her warmth and sense of humor.

In this election year, the First Lady will undoubtedly put on her cape and continue to be the “she-ro” or super-heroine we’ve seen many times over the past three years. She has managed to maintain a 66 percent approval rating in spite of her critics and detractors, and that could mean a big boost for the Obama 2012 campaign. “I want to make sure that what I do enhances him,” she has said. Intent upon shielding her girls as much as possible from the drama and mudslinging that goes with the job, both she and the President work to let them remain children for as long they can. She also knows that elections can be tough and that as Sasha and Melia grow up, they are becoming more aware of criticism and attacks on their family. Mom Obama reassures her daughters telling them, “Whatever happens, you guys are going to be good. So don’t worry about this, just focus on your world.” Intelligent, beautiful, strong, graceful, loving and wise, Michelle Obama embodies all of the ideal qualities in the vision of what a First Lady of the United States of America should be. She manages to stay both grounded and above it all simultaneously. Keeping herself physically, mentally and spiritually fit allows her to put her best foot forward in all that she does and to continue working to leave a legacy not only as the first African American First Lady, but a First Lady who truly made a difference. To those who choose to be negative and critical of her mission she says, “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. So when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.” March 2012 The Positive Community


Standing on the Shoulders of Giants Sen. Menendez hosts Black History Month Celebration


.S. Senator Robert Menendez hosted his second annual “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” Black History Month event on Sunday February 26, 2012. The Reverend Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries Jr., senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens once again hosted Senator Menendez for the celebration. The event honored the contributions of the100 Black Men of New Jersey, Inc. and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Bergen/Passaic and Southern New Jersey chapters. Youngsters from the Omega 13, a mentoring group in Lakewood, NJ and their founder and president, Dr. Michael Rush, were also recognized. The keynote address was delivered by the Honorable Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom for the U.S. Department of State. On hand to receive the awards on behalf of their organizations were Jerrid Douglas, president, 100 Black Men of New Jersey, Inc; Deborah "Beechie" Witcher Jackson, president, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Bergen/Passaic Chapter and Lillie Wilson, president, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Southern New Jersey. —JNW

Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook and Sen. Robert Menendez Lillie Wilson, president, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Southern New Jersey.

Jerrid Douglas, president, 100 Black Men of New Jersey, Inc; Deborah "Beechie" Witcher Jackson, president, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Bergen/Passaic Chapter

Dr. Michael Rush, president/founder Omega 13


Youngsters from the Omega 13 The Positive Community March 2012

Social Security Hearing at the Adam Clayton Powel State Office Office Building Photo: Wali Amin Muhammad

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Charles Rangel and Inez Dickens Posing with a young lady wearing a stethescope during a hearing on Social Security and benefits for the aged.

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March 2012 The Positive Community


Sen. Lautenberg and Talia L. Young

Lautenberg Hosts Black Hisory Month Event

L–R: Teaneck Terpsichoreans with Sen. Lautenberg (center): Gerrad Rice, Drew Matos and Bruno Darius


tion sponsored by Senator Lautenberg. Judges Evonne M. Davis and Kevin Darmaine, both artists and teachers, congratulated the winners on their interpretations and the skill apparent in their entries. The entire audience was taken by surprise when three young men, members of the Teaneck Terpsichorean Modern Dancers of Teaneck High School (Terpsys)— Gerrad Rice, Drew Matos and Bruno Darius—performed brilliantly to the song “Brotha,” recorded by Angie Stone. The dance was choreographed by Talia L. Young, a former member of the Terpsys herself, who planned the event and is now an aide to Senator Lautenberg. Diane Hill, assistant chancellor of University Partnership, Rutgers gave welcoming remarks. —JNW

Photos: Darryl Hall

long with four bright young women who won top honors in the statewide middle school art competition, The Positive Community was honored at a Black History Month celebration hosted by U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg at the Paul Robeson Campus Center Gallery of Rutgers University-Newark. The young women Dara Bagby-Prosser, Williamstown Middle School, 1st Place winner; Shelby Oulette, Winslow Middle School, 2nd Place winner; Holli Barber, Oaklyn Public School, 3rd Place winner and Rachel Wong of Carl Sandberg Middle School, Old Bridge, honorable mention— each submitted their impression of the theme “What Does Black History Mean to Me?” using a work of art of their own making in the compe-

First Place winner Dara Bagby-Prosser, whose winning work is actually three-dimensional

L–R: Diane Hill, assistant chancellor of University Partnership, Rutgers with art competition winners Rachel Wong, Holli Barber, Shelby Oulette, and Dara Bagby-Prosser, Sen Lautenberg and Jean Nash Wells and Adrian A. Council of The Positive Community.


The Positive Community March 2012

M o u n t

O l i v e

B a p t i s t

C h u r c h

M o u n t

O Pl ri ev se e n B at ps t ti h s te

C h u r c h

P r e s e n t s

t h e

ICOM Honors Chorus of South Africa

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The ICOM Honors Chorus of South Africa includes musically and academically gifted students from nine high schools in different townships that have high levels of poverty and unemployment. This tour provides funding for them to continue their education. The program offered by the Honors Chorus will be comprised of three segments: Traditional songs (both South African and American), Indigenous dances and Choral performance. FREE WILL OFFERING FREE WILL OFFERING FREE WILL OFFERING

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Countdown to Freedom Brought to these shores in chains from Africa . . . By R.L. Witter


619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 enslaved Africans to Jamestown, VA marked the beginning of almost 240 years of importing slaves and practicing slavery in America. It wasn’t until President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 that the majority of slaves were freed and the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution officially ended slavery in 1865. Twelve generations of blacks survived and lived in America as enslaved people—direct descendants of the estimated 645,000 enslaved Africans imported into North America by European traders. From the 1600s to the 1800s, an estimated 12 million Africans survived the brutal Middle Passage journey to the Americas; by the 1860 United States Census, the slave population in the United States had grown to four million. Some of the 180,000 African Americans who fought as Union soldiers in the American Civil War could trace their families to the time of the Pilgrims. Some of their family histories in America predated those of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and most sitting members of Congress and the U. S. Senate in 1860. American slavery was cruel, inhumane and degrading. Africans and their descendants were robbed of their freedom and forced to labor for their white masters. Slaves were made to endure back-breaking labor in the blistering heat of the sun, day in and day out. Picking, chopping, plowing and tending to livestock were only a few of their daily chores. Favorite slaves had the privilege of working inside the master’s house, cooking, cleaning and raising his children. After working all day for their owners, slaves then returned to their cabins to tend to their own cooking, cleaning, sewing and children.


The Positive Community March 2012

There were no sick days or vacations. Women were known to birth babies while working in the fields and would then be seen working with a baby on their hip or strapped to their chest or back. Slaves were not allowed to learn to read or even look a white person in the eye. They learned to look downward when speaking or spoken to by whites. The slightest hint of pride or defiance would be met by lashing with a whip or worse. Many slaves turned to religion as a means of coping with slavery. In the mid-eighteenth century, large numbers of Africans began converting to Christianity from African and Islamic beliefs during the religious revival movement in the English colonies. This new emotional religion blended nicely with African spiritual beliefs and religious practices. Its emphasis on singing, God’s love for all people, spiritual rebirth, and total body immersion in water during baptism were especially attractive to enslaved blacks. White slaveholders who embraced evangelical Christianity often allowed blacks to attend white churches as long as they sat apart from them and took separate communion.

Many slaves turned to religion as a means of coping with slavery. In the mid-eighteenth century, large numbers of Africans began converting to Christianity from African and Islamic beliefs during the religious revival movement in the English colonies.


