GOOD NEWS FROM THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
â„˘ March 2016
First Lady Chirlane McCray Healing the City: Thrive NYC: Mental Health Roadmap
SPRING IS IN FULL SWING!
Rachael McLaren. Photo by Andrew Eccles
Mint Condition and Floetry • 4/21
Dancing in the Streets A non-stop celebration of Motown’s greatest songs performed by an electrifying cast of singers, dancers and an onstage band. Wednesday, April 6 at 8pm
Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance
Riverdance 20 Years Carolyn Dorfman Dance The Anniversary Tour
Carolyn Dorfman conjures rich worlds for audiences to enter, with a program that features the world premiere of Traces.
“Right Here Waiting,” “Hold on to the Nights,” “Endless Summer Nights” and more!
Friday, April 8 at 8pm
This international Irish dance phenomenon captures the imagination of audiences across all ages with an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song.
Thursday, April 28 at 8pm
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater This always dazzling company returns with programs that include some of its newest works as well as company classics like Alvin Ailey’s masterwork, Revelations. Friday, May 6 at 8pm Saturday, May 7 at 8pm Sunday, May 8 at 1pm
Friday, April 22 at 8pm Saturday, April 23 at 2pm & 8pm Sunday, April 24 at 2pm & 7pm
The Gipsy Kings
Jessye Norman with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Richard Nader’s 27th Annual Summer Doo Wop Concert
Invincible: A Glorious Tribute to Michael Jackson
Driven by Susan Tedeschi’s impassioned, blues-soaked vocals and Derek Trucks’ virtuoso guitar, Tedeschi Trucks Band is a 12member, American rootsrock tour-de-force.
The Grammy-winning band behind “Bamboléo” celebrates 25-plus years of flamenco, salsa and pop fusion perfection.
NJPAC and the NJSO welcome superstar Jessye Norman in a rare appearance with favorites from Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Spirituals.
The world’s number 1 tribute show to Michael Jackson honors this phenomenal talent from the Jackson 5 to solo artist.
Friday, May 13 at 8:30pm
Sunday, May 15 at 7pm
Featuring Charlie Thomas (The Drifters), Lou Christie, “Duke of Earl” Gene Chandler, The Duprees, Shirley Alston Reeves (The Shirelles), The Coasters, Jay Siegel’s Tokens, Tommy Mara and The Crests and special guest Ladd Vance.
An Evening with
Tedeschi Trucks Band
featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo
Produced by John Scher/ Metropolitan Entertainment
Saturday, May 21 at 8pm
Saturday, June 11 at 8pm
Sunday, June 5 at 3pm
For tickets and a full schedule visit njpac.org or call 1.888.GO.NJPAC • Groups: 973.297.5804 NEW JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER • One Center Street, Newark, NJ
March 2016 The Positive Community
Photo: Bob Gore
HEALTH ..................................25 EDUCATION ............................38 CULTURE ................................44
Features RainbowPush Wall Street Project ..................15 UFT Celebrates Black History Month .................16 Walk to Washington........................................18 Horizon Donates to NC350 .......................... ...19 Out of Office Etiquette .....................................22 NYC First Lady Hosts ThriveNYC Workshop ......25 ThriveNYC Clergy Breakfast ............................30
ON THE COVER:
Newark Beth Celebrates Black History ...............34
FIRST LADY CHIRLANE MCCRAY: THRIVE NEW YORK CITY
Black History at Interfaith Hospital ............37
MTW Lectures Explore Prison and Policing........38 Miseducation of Black Girls ..........................40 Kim Gaddy Fights for Clean Water ................42 Uncommon Schools ......................................43
Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Ladies of Abyssinian Remember Powell.........44 My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Malcolm X Assassination Commemoration ....46 Wealth Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 ImageNation...................................48 Fitness Doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Carole Dortch-Wright Honored ....................49 Gospel Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 GBCNJ Annual Workers Conference.................51 The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Calvary Celebrates Black History Month ........52 The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 All-Star Reunion Awards ..................................54
The Positive Community March 2016
IS YOUR DREAM TO OWN YOUR OWN HOME? BCB Community Bank may have the answer. BCB Community Bank has a reduced cost loan program that may make your dream come true. A reduced cost BCB Community Bank loan will provide: • Up to 97% financing for a single unit, or up to 95% financing for a two family unit in low to moderate census tracts*, • Expanded qualifying ratios, and • BCB will also waive title review and application fees (up to $850 in savings). To see if you qualify for the BCB Dream Loan Initiative, call our lending professionals at 1-888-464-7234. Our representatives will be available to review your information and help put you in your dream home. DON’T HESITATE. CALL TODAY.
BCB Community Bank is located in Hudson, Essex, Middlesex, Bergen, Monmouth Counties, New Jersey and Richmond County, New York. Qualified applicants are required to attend comprehensive homeownership education. Private Mortgage Insurance required. Available on purchase and no-cash out refinances. *Low/moderate census tracts as identified on Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. www.ffiec.gov
PREPARE TO LEARN • PREPARE TO GROW • PREPARE TO SERVE
JOIN OUR CHRISTIAN ACADEMIC COMMUNITY.
NYACK, NY NEW YORK CITY
MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!
he clergy organizations, churches, community businesses and institutions listed below have committed to the purchase of at least 50 magazines per month at $1.00 each (one-third of the cover price) or support this publication through the purchase of advertising. Find out more by calling 973-233-9200 or email email@example.com
Abyssinian B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor
Ebenezer B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Jovan Troy Davis, M.Div.
Messiah Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT Rev. James Logan, Pastor
St. Luke Baptist Church of Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie McCann, Pastor
Abyssinian B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, Pastor
Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn NY Rev. Anthony Trufant, Pastor
Messiah Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev. Dana Owens, Pastor
St Luke B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Pastor
Abundant Life Fellowship COGIC, Newark, NJ Supt. Edward Bohannon, Jr, Pastor
Empire Missionary B.C., Convention NY Rev. Dr. Ronald Grant, President
Metropolitan B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor
St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter, Pastor
Evening Star B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Washington Lundy, Pastor
Mount Calvary United Methodist Church, New York, NY Rev. Francis Kairson, Pastor
St. Paul Baptist, Red Bank, NJ Rev. Alexander Brown, Pastor
Aenon Baptist Church, Vauxhall NJ Rev Alphonso Williams, Sr Pastor Agape Christian Ministries Worship Ctr. Rev. Craig R. Jackson. Pastor Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor
Fellowship Missionary B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elton T. Byrd Pastor/Founder First B.C. of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset NJ Rev. Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, Pastor
Mt. Neboh Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green Jr., Pastor Mt. Pisgah B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Pastor
Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Office of Black Ministry
First Baptist Church, East Elmhurst, NY Rev Patrick Henry Young, Pastor
Berean B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor
First Baptist B.C. of Teaneck, NJ Rev. Marilyn Monroe Harris, Pastor
Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Adolphus C. Lacey, Sr. Pastor
First Bethel Baptist Church, Newark, NJ H. Grady James III, Pastor
Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Pastor
First Corinthian Baptist Church, NY Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr. Senior Pastor
Beulah Bible Cathedral Church, Newark, NJ Gerald Lydell Dickson, Senior Pastor
First Park Baptist Church, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Rufus McClendon, Jr., Pastor
Black Ministers Council of NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Exec. Director
Friendship Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. James A. Kilgore, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor
General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, President
New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Dr. Frances Mannin-Fontaine, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church, Morristown, NJ Rev. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., Pastor
Good Neighbor Baptist Church Rev. Dr. George A. Blackwell, III, Pastor
New Life Cathedral, Mt. Holly, NJ Rev. Eric Wallace, Pastor
Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem, NY Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor
Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor
New Zion B.C., Elizabeth, NJ Rev. Kevin James White, Pastor
Canaan B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Dr. Gadson L. Graham
Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark, NJ Rev. Allen Potts, Senior Pastor
Paradise B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Jethro James, Pastor
Cathedral International., Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor
Greater Faith Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA Rev. Larry L. Marcus
Park Ave Christian Disciples of Christ, E. Orange, NJ Rev. Harriet Wallace, Pastor
Charity Baptist Church, Bronx, NY Rev. Reginald Williams, Pastor
Greater New Hope Missionary B.C., NYC Rev. Joan J. Brightharp, Pastor
Pilgrim B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Glenn Wilson, Pastor
Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn, NY Rev. A.R. Barnard, Pastor
Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor
Ruth Fellowship Ministries, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracey Brown, Pastor
Christian Love B.C., Irvington, NJ
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Drek E. Broomes, President & CEO
Shiloh AME Zion Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. John D. Givens, Pastor
Clear View Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Eric M. Beckham, M.Div., MFT Community B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor, Pastor Community Church of God, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie., Pastor Emeritus Concord B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Pastor Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Willams, Pastor
Imani Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev.Chuch Chamberlayne, Pastor It Is Well Living Ministries, Clark, NJ Rev. Kahlil Carmichael, Pastor Lagree Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Wayland Williams, Jr., Pastor Macedonia Baptist Church, Lakewood, NJ Dr. Edward D. Harper, Pastor Mariners’ Temple B.C., New York, NY Rev. Dr. Henrietta Carter
Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, Pastor Mount Zion Baptist Church, Westwood, NJ Rev. Barry R. Miller, Pastor Mt. Olivet B.C, Newark, NJ Rev. André W. Milteer, Pastor Mt. Zion AME Church, Trenton, NJ Rev. J. Stanley Justice, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ Rev. Dr. Ronald L. Owens, Pastor
Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Pastor Shiloh B.C., Trenton, NJ Rev. Darell Armstrong, Pastor St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Dr. Ben Monroe St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper St. John Baptist Church Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor
St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Dr. Lanel D. Guyton, Pastor St. Paul's B.C., Montclair, NJ Rev. Dr. Bernadette Glover St. Paul Community B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor The New Hope B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Joe Carter, Senior Pastor Union Baptist Temple,, Bridgeton, NJ Rev. Albert L. Morgan, Pastor Walker Memorial B.C. Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush Sr., Pastor World Gospel Music Assoc., Newark, NJ Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder
Businesses & Organizations 125th St. BID African American Heritage Parade American Diabetes Association American Heart Association, Northern, NJ Brown Executive Realty LLC, Morristown, NJ City National Bank Essex County College, NJ Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Marion P. Thomas Charter School Medgar Evers College Mildred Crump, Newark City Council Muslim American Chamber of Commerce NAACP New Jersey* NAACP, NY State Conference* New Brunswick Theological Seminary New Jersey Performing Arts Center New York Theological Seminary New York Urban League Newark School of Theology Nubian Conservatory of Music Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center The College of New Rochelle United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. WKMB-1070AM
“The Positive Community magazine does outstanding work in promoting the good works of the Black Church. All churches and businesses should subscribe to and advertise in The Positive Community. Please support this magazine, the only one that features good news about the black community.”—Rev. Buster Soaries, General Baptist Revival, May 20, 2010
REV. QUE ENGLISH GUEST EDITORIAL
If You Hear Any Noise, It Ain’t Just The Boys…
Rev. Que English and Chirlane McCray
his is Women’s History Month, but if truth be told, it’s the Era of the Woman. Around the world, we are given examples of women who are breaking barriers, breaking records, and even shattering that heretofore unbreakable glass ceiling In the biblical passages, in instances where it looked like God’s people would be swallowed up and destroyed, God sent a woman. He sent her in the form of Esther, who dared to go before the king for the deliverance of her people. He sent her in the form of Deborah, who judged a nation without a king. And when it became too difficult for anyone to handle, he chose Mary to carry the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. These women knew they had to accomplish what God wanted them to do, so they overcame unbelievable odds to do so. Well, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We find women continuing to do the unthinkable from refusing to sit in the back of the bus to travelling in space. These women made the decision that there were no limits to what they could do. We have seen women erase the limits in the status of women in business. By the late 1980s, women owned half of all American businesses. By 1989, they accounted for more than a third of MBAs earned in the United States
8 The Positive Community
in a single year. A decade later, the number of American companies owned or controlled by women had grown dramatically and today more women than men are not only attending college, but graduating from college. In NYC, we are witnessing another form of recordbreaking changes led by a woman, First Lady Chirlane McCray. Her aggressive initiative around mental illness is making its own history. In February, McCray held a conference on mental health at Gracie Mansion co-presented by The Positive Community and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, bringing together African American clergy leaders from across the city to talk about mental illness. The initiative, titled ThriveNYC, is a Roadmap. It’s a plan of action, a decisive turning point in the way our city approaches mental health and substance use disorders. The Roadmap includes 54 initiatives, 23 of which are brand new. It includes an investment of $850 million dollars over the next four years. And it includes previouslyunpublished data, eye-opening maps, and user guides for common mental health conditions. With this roadmap, New York City is stepping up and taking on a crisis that has been eroding the foundation of our city and destroying our families for far too long. As countless women before us have done and others are doing today as I write these words, each of us must recognize that we are on this earth temporarily and what we do with the time we have between the “dash” defines our lives. We will either be remembered as a woman who made a difference in the lives of others and broke down barriers for the next generation, or remembered as a woman who is only concerned with her own selfish desires. It is in these moments, which are all we have from day to day, that we must find ourselves adhering to the voice—or should I say whisper—of God’s “next” command. Where will it take you? Where will it take others whom you have been assigned to help? For more information on ThriveNYC visit: thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us/; Follow Rev. English on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @NotOnMyWatchNYC. Rev. English serves as co-pastor of Bronx Christian Fellowship with her husband Rev. Tim English. thepositivecommunity.com
It’s Happening at
Columbia in March TUESDAY, MARCH 1 Screening: Enclave
6:30 P.M. TO 9:00 P.M. 1219 International Affairs, Morningside campus Enclave looks at the legacy of ethnic cleansing through the eyes of a small boy, who, determined to create a proper burial for his grandfather, crosses ethnic and religeous lines and makes friends in war-torn Kosovo. For more info, email lms2274@ columbia.edu.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2 Job Readiness Training
3:00PM Columbia University Employment Information Center, 3180 Broadway Training sessions are held the first Wednesday of each month and include interviewing skills, résumé building, job search strategies and tips on dressing for success. Upcoming sessions will be held April 6, May 4 and June 8. Registration required. For more info and to register, call (212) 851-1551, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.community-jobs.columbia.edu. Columbia also has outreach programs for local youth ages 16-24. Columbia Community Impact offers GED (TASC), ESL and SAT classes along with the College Road program, which adds tutoring, college prep and mentoring. For more info, call (212) 854-5710 or visit www.communityimpact.columbia.edu.
SATURDAY, MARCH 5 Men’s Basketball vs. Yale
7:00 P.M. Francis S. Levien Gymnasium, Dodge Physical Fitness Center, Morningside campus For more info, call (212) 854-2535 or visit www.gocolumbialions.com.
MONDAY, MARCH 7
FRIDAY, MARCH 11
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23
Photography and Urban History
Manning Marable: Scholar, Activist, Mentor
Screening: The Holocaust: What the Allies Knew
1:30 P.M. TO 3:30 P.M. 208B Butler Library, Morningside campus Rio de Janeiro’s modernization has shaped not only its urban space but also its modes of sociability and imagery. Sérgio Burgi explores the shaping of the city’s public image through historical photographs and discusses the possibilities offered by digital georeferencing systems. For more info, email vt2103@columbia. edu or call (212) 854-1833.
The Impact of the Internet in China
6:00 P.M. TO 8:30 P.M. 6th Flr. East, Butler Library, Morningside campus A panel discussion and reception mark the opening of an exhibition on Manning Marable, the influential black studies professor, PanAfricanist and scholar-activist. For more info, call (212) 852-2232 or visit www.libraries.columbia.edu/events.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16 Bill Griffith, A–Z
5:30 P.M. The Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave., Morningside campus After the film, a panel of historians, media experts, and human rights scholars discuss how knowledge of mass killings during World War II did not initially spur intervention. The discussion resonates with current political situations. Today, violence unfolds before everyone’s eyes, yet the challenges of intervention are similarly divorced from knowledge of the facts. For more info, visit, www.italianacademy.columbia.edu.
6:00 P.M. 523 Butler Library, Morningside 11:00 A.M. TO NOON campus 207 Low Library, Morningside Cartoonist Bill Griffith discusses campus his storied career with fellow carCharles Chen, co-founder of Tencent, toonist Art Spiegelman. For more THURSDAY, MARCH 31 the largest Internet service portal info, call (212) 853-0429 or email in China, discusses the nation’s email@example.com. The Lost Photographs of strategy to drive economic growth Ralph Ellison and Gordon by integrating internet technologies MONDAY, MARCH 21 Parks with manufacturing and business. 7:00 P.M. Registration required, and photo 101 Prentis Hall, 632 W. 125th St. ID required for access to event. For A History of Abolition 6:00 P.M. Ralph Ellison’s influential work Harlem more info, visit earth.columbia.edu or 523 Butler Library, Morningside Is Nowhere was initially intended to email firstname.lastname@example.org. campus be accompanied by pictures by legTUESDAY, MARCH 8 Manisha Sinha discusses her endary photographer Gordon Parks. new book, The Slave’s Cause: A Professor Jean-Christophe Cloutier Jon Jang: The Sounds History of Abolition, which docu- discusses the invisible photographic ments the influence of the Haitian history around which the essay was of Struggle Revolution and the centrality of crafted. Registration required. For more 5:00 P.M.TO 6:30 P.M. slave resistance in shaping the ide- info and to register, email ym189@ 701C Dodge Hall, Morningside ology and tactics of abolition. For columbia.edu. campus more info, call (212) 854-9616 or Speaker: Composer and pianist Jon email email@example.com. Jang. This event is part of the lecture series “Music from the 1960s Black Columbia Community Scholars Program Liberation Movement to the 1980s Columbia University offers independent, community-based scholars from Northern Manhattan Asian American Movement.” For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org. access to a range of University services and resources at no cost to participants. These include access to all University libraries—including online access, course auditing privileges, dialogue with scholars in their field of study and the ability to participate in seminars and social events developed specifically for the group. The application deadline is Friday, April 29. For more info, call (212) 854-4289, email email@example.com or visit http://gca.columbia.edu.
www.events.columbia.edu · (212) 854-2871 For disability services, call (212) 854-2284 prior to the event.
Columbia University in the city of new york
REV. THERESA NANCE MY VIEW
Rev. Nance is pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Passaic, NJ. She is also a radio talk show host and documentary filmmaker.
LISTEN TO THE POSITIVE COMMUNITY HOUR ON WKMB 1070 AM HARVEST RADIO, MONDAYS, 1:30–2:30 P.M. WITH HOST THERESA NANCE.
Here’s to Strong Women railty, thy name is woman.” This phrase surfaced in the mind of Shakespeare's character, Hamlet, at the hasty remarriage of his mother to his uncle, Claudius soon after the death of Hamlet's father. Well, let's take a look at the frailty of women in general, African-American women in particular. After all, this is, Women's History Month. Harriet Tubman, the conductor of the Underground Railroad, recalled her journey into the darkness of night to lead enslaved blacks to freedom and said this, “I could have freed a thousand more, if only they knew they were slaves.” There's a statue of Tubman in New York State where she lived and died having done great things for her people and for the United States government as well. “Black Moses,” as she was affectionately called, apparently was placed in that horrific era to do exactly what she did for many who, I'm sure, oftentimes left those plantations kicking and screaming. A number of black women have always had to be tough while maintaining their femininity simultaneously. If Mary McLeod Bethune were yet here, this writer believes she would cite story upon story regarding her journey toward building her Normal School for Girls in Daytona Beach, FL. Bethune might tell us that sweet potato pies came in handy as an important commerce resource to solidify her ultimate dream. Tubman and Bethune garnered notoriety because of their great exploits. However, there are many courageous black women out there who put one foot in front of the other to keep on keepin' on. They are sheroes, to borrow a word from the late author/poet Maya Angelou. They simply are doing what has to be done to live. There is a young girl I know who wrote an essay about systemic racism. She's 17. The writing is superb. But, I want to say, “Chile, the half ain't been told 'bout what we black women have been through.” And, suffice it to say, some of the pain has come from members of your own tribe. When I served as Chief Chaplain of the Passaic County Jail, I watched countless black women coming to
10 The Positive Community
the jail to visit their sons, lovers, and others in spite of inclement weather and utter fatigue. Sadly, running into another woman coming to see the same man was not uncommon and the madness was endless. Yet, they neither complained nor gave up, and often brought their children with them. I can recall sisters in the gospel who were sent to put some life into a dying Pentecostal church and when the membership had grown, were replaced by a brother who became pastor. Yet, those women never stopped serving God or His people. Today, I'm happy to say we have a black woman living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the First Lady of the land. Her name is Michelle Obama. She's just as gracious as Jackie Kennedy serving in that same role. Obama's taste is impeccable. She has graced the cover of major women's magazines and by golly, most folks are pleased as punch that she is there. Still, those who hate change of any kind, especially change that involves a different hue, cannot seem to understand something: This is a new day. Black women have and will continue to come into their own. There has not yet been a black, female president. I assure you, it isn't because there isn't one qualified for such a position; it just might be that the timing is not yet right. One day . . .
JOIN St. John’s Bread & Life in honoring
The Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood The 18th Annual Johnny’s Angel Awards Thursday, April 21st, 2016, 6:00pm The D’Angelo Center, St. John’s University, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, NY
ANGEL TABLES Gabriel
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March 2016 The Positive Community
“Essex County recognizes the important role that women have had in shaping our communities and changing the world. This March, to celebrate Women’s History Month, we invite you to visit Essex County Hall of Records Complex to see our tributes to three great women – Rosa Parks, Althea Gibson and Larrie West Stalks.” Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Essex County Executive and the Board of Chosen Freeholders Invite You to Celebrate
Women’s History Month
Rosa Parks Statue
Dedicated October 1, 2014
Essex County Veterans Courthouse 50 West Market St., Newark, NJ
Larrie West Stalks Memorial Plaque Dedicated Sept. 16, 2015
Essex County Hall of Records Complex Legends Way Newark, NJ
Althea Gibson Statue Dedicated March 28, 2012
Essex County Branch Brook Park Heller Parkway & Branch Brook Drive Newark, NJ
March 2016 The Positive Community
Thursday, April 21, 2016 Marina del Rey One Marina Drive, Throgs Neck, NY 10465 Reception 6pm | Dinner 7pm
Anthony Harmon President of New York Branch NAACP & Director of Community & Parent Outreach, United Federation of Teachers
Preston D. Pinkett, III
Chairman & CEO City National Bank of New Jersey
Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram
Vivian A. Taylor, Ed.D.
Hon. Herman Denny Farrell, Jr.
CEO & Co-founder, L&M Development Partners
Presiding Prelate, First Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Church
NYS Assembly District 71
Associate Dean of Diversity & Cultural Affairs Columbia University School of Nursing
Sponsorship/Tickets: www.hcci.org or 212-281-4887, ext 221
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Money BUSINESS, MONEY & WORK
Wall Street Project Promotes Opportunity at 19th Annual Summit
he 19th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit convened Tuesday, February 16 through Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, NY. The theme “Wall Street: The New Paradigm - Access to Opportunity.” According to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., who founded the conference in 1996 along with the Citizenship Education Fund,
Photos: Seitu Oronde
The Wall Street Project is not an end in itself, or a means to an end. It is an evolutionary process by which we view people of color and women as ‘value added’ and a mutually beneficial proposition to American business. The road to shared economic security travels through two-way trade, where all are included, and none are left in the margins of the marketplace. Industry by industry, the quantifiable gaps in opportunity and in access to capital for people of color-owned businesses define our agenda.
The Ministers’ luncheon featured pastors from throughout the country including from New York Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood of Mr. Pisgah B.C., Brooklyn; Rev. Dennis Dillon of the Brooklyn Christian Center; and Rev. Calvin O. Butts III of Abyssinian B.C. in Harlem. Topics explored included the church as a driver and facilitator of community economic development and the church’s role in education, financial literacy, healthcare, technology education, and vote education. Superstar Philip Bailey, lead singer of the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire, brought the house down during his performance at the annual Push Wall Street Project Gala. Bailey displayed his multitude of talents for an excited and appreciative audience. Trailblazer Awards were presented to John W. Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments and chair of Microsoft; Sheila C. Johnson, founder/CEO Salamander Hospitality and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television; and Bernard Tyson, chairman/CEO of Kaiser Permanente.