Many enslaved Africans became church members and others practiced Christianity outside of a church setting. They sang, danced, shouted and clapped to the preaching of black ministers, usually holy men from the plantation or the neighborhood who conducted Christian marriages and burials. Black funerals reflected the African perspective on death as the time when the spirits of the dead returned to their homelands to be reunited with their ancestors. As a result, funerals were joyous events with much dancing, music, and merriment. On the eve of the Civil War, most slaves practiced a form of evangelical Protestantism identified with Baptist and Methodist religions. It emphasized the story of Moses and the delivery of God’s chosen people from bondage over sermons that aimed to teach submissiveness to masters, turning the other cheek, and obedience to worldly authority. Millions of African Americans endured slavery by making a world for themselves in the midst of their bondage. A viable African-American culture emerged out of slavery, created by slaves partly from the African past. The family was the foundation of this culture. Slaveholders usually allowed their human chattel to live in family cabins and to observe family connections to make it easier to control the slaves. Slaves welcomed the opportunity to use the family environment as a refuge and as a source of cultural endurance. Many slaveholders allowed slaves to select their own mates, although slave marriages had no legal standing. Frequently slave marriages involved “jumping the broom,” and were conducted by enslaved holy men and local black preachers. Children of slaves became the property of the slaveholder who owned the mother. In many cases, slaveholders placed recently purchased slave children or those left behind by a parent’s death or recent sale with a functioning slave family. Slaves might be sold because the estate was broken up at the death of the slaveholder or financial circumstances forced slaveholders to liquidate their properties. They might also be sold on a whim or out of anger as punishment. While it was not as widespread, there was slavery in

some northern states and several hundred thousand slaves were sold and transported to the lower South. Almost all of them were members of families torn apart by the sale. Most never saw their families again; ever. Parents would name their children after family members who lived elsewhere or had died or been sold off as a way of remembering and honoring family history. Eventually, slaves began using surnames, which tended to be the name of the slaveholder who owned them or their parents. However, when a slave was sold from one master to another, the slave’s last name changed to reflect the new ownership. Thus some slaves had several different last names during their lifetime. Despite all of the challenges and struggles they faced, slaves taught themselves a new language, practiced new art forms, and played a new kind of music that helped them endure the horrors of bondage. They learned trades like blacksmithing, built homes and barns, and even learned to read and write in secret. With faith in their hearts, slaves and their descendants managed to remain hopeful and determined for a brighter future and the promise of freedom

March 2012 The Positive Community


Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series


wo thousand and twelve marks the 32nd year of the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series. The annual event commemorates Black History Month in New Jersey and is named in honor of East Orange native, the late Marion Thompson Wright, the first black female professional historian and a pioneer in black New Jersey historiography. The theme of this year's series was “Taking Good Care: A History of Health and Wellness in the Black Community.” —AAC Pianist Stanley Cowell performs “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Dr. Clement A. Price, Dept. of History, Rutgers University-Newark, Moderator

Richard McCormick, president, Rutgers University Keynote Speaker Dr. Jocelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General

William F. Owens, UMDNJ Photos: Fred Stucker

Dorothy Roberts, lecturer

Sharla Fett, lecturer

Priscilla Wald lecturer

Philip Yeagle, interim chancellor

Tanya Mitchell, The Newark Alliance

Dr. Marcia Brown vice chancellor, Rutgers-Newark

Mary Sue Price and Mayor Cory Booker

The Branford Hayes Trio


The Positive Community March 2012

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

“We “We know know our community. community. We know ourour community. “We know our community. “ “ “ We We live live here. here. ”” We live here. ” We live here.” Roundtable Wrap-Up

For photos, video and more visit

… a good forum for discussing the fact that This roundtable continues the brilliant Individually we are as adults responsible for when we talk about creating more healthy tradition you have begun by inviting our own healthcare. The conference proved communities, we’re not only talking about outstanding thinkers and leaders to address that the services are there and quality care requisite systems change but also the need the difficult issues  we face in a spirit of regardless of socio-economic status can be for people to act on their own behalf and collegiality and deep insight. Every time I accessed and is within our control. feel empowered to make healthy choices.  leave a conference like this one, I say to Philip DrforPhilip Bonaparte, Bonaparte, Chief Chief Medical Medical Officer, Officer, Horizon NJ Health NJBeverley HealthHenderson Hartsfield, RN That,Dr and theDr need society to recognize myself: we have the knowledge and Philip Bonaparte, Chief Medical Officer, Horizon NJHorizon Health Chair, African Americans for mental health issues as a key component commitment in our community to deal Health Awareness Committee (AAHA) Dr Philip Bonaparte, Medical Horizon NJ for Health of health and wellness, was my big take Chief effectively withOfficer, our issues. I thank God away.  Again, a wealth of information was The Positive Community's contribution to shared… themake next step has to be take creation of  the  positive community he need make difference, only in to myonly life,only the lives of others. I am involved feel“I the feeltoneed the need toamake to a difference, anotdifference, not not inbutmyininthe life, my but life, in but the in lives the lives of others. of others. I inamhealth Iinvolved am issues involved infacing health in health issues facingfacing …The moderator and issues panelists were action toward positive change. of our dreams. minantly the African-American and Latino community. I understand what it’s like to come from humble backgrounds. Superb! You are “lights in a dark world,” redominantly predominantly the African-American the African-American and Latino and Latino community. community. I understand I understand what what it’s like it’s to like come to come from from humble humble backgrounds. backgrounds. “I feel the need to make a difference, not only in my life, but in the lives of others. I am involved in health issues facing spiritual catalysts for effective change in the predominantly the African-American and Latino community. understand it’s like to comefor from humble backgrounds. norizon Blue Cross Blue Shield inShield New Jersey we Jersey believe in access towhat every resident. Barboza, Program Officer Reverend Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Horizon BlueRegina Blue CrossCross Bluelives Blue Shield lives lives in New inand New Jersey and Iwe and believe we believe inquality access in healthcare access to quality to quality healthcare healthcare for every for every resident. North Eastern corridor. Theresident. second half on GreaterasNewark Workforce President, The Newark School of Theology as important breathing air.” Funders Blue Shield lives New Jersey and we believe in access to quality healthcare for every’s’s ToHorizon’s asBlue important asCross important as breathing as breathing air.”in air.” mental healthresident. and the healing of our comCollaborative/ Newark Alliance To’s as important as breathing air.” munities was par excellence. Look at what Horizon NJ Health can help you and your family, too. God is doing through you all. ….God is Horizon Horizon NJ Health NJ Health can can helphelp you you and and youryour family, family, too.too. If you are uninsured, enroll Horizon in our NJNJ FamilyCare NJ you FamilyCare glorified as we lead our broken communities Health canor help and yourADVANTAGE family, too. plans. If you If you are uninsured, are uninsured, enroll enroll in our in our NJ FamilyCare NJ FamilyCare or NJ or FamilyCare NJ FamilyCare ADVANTAGE ADVANTAGE plans. plans. to Him for healing and solutions… eligible, call 1-877-7NJ-HEALTH ToIf see you’re you ifare uninsured, enroll in our NJ FamilyCare or(1-877-765-4325) NJ FamilyCare ADVANTAGE plans.

eligible, eligible, call 1-877-7NJ-HEALTH 1-877-7NJ-HEALTH (1-877-765-4325) (1-877-765-4325) To see To see see if you’re you’re eligible, callcall 1-877-7NJ-HEALTH (1-877-765-4325) To ififyou’re Thanks the Sponsors of the Health Roundable:

Rev. Shirley Rucker Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Newark and Vicinity

Horizon Horizon Horizon Horizon NJ Health NJ Health NJNJ Health Health

hield of New Jersey is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ® Registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®’ and SM Registered and service marks of eld of New Jersey. © 2011 Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Three Penn Plaza East, Newark, New Jersey 07105. on Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ® Registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®’ and SM Registered and service marks of on Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. © 2011 Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Three Penn Plaza East, Newark, New Jersey 07105. putindependent your first licensee sslueBlue Cross Shield BlueofShield New of Jersey Newwe isJersey an is anhealth independent licensee of the Blue of the Cross Blueand Cross Blueand Shield BlueAssociation. Shield Association. ® Registered ® Registered marks ofmarks the Blue of the Cross Blueand Cross Blueand Shield BlueAssociation. Shield Association. ®’ and ®’ SM and Registered SM Registered and service and marks serviceofmarks of

slue Blue Cross Shield BlueofShield New Jersey. of New © Jersey. 2011 © Horizon 2011 Blue Horizon Cross Blue Blue Cross Shield BlueofShield New Jersey. of New Three Jersey.Penn Three Plaza Penn East, Plaza Newark, East, Newark, New Jersey New07105. Jersey 07105.

Next in the Newark Leadership Roundtable Series:

Sat. April 21st: Education Roundtable nosotros ponemos su salud primero

March 2012 The Positive Community


Scenes From The Health Roundtable At The Newark Club Roundtable Panelists John W. Farrell L.C.S.W.

Margaret Jones Cammarieri

Rochelle D. Evans R.N., M.S.

Program Analyst, U. of Behavioral Healthcare Violence Institute of NJ

Regional Vice President Health Equity, NJ and NYC

Health Officer, Director Dept. of Health and Human Services City of EO

Terrie Williams CEO, Terrie Williams Agency

Photos: Risasi Dais, Herb Glenn and Wali Amin Muhammad


The Positive Community March 2012

Terence L. Byrd President , HealthFirst, NJ

Roundtable Moderator

Roundtable Speakers Dr. Clement A. Price

Dr. Kendel Sprott

Dr. Philip Bonaparte

Franklin D. Hickey

Michellene Davis

Yvonne Wesley R.N. Ph.D. FAAN

Beverly Henderson Hartsfield, R.N., B.A.

Chief Nursing Officer, East Orange General Hospital

Sr. Vice President Barnabas Health Care System

Adjunct Professor, College of Nursing at NYU & Kean University

Executive Director, Echoes The Grief Center

Richard Roper

Dr. Pamela Clarke President and CEO, Newark Community Health Centers, Inc.

Rev. Lee Roy Jefferson Baptist Ministers Conference of Newark

African Americans for Health Awareness Committee members

Acknowledgements: We offer our deepest gratitude to Al Koeppe, president and CEO of the Newark Alliance; Clement A. Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History and founding director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience at Rutgers Newark; and Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, senior pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, Newark for their vision and wisdom in the development of the NLRS. And a special thanks to our Roundtable Speakers: Dr. Philip Bonaparte, VP Chief Medical Officer Horizon NJ Health Dr. Kendell Sprott, MDd University of Medicine & Dentistry NJ

March 2012 The Positive Community


Obesity  Low Muscle Mass  Ageing = Decreased Physical Functionality


lder people who are obese and have low muscle mass are more susceptible to physical functioning problems in their everyday life, whether it is standing up or walking around, according to a new USC study published in the journal Obesity this month. The effect of the combination of increased weight and decreased muscle was much greater than either problem alone – physical functioning problems were 91% higher for obese people with low muscle mass compared to those with just obesity. Still in the end, the culprit appears to be obesity, the lack of muscle mass is a side effect, say the authors, USC Davis School of Gerontology Professor Eileen Crimmins and USC doctoral student Morgan Canon. The association between body composition and functioning appears to be related to insulin resistance, often a factor in diabetes. Insulin resistance caused by obesity affects glucose absorption, an important ingredient for creating muscles and supplying energy. Obese subjects with low muscle mass had about 35% higher levels of insulin resistance than obese subjects with normal muscle mass, the study found. Further, the extra weight also creates added strains on muscles and joints, potentially causing aches and pains. This can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle and a lack of the everyday exercise that build muscles. “As people age, muscle wasting may increase disability for those gaining weight earlier in life,” said Canon, the lead author. “If we understand the mechanisms behind this, we may be able to intervene earlier. We can change the trajectory.” This cross-sectional study surveyed 2,287 people aged 60 and older without diagnosed diabetes. Insulin resistance was measured and physical functioning was measured through simple tasks, such as walking up 10 steps, stooping, crouching and kneeling, standing for long periods of time or carrying a heavy object. As the population ages and people live longer, “successful aging” – the capacity to maintain quality of life and independence for those over 65 – is important to understand as the answers impact the effectiveness and the cost of healthcare. Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle in early


The Positive Community March 2012

and mid-life is very important. However, even older obese adults may benefit by keeping blood sugar levels in an optimal range and losing weight, particularly in their mid-section. Nevertheless, weight loss should be accompanied by strength building exercises to insure muscle isn’t being lost along with fat. The study was funded by a training grant from the National Institute on Aging and the USC Davis School of Gerontology. The USC Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center is devoted entirely to the study of aging. The primary research goal of faculty is to shed new light on the multiple processes of aging and to better understand the implications of these processes for individuals, families, organizations and society.

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Passion Commitment at Barnabas Health BY GLENDA CADOGAN


arry H. Ostrowsky, the new president and CEO of Barnabas Health in New Jersey, first crossed the threshold into the healthcare industry as the result of a “fever.” However, it was not the kind of fever that raises the body temperature, but rather one that ignites passion. Ostrowsky graduated with a law degree from the University Of Tennessee School Of Law and it was his intent to work in the area of urban planning. But as fate would have it, the law firm where he worked was contracted by a client who wanted to build a dialysis center and he was assigned to the project. “Soon after that, another one of our healthcare clients had another project and I was again assigned,” recalls Ostrowsky. “And though it was not by design, I started to feel a gravitational pull toward this area of work. When you deal with people who are dedicated to helping those who are sick, you either catch the fever and take it on with a passion, or you don’t.” Barry H. Ostrowsky caught the fever, so much so that he went on to specialize in the area of healthcare regulatory matters representing physicians, other healthcare professionals and institutions in areas such as corporate restructuring, certificate of need regulations, licensure and reimbursement policies. “Though this call came about by happenstance, I was very enthusiastic about what healthcare providers do on a regular basis” he added. Undoubtedly, that enthusiasm and passion showed in the quality of his work and in 1991, Ronald J. Del Mauro asked him to leave his law practice and join his management team. Del Mauro was president of Barnabas Medical Center, a single, stand alone hospital. Ostrowsky came on board as executive vice president and general counsel. He served in the same role at Barnabas Health when the system was created in 1996, eventually assuming the title of president and chief operating officer in 2010, sharing most of the decision making for the organization with Del Mauro, who was the CEO. “For the next 20 plus years, Ron and I worked as partners and great friends and developed a kind of relationship that is very dear to me,” Ostrowsky reflected. In January of this year he moved into the corner office, taking charge of the institution that is New Jersey’s largest integrated healthcare delivery system. It provides treatment and services for more than two million patients and houses the state’s oldest, most experienced heart transplant program. “Ron and I shared in making the decisions for the organization and there have never been any clear cut areas of jurisdiction. So in a number of ways I was already