Rev. Jackson also submits the idea that “Just as America did not realize how good professional sports could be until athletes of all colors could play, American business will not maximize its growth potential until all businesses have an equal opportunity to compete on an even playing field, where the rules are public and the goals are clear.” The summit included panels such as Reconnecting to HBCUs, Urban Mayors and Public Policy, The Next Generation of Athlete Dealmakers, and Global Economic Opportunities. Reverend Jesse L. and Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson
Phillip Bailey performing at The Wall Street Project Gala
March 2016 The Positive Community
UFT Celebrates Black History Month
he United Federation of Teachers (UFT) recently hosted its 13th annual Dinner Dance celebrating Black History Month. On Friday February 5th members of the UFT packed into Antun’s in Queens Village NY to celebrate union members, elected officials, and special guests. This year’s highest honors were awarded to Karen Alford, recipient of the Frederick Douglass Award for Civil and Human Rights, and Deborah (Debi) Rose, who received the Trailblazer Award. Karen Alford is a staunch advocate of the labor movement. Alford, who grew up in a union family, is committed to a life of service and the educaMary McLeod Bethune Teacher Excellence awardee, Kishayana Hazlewood giving remarks as dinner chair, Anthony Harmon looks on tion of children. Karen began her teaching career in 1992 in Brooklyn at Ocean Hill-Brownsville’s PS 156, where she taught for 10 years. In 2002, she became a full-time educational liaison with UFT. In the fall of 2008 she was elected UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools. Known for her energetic activism, Councilwoman Debi Rose is a second generation Staten Island native and the first African American from Staten Island to be elected to the Newark City Council. She hit the ground running after she won the race for the 49th Council District seat in 2009. A staunch advocate for improving educational opportunities of Staten Island’s children, the council member last year alone recused childcare center slots, 411 Early Learning slots, and 1782 slots that were destined for elimination from the North Shore. -- AAC
L-R Shelvy Abrams, Anthony Harmon, UFT President Michael Mulgrew (purple tie), and the UFT leadership team of educators and union members and honorees (seated) Karen Alford, Anu Osibajo, Scholarship winner and Kishayna Hazlewood
The Positive Community March 2016
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Craig F. Stewart Senior Director, Capital Programs MTA COMMITTEE MEMBERS Honorable John H. Banks III Honorable Robert C. Bickford Honorable Fernando Ferrer Honorable Susan G. Metzger, Ph.D.
Walk to Washington Photos: Vincent Bryant
L-R: NJ State Senator Ronald Rice and Baye Adofo-Wilson, deputy mayor Housing Economic Development
L-R: President of Montclair State University (MSU), Susan A. Cole and Hon. Lester E. Taylor III, Mayor of East Orange, NJ
L-R: Leecia Eve, EVP Verizon and Michael Engleton, EVP NJCC
L-R: Assemblyman John Bramnick; Sam Delgado, VP External Affairs, Verizon; and Joseph N. Vincenzo, Essex County Executive
L-R; Dennis Bone, director of Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, Montclair State University and Chip Hallock, chief executive officer at Newark Regional Business Partnership
The Positive Community March 2016
he 79th annual “Walk to Washington” train ride left Newark Penn Station on-time, headed toward the nation’s capital with stops in other New Jersey cities, Philadelphia, and Wilmington, Delaware. It’s a chance for 900 riders to walk through 13 cars on the chartered Amtrak train where they can meet and greet a captive audience of political and corporate leaders in a rather fun, informal way and at least begin the machinations of a deal or two. Hosted by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce (NJCC) and sponsored by some of the state’s largest corporations, the event begins at Newark’s Gateway Hilton Hotel with a breakfast sponsored by Verizon and culminates in Washington, DC for a grand reception followed by a dinner honoring NJ’s congressional delegation. www.thepositivecommunity.com
Newark Deputy Mayor for Community Affairs Jacqueline Quiles
Len Kudgis, Horizon NJ Health and Mildred Crump, Newark Municipal Council president
L-R: Junius Williams, Esq, NC350 chair; NJPAC President/CEO and NC 350 Programming Manager John Schrieber; Newark City Council member Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins; Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Chairman, CEO and President John Marino; and John Johnson, NC350 executive director
L-R: New Jersey State Assembly members Theresa Ruiz and L. Grace Spencer
L-R: NJPAC President/CEO and NC 350 Programming Manager John Schrieber; John Johnson; Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Chairman, CEO and President John Marino; and Junius Williams, Esq, NC350 chair Photos: Karen Waters
Horizon donates $200,000 to NC350
ewark Celebration 350 and The Horizon Foundation of NJ, one of NC 350’s signature partners, recently hosted an early kick off birthday party like no other, complete with 16-foot tall banners, birthday cards and some exciting announcements! Junius Williams, NC 350 chair/director of the Abbott Leadership Institute; and Robert A. Marino, chairman, CEO and president, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, hosted the event that gathers hundreds of Newarkers including Horizon NJ employees, Newark leaders, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Council representatives Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins and Augusto Amador, Newark Deputy Mayor Jacqueline Quiles, President of Newark City Council Mildred Crump, NC 350 programming committee, staff, and media. The crowd cheered as Marino dropped the curtains to reveal Horizon’s enormous NC 350 banners, which will be prominently displayed in the company’s lobby throughout the year, Marino also shared what Newark’s 350th birthday means to him as a native Newarker and announced Horizon’s official partnership. www.thepositivecommunity.com
Williams announced some of the upcoming new programs added to NC 350’s calendar including: • Newarkpoems, an online poetry year-long web project dedicated to the 350th anniversary of Newark’s founding where new poems about Newark will be posted weekly on newarkpoems.wordpress.com; • Church Choir Gospel Festival at Newark Symphony Hall, an all-day presentation of gospel music featuring the choirs of Newark churches; and • Brick City Bicycle Collective, a cycling tour of Newark through all wards to highlight the history, landmarks, and culture.
Williams also unveiled two NC 350 birthday cards made by Newark grade school students, an initiative part of the Newark Celebration 350 curriculum program with Newark Public Schools to teach kids about the city’s rich history and culture. In the coming weeks, Horizon will be exhibiting many of these wonderful cards in their building’s glass front display for the public to enjoy. Source: http://www.nc350.org March 2016 The Positive Community
REV. DR. CHARLES BUTLER WEALTH BUILDING
Rev. Dr. Charles Butler is the VP of Equitable Development, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI).
Forgiveness, the Key to Freedom n the Gospel according to St. Luke 6:27-35, we find an interesting passage of scripture speaking about how we are to respond to our enemies. Jesus tells His followers to “love your enemies, do good to them that hate you. Bless them that curse you and pray for them which despitefully use you.” This is a very difficult lesson for many believers. By today’s worldview taking such an action would indicate that Christians are weak, passive, and not willing to lift a finger to defend ourselves. There is a natural but real concern that unless we retaliate and defend ourselves we will become vulnerable to the ongoing attacks from our adversaries. But on the contrary, it takes a great amount of strength to “turn the other cheek.” You must be willing to stand firmly on God’s Holy Word to pray for those who are doing their best to harm you. To ask God to bless your enemies is a true testament of your spiritual character, faith, maturity, and wealth building. We live in a society where violence and hatred have become a way of life. Terrorist attacks have become an everyday occurrence. Outside of our nation’s borders we can find extremist groups like ISIS bent on wreaking havoc, destruction, and mayhem against anyone not sympathetic to their cause. Within the country, racism and bigotry appear to be is just as prevalent today as eighty years ago. In spite of the many civil rights laws passed decades ago, there are still deep racial tensions tearing at the core of this country. However, what is even worse is the degree of black on black violence within many urban communities. Why are we killing each other? When will the senseless violence end? The Black Lives Matter movement has significantly raised the consciousness of this problem throughout our communities. We must understand that all life is important and precious in the sight of God. As believers in Christ, we should not repay violence with violence. In behaving in such a manner we would be no better than those individuals who are still groping around in darkness. These people are seeking vengeance and are quick to justify their actions by pointing to the
20 The Positive Community
Bible verse which teaches an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” Leviticus 24:20. “If someone hits you, hit them back.” This lesson is taught to children by their parents in many homes down through the years. “God is love,” 1st John 4:8. As children of God, we must demonstrate His love through our actions towards each other. This would mean we must learn to love everyone unconditionally. We cannot pick and choose who we will love. We cannot profess to love God, but hate those who curse and persecute us. The battle is not yours but is the Lord’s. Remember, vengeance belongs to the Lord, Hebrews 10:30. Jesus demonstrated this great teaching while hanging on the cross that Friday morning, when His enemies ridiculed Him. While they were shouting curses at Him, after they had viciously and brutally whipped Him beyond recognition, He prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34. As we celebrate Resurrection Sunday, let us rejoice in knowing that God’s love for us has washed away our sins. Jesus’ sacrificial death on that old rugged cross on a hill called Calvary was payment in full. Now you and I can share in the gift of eternal life, which is given to all who believe in Jesus Christ as being the Son of the Living God. thepositivecommunity.com
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March 2016 The Positive Community
Gearing up for Spring Break? Here’s How to Do Your Out of Office Right
he official beginning of spring is less than two weeks away, but depending on where you live, the weather might still be downright winter-like. Still, mid-March traditionally marks the beginning of Spring Break season, when school closings allow many families to take their first extended vacations of the year.And as anyone who regularly uses email will tell you, with Spring Break comes a swell in out of office replies. These are a modern business must, but there are right ways to let everyone know you’re on vacation and unavailable — and wrong ways to rub your awesome tropical adventure in everyone’s faces. CMIT Solutions has collected 5 crucial tips to help you do out of office etiquette right this month: 1. Update your calendar… Most offices that use Microsoft Outlook as a primary email/calendar/contact app allow sharing between employees, which makes it easy for everyone to schedule meetings and quickly see when their co-workers are and aren’t available. Accordingly, make sure you update your Outlook calendar by creating a standing Appointment marked with the Out of Office status for the days you’ll be gone. 2. …Be mindful of details. There’s nothing worse than receiving an Outlook notification alerting you to the fact that your co-worker is out of the office, each and every day that they’re gone. So send the Outlook appointment concerning your Out of Office status only to people with whom you work closely or to whom you report. Just make sure you turn those regular reminders off, OK? 3. Set up your autoresponder message… This task can be completed in Outlook by clicking Tools > Out of Office and then filling in body copy, dates and times, and Address Book rules — for instance, for security and privacy purposes, it’s best to only send autoresponders to internal contacts since spammers can check out of office messages to validate whether or not an email account is active. You also have the option of sending just one out of office response to each unique address — that way, if you’re a prolific writer or receiver of emails, your close contacts won’t get inundated with 100 reminders that you’re out of the office. 4. …An make sure you’re specific… Obviously include the time period of your absence, along with when you’ll be back in the office (or when people can expect a response from you). If you know that you just can’t get through the day without keeping your inbox nice and tidy, even on vacation, consider including some version of that — just remember that underpromising and then overdelivering is always better. For example, if you plan on checking emails once a day, maybe mention the fact that you’ll do it once a week or every few days. Also, don’t forget contact information, either for yourself in case of emergency (just be careful who you give your cell-phone number to!) or for a designated backup who can handle pressing issues in your absence. 5. …But not too detailed. The modern out of office reply should serve just two purposes: 1) a polite and professional reminder you are not available to be relied upon for a particular time period, and 2) a helpful redirect to someone else in your company who can answer a question or solve a problem. The reminders about your five-star lodging or your adventurous day trips or your sunning-and-spinning white-sand beach sessions or just how disconnected you plan to be while you’re gone? Those parts are never necessary. If you’ve never heard the term “humble-bragging,” well, you’ll know what it is when you get those smug out of office replies about skiing in the Rockies or sailing around the Caribbean or hiking the Alps next week. To keep things very simple, consider this general out of office template: “Hello, I’m out of the office from [date] until [date]. I will only be available [specific time period]; if you need help in the meantime, please contact [name + info.]” That way, whether we’re in the office or out of it, we can all enjoy Spring Break.
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The Positive Community March 2016
spaces by wynton marsalis APR 1–2 • 8PM The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and dancers Lil Buck and Jared Grimes debut Wynton Marsalis’ latest work
APR 8–9 • 8PM Pianist Bill Charlap with Cécile McLorin Salvant, Freddy Cole, Houston Person, Ken Peplowski, Kenny Washington, and Peter Washington
catherine russell: sunny side of the street
JARED GRIMES • PHOTO BY JOE MARTINEZ
bill charlap: broadway to harlem
APR 15–16 • 7PM & 9:30PM Vocalist Catherine Russell with Carolyn Leonhart and La Tanya Hall perform the music of Sy Oliver and more
Jazz at Lincoln Center Venue Frederick P. Rose Hall Box Office Broadway at 60th, Ground Fl. CenterCharge 212-721-6500
March 2016 The Positive Community
Bridging religious and cultural divides
Degrees: MA, MRE, MDiv, DMin & Certificate Programs
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Call: Joy Theriot (718) 690-4988 or Rev. Henry Clay: (973) 902-2882 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Next Open House: United Missionary Baptist Church, 228 South Harrison Street East Orange, NJ 07018 Saturday, March 26, 10:30am-12:30pm
The UTS Certificate Program in Biblical Studies In many quarters of the African-American and Latino inner cities of our country the psycho-emotional and social ramifications of long-term poverty and the despair that often accompanies it has taken a toll. Rev. Henry Lee Clay Jr. The statistical fact that 3 out of 4 (UTS M.Div. candidate) children born in these communities are born out of wedlock and approximately 85 percent of family households are headed by single parents (mostly women) is stunning. One is forced to wonder if this generation, as was the case with many before, will continue to experience the deep and daunting social, economic and other challenges that are inevitable when surrounded in this kind of reality. Our Lord, Jesus Christ was moved when faced by the poverty, oppression, despair and social injustice that was the reality of His people, the Jews. He shared with them God’s will and plan for those that would come to Him in faith. He shared how through faith they could be renewed in God. There were many miracles, signs and wonders that those who exercised their faith in God experienced as recorded in the Holy Bible. Our Lord truly solved many problems. He healed the blind, the deaf, the paralyzed and a host of many other issues and diseases. Before He ascended back to Glory to sit at the right hand of the Father to intercede on the behalf of the very
people that He came to serve, he said that those coming behind Him would do even “greater works” (John 14:12). Jesus went on to equip His disciples who ultimately became His apostles and they turned the world upside down. A group of 12 disciples of Christ, some 2000 years ago, started a movement that is changing the lives of over 3 billion today, restoring hope to families and individuals through a newly established and saving relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. This continues to be the mission of the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS). UTS is an international and interdenominational graduate level Seminary. At UTS students can earn degrees and certificates which will serve as a foundation for ministerial work and leadership in a variety of settings. The Certificate Program in Biblical Studies (CP) is a non-degree and non-credit course of study. As part of UTS's lifelong learning program, the courses provide a foundational education in theological and scriptural topics. Candidates for admission need only to hold a high school degree or its equivalent, although many in the program have already completed college or even graduate programs. Currently our classes are held mostly on Thursdays and Saturdays and will also soon be available online. The curriculum covers the basic theological disciplines of Biblical, historical, theological and practical studies, and many of the classes are taught by graduates or current students of UTS degree programs.
The remaining class sessions of the certificate programs in New Jersey: Sat., March 26, 2016 8:45am, Sat., April 9, 2016 8:45am For more Information contact: Mrs. Joy Theriot (718) 690-4988 or Rev. Henry Clay (973) 902-2882 Email: email@example.com
Health P R E V E N T I O N , T R E AT M E N T & C U R E
NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray Hosts ThriveNYC Workshop Clergy leaders learn how they can be on the forefront of changing how mental illness is viewed BY: GLENDA CADOGAN Photo: Bob Gore
n continued efforts to give all New Yorkers opportunities to benefit from the ThriveNYC Mental Health initiative, First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray recently convened a Clergy Leadership Workshop at Gracie Mansion. Partnering with The Positive Community and the Federation for Protestant Welfare Agencies to reach faith leaders from all five boroughs, the event was designed give attendees an insiders’ view of how they could be a valuable component of the Roadmap conceived as the de Blasio administration’s response to the mental health crisis in NYC. In greeting the impressive gathering, McCray referred to the leaders who represented varied faith traditions as “…first responders to the mental health issue in all its forms, because you see it every day. The mother who is www.thepositivecommunity.com
concerned about the sudden change in personality of her teenage daughter will first come to you,” she articulated. “When a young man is stealing money from his parents and teachers, there is a good chance that the parents will come to you as their faith leader because they know there is probably drug addiction involved. The elders who suddenly find themselves wondering if life is really worth living will probably turn to one of you for counseling.” According to McCray, it is because of their collective experience and wisdom that New York City is eager to partner with faith leaders in making ThriveNYC more efficient and effective. “Our aim is that with your support ThriveNYC will be an action plan that changes the way people think about mental illness and the way the city responds to these issues.” March 2016 The Positive Community
In setting out the goals, presentations were made by Dr. Pamela Cooper-White, professor of Religion and Psychology at Union Theological Seminary; Jennifer Jones Austin, chief executive officer and executive director at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, and Hermina Palacio, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services. Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center Sidney Hankerson, MD; Associate Professor of Counseling & Clinical Psychology at Teacher’s College, Columbia University Laura Smith, PhD; and Executive Director at Gouverneur Health (HHC) Martha Sullivan, DSW made a combined presentation about how church-based partnerships will transform mental health care. At a breakout session spearheaded by Executive
Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Gary Belkin, the faith leaders discussed and brought forth ideas about ways to enhance the roadmap and tools and resources they need in order to be more effective partners. The “meat” of the ThriveNYC Roadmap to Mental Health for All was shared by Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. The session ended with a stirring sermonette on mental health and self-care by Dean of the Seminary and Tenured Associate Professor of Practical Theology at New Brunswick Theological Seminary Willard W.C. Ashley, Sr. For more information about thrive NYC visit the website: https://thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us/
commend the sponsors of this very, very important program. I’ve long been an advocate of health; in fact I “Ibecame a vegan about 30 years ago. In this time when there are so many pressures, particularly on our people it is important that we become aware of mental health and increase our efforts to address the issue. ”
Rev. Herbert Daughtry, senior pastor House of the Lord Church Brooklyn, NY
Health is connected with our spirituality. If we are to have a conversation about holistic health and healing, “Mental then mental health must be taken into consideration. Thrive NYC is an important initiative that deserves the faith community’s full support and cooperation.” Rev. Dr. Robert M. Waterman President, African American Clergy and Elected Officials Antioch BC Brooklyn, NY
think that New York City’s Thrive Mental Health Initiative is long overdue. I’m excited that First Lady “IChirlane McCray is uncovering the dangerous threat of mental health disorders and providing a roadmap to wholeness for our communities. For too long there has been a stigma in communities of color, particularly in communities of faith, where we are admonished to simply pray away our mental health challenges. With education, awareness, available programs for people at every income level, and qualified mental health practitioners, we can achieve the help that is needed so that people can be liberated from the psychological confinements of mental health disorders.
Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins St. Matthew’s Baptist Church New York, NY
of faith communities we are being challenged (in a way that we often challenge others) to be sensitive to “Asandleaders caring of the needs of our people --physically, spiritually and mentally. We are being challenged to reach beyond stereotypes and traditional fears regarding mental health & illness, to a place where our people might feel whole. The gathering at Gracie Mansion provided us with a special opportunity to know more and understand better. I applaud all those who were involved in convening us for this special gathering-the New York City administration (especially First Lady McCray) and The Positive Community Magazine. Thank you! Bro. Tyrone Davis Office of Black Ministry Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
The Positive Community March 2016
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Chirlane McCray NYC’s First Lady Brings Much to the Table BY GLENDA CADOGAN
hirlane McCray stepped into the role of First Lady of New York City bringing her varied background as a writer, editor, communications specialist, poet, and activist with her. As a proficient wordsmith, it was clear that her voice would not and/or could not be silenced. McCray was intentional about this when she told The New York Times that she aspired to be the “voice for the forgotten voices.” And so she has. She has endured comments about everything from her public speeches to her personal style. However, neither the privileges of power nor “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” seem to have stymied the passionate efforts of this First Lady, who has lived a life committed to being a change agent. With an eclectic past, Chirlane McCray could have concentrated her efforts as First Lady of New York City
on a wide range of platform issues. The granddaughter of an immigrant woman who came from Barbados to work as a servant in New Hampshire, McCray could have certainly focused on immigration or domestic workers’ rights. As a young mother who had a challenging time balancing motherhood, career and home life, she could have focused on universal pre-K as a means of alleviating the burdens of struggling parents. Income equality and women’s rights issues could have been raised based on her experience as a woman who on occasions in her professional work life was a double minority. McCray has offered her voice to these issues since moving into Gracie Mansion two years ago with her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and two children, Chiara and Dante (pictured above). However, with passionate purpose, she has now trained her laser focus on the issue
She has endured comments about everything from her public speeches to her personal style. However, neither the privileges of power nor “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” seem to have stymied the passionate efforts of this First Lady, who has lived a life committed to being a change agent. 28 The Positive Community
Income equality and women’s rights issues could have been raised based on her experience as a woman who on occasions in her professional work life was a double minority. McCray has offered her voice to these issues since moving into Gracie Mansion two years ago with her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and two children, Chiara and Dante. of mental health and is spearheading the de Blasio administration’s massive response to the problem. This, too, is drawn from her past life experiences dealing with mental health in her role as both daughter and mother. “My parents both suffered from depression though it was not something that was talked about,” McCray told The Positive Community. “My father in particular would withdraw and not talk for days beyond saying good morning or good night. I also had a friend from high school who took her own life and many others who suffered what we used to call, ‘a nervous breakdown.’” But most telling for McCray was when the mental health issue hit at the heart of her home. Her daughter, Chiara, announced to her parents that she was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and addiction. “We were shocked,” McCray said about her own response and the Mayor’s. “She was a young woman who always got good grades, and had lots of friends. I was amazed that my daughter could have been suffering so and I not be aware of it. All of these experiences made me realize just how common mental illness is and how it affects so many people.” The conservative estimate, according to the recently released ThriveNYC Roadmap is that one in five people suffer from mental illness at some point during a given year in the city. Despite the compelling statistics, “Mental illness is something that people don’t want to talk about or do not have the language to do so because they never learned,” McCray said. thepositivecommunity.com
ThriveNYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All is the City’s Mental Health initiative launched in 2015 aimed at addressing this and other disparities, and in general helping change the culture, “conversation by conversation,” according to the First Lady. “Before now we have never had a real mental health system or standard of care that is humane and sophisticated,” she said. “Our research, studies, and tools have come a long way, but society has not caught up with the fact that mental illness exists and is pervasive but totally treatable.” McCray, 61, was born in Springfield, MA, and is the first of three daughters. Her father, Robert, worked as an inventory clerk at an air base and her mother, Katharine, was an assembly worker at an electronics factory. For the most part, the family had all the conveniences it takes to make a good, happy, and comfortable life. But just like the cowards who violated the family’s home in the allwhite neighborhood of Longmeadow, MA with racist graffiti, an unseen hand seemed to have stolen the family’s joy. “I remember asking myself, where is the joy? Where is the happiness?” McCray recalled. While attending Wellesley College, her views on life began to take form and she metamorphosed into an impassioned activist, black feminist, and—as is now evident—a ‘servant leader.’ Her longing to be of service and make life better for her community is what now fuels her work with ThriveNYC and other causes to which she has attached her name. continued on page 32
March 2016 The Positive Community
Coverage of Thrive NYC Clergy Breakfast and Conference
First Lady Chirlane McCray
Rev. Lisa Jenkins, St. Matthew Baptist church
Richard Buery NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives
Dr. Sidney Hankerson, MD Columbia University Medical Center
The Positive Community March 2016
Photos: Bob Gore
Laura Smith, Teachers Col
Bro. Tyrone Davis Archdiocese of New York
Rev. Henry Belin, Bethel AME, Harlem; Rev. Dr. Kim W. Anderson, Metropolitan BC, Harlem; Presiding Elder Melvin E. Wilson and Rev. Paul Martin, Mt. Carmel AME, New Rochelle,NY
brought to you by:
Dr. Pamela Cooper-White, Union Theological Seminary
Jennifer Jones Austin, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
Rev. Joel Gibson Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
Dr. Gary Belkin ment of Health and Mental Hygiene
L-R: Rev James Morrison, president, Baptist Ministers Conference of NY & Vicinity and Rev. Melvin Wilson, presiding Elder, AME Westchester and Brooklyn Districts
Madinah James NOJ Media
Rev. Willard Ashley, Sr. New Brunswick Theological Seminary March 2016 The Positive Community
CHIRLANE McCRAY continued from page 29
According to McCray, she thinks that the biggest hurdle in our approach to dealing with the mental health problem is one of stigma and education. “The lack of education in our culture is a big problem because we do not have an understanding of the signs and symptoms of mental illness. New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray gives welcome remarks at the Thrive NYC Clergy Leadership Workshop.
As a leader, one of her many mantras is: “Be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t complain about what’s not being done,” she declared, adding, “get out there and make it happen.” Specifically, when dealing with mental health, McCray is enthused by the truth in the thought that everyone can be a healer. “We all can learn the skills of healing,” she asserted. “It is not hard. Just as we learn in first aid how to stop bleeding or stabilize broken bones, we can learn how to help someone who is having a panic attack.”