The Positive Community March 2012

involved in making the final decisions on matters that came up to the corner office,” he explained. But now that he sits behind the desk in the corner office, Ostrowsky is faced with the reality of the enormity of the responsibility of running an institution that is nationally recognized for its services and facilities. New Jersey’s only certified burn treatment facility, it is in the top ten in the U.S. “The advantage I have—apart from the fact that I had great training from Ron—is that I have a fabulous management team. Barnabas Health is blessed with wonderful professionals at every level who are some of the best in the business. Making the final decisions becomes a lot easier when you have people around you who have studied and evaluated the consequences of those decisions.” With top-notch management on board, Ostrowsky is determined to keep the Barnabas ship afloat and sailing to safe harbor. “I believe that the challenge of any CEO is to map out a strategy for your enterprise,” he opined. “Sometimes it’s very easy to just allow the business to continue to run on its own momentum. So my challenge, as I see it, is to sit with my management team and say, ‘these are the specific objectives we need to accomplish. What is the strate-

gic direction we will pursue that is consistent with our mission as a community resource and healthcare provider?’ This is my hardest task.” The other challenge, according to Mr. Ostrowsky, is to ensure that all of the 19,000 employees of Barnabas Health have a good environment in which to work. “As CEO, my responsibility is to offer all our employees everything they need in order to do their jobs appropriately and at the same time give them the opportunity to be emotionally happy,” he explained. “These people have made a passionate commitment to deliver healthcare services which, in my opinion, is a very trying vocation in today’s world.” In the same manner that he has planted his feet on top of the challenges, Barry H. Ostrowsky has wrapped his arms around a broad vision for the institution. “I view Barnabas Health as a provider of all levels of social services. Conventional healthcare is our biggest service and is what distinguishes us and has built our reputation. But in addition to expanding our clinical programs,” he continued, “my vision is to support people in their daily lives and not just when they are sick. In our role as a community resource we are to help people prevent illnesses by consuming and having access to healthy foods.” The action plan as outlined by Ostrowsky includes opening a supermarket that offers healthy foods, educational services and nutritional health. “We have to make sure that we are relevant to people before they get sick,” he pointed

out. “But in order to accomplish this part of my vision that deals with wellness, we must first ensure that the sickness care we give is at the highest level of excellence. I don’t think that people will accept advice from any given source about wellness if it’s not credible. Having established that credibility, the other part is to now sit down with community leaders and people who have direct contact with their constituents, and find the best portals to reach them.” There is no doubt that Ostrowsky can and will accomplish these towering goals. But this vote of confidence in his leadership has come about not just because of his brilliant legal mind or expert leadership and management skills. It is something far more infinite, but equally as valuable as his law degree. It is his “happy gene.” “I am a person who just has to be happy,” he revealed. “I smile more often than not and I think that I’ve been blessed with a commitment to being happy and content.” Ostrowsky’s happy gene is evident every morning as he wakes up whistling — a fact that still astonishes his wife of 38 years. “What can I say?” he said with a warm smile. “I am just naturally inclined to being happy and this metabolism helps me handle stress.” In the two months since he has been in charge at Barnabas Health, Ostrowsky has “infected” the institution with his “happy virus,” making Barnabas Health not just the best place to receive healthcare in New Jersey but a most pleasant place to work.

43 The Positive Community 43

March 2012 The Positive Community

March 2012

L’Tanya WilliamsonTakes New Post in Newark Promoted from Acting Director to Director of the Department of Child and Family Well-Being


L-R: Newark Business Administrator Julien Neals, Mayor Cory Booker, and Deputy City Clerk Kenneth Louis look on as L’Tanya Williamson takes the oath of office. Her daughters Kim Hearn (holding bible) and Sharmane Martin also participated in the ceremony.


The Positive Community March 2012

’Tanya Williamson took the oath of office to become Newark’s Director of Child and Family Well-Being on February 23, 2012, during a ceremony in Newark City Hall. In attendance were Council President Donald M. Payne and Council Member-atLarge Mildred Crump. Williamson, who brings 30 years of administrative and strategic planning experience to her new position, was appointed acting director of the department on September 13, 2010, and prior to that was chief of staff. The Child and Family Well-Being department has 220 professionals and support staff and provides and advocates for comprehensive health care, social, and environmental services for Newark citizens. Newark is one of a few municipalities nationwide that provides uninsured residents access to affordable, quality healthcare. Among the extensive services provided are pediatric care, adult medical care, communicable disease control and prevention, a dental clinic and access to the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program.  The LEAD prevention program provides a continuum of care including inspections, abatements, case management, interim housing, and free screenings for children. “L’Tanya Williamson has a deep commitment to the health and wellbeing of all of our City’s residents,” said Mayor Cory Booker. “Her leadership has spearheaded our Let’s Move! Newark campaign, as well as our drives against lead poisoning, AIDS, and our nutrition programs. She is a great advocate for ensuring that our residents enjoy the blessing of that most important of all personal assets, good health.”

Her daughters Kim Hearn (l) and Sharmane Martin (r ) and granddaughter Linda Hearn with L’Tanya Williamson

“This appointment is the highlight of my career,” said Director Williamson. “I am deeply honored to have been chosen to carry out the mission of the Department of Child and Family Well-Being and look forward to providing a high level of quality services for all the residents of the City of Newark.  What an honor!”   At the ceremony, Ms. Williamson’s daughters, Kimberly Hearn and Sharmane Martin, held the Bible. Deputy City Clerk Ken Louis administered the oath of office. Before joining Newark City government, Williamson was Associate Executive Director of the Leaguers, Inc.,

a non-profit organization with over 50 years of service to the Newark and Irvington communities, providing opportunities to enhance the quality of life for children and their families as a Head Start and Abbott provider. At the United Way of Essex and West Hudson as assistant vice president for Resource Investment, she was responsible for the annual distribution of $5,000,000 to community-based organizations throughout the organization’s service area. She worked to establish vision councils that consisted of collaborating groups of agencies working in specific community need areas.  She is most proud of forming United Way’s Substance Abuse Vision Council The Bridge to Recovery.  As Team Leader for United Way’s Strategic Investment Team, the staff group that addressed the strategic investment of United Way of Essex and West Hudson resources, she developed and designed an award winning Gifts in Kind Program, distributing over $4,000,000 in personal care and clothing products annually to non-profit organizations. Director Williamson is a fellow of both the Project Leadership Development Program and Leadership Newark.  She is a trustee at St. Matthew AME Church, a member of the NAACP, and serves as treasurer of the North Jersey Chapter of the Links, Inc.  In addition to receiving numerous honors and awards she also sits on many boards and committees.

Copies available by calling 201-343-9449 or at and

March 2012 The Positive Community



Preparing Our Youth for Life’s Ups and Downs n light of the tragic passing of Whitney Houston, we must stop to consider how we can equip our children with the self esteem and confidence they will need to successfully maneuver the ups and downs of life. Drugs and alcohol are readily accessible these days and are often used to escape the pressures and challenges of daily living. How can we teach them to savor the victories as well as weather the storms of life? How can we teach them to bend without being broken? Parenting teens is extremely difficult because parents have to walk a fine line between giving their teen independence and providing appropriate structure, discipline, and guidance. Although teens need some space to make choices, they still have to abide by rules. You actually have to be more involved in the lives of teens because they are more independent. You should know their friends, set curfews, and know their whereabouts when they leave the house. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions and make them accountable for their actions. Most parents are hardwired to protect their children from harm and have an innate desire for them to be happy and successful. Being overprotective however, can prevent young people from learning how to develop problem-solving skills and resolve conflicts in a productive and powerful way. Parents must be willing to step back at times in order to allow their children to sort out situations with friends and to create alternative solutions to problems. Of course, you should always be available to step in when needed, but your children —especially teenagers— need room to grow, develop and practice all the skills you have taught them. This generation is growing up in a fast-paced, technology-driven environment in which everything is at their fingertips. They participate in organized activities in which all participants are given a trophy whether they win or lose. Unfortunately, many of them have not been given the appropriate skills to manage and surmount failures that occur throughout their lives. In light of this new era, parents need to teach their children that it is all right to fail. They need to know that making mistakes and learning from them are the keys to success. Donnie McClurkin is right on the mark when he