As a leader, one of her many mantras is: “Be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t complain about what’s not being done,” she declared, adding, “get out there and make it happen.” 32 The Positive Community
According to McCray, she thinks that the biggest hurdle in our approach to dealing with the mental health problem is one of stigma and education. “The lack of education in our culture is a big problem because we do not have an understanding of the signs and symptoms of mental illness. Moreover, we do not understand that it is treatable. Without this knowledge, people resort to traditions and myths or whatever it is they were brought up to believe.” She encouraged every New Yorker to sign up for one of the free Mental Health First Aid classes being offered as part of the ThriveNYC initiative. “I took the First Aid class in 2014 and it was an eye-opener. It is very helpful in that it takes away the mystery of mental illness. It is like CPR, but for the mind,” she explained. Backed by almost a billion dollars over the next four years, ThriveNYC is said to be one of the largest such initiatives undertaken by any municipality in the United States. The Roadmap, as it is called, has taken every possible aspect of the issue into consideration. In heralding its arrival, First Lady McCray said: “Finally New York City has a plan of action to encourage the mental well-being of New Yorkers and begin helping those who have been falling through the cracks.” The hope is that this Roadmap will also contain the GPS coordinates that will help “joy” find its way back into the homes of millions— like McCray and her family— who once lost it.
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March 2016 The Positive Community
Newark Beth hosts Black History Celebration NAACP Chair Roslyn M. Brock is Keynote Speaker
L-R: Barry H. Ostrowsky, president/CEO, Barnabas Health; Michellene Davis, Esq., EVP, Corporate Affairs, Barnabas Health; NAACP National Chair Roslyn M. Brock; Marley Dias, Young Achievers Award; A-Larenee Davis, classical singer; and Darrell K. Terry, Sr., interim president/CEO, NBIMC and CHoNJ
ervice to others is the rent we pay for the space we occupy” on this earth said Roslyn M Brock, chair of the National Board of Directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to those gathered at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ) for its annual Black History Month celebration, Founded by NBIMC’s late Vice President Alma Beatty eighteen years ago, the theme of this year’s celebration, Valuing Diversity, provides a platform to recognize individuals in the African American community whose dedication to service is continuing in the tradition of influential black leaders. “In February, we pause to recognize our inspirational leaders who are making a difference
The Positive Community March 2016
at NBIMC and in the community we serve,” said Darrell K. Terry, Sr., MHA, MPH, FACHE, interim president and chief executive officer. Ms. Brock spoke of vulnerable communities, of disparities and inequities in healthcare, asking the audience members to be inspired and to become agents of change. Also joining in the celebration were Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer, Barnabas Health; Marc E. Berson, chair, Board of Trustees, NBIMC and CHoNJ, and Barnabas Health; as well as Michellene Davis, Esq., executive vice president, Corporate Affairs, Barnabas Health. Eleven-year-old Marley Dias of West Orange, NJ received the Young Achievers Award for her efforts in creating the #1000BlackGirlBooks movement, collecting books with
black females as lead characters in order to influence and encourage other young girls. Also receiving awards: Elsie Best (Community Trailblazer); Anthony Hilliard (Customer Service); Jeanette Harris, RN and Cecilia Flack, RN (Community Service); James Lee, Sr., MD and Dorothy Beauliere, RN (Clinical Excellence); Reverend Dr. Marilyn Harris (Achievement); and Darrell Terry, Special Award recipient. Musical performances by A-Larenee Davis and Harry Lawrence were warmly received by the audience, as was the announcement of the month-long historical displays of “The African American Contribution to Newark’s 350 Years” and “NAACP through the Years” from the personal collection of NBIMC employee Frieda Hester.—JNW www.thepositivecommunity.com
A Little Girl With Lots of Heart Laila appeared healthy at birth, but at her two-week check-up her doctor detected a problem with her heart. She was immediately referred to the Children’s Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (CHoNJ), the largest pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery program in the State. The pediatric cardiac surgical team discovered a ventricular septal defect – a hole in the lower chambers of Laila’s heart – and scheduled her for her surgery at CHoNJ’s Children’s Heart Center in Newark. Thanks to their skill, Laila’s heart was repaired and today she’s back to playing with her big brothers.
To read more about Laila’s story, visit barnabashealth.org/laila.
Children’s Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
} 973.926.3500 } barnabashealth.org/nbichildrensheart
KAHLIL CARMICHAEL THE FITNESS DOCTOR Kahlil Carmichael is the spiritual director and founder of It Is Well Wellness and Worship Center in Somerset, New Jersey. He is a spiritual leader and the owner of The Fitness Doctor; a fitness and wellness consulting company. He writes a monthly column for The Positive Community Magazine and is the author of 50 Tips for a Better You! To grow spiritually and improve physically, or have Pastor Carmichael present his wellness seminar to your church or group you can email Kahlil at Pastor@itiswellchurch.com or call 732-921-3746.
Commit, My Sister othing great happens without commitment. If you are tired of starting over you must stop quitting! This is true of every endeavor we pursue including maintaining a healthy weight and living a healthy lifestyle. I have been fortunate to work with and impact thousands of people during my many years as The Fitness Doctor. For this I am grateful. One thing I have learned during this time (and what I know for certain) is people who reach their goals, lose weight, improve their strength, lose the gut, and achieve a healthy BMI are those who make a commitment to a lifetime of exercise and healthy eating. The key word is commitment. Commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. It’s time to commit to the cause of being healthy and living well! March is Women’s History Month and I feel compelled (as I do every year) to look at the accomplishments of women in our community. The U.S. Census states that black women have the highest numbers for current enrollment in college. Black women surpassed any other group based upon race and gender in 2014 by having the highest percentage that is the most educated. Congratulations my sisters! You are awesome and we are proud of you! But there is another statistic that I am also compelled to share. No other population in the United States has a higher obesity rate than African American Women. Four out of Five of African American women are overweight or obese, according to a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How can African American women excel in education, career, and entrepreneurial endeavors, yet fail to maintain a consistent exercise program as well as a healthy weight? Julie Palmer, a senior epidemiologist at Boston University’s Stone Epidemiology Center, details some of these causes in her article “Why Are 4 out of 5 Black Women Obese, Overweight?” Palmer cites diet, motherhood, socioeconomic status, and the environment. Having children is also a factor. My wife is on a journey to get back to her previous dress size “BK”— before kids. When it comes to commitment, black women are the
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most committed people on the planet. Commitment to their faith, family, and forward progression are what make black women so amazing. But when it comes to physical exercise, healthy eating, and fitness, unfortunately commitment for most is lacking. So what do we do? Glad you asked. It’s simple—commit my sister. Commit to eating healthy, exercising consistently, and living well. Stay committed with these tips: 1. Set Realistic Goals—Many people start out with unrealistic fitness goals and eventually give up or quit. If you set small goals and continually hit those goals you can build on your progress. Little by little you will get to where you want to be. Don’t start off trying to work out for several hours every day. Try setting a more realistic goal such as working out for 30 minutes three times a week and then progress from there. (If you need help call The Fitness Doctor (732)921-3746 and set up a consultation) 2. Reward Yourself for Your Hard Work— Committing to exercise and healthy eating is not always easy. You deserve a reward for your hard work, Treat yourself to a movie, by a new dress, or go get a relaxing massage. Rewarding yourself for your hard work will help you keep your commitment. 3. Don’t quit!—If you end up overeating, missing your appointment at Fitness Doctor, or eating junk food, don’t beat yourself up about it. We win some and we lose some but we really lose when we give up. As long as you keep going and trying, you are on the right track. Give yourself some credit for committing to healthy eating and consistent exercise. You can do it my sister. The same commitment it takes to educate yourself, run a successful business, and move forward in life is the identical commitment required to get healthier and fit through fitness. You can do it. You are powerful. I believe in you. Commit, my sister! If you’re interested in a free consultation or more information on FitCare, call 732-921-3746 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. thepositivecommunity.com
Black History Month Celebrated at Interfaith Hospital Photos and text: Lem Peterkin
L-R: Interfaith Hospital CEO Laray Brown with honoree, Canon Diane Porter, and Sharonnie Perry
nterfaith Hospital’s departments of Psychiatry, Primary Care, Ambulatory Care, and Community Affairs presented a program of music, poetry, creative writing, praise, drumming, and words of thanksgiving in celebration of Black History Month. “Black History: Here and Now” featured presentations by program participants and staff members, award presentations to Leslie A. Sterling, Richard Symister, Jose Roman, Jerome Pogue, Divinah “Dee” Bailey, and Canon Diane M. Porter. IMC Board of Trustees member, Mrs. Cheryl Crooks, received a posthumous award on behalf of her husband, Leon Crooks, an Interfaith staff member and Local 1199 organizer. Departed staff members Ron Brown and Khalilah Calcedo were also recognized as Fallen Heroes. Gabrielle Mathias and Sharonnie Perry, hosts for the event, highlighted the current history being made during a presentation to the newly arrived President and CEO of Interfaith LaRay Brown. President Brown, who joined Interfaith on February 8, 2016, is herself making history as the first African American woman to lead a private hospital in New York City. Staff and program participants shared a festive luncheon underwritten by Healthfirst featuring original music by Antoinette Taitt.
L-R: Jennifer Sewall, Psychiatric Rehabilitation therapist; Linden Holt, Creative Arts/Dance therapist; with honoree Richard Symister, MSPT and founder and owner of Move Evolution Physical Therapy; and host, Gabrielle Mathias
L-R: Honree Divinah Dee Bailey, retired founder of WATCHFUL EYE and HIV/AIDS activist receives her award from Sharonnie Perry, CEO, Nia Imani Consultants
March 2016 The Positive Community
Education TEACHING, LEARNING, MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Keynote speaker Prof. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, CUNY Graduate Center
Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director, Schomburg Center
Professor Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan
Lawrence Hamm, chairman, People’s Organization for Progress
Junius Williams, Esq., director Abbott Leadership Institute
Photos: Risasi Dais and Vincent Bryant
Chancellor Nancy Cantor, RU-N
Prisons and Policing MTW Lecture Series Examines the Issues
ssues of policing and incarceration – both locally and nationally— were in sharp focus on Saturday, February 20, 2016 during the 36th Annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series (MTW). The wide-ranging discussion, which took place in The Paul Robeson Center at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N), explored the historical developments that have brought us to events in Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, and so many other American towns. Chancellor Nancy Cantor provided opening remarks themed, “Long Time Here: Prisons and Policing in African-American History,” emphasized the ways that history helps illuminate our contemporary world. Ruth Wilson
The Positive Community March 2016
Gilmore, co-founder of Critical Resistance, author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, and professor at the CUNY Graduate Center, gave the MTW keynote lecture. She suggested that “so many people come out to advocate” for a range of social justice issues, but many end up focusing on criminal justice reform because so many of our challenges today are rooted there. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and Making of Modern Urban America gave two thought provoking lectures and made the case that “having to behave differently” to www.thepositivecommunity.com
Diane Hill, Ph.D. with Moderator Dr. Marcia Brown, Esq.
avoid being jailed or killed is “un-freedom.” Heather Ann Thompson, professor at the University of Michigan and author of the forthcoming Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy called mass incarceration “the civil rights crisis of the 21st century.” The event also focused on Newark’s 350th anniversary with a panel discussion on the history of police reform in Newark. The panel featured Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; Junius Williams, director of the Abbott Leadership Institute at RU-N and chair of the Newark Celebration 350; Lawrence Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress; and Deborah Jacobs, former director of the ACLU, New Jersey. Marcia W. Brown, RU-N vice chancellor for External and Governmental relations moderated the discussion. — JNW
Harem #1, Lalla Essaydi, 2009; Chromogenic print (triptych)
ON VIEW FEBRUARY 12 – MAY 15 49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ newarkmuseum.org This exhibition is supported in part by:
Schumann Fund for New Jersey
This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, ﬁndings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
March 2016 The Positive Community
Miseducation of Black Girls
Brooklyn YWCA and The Dinner Table partner for ‘teach-in’
amed actress Phylicia Rashad once said, “Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing.” Recently, The Dinner Table documentary partnered with the YWCA of Brooklyn and harnessed that collective power at their Miseducation of Black Girls workshop. The documentary is designed to encourage dialogues about identity and further examine the perception of black women in media. The workshop’s “teach-in” structure was derived from the African-American Educational Excellence initiative developed by the White House. Young women’s empowerment organizations Beautiful Butterfly Inc. and Gyrl Wonder provided several of the students who participated in the day’s events. After a riveting discussion with the student panel, the crowd spilt up into various breakout sessions. Each session, cleverly named after songs on the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album, was conceptualized by former Peace Corp volunteer Glynn Pogue, who also
has experience working with First Lady Michelle Obama on the “Let Girls Learn” initiative. In addition, there was a second panel of education and media experts. The panelists included Development Director of the Women in Hospitality Workshop and Front Desk Manager for the Irving Hotel Cherri Parks Taylor; Integrated Marketing and Brand Development strategist Tola Lawal; Public Relations Specialist and Owner of Barfield Public Relations, Inc., Pauline Barfield; Attorney and YWCA Social Justice Coordinator Kemah George; Clinical Director Lisa Munro-Robinson; and Dean Michelle Rodney, Esq. Each panelist not only offered her expertise, but also shared her memories of being a young black woman in the New York City school system. As the event came to an end, The Dinner Table’s director and founder Asha Boston charged the audience with a passionate call to action that resulted in everyone sharing their truths on social media under the hash tag #TheMiseducationOfBlackGirls.---JNW
Panelists: (Left to Right) - Brianna John, Denisha McCurchin, Dattlysha Simon, Betrece Braham, and Corinne Bobb Semple shared very transparent and powerful truths about their varied learning environments.
The Positive Community March 2016
A Heart for Reaching Out Meet DOs and students working to reduce minority health disparities
uilding trust, understanding barriers to care and cultivating competency can help meet needs of underserved patients. For Smruti Desai, MPH, OMS III, working to address health disparities among minority populations is a crucial element of the whole-person care DOs are trained to provide.“The core of the osteopathic philosophy is to treat body, mind and spirit, and that includes every struggle a person goes through on the path to health,” says Desai, who attends the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem. “Cultural, social and economic experiences shape our priorities, and health often gets neglected if there are too many barriers.” Many black Americans, suffer because those barriers, and the result is often higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, chronic liver disease, hepatitis B and infant mortality, according to data from the U.S. Office of Minority Health. DOs and osteopathic medical students across the U.S. are working to reduce these health disparities by increasing access to care, strengthening minority representation in medicine and cultivating cultural competency among future physicians. “You don’t have to be a minority to have a desire or a commitment to help,” says Darrell Lynn Grace, DO, a general internist in Youngstown, Ohio, who volunteers at two free clinics nearby. “You just have to want to do it and have a heart for reaching out.” For many osteopathic medical schools and service organizations, www.thepositivecommunity.com
health fairs aimed at increasing access to care present an avenue toward improving health disparities. TouroCOM-Harlem’s twice-yearly health fair, held in conjunction with the Touro College of Pharmacy, offers preventive health screenings, education and referrals to primary care physicians at a nearby clinic. “Patients may not know they have high blood pressure or high glucose levels that put them at risk for becoming diabetic,” explains health fair co-organizer Jessica Koren, OMS II, adding that the screenings help provide care for patients who might not otherwise be able to afford treatment. A lack of trust in the health care system is one factor that can exacerbate health disparities among African-American patients, according to Quintavius Rover, a fourth-year student at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) in Athens, Ohio. “Recent events such as the Flint water crisis and Hurricane Katrina haven’t done much to build trust; instead, they’re constant reminders of past failures that have disproportionately affected minority populations,” says Rover, who served as president of his school’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association during his preclinical years. One way to rebuild trust among black patients is by increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine, Rover says. “It’s helpful if patients can see a physician who shares their background, as opposed to someone they may perceive as an outsider,” he explains.
Several osteopathic medical schools, including TouroCOM-Harlem and OU-HCOM, place emphasis on recruiting minority students interested in working with underserved populations. “At TouroCOM, we focus on outreach initiatives to let the people of Harlem know the school is invested in the community, and also to raise awareness among minority students who are interested in medicine,” says M. Esquire Anthony, DO, a professor at the school. Harlem is also home to African immigrant populations from areas such as Senegal, Ghana, Mali, the Ivory Coast and the Caribbean. These patients can face an extra layer of challenges when seeking health care, including language barriers, financial concerns and cultural differences. Those factors inspired Desai to work with fellow students and professors to organize a health fair at a local Senegalese mosque last year. “We wanted to make it easy and convenient for patients to receive health screenings, and for them to be able to do so in a space where they felt comfortable and at home,” she explains. TouroCOM-Harlem students and faculty who volunteered at the fair completed cultural competency training before the event. For Gabrielle Jasmin, OMS II, the experience was tremendously valuable. “When you participate in something that makes you more culturally aware, it’s like a symbiotic relationship,” she says. “We’re helping people in the community, but in return they’re helping us become better doctors.” March 2016 The Positive Community
The Love of a Mother—The Story of Clean-Water Activist D. Kim Gaddy BY: QUINITA EDMONIA GOODS
t is not uncommon for a mother to be caring and concerned about her children. But when that care and concern turns into a national campaign, well that is an uncommon and extraordinary feat. An environmental justice organizer with Clean Water Action of New Jersey, a leading advocacy group for environmental issues, Kim Gaddy’s involvement began in a personal way. Gaddy is the mother of three children who are all asthmatic. Her daughter, who is now 15, was diagnosed at the age of one. “If you’ve ever experienced a child who is asthmatic, you feel helpless,” says Gaddy, remembering several close calls. Upon her daughter’s diagnosis, Gaddy sought to find the cause(s) behind the disease. She began to look at cleaning products, air pollution, and water, which led her to apply for the position of North Jersey Organizer with Clean Water Action New Jersey. “I needed to change what was happening,” says Gaddy of those first few years when she wanted to know the causes of asthma in so many urban communities. “I felt I needed to become a better advocate of justice issues.” Gaddy says that her first job with Clean Water Action was an easy transition for her, because she had already spent 14 years with Newark’s municipal government. “I was able to use those relationships with the elected officials, particularly the elected officials of color who represented urban communities,” she noted. Gaddy recalls that she was able to talk to officials about the environmental degradation of our communities and the harm that it was causing the people; especially children. In working with the Northern New Jersey communities, Gaddy found that water fountains in urban schools were full of lead poisoning due to old pipes and poor evaluation of water sources. She became instrumental in shutting
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down school fountains and initiating water evaluations for residents in Northern New Jersey, namely the annual Quality Water Drinking Report that residents in Newark now receive. Today, she is pushing for better evaluation of water supplies in schools so that drinking water for students can become a reality again. “Poor drinking water causes learning disabilities in children,” she said. But her alliance doesn’t stop with New Jersey. Gaddy has been with Clean Water Action New Jersey for 15 years and has ties to New York environmental groups, as well as national alliances. Today, her work is concentrated on water, air, and the food we eat. She believes that United States ports are the new power plants, meaning that with increased importing and exporting and trucks and trains carrying goods from one location to another, air pollution has also increased, pushing up the numbers of people with asthma and other lung diseases. This especially occurs in urban areas like Newark and New York City, which share the third largest port in the U.S. That is why she and her son Julian were featured in a Washington Post article last month about her efforts to advocate for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin cleaning-up the ports. By the way, Gaddy is a 2007 recipient of the EPA Region 2 Environmental Community award, bearing close ties with community groups like WEACT, New York Environmental Justice Alliance, the North Shore Environmental Justice Conservancy, and the EPA in New York City and Staten Island. “Some of the water issues in New Jersey include making sure drinking water is safe and affordable,” Gaddy explained. “A concern with climate change (there is a flooding issue in Newark) is clean infrastruc-
tures because heavy rains cause flooding, which in some neighborhoods actually backs up sewer systems. We are beginning to improve Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), where our regular drinking water combines with sewage water during floods and trying to educate residents about CSOs for future storms like Sandy.” When asked to comment on the Flint, Michigan water crisis, Gaddy blames the leadership. “This is a national tragedy that could have been prevented with the right intervention. There were certain remedies that could have been done prior to all those residents being exposed. I think that, as Michigan moves forward, their leadership needs to make sure that they have analyzed the quality of that water and analyze the contaminants in that water, but more importantly, the water that is coming into the families’ homes, all of those pipes need to be evaluated because these children and families still bathe in that water. So, it’s not only they cannot drink the water, but they cannot wash their bodies either,” she explained. “The health of all the residents in Michigan needs to be prioritized.” On her agenda next is a sought-out position on Newark’s school board, where she plans to focus on clean and healthy schools and neighborhoods. “The reason I do this is because of my children, and I don’t want any harm coming to other people’s children as well,” she said, then quoted James 2:17 saying, “faith without works is dead.” Surely, Kim Gaddy, in her motherhood and in her work, is a national monument of faith. www.thepositivecommunity.com
District and Charter School Teachers Partner for Professional Development
n one of the largest charter-district collaborations in the nation, more than 150 teachers and principals from District 23 and District 19 participated in a day-long professional development workshop led by teachers and leaders from Uncommon Schools. The Saturday workshop was part of a groundbreaking partnership launched in 2014 between New York City Department of Education district schools and Uncommon Schools, which operates 21 charter schools in Brooklyn. “The partnership between Uncommon and the New York City Department of Education debunks the damaging myth that charter and district teachers do not or cannot work together,” said Brett Peiser, CEO of Uncommon Schools. “Our workshops prove that teachers from charters and district schools are invested in working together to raise the quality of public education for all children.” The January 30 workshop, held at Uncommon Charter High School on Pacific Street, was the second of three day-long workshops that focus on reading, which has been identified as District 23’s highest-need professional development area. The first workshop was held in November and the third was February 27. While the perceived tensions between charters and district schools have garnered attention-grabbing headlines, the reality is that teachers working in charter and district schools share the same goal, said Mauriciere de Govia, superintendent of District 23.