The Positive Community March 2012

sings, “we fall down but we get up.” Our children have to know that it is okay to fall down as long as they make an effort to get up and ask for help when necessary. Parents can teach this by sharing how they have dealt with their own mistakes. They can also open up the lines of communication by discussing ways in which their children can learn from their own so called “failures.” It’s difficult for the best of kids to stay on the right track. There are huge pressures to look good, act cool, and be accepted. Drugs and alcohol are very accessible in our schools and neighborhoods regardless of socioeconomic background. It can be very easy to for young people to get caught up in the wrong crowd or go against all the things he was taught just “to try it to see what it’s like.” Drug and alcohol addiction don’t just affect the “bad kids”; they can take the life of any child. It’s important to discuss your views about drug and alcohol use with your child and to listen to their views no matter what they are. Use situations that occur on television shows to open up a dialogue about the issues of substance abuse. Have them role-play situations in which some one asks them to try using a drug or drinking alcohol. It is essential for young people to know that they are loved unconditionally for who they are and what they can contribute to the world. They need to know early on that their individuality is what makes them unique and that they matter. This emotional support is no less important to the well being of a child than providing food, clothing, and shelter. It creates the foundation for their future success. About Dr. Liz Dr. Elizabeth Robinson Henry (Dr. Liz) has dedicated her life to providing youth with the knowledge and confidence to lead healthy and productive lives. She is the founder of Dr. Liz Consulting, a practice focused on making a difference in the lives of adolescents by addressing their physical, emotional, and mental needs. Teens, tweens and their parents can find resources on how to build self-confidence, manage anger and stress, and overcome issues such as bullying, emotions, fitting-in, and obesity at Disclaimer: The information in this article is solely for educational purposes and should not be relied on for a diagnosis. Always consult your physician for medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis.


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

March: The Perfect Month to Plan for Health Empowerment arch is Women’s History Month, which gives all of us a chance to celebrate the many contributions of women of color throughout history. Just as importantly, though, it’s an opportunity to reflect on our own lives and our place in today’s society. As women of color, we share many of the same interests, values, concerns and, of course, challenges. There’s the challenge to be successful in our family lives, whether we’re married, unmarried, head of a single-parent household with children, caregiver of an aging family member with Alzheimer’s or another debilitating disease, or in many other situations. There’s the challenge of the workplace, including juggling multiple on-thejob responsibilities, frequent sexism, and pushing up against the “glass ceiling.” And for too many women, there’s the challenge of having a physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive partner and not knowing how to break free from the destructive relationship. With so much on women’s minds, disease prevention and staying healthy are way down on the list of priorities— if they make the list at all. Indeed, many women are more likely to put the health of their children ahead of their own. Although that’s understandable, it’s not wise because women must remain physically, mentally and spiritually healthy in order to make sure that their children and other family members are. We should all take to heart the 2012 National Women’s History Project theme, “Women’s Education—Women’s Empowerment” and focus on ensuring our own strength and well-being. Specifically, there are four special health issues targeted by Health Power which we need to be more aware of: diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease. Each of them is explained in detail on our website, including approaches to prevention, early detection and control. Other issues that women of color should also know more about are: unknowingly having sex with men who are on the down low, i.e., have sex with other men; depression, which occurs much


more often in women than men; and cancer of the breast, cervix, colon, and lung. Finally, there are two special areas where women need to become empowered in order to fully enjoy their lives: knowing the various approaches to preventing and reducing stress and using those that work best for you whenever you need them. And, understanding why mental health and spiritual health are equally as important as physical health to your overall well-being. So take the time in March to think not only about prominent women in history, but also about the most prominent woman in the lives of your family and significant others — you! Put yourself first for a change by taking the steps that are in reach of all of us to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Visit for much more information about the prevention, early detection and control of each of the conditions mentioned in this column. Also, eat healthy and stay fit to feel better and live longer. And make every day a celebration. Remember: Knowledge + Action = Power!®

March 2012 The Positive Community


L–R: Debie and Hal Jackson arrive

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

Brooklyn Church Hosts Tribute to Hal Jackson—In Classic Black


Photos: John Smith II and Seitu Oronde

L–R: Adrian Council, Debi Jackson, Doctor Bob Lee, WBLS, Stacie N. G. Grant, event planner, Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, pastor. Seated: L-R Kenny J, 91 year old Doris Bell, co-owner of Frank R. Bell Funeral Home and Hal Jackson.

n Friday, February 24 Mount Pisgah Baptist Church’s SpannWashington Fellowship Hall was transformed into a beautifully decorated ballroom to welcome radio legend WBLS’s Hal Jackson. Under the banner of Fitness, Fellowship, Family and Wholesome Fun, Pastor Johnny Ray Youngblood and The Positive Community hosted a Black History Month Dance Party to celebrate Mr. Jackson’s selfless contribution to community life and progress. Everybody loves Hal Jackson! The room erupted with cheers and applause as Mr. Jackson, accompanied by his wife and co-host “Debi B” of the popular Sunday Classics (3pm-6pm) on WBLS, entered the room. Dancing became the highlight of the evening as people crowded on to the floor to dance to the very best of the late 20th century soul classic hits! Songs of freedom, unity, hope, community pride and wholesome fun—a righteous sound filled the room! Then came Soul Line Dance Master Kenny J and his team straight out

L–R: Adrian A. Council, Jr. and Joel Youngblood

Rock African Dance Troop


The Positive Community March 2012

of Philadelphia via Newark Symphony Hall’s Terrace Ballroom. On that night he taught lessons from Gospel Line Dances to the latest hits and with his charm and wit, everyone in the room was on their feet! There was a special performance from Naeemha Brown, choreographer and co-founder of Mt. Pisgah’s “Cradle in the Rock African Dance Troop,” who reminded the audience that she was one of Hal Jackson’s Talented Teens. Mr. Jackson created Talented Teens International to showcase and develop the Youth Development Foundation to provide college scholarships to young women majoring in studies in the performing arts. The event raised funds for the Foundation. Hal expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone who came out saying, “It is so important that we never forget what it took for us to get this far…teach the children. I just really enjoyed watching the people have such a wonderful time. I thank God for all of you.” At 97, Mr. Jackson recently celebrated 74 years in broadcasting! The In Classic Black Dance Party and the Power Soul Line Dance events are part of The Positive Community’s Great Countdown to Freedom Music and Culture Tour, in observance of the coming 150th anniversary of the Emancipation. Look for other such events and activities coming soon to a neighborhood near you! Dance Master Kenny J will begin to teach Line dance classes in Brooklyn beginning in April. More information to follow. So, stay fit and stay tuned! —AAC



APR. 8 •• JUNE 10 APRIL 13 •13 APR. 8 •• MAY MAY 13MAY JUNE18 10 Friday, Friday, 5:00 5:00 pm pm –– 12:00 12:00 am am Terrace Ballroom JAN. 14 •• FEB. 11 •• M Terrace Ballroom JAN. 14 FEB. 11 M Scrumptious Dinners Available by Eclectic Catering • Music by DJ Joe Smith

Scrumptious Scrumptious Dinners Dinners Available Available All All Evening Evening Line Dance Lessons with Kenny J: 5:00 Line Dance Lessons with Kenny J: 5:00 -- 7:00 7:00 pm pm

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Tickets can be purchased at the Newark Symphony Hall Box Office located at 1030 Broad St. Newark, NJ Tickets can be purchased at the Newark Symphony Hall Box Office located at 1030 Broad St. Newark, NJ For information call: (973) 643-8014 or For information call: (973) 643-8014 or

March 2012 The Positive Community


The Greatest Love of All: A Whitney Houston Tribute BY PATRICIA BALDWIN No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity . . . The greatest love of all is easy to achieve, learning to love yourself it is the greatest love of all. Grace & Peace! hese beautiful lyrics were originally recorded by George Benson in 1977, but in 1986 Whitney Houston made “The Greatest Love of All” a worldwide hit and the most popular audition/recital song of the late 80s. The song was made a B-side to her first single, “Saving All My Love,” but became a hit on its own and the testimony of a legend in the making. From then on, everything Whitney sang was a moment away from going gold and being number one. The song says the greatest love of all is learning to love yourself, but Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, instilled in her from birth a greater love, the love of Jesus Christ. Whitney grew up singing alongside her mother in their home sanctuary, New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ. Fittingly, the place where many first heard Whitney’s giftedfrom-God voice would eventually become the place where people would say their final goodbyes at the home going service of the little girl with the big voice who amazed and inspired the entire world. Coming from a family of legendary singers and musicians that included Cissy Houston and Dionne Warwick, The Drinkards and The Sweet Inspirations, Whitney wanted to have a singing career that would be remembered by all. Undoubtedly, she surpassed her highest expectations with record-breaking music and ticket sales, chart performance and success. But isn’t that what the greatest love can do? With the greatest love comes a sense of humility. Even though Whitney was a superstar considered to possess the greatest voice in the history of popular music, she kept her ties to her family, friends, church and community. She visited her former elementary school in East Orange to spend time with and lend inspiration to the children there. Subsequently, it was renamed the Whitney E. Houston Academy for Creative and Performing Arts. And rightly so; it was not just her name that graced the placard outside, but her spirit that dwelled in the corridors and in the heart of every child who attended and will attend the school, seeking education and a place to showcase their own talents. Whitney’s talent surpassed any one genre of music. She had hits in not only R&B, but Pop and Gospel music as well. She starred in several successful films including, Waiting to



The Positive Community March 2012

Exhale, The Preacher’s Wife and of course, The Bodyguard. In the latter, Whitney lit up the screen with her beauty, belted out a bona fide Rock hit, “Queen of the Night” and dusted off Dolly Parton’s Country hit “I Will Always Love You,” which went on to become the most successful American single ever and second internationally only to Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind.” Twenty years later, The Bodyguard Soundtrack remains the most successful soundtrack of all time. Despite all of the fame and success in secular music, Whitney never fronted about the fact that both she and her voice were gifts from God. From New Hope in Newark to the farthest reaches of the earth, feet stomped, arms were raised, tears fell and souls were saved when Whitney opened her mouth and sang His praises! The soundtrack from The Preacher’s Wife not only moved our bodies and stirred our souls, but it celebrated Gospel music and presented it to the masses in a way that had never been done before. It spent 26 weeks atop Billboard’s Gospel Chart and is the best-selling Gospel record of all time—two more records broken. In later years, Whitney faced challenges and struggles in life, as all of us are known to do. But through it all, she held on to her faith and went “to the Rock” to draw strength and perseverance. When Oprah Winfrey asked her in 2009 how she made it through dark times, her unfaltering answer was, “Listen to Gospel…read my Bible.” She continued, “Amazingly enough, I still had it in me. I knew God was there. I knew the light was there, and I was just trying to get back to it. I just kept trying to get back to that spirituality.” “And if, by chance, that special place that you’ve been dreaming of leads you to a lonely place find your strength in love.” —The Greatest Love of All We’ll always have the music, the movies, the photos and the memories. But they pale in comparison to the void that is left in the absence of Whitney Houston, the singer, actress, performer and philanthropist that we knew. We can only imagine the grief felt by her family and friends who knew her as “Nippy.” We’d gladly give back all of the broken records if it would spare us our broken hearts. Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things. Do what you have learned or received or heard from me. Follow my example. The God who gives peace will be with you. —Philippians 4:8-9

Women’s History Month: What It Means to Me BRENDA L. G. SMITH, ED.D. hen a high school student asked me what Women’s History Month meant to me, I began to reflect on the numerous contributions of some of my heroines—Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune; Eleanor Roosevelt; Mother Teresa of Calcutta; Sojourner Truth; Harriet Tubman; Dr. Dorothy I. Height; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; Fannie Lou Hamer; Liberian President, The Honorable Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; First Lady Michelle Obama; the Honorable Susan Johnson Rice; Valerie Jarrett; Reverend Roslyn Brock; the Honorable Shirley Chisholm; Dr. Maya Angelou; Ruby Dee; Deputy Secretary General, the Honorable AshaRose Migiro; Condoleeza Rice; U.S. Congresswoman, Dr. Barbara Jordan and so many others who may be known only to their families and friends. My grandmother arose at 5:30 a.m. each and every day to start a fire in the big potbelly stove in a one-room schoolhouse. She was excited and thankful that the rural children would be able to get an education, regardless of the weather conditions, and that the teachers who traveled from a nearby city would have a warm classroom. She would return later with a pot of homemade soup or another covered dish and a pound cake for their lunch. If she could not make it, my grandmother would call on my mother to substitute for her. Never was there a day that this chore was left undone. My grandmother then went about completing her other daily chores: taking care of her children, tending the garden with my grandfather, sewing clothes and quilts, etc. She traveled to town to pick up laundry from her white clients and delivered it back when finished, and even delivered babies when called upon. It is critical that we take time to pay tribute to women and highlight their contributions as pacesetters, advocates, and public policy influencers. Why shouldn’t we?


Brenda L. G. Smith, Ed.D

We must move from commitment to action by advancing the agenda that is before us so that we may continue the work that was started some time ago by these courageous women. There are so many whose shadows demonstrate that to achieve justice for all in our global village, we must give of ourselves and consider the impact and importance of L-R: Brenda’s Grandmother Nannie Vaughn Martin with advancing a society for all ages— a worldwide culture that apprecifriend Emma Galloway ates that caring for the needs of the defenseless child is as vital as attending to the needs of the older adult, and one that applies the resources to do so. We may feel that our accomplishments are voluminous and wonderful, our notoriety widespread and celebrated, our intentions may be bold and visionary, but we must remember that what we do for others, what we invest and deposit in the lives of young women of all ages and races is really what counts. As the beneficiaries of so many great opportunities, we must take special care to ensure that the needs of deprived persons in our own communities are being served. Will the least privileged in society benefit, or at least not be further deprived because of our actions? As we celebrate, let us dare to make a difference. Let our actions speak louder than the good words we often like to use. The standard was set by many before us. Let us mobilize and build coalitions to find better ways to make better lives and to use the tools, talents, experiences and networks that are at our fingertips. Fannie Lou Hamer grew “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Eleanor Roosevelt reminded us that “when we cease to make a contribution, we die.” Finally, in her last will and testament, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune reminded us that “faith, courage, brotherhood, dignity, ambition, responsibility—these are needed today as never before. As I face tomorrow I am content, for I think I have spent my life well. I pray now that my philosophy may be helpful to those who share my vision of world peace, progress, brotherhood and love.” Well, the decision is ours; and we are accountable to God for it. It is in our hands! Brenda L. G. Smith Ed.D. is First Lady of Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, Harlem, New York and Non-Governmental Organization Representative to the United Nations World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women


The Positive Community March 2012

Baptist Ministers

Dr. Fulani Interviews Muhammad

Black History Month Lecture

Photos: Vincent Bryant

Photos: Wali Amin Muhammad


ev. Allen Potts, pastor Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark; Rev. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Ph.D., pastor Shiloh BC, Plainfield and Rev Andre Milteer, president Baptist Ministers’ Conference Newark and pastor of Mt. Olivet BC, Newark (R–L) attended the Ministers’ Conference’s annual Black History Month Lecture Series. Rev. Thomas was the guest lecturer.


r. Lenora Fulani is the country's leading African American Independent, a distinguished educator and innovator in the field of youth development. Each month she hosts a meeting in Harlem, New York and interviews a special guest. For Black History Month, her guest was the Director of The Schomberg Library for Research in Black History, Khalil Gilbran Muhammad, the great grandson of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