“At the end of the day,” said de Govia, “whether you work in a charter school or you work in a district school, the common factor is that we want to make sure that children receive a quality education. There is no divide.” District 23 includes some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods of East New York and Brownsville. Students are overwhelmingly poor and Black or Latino, and the schools, historically, have been some of the lowest performing in the city. As parents have opted for charter schools, like those run by Uncommon, enrollment in District 23 schools has dropped, creating a potential for tension between district and charter schools. Rather than being threatened by Uncommon, however, de Govia said she welcomes the opportunity for her staff to work so closely with Uncommon’s teachers and leaders. “We cannot ignore the fact that our schools have failing statistics and accept it as OK, based on zip code, based on who attends, based on where children live,” de Govia said. “Your zip code can no longer be considered a reason why failure is OK.” Uncommon Schools founded its first school, North Star Academy, in 1997 in New Jersey, and has since grown to a network of 44 schools in New York City, Newark, upstate New York, Boston, and Camden. As Uncommon Schools grew and its schools got better and better at closing the achievement gap for low-income students of color, its leaders turned to the
challenge of identifying and sharing the strategies that had proven most effective in classrooms. They have published seven books, delivered trainings to thousands of teachers and principals nationwide, and created online resources that are available free of charge. “We deeply believe in sharing what we are learning that works with teachers everywhere – both inside and outside of our schools - to ensure all students are benefitting,” Peiser said. Phil Weinberg, deputy chancellor for teaching and learning at NYCDOE, said the partnerships like the one between Uncommon and the district break down the false barriers between charter and traditional public schools. “The strongest lever we have to making sure our students get the best education possible,” Weinberg said, is the power of a “community of educators to share their good thinking with each other so that our students learn more.” The Saturday workshops have two tracks for elementary and middle school teachers. Elementary school teachers are focused on learning critical aspects of reading instruction while middle school teachers are focused on defining and practicing a vision for teaching close reading in the era of the Common Core. “This is by far the best professional development I have ever had in my entire 14 years,” said Robin Williams, the principal of Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School, a district school. “I feel smarter, more equipped, and I am ready to go and make change.” March 2016 The Positive Community
Culture M U S I C ,
A R T
L I T E R AT U R E
Abyssinian Women CHURCH LADIES WEAVES A WONDERFUL TALE OF HARLEM DURING THE POWELL ERA By g.r.mattox t is the women who are, and always have been, the backbone of the black church. They make up its majority, provide the financial purse strings, head most of the ministries, and it has been said that the black church would collapse without their support and great faithfulness. Often she has been portrayed in media as a comical figure: imposing, but strident, lacking in composure, in a state of agitation, and sporting an extremely elaborate church wardrobe. These media stereotypes are nothing like the actual historical church women. A recently published book by African American oral historian Martia Goodson has sewn a sobering, absorbing and fascinating quilt of remembrances from women who were active in one of Harlem’s largest and most well-known congregations. Church Ladies: Untold Stories of Harlem Women in the Powell Era, is a charming yet informative tale told by the
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women who supported and admired Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. and Jr., and supported Abyssinian Baptist Church. It also delves deep into its archives to create an active, vibrant, portrait of that institution and its impact on the community. Dr. Goodson, who earned her Ph.D in 1977 from Antioch University, has previously authored books about New York’s African Burial Ground and United Negro College Fund founder Frederick D. Patterson, declares that Church Ladies is some of her most significant research to date. “I was becoming acquainted with Abyssinian and its history and I stuck on the idea of talking to the women because it seemed that their voices were often absent,” she said. The book was put in motion in 1992 when Goodson commenced a series of interviews of Abyssinian women thepositivecommunity.com
Laura Thomas: Anybody that tried do something like what we were doing, they would right away try to say that they had some relationship with the Communists. Grace Jones: We didn’t sit around waiting for something to happen for us, we did it. We helped create the fight, and stuck with it and made it work. Esther McCall: We went everywhere Adam went, wherever he was speaking. He’d say, “Come on, ushers!” and “Come on, choirs!” And we would just pack up and go. for the Schomburg Center at the encouragement of present church pastor Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts. Ten years later she conducted another series of interviews to supplement her previous work. Through those narratives you get a picture from several of Adam Sr., who retired from the pulpit in 1937, as a grandiose, elegant, eloquent old man whose sermons were punctuated with dramatic oratory. He put in place a sound Christian Education department and staffed the church with people who had college-level training in the fields in which they were to work. Far more vivid in the mind of most of the women is the tenure of Adam Sr.’s even more charismatic and flamboyant son, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. He turned his father’s church from the “Church of the Classes” to the “Church of the Masses” and spearheaded a Northern Civil Rights movement, complete with bus boycotts, picketing stores on 125th Street where blacks could buy but not work. With the women at his back, Adam Jr. fought for equal opportunity, jobs, and respect for residents of Harlem that started two decades before civil rights activity began in the south. His activities during his 37 years in Congress—one of two black men in Congress when he got there in 1944—including the six years he served as Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee are well documented. “The interests of the Church Ladies were reflected in the record volume of ... legislation that Powell, Jr., pushed into Federal Law,” Goodman writes in the book. “His legislative productivity remains unmatched today.” thepositivecommunity.com
It also signaled his eventual downfall. But if you are looking for juicy tidbits about Adam Jr.’s personal life or the scandals spread across the media during his time in the pulpit and Congress, you are not going to find them in this book. “These women adored him,” Goodson flatly states of the feeling of the church ladies towards of Adam Jr. “Also, I feel that Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. has so many detractors—colleagues in Congress, political enemies in New York, segregationists. I think these women realized that he had enough critics without them piling on what they knew, or thought they knew, about things.” Goodson continued to explain that these women knew Powell, Jr. in the pulpit, in the political clubs, in the bars and cabarets and lounges, and through his political activities. “They told stories that could be told but had not been told, she said. “The stories the women tell individually are interesting, but collectively they paint a picture of a dynamic era in black America.” Fifteen women were interviewed for the book; nine in 1992 and another six in 2002. The one man —other than both the Adams—who is a major figure in its pages, is Peter G. Holden, Sr. “I included him in the latter set of interviews because his knowledge of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was intimate, first-hand knowledge that seemed to validate so much of what the women said about Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.” Adam Jr. saved Holden’s job at the U.S. Post Office with a single phone call, and Holden went on to edit and publish The Colonial Times, a Powell Era newsletter directed to two housing projects in Harlem. Holden is one of four individuals still living and the gradual passing of the other interviewees gave a sense of urgency to Goodson completing the project. “Why wait for everyone to pass away,” she reasoned, “why not just take it on and see what happens. “There are generations of people for whom the image of the brilliant church man and legislator is dim,” Goodson said, and she wants them to know that Adam Clayton Powell "is much more than a street in Harlem.“My hope is that the words of the church ladies can enlighten readers as to who Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. really was and the magnificent role he played in launching legislation that greatly benefitted black people—Harlemites and all through America,” Goodson continued. Church Ladies is a compelling, page-turning read about two phenomenal men told by the women who encouraged, supported, and stood by them. March 2016 The Positive Community
Malcom X Assassination Commemoration Photos: Risasi Dais
Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., professor of Biblical Interpretation at the New York Theological Seminary, speaks about Malcolm X’s life
Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour
Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour (center), Barbara Nimri Aziz, and Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.
Activist Barbara Nimri Aziz
L-R: Sarah Sayeed, senior advisor of Community Affairs of the Mayor’s Office; activist Barbara Nimri Aziz; Palestine activist Linda Sarsour; Aisha Al Adawiya, administrator of Scholars Program at the Schomburg Center; Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., author and professor at the New York Theological Seminary; and Ladi Sasha Jones, programming coordinator at the Schomburg Center.
n collaboration with the Malcolm X Museum, this year’s commemoration of the assassination of Malcolm X focused on the intersections of his legacy as a liberation faith leader and human rights activist. Highlighting the scholarship and direct actions that are building around contemporary dialogues on anti-blackness and Islamophobia, a conversation between theologian, Dr. Obery Hendricks and
The Positive Community March 2016
activist, Linda Sarsour was moderated by anthropologist and journalist Dr. Barbara Nimri Aziz. As a follow-up to last year’s programming on the global imprint of Malcolm’s work, the aim of the event centered around presenting an interdisciplinary and intergenerational conversation about his teachings in relation to present day racial and religious struggles in the U.S. and globally.
BY PATRICIA BALDWIN
The Good News
Grace & Peace have good news! JESUS SAVES! What can be better than that? It’s a great reminder that when all else fails and at some point it will, Jesus will never fail. This is good news that can cheer anybody up and lift your spirits. It’s news worth spreading to everyone young or old. My brother, Ervin, was singing an old classic that was remade by the legendary Marvin L. Winans and the Perfecting Praise Choir, “Jesus Saves” from the early 1990s; that was our favorite song on his CD Introducing Perfect Praise—I used to play that song every day. It begins with the choir’s amazing vocal ability to make harmonizing instrumental sounds in an acapella style that leads into Marvin’s velvety-smooth vocals compelling all that would listen about the Good News—The Gospel of Jesus Christ. He sealed it with a praise and said “Hallelujah, Jesus Saves!” As we enter into the season of spring, we are also reminded that new beginnings, creating, and re-creating innovating moments of time will take place. Here’s more good news—it has taken place in the beautiful world of Gospel Music. Artists who are laboring to give you new music know that you can’t wait any longer for a whole CD. I bet you’re saying if I play “Every Praise” one more time . . . well wait no longer—multi-award winning Pastor Hezekiah Walker is back with his new single “Better.” His good news is that he’s now teamed up with Entertainment One Music (eOne Music) and bringing his second Azusa project that will be released by Summer of 2016. “I’m honored and humbled to continue to deliver music that makes a lasting impression on people all over the world. ‘Better’ is a smash hit that I’m proud of.” says Bishop Walker. Another Pastor ready to release his new single “Arise (You Are Good)” is William Murphy. This Grammy®nominated singer, songwriter brings a peek of what’s to come from his 3-track EP ARISE, which will be available on Friday, March 25. It’s Bishop Murphy’s way of giving
you a taste of his highly anticipated 5th album Demonstrate on RCA Inspiration records. This live recording was done in Douglasville, GA in May of last year at The Church at Chapel Hill. Bishop Murphy says of his new music, “God’s given me something fresh to say, and I believe it’s going to help us consistently encounter His presence. I look forward to sharing this song and I pray it will be a blessing to all.” Finally, (and I say that cause I’m limited with space), in a world where music and television collide, a recognizable, soulful, church-born vocalist will be back on the scene, working behind the scenes. Ms. seven-time Grammy® nominee Kelly Price is doing big things this year starting with her new single “Everytime (Grateful).” Now you may have seen her kill this song on the 24th Annual Trumpet Awards, if not you can buy it in stores now. Her good news is this song will be featured on the forthcoming Saints & Sinners soundtrack for the new television series of the same name on Bounce TV (check your local listings). Her inspirational single that’s been out since last year “It’s My Time” was a taste to hold you until now. “Everytime (Grateful)” should keep you for a little while longer because she’s still working on her CD. In conclusion (this is what big preachers say when they’re about to close their sermon), when you look at the world around you and all the negativity seems to be rising higher, find it not strange. Remind yourself of who you are, who you belong to, and your assignment here on earth. You’re the child of a King who died so you can be free and live again in Heaven. So spread it, smile about it, talk about it, and sing about it…In the lyrical music expression of Israel Houghton (and Isaiah & John from the bible), “He knows your name” and that’s good news. Dedicated to my baby Sister- Belinda Y. Baldwin Rock that crown in Glory! March 2016 The Positive Community
Photos: Raymond Hagans
L-R: Director and activist Warrington Hudlin with Melissa Harris-Perry, recipient of the Ida B Wells Award for Excellence in Journalism; Psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere and ImageNation Founder Moikgantsi Kgama; Nakisha Lewis accepts the Revolution Award for Freedom on behalf of Black Lives Matter from former Black Panther Party member Yasmeen Sutton
he revolution may not be televised, but it will be on film if ImageNation founder, Moikgantsi Kgama has anything to do with it. On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, ImageNation hosted their 2016 Revolution Awards celebrating black excellence in film, media, and activism. “We are so thankful for everyone who supported and helped make this year’s Revolution Awards a stellar celebration of black art and activism,” said Kgama. “The energy was truly electric.We ask that people continue to stand in solidarity by donating to ImageNation’s Sol Cinema campaign to open a boutique theatre in Harlem devoted to independent black film.” Ava DuVernay, who was honored with the Revolution Award for Trailblazing Achievements, could not attend the event, but sent a video message that addressed the need for the images of people of color and women to have caregivers and talked about her long standing relationship with ImageNation. “ImageNation was one of the very first organizations I aligned with when I was launching AFFRM in 2010. AFFRM is now ARRAY and ImageNation has been there with us every step of the way.” DuVernay also sent best wishes to all of the other honorees, but had special words for Danai Gurira and Melissa Harris-Perry. “I feel fortunate to live in a world where a voice like that not only exists but is being amplified and is shining so beautifully,” she stated referring to Gurira. About Perry, she said, she is “… a trimuph for women, a triumph for
Honors Black Independent Film and Artistry people of color, a triumph for people who believe in justice and dignity, a triumph for nerds.” Master of Ceremonies Terry Bello of 103.9 FM kept the night flowing with jokes and lively commentary and a performance by vocalist Jeremy James set the tone for a most enjoyable evening. Acclaimed director and activist Warrington Hudlin, founder of the Black Filmmaker Foundation; Black Girls Rock! founder Beverly Bond; director and producer Tommy Oliver; actress Zainab Jah of the Broadway play Eclipsed and Yasmeen Sutton, a former member of the Black Panther Party participated as award presenters. Revolution Award recipients were: Melissa Harris-Perry, for Excellence in Journalism; actor, author and activist Hill Harper, for Art & Activism; actress and playwright Danai Gurira for Artistic Excellence; and Black Lives Matter for Freedom. Nakisha Lewis accepted the award on behalf of Black Lives Matters founders, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi. Following the awards, Sway Calloway introduced the short film, The Cycle about policing and racial profiling, which he produced, and the feature film for the evening, 1982, which stars Hill Harper, Sharon Leal, La La Anthony, Ruby Dee, and Wayne Brady. This was followed by a thought provoking panel with Hill Harper, 1982 director Tommy Oliver, renowned psychologist Jeff Gardere, actress Troi Zee, and image activist Michaela Angela Davis.
L-R: Presenter Zainab Jah, honoree Danai Gurira, and Eclipsed cast members Akousa Busia and Saycon Sengbloh; Revolution Awards presenter Tommy Oliver with ImageNation Founder Moikgantsi Kgama and honoree Hill Harper
The Positive Community March 2016
Photos: Karen Waters
Keynote speaker, New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno
Dean Shomburg, grandson of Auturo Alfonso Schomburg
Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz
PRAHD Honors Carole Dortch-Wright
ast year, Carole Dortch Wright served as mistress of ceremonies, this year she was the honoree at the 2nd annual African American History Month celebration of the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development (PRAHD). For the third straight year, Yvonne Lopez, PRAHD executive director, has stayed true to her vision of honoring outstanding women and men with the Arturo Alfonso Schomburg award to a person who embodies the exceptional humanitarian and philanthropic qualities of the great Afro-Puerto Rican for whom the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is named. Dortch-Wright is the principal and founder of DortchWright Enterprise Group, specializing in strategic communications and leadership development. Over 25 years, Carole has been known best for her voice of comfort, inspiration, and persuasion in government, communities, and corporate and faith-based organizations. A minister at Cathedral International, where Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr is pastor, she has recently been named Communications Director at its three locations –Perth Amboy, Asbury Park and Plainfield, NJ. Ms. Dortch-Wright is a board member of PRAHD.