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The Positive Community March 2012

March 2012 The Positive Community


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The Positive Community March 2012


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Love Notes from the Lord

od sends me love notes regularly. As I walk by faith each day, I encounter surprises that cause surges of joy, quickening my heartbeat and heightening my exaltation at being a child of God, alive and well. It could be a warm, misty spring shower or a gorgeous sunset lining the western horizon with flaming colors as twilight foretells the coming night. So many nuances of nature are evidence of God’s creativity and love for His children. He shows me these things to remind me of the intricacy and beauty of the world He has created. It almost seems to me that He is saying, “I love you, Rosemary,” out loud. Most recently one of those experiences spoke to me and once again told me of His love. On a winter evening I braved the cold and hur-


ried to get to the pharmacy before it closed. I parked beside a leafless winter tree and rushed into the store. When I returned to my car, the sight I beheld took my breath away. A misty rain had fallen and the bare little tree had transformed into a thing of such splendor that I paused to take it all in, disregarding the cold night air. Every twig and nodule had captured a rain drop and held it suspended, clinging precariously and shimmering in the light from the nearby lamppost. Thousands of glistening, undulating raindrops composed a spectacle that only God could have created and mankind could never duplicate despite all of its technical and innovative advances. I returned home with a greater awareness of the Creator’s presence in the lives of His children and the knowledge that will enable me to continue to move beyond life’s twists and turns. There is so much to anticipate and find pleasure in each day in this world that God created. I sometimes wonder if heaven can offer more beauty and fulfillment than I am experiencing here on earth. So I move on knowing that my future is sealed by the loving hand of God.

So many nuances of nature are evidence of God’s

IT MUST BE ODD I must be odd I love the cozy feeling Of a dreary rainy day And I always take The round-about Less travelled way

I must be odd I pause in the rain To admire a Dark storm-shrouded sky And in church when every one else Is shouting and clapping I cry

I must be odd There is no place I’d rather be than home Thus a trip to exotic destinations For me will never come I express my most private feelings In a poem

creativity and love for His children. He shows me these things to remind me of the intricacy and

I must be odd

beauty of the world . . .

March 2012 The Positive Community


Harlem Opera Theater Salute to Black History Month–10th Anniversary Concert

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arlem Opera Theater (HOT) celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Black History Month concert at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black History on February 16. Performances featured excerpts of sgreat operas written for voices of African descent. including Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, Treemonisha by Scott Joplin, Lost in the Stars by Kurt Weill and Queenie Pie by Duke Ellington. Each aria was sung by the classically trained opera singers and winners from Harlem Opera Theatre’s past vocal competitions. A non-profit corporation founded in 2001, the HOT has as it’s goal adding opera to the “culturescape” of Harlem. In line with that mission, HOT has perfomed throughout New York City and presented over 60 professional and developing artists to opera lovers, novices and students.

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The Positive Community March 2012

Interfaith Spiritual Breakfast

Dr. Ralph T. Grant Jr. vice president Somerset Christian College

The African American Heritage Parade Committee Kicks Off 46th Season


n Saturday, February 29, 2012, the African American Heritage Parade Committee hosted their 19th Annual Interfaith Spiritual Breakfast at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel beginning at 9:00 a.m. and continuing until noon. It is the Committee’s annual salute to Black History month. This year’s theme will focus on the principle, “Focusing on Values, Responsibility and Healing…Our Families and Community,” through dance, song, music

AAHPC Chairman Donald Bernard, Sr. (c) congratulates Dr. Akil Kokayi Khalfani, Ph.D. and Ms. Deborah Terrell

and a spiritual message that mirrors culture and creates community awareness. The breakfast featured an uplifting message from Dr. Ralph T. Grant Jr., vice president Somerset Christian College. Renowned educators, Dr. Akil Kokayi Khalfani, Ph.D. and Ms. Deborah Terrell were presented with the Founder John A. Thomas Selfless Service Award. The AAHPC is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to instilling pride in African Americans by acknowledging their contributions with an annual four-day festival and parade. “The African American Parade and Festival is one of the largest statewide cultural events in New Jersey,” stated Donald Bernard, Sr., who is currently serving his 19th year as Chairman of the committee. “This profound annual gathering restores and instills culture, history and pride in the African American community through education and entertainment.”  As in years past, the AAHPC also hosts a calendar of annual events, such as the Spiritual Concert in March, Leadership Brunch, Heritage Awards Gala and culminating with the statewide Parade and Festival on Memorial Day Weekend.

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March 2012 The Positive Community


Black History Month at St. John's


he historic St. John’s Baptist Church in Scotch Plains, NJ opened its doors to The Positive Community for a special Black History Month presentation. Publisher Adrian A. Council presented The Positive Community’s Great Countdown to Freedom poster to Senior Pastor Kelmo C. Porter Jr. and read aloud from the “Cultural Narrative” segment on the poster. Deaconess Cheryll Heggins of Smyrna Missionary Baptist Church then performed a monologue entitled Slave Woman, that depicted the struggles and tragedies the slave woman faced, and how her hope for the future and faith in God sustained her.

Deaconess Cheryll Heggins, playing the “Slave Woman”

L–R: Adrian A. Council Sr. and Senior Pastor Kelmo C. Porter Jr.

L–R: Deacon Dwayne and Deaconess Cheryll Heggins, Smyrna Baptist Church, Newark Photos: Ulyses Govahan

L–R: The Sunday school staff: Sister Nellie Suggs, Julia Warren and Sister Lillian Bullock, superintendant


The Positive Community March 2012

Cooper is ‘In This House’

Veteran actor retakes Two River Theater in world premier musical

By g.r. mattox

Chuck Cooper

huck Cooper has a simple motivation for his life’s work. “I always knew that I wanted to do something that was fun—something I enjoyed. Acting wound up being that thing.” In his 30-plus years of acting on stages and screens both big and small, he’s had lots of fun. He is a veteran of 10 Broadway plays and musicals and received considerable acclaim. He has been awarded a 1996 Tony for his menacing portrayal of the pimp, Memphis, in The Life, an Audelco Award in 2004 for his performance in the musical Caroline or Change, and an Outstanding Individual Performance nod from the 2008 New York Musical Theatre Festival. While his film credits include Boy Wonder, American Gangster, The Hurricane and The Juror, and he has landed television parts including Law & Order; SVU, Nurse Jackie and Gossip Girl, this extraordinarily talented actor and singer says he gets his greatest artistic fulfillment working the theatrical stage. He’s just completed an extended run of the August Wilson play Jitney at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ. Cooper played the role of Becker, the boss of a gypsy cab company who faces difficult decisions regarding the business and is dealing with a son recently released from prison after 20 years. One theatergoer stopped counting after seeing this play five times: “I could not get enough of it,” Gilda Rogers, CEO of Frank Talk Multimedia Network admitted. “Many nights I was moved to tears because of the excellence of the performance. It brought me back to my youth and reminded me of people I knew growing up.” Cooper returns to the Marion Huber Theater at Two River from March 4 through April 8 in the world premier of In This House, a chamber musical about two couples— one at the beginning, the other at the end of their time together—who meet accidently and spend an evening together in a deserted house on New Year’s Eve. Cooper plays the part of Henry Arden, one half of the older cou-



The Positive Community March 2012

ple. Henry’s wife Louisa is played by original Broadway Dreamgirls cast member Brenda Pressley. He describes the couple as being in a very long and tumultuous marriage, made so by lies each told the other early in the marriage. “They’ve got a lot of blood under the bridge,” he says of the older couple, “as is wont to happen in long relationships.” Cooper’s performance is sure to create a character that will be talked about in a play that will be memorable. “I hope I bring a sensitivity to my character,” he said, “a bit of humor and a whole lot of heart.” The cast of the production, featuring music by Grammy award-winner Mike Reid with lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger, is effectively rounded out by Jeff Kready and Margo Seibert as the younger couple, Johnny and Annie. “In This House includes what I think are some of the most beautiful and uniquely American songs written for the contemporary musical theater,” John Dias, Two River Artistic Director said. “This show is the fourth collaboration between Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger… I’m thrilled to have them, and their co-writer Jonathan Bernstein, in Red Bank to develop and premiere it. Director May Adrales has assembled an exquisite cast and a fantastic design team, who will bring our audiences inside the intimacy of this generations-spanning story.” Cooper, a resident of North Bergen, NJ, has developed “The Singing Actor Workshop” to share the tools and techniques he’s honed over the years. He was exposed to acting from birth, his parents performed at one of the oldest Afrocentric community theaters in the country, Cleveland Ohio’s Karamu House. Young Cooper attended the nursery school at Karamu House, a theater that nurtured the works of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Lorraine Hansberry and helped hone the acting skills of Ruby Dee and Robert Guillaume. He began acting in college and recalls his first big break in the national tour of Eubie, covering half of the Gregory Hines character. Cooper did the singing for the character and another person did the dancing. “He was so outrageously talented that they couldn’t find one person to do all he did,” Cooper effervesced. Fast forward to the present day and he finds himself in a state-of-the-art facility that includes two theaters — one seating 350 and another seating 99, a lobby area made for elegant social events and even a costume department that can be seen from the street—a jewel of a house in which to create and work. Cooper said that playing Two River Theater back-to-back is “a special experience and a great place to perform. Certainly the two projects: Jitney and In This House are two different and engaging projects that really piqued my artistic sensibilities.”

March 2012 The Positive Community


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The Positive Community March 2012

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Leymah Roberta Gbowee

Reflecting on the Women Peacemakers of Liberia “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” —Matthew 5:9 (New Revised Standard Version) eace, be it the absence of violence among peoples or inner tranquility within an individual, is a recurring Biblical theme. That being so, and March being Women’s History Month, let’s review how African women helped end fourteen years of civil war violence in Liberia about a decade ago, and the role played by their leader, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, who, last October, won a Nobel Prize for that effort. You may have cousins in Liberia. Located on Africa’s west coast, Liberia was established in the early 1800s to repatriate freed Western Hemisphere blacks to Africa. Later in that century, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner of the African Methodist Episcopal Church joined in facilitating migrations to Liberia. But from 1989 through 2003, Liberia was wracked by civil war. Its causes included economic inequality, competition for control of natural resources, and tribalism, involving descendants from the Americas and others. In her 2011 memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, Gbowee writes that by the war’s end:


Two hundred and fifty thousand people were dead, a quarter of them children. One in three were displaced, with 350,000 living in internally displaced persons camps and the rest anywhere they could find shelter. One million people, mostly women and children, were at risk of malnutrition, diarrhea, measles and cholera because of contamination in the wells. More than 75 percent of the country’s physical infrastructure, our roads, hospitals and schools, had been destroyed. From the beginning of the violence, Liberia’s churches sought peace. In 1991, Lutherans joined the Christian Health Association of Liberia’s attempts to repair the war’s psychic and social damage. In 1998, Ms. Gbowee volunteered with the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Program (THRP), which operated out of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. She applied herself toward rehabilitating exchild soldiers. As a mother of four at the time, she concluded that changes in Liberia’s society had to be made by mothers. Asleep one night in an office where she was

ing, Gbowee dreamed that God told her, “Gather the women and pray for peace!” When she related her dream to two other Lutheran women, one of whom was an evangelist, they helped her understand that she should act on the message. With a Muslim woman named Asatu, Sister Gbowee and other women began visiting mosques after Friday worship services, churches on Sundays, and markets on Saturdays, distributing flyers that read, “…We are tired of our children being killed! We are tired of being raped! Women, wake up – you have a voice in the peace process!” They also distributed drawings illustrating the message for illiterate women. Thousands of sisters led by Gbowee, organized as Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, gathered for months in Monrovia, praying Christian and Muslim prayers for peace and conducting daily non-violent demonstrations and sit-ins. Their T-shirts and headwraps were white, symbolizing peace. On April 23, 2003, Charles Taylor, the head of state, granted the women a hearing. More than 2,000 women massed outside the executive mansion while Gbowee, as spokeswoman, presented their case. Eventually, Taylor agreed to negotiate with the Liberian civil war’s rebel forces. Those negotiations occurred in Ghana in June 2003, with former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar as lead mediator. Led by Gbowee, Liberian women staged sit-ins at the negotiation site, pressuring the negotiators to reach agreement. The Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed on August 18, 2003, officially ending the Liberian civil war Presently, Ms. Gbowee serves on Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Within the broader West African region, Gbowee is executive director of the Women in Peace and Security Network, which works with women in Liberia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone to promote peace, literacy, and political involvement. Her work is grounded in deep prayer. She told students in 2009, “I didn’t get there by myself…. or anything I did as an individual, but it was by the grace and mercy of God.... He has held my hands. In the most difficult of times, he has been there.” The acknowledgement section of her memoir opens with, “All praise, glory and honor to God for His unfailing love and favor toward me.”

March 2012 The Positive Community



The Last Word

March 2012


Vol. 12, No. 3

Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.


Editor-in-Chief Jean Nash Wells Associate Editor R. L. Witter

• What is the role of culture, tradition and spirituality in matters of health?

Sales Angela Ridenour Adrian Council, Jr. NGS Communications, Inc. Satori MPR

• How does today’s media environment influence health, especially among the young, the poor and the uneducated?

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


The Positive Community March 2012

frican Americans suffer disproportionately from a host of diseases, environmental issues and other social maladies. In the third installment of our Newark Leadership Roundtable Series on February 25, health was the topic of conversation. Previous roundtables focused on education and business. Lead by moderator Richard Roper, the panel of experts shared their unique understanding of health advocacy and literacy in an effort to find solutions to the almost epidemic health disparities. They also answered questions posed by the audience of healthcare professionals, educators and clergy. In that process some of the questions addressed were:


• What impact will the recently passed Healthcare Bill have on healthcare in our communities? • How will it affect Medicaid and Medicare? • Should we expect less funding for government sponsored healthcare in the future? If so, then what must we do? • What is the future role of hospitals and other healthcare providers?

• Can we empower individuals to take responsibility for preventive health? • What can we do to promote health, healing and happiness among our people?

We are grateful to our speakers, Dr. Kendell Sprott of UMDNJ, Dr. Philip Bonaparte of Horizon, NJ Health and Professor Clement A. Price of Rutgers University, who one week earlier hosted a conference in Newark titled “A History of Health and Wellness in the Black Community”( see page 36). A special “thank you” to our community partners, sponsors in this venture: Horizon NJ Health, Barnabas Health, Healthfirst, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association and Cablevision. The event was co-produced by the volunteers of the African Americans for Health Awareness Committee (AHAA), an emerging, essential voice for advocacy and literacy regarding health matters in our communities. The entire Health Roundtable can be viewed on our website:

The Positive Community’s

Great Countdown to Freedom The Grand Jubilee


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

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

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



Saturday, May 12th

Mothers Day Weekend Honor Thy Mother

Donnie McClurkin

Steve Harvey Performing a special comedy set

Competition: 4 PM Stars: 7 PM

Mary Mary

Shirley Caesar

Fred Hammond Appears courtesy of the

Vickie Winans

McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour

Get Tickets Now!!

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

Fred Hammond

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

For More Information Call 877-771-7772

© 2012 McDonald’s

March 2012  

The March 2012 issue of The Positive Community Magazine!

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