“Carole is an amazing community activist and volunteer that utilizes her God-given talents to do good work,” noted PRAHD Executive Director Yvonne Lopez. “She supports a variety of different causes, most noticeably PRAHD, and support from people like Carole Dortch-Wright is what truly helps the organization make a positive impact on every client served.” When she was asked how she felt about receiving the Arturo Alfonso Schomburg Award, Dortch-Wright responded that she was “…walking in the path of Arturo Schomburg, and let me tell you it feels good!” New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno provided keynote remarks and Dean Schomburg, grandson of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, introduced the honoree. Mayor of Perth Amboy Wilda Diaz also gave remarks. In addition, three of Dortch-Wright’s seven sisters were in attendance at the luncheon as well as her husband Horace Wright, and her very proud 91-year-old father, William Dortch. Consistent with PRAD’s cross-culture, community-building theme, the 30th Annual Roberto Clemente fundraising gala, named after the legendary Afro-Puerto Rican baseball legend (Pittsburgh Pirates) who gave his life helping others, will take place on October 21, 2016. ---JNW
Master of ceremonies for the program, Adrian Council with PRAHD Executive Director Yvonne Lopez www.thepositivecommunity.com
PRAHD honoree Carole Dortch-Wright (center) flanked by her sister Lois Davis, and their father, William Dortch. March 2016 The Positive Community
avid Wiley and his beautiful bride, the former, Jenea Fludd were joined together in Holy Matrimony at the Founder’s Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Their unique ceremony consisted of a salt covenant, the blended sand family ceremony, a release of butterflies and their expressed vows of love. Jenea is the daughter of Elder Anthony and Robin Fludd of Hampton, Virginia. David Wiley is the son of Rev. Novey and Geraldine Wiley of Farmville, Virginia.
Happy Birthday!!! Photos: Bruce Moore
Jenea Fludd & David Wiley Wed
opular NYC Councilwoman Hon. Inez Dickens formally launched her campaign for NYS Assembly. Surrounded by friends and supporters at Harlem’s Green Parrot restaurant, Dickens pledged to keep on fighting for the people of Harlem and New York State! Pictured above Inez Dickens and Harlem Business Alliance president, Walter Edwards.
Javana Wants to Be a Dancer She’s on the right path
avana Council has been a dancer with the Charlotte Ballet, Charlotte North Carolina for seven years She has performed in the Charlotte Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker for the last four years. With over 100 dancers, live music from the Charlotte Symphony, a breathtaking snowfall, and Javana, everyone marvelled while watching the timeless classic. Javana, the daughter Joel and Victoria Council enjoys being part of the Nutcracker because she loves ballet, making new friends, speaking with professional dancers, and believes the costumes are great. Javana plans to pursue a career in dance and acting. Ariel (left) and Jovana Council with Patricia McBride (center), director of the Charlotte Ballet in Charlotte North Carolina.
The Positive Community March 2016
General Baptist Convention of New Jersey 38th Annual Workers Conference
he Congress of Christian Education, an auxiliary of The General Baptist Convention of New Jersey (GBCNJ), convened the 38th Annual Workers Conference on February 5 - 6, 2016 at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) in Somerset, NJ , where Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. is senior pastor. The guest
preacher was Rev. Dr. Cullian Hill, pastor of Greater Concord Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit, MI. Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, Jr. GBCNJ state president and State Director of Christian Education, Rev. Dr. Evan Spagner, along with hundreds fo workers gathered for two days of workshops and
lectures on Christian education. The goal is to help clergy leadership and lay people become better equipped to do ministry in a contemporary society. Community partners: The Positive Community, Wells Fargo Bank, New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS), Drew Theological School, Razac Products Company.--AAC Photos: Karen Waters
Rev. Dr. Darrell LaRue Armstrong of Shiloh BC, Trenton , NJ
GBC NJ hostesses Doris Bryant, Beverly Dawkins, Gloria Penn-Miles, chairperson; Dr. Guy Campbell, president GBC NJ; Leatha Williams, president GBC Congress of Christian Education, First Lady Sandra Graves, Clearway B.C. and Julie McClaire
Rev. Albert Morgan of Union Baptist Temple, Bridgeton NJ
Rev. Paul M. Graves, Pastor Clearway BC Newark
Guest Preacher Rev. Dr. Cullian Hill www.thepositivecommunity.com
Dr. Edward Harper
The future of Christian education
Rev. Dr. Lester W. Taylor March 2016 The Positive Community
Calvary Baptist Church Celebrating Blac
Calvary BC Black history month celebration team
nder the leadership of Pastor Calvin McKinney, Calvary Baptist Church of Garfield, NJ closed out Black History Month with a spectacular service honoring the lives and sacrifices of our great torch-bearing ancestors. It was an upbeat program filled with lively performances, reflections, and Civil Rights anthems/Songs of Freedom, Negro Spirituals, Spoken Word, and a dramatic presentation. Over and over, pastor McKinney reminded the congregation to teach the children and never forget “who you are and whose you are” as the essential foundation for progress and achievement. Publisher Adrian A. Council offered closing remarks and introduced The Positive Community’s 2016 Commemorative Calendar. He spoke about cultural literacy, the Cultural Narrative and the theme: Positive Music Matters. Council reminded the audience, that during the brutal years of slavery, we were blessed with a song. Music and
The Positive Community March 2016
song helped to sustain slaves and their children in the midst of a lot of powerful tribulation. In the humiliating days of Jim Crow segregation, lynching, and the denial of basic human rights, we were blessed with a song. In the times of the great civil rights movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s songs of freedom provided the soundtrack reminding us that we are “Young Gifted and Black,” “Someday We’ll all be Free,” “A Change is Gonna Come,” and the call and response anthem, “Say it Loud; I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Never forget, “who you are and whose you are” in the struggle. The Progress of our children, the integrity of our African American culture--our great music legacy-- means everything: Positive Music Matters! Rev. Calvin McKinney is past president of the General Baptist Convention of NJ and currently serves as general secretary of National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. www.thepositivecommunity.com
ck History Month: Positive Music Matters Photos: Karen Waters
TPC publisher presenting 2016 calendar to Calvary BC congregation
Rev. Calvin McKinney
The Future: Young, Gifted, and Black
March 2016 The Positive Community
L-R: MC Joe Grant, Chinita Pointer, and Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr.
Football coach and mentor Michael Bonham
Bedford Stuyvesant/Crown Heights All-Star Reunion Awards in Brooklyn
ebruary is a time to honor black history and recognize those who have and continue to work toward progress. On Saturday, February 6, 2016 over 150 guests did just that at the Stuyvesant/Crown Heights All-Star Reunion Awards Ceremony in Brooklyn hosted by NYC Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. The free event took place at the historic Weeksville Heritage Center. The afternoon of food, music, live entertainment, and the presentation of awards was designed to acknowledge the outstanding figures that have made a positive impact around the world, past and present. This year’s honorees included legends in music, dance, sports, and theater. Chinita Pointer, who started the Noel Pointer Foundation in his honor, accepted the award for her late husband, violin virtuoso and jazz artist, Noel Pointer. Football coach and mentor Michael Bonham, Alvin Alley
principal dancer Dwana A. Smallwood, and Broadway great, Ben Vereen were also honored. Grateful for the recognition, Ben Vereen could not be present but promised to attend the event next year in person. Marion Cowings and A.C. Lincoln of the Young Hoofers performed in tribute to Vereen. Councilman Cornegy said he was elated to see the large turnout. He wants to ensure that the arts will continue to grow within his district and throughout the city as well. “As a member of this community, I have always been proud of the homegrown talent that has been produced within it, and I believe it’s important that they continue to be acknowledged,” stated Cornegy. The Weeksville Heritage Center, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Bed-Stuy Gateway BID, ACA Branding Agency, and Bed Vyne Wine sponsored the event. A delicious three-course meal was provided by Chef Glaze of Glaze Kitchen. Photos and text: Lem Peterkin
L-R: Members of Smallwood Dance Company, Councilman Cornegy, Dwana A. Smallwood, Dannette Hyatt of Carver Bank, and Michael Lambert of the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID
Dwana Smallwood youth dancers
The Positive Community March 2016
WOODIE KING JR. DIRECTS Sugar Ray New Harlem Besame Celebrates Black History Month with a New Play Sugar Ray The phrase “pound for pound”— used to describe a boxer whose skill in the ring puts him head and shoulders above every other fighter in the world, in any weight division—was first coined for the one fighter most boxing aficionados agree was the best fighter in history, Sugar Ray Robinson. In the 1940s, Sugar Ray Robinson was the “King of Harlem,” and eventually owned a whole city block of buildings on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (then Seventh Avenue between 123rd and 124th Streets). Among the boxer’s businesses along the block were Sugar Ray’s Restaurant & Bar, Sugar Ray’s Barber Shop, his wife’s shop, Edna May’s Lingerie, and his business office. Today, one of Harlem’s liveliest and most popular restaurants, New Harlem Besame is on the www.thepositivecommunity.com
historical site of Robinson’s empire at 2070 Adam Clayton Boulevard. The spirit and the power of Sugar Ray came alive February 25, 2016 when Sugar Ray, a one-man show written by Laurence Holder to commemorate the life and legacy of Sugar Ray Robinson, took the stage at New Harlem Besame. Audelco Award winner Reginald L. Wilson stars in this powerful piece under the direction of Theatre Hall of Famer and Multi-Audelco Award-winner, Woodie King Jr. The show, one of Woodie King Jr’s most profound theater endeavors, runs from February 25, 2016 until March 28, 2016. For more information, please call (646)863-2077, (646)261-5397, (646) 261-5334. March 2016 The Positive Community
Photos: Karen Waters
Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor who presided over the service
Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Kelmo C, Porter Jr. 1930-2015
n January 31, 2016, family, friends, colleagues, and congregation members gathered at St. John’s Baptist Church in Scotch Plains, NJ to honor the life of Rev. Dr. Kelmo C. Porter, Jr., who passed away on October 17, 2015. At 85 years of age, Dr. Kelmo was the longest serving pastor in the state of New Jersey. He began his pastorship at age 24 in Monclair, NJ at Trinity Church of God in Christ, going to First Church of God in Christ in Newark, and finally being called to St. John’s Baptist Church, where he spent nearly 50 years in the service of God. An icon in the community, the Scotch Plains Council and Mayor Kevin Glover recently voted to have a street sign in honor of Rev. Porter placed near St. John’s Baptist Church. Rev. Porter and his late wife, the former Shirley Green, were married for more than half a century. They are survived by three children: Curtis, Lance, and Lisa, and grandchildren: Taralauryn, Danielle, and Lance II. --JNW
OPEN IN HARLEM!
Rev. Tyrone Brown leads prayer for healing
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Removal of the draping from the pulpit chair by Deacons Odell Chisolm (Left) and Rudolph Coleman as Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor (extreme right) and Bishop Donald Hilliard stand by.
The Positive Community March 2016
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MWANDIKAJI K. MWANAFUNZI THE WAY AHEAD
Understanding the True Meaning of Easter n today’s America, “Easter” activity typically revolves around a cacophony of Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter candy, Easter baskets, Easter parades, Easter sales. new clothing, baby chicks, and days off from school or work. Church attendance is a maybe, as in, “maybe I’Il go to church and show off my new suit.” Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection—celebrating it, praying on it, and meditating on it for most folks is met with a “huh?” To better understand this jumbled Easter mess, we must study history. Roasted eggs are part of a traditional Passover ritual. Jesus Christ was crucified during Passover, and is recognized by Christians to be “the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world,” replacing the temporary atonement that had been previously provided by the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. Among contemporary worldly “Easter” symbols, hardboiled eggs come closest to being legitimate. Dying and placing eggs, however, stem from European pagan traditions. The rest of current Easter symbolism is shakier. As first millennium A.D. evangelists sought to convert Europeans from their native pagan religions to Christianity, they tried to ease the pain of newness by associating Christian concepts, such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ, with already accepted pagan concepts, such as the annual rejuvenation of nature associated with Spring. The word “Easter” derives from Eostre (variously spelled), a Saxon/Germanic goddess celebrated at the Spring equinox. Eostre was assisted, in various versions of the myth, by a rabbit or hares, those long-eared European animals that resemble American rabbits. This seems to have lead to the “Easter Bunny” idea. Getting new spring clothing further relates to the rites of Spring theme. The Easter Parade is an opportunity to show off one’s new clothes. Holidays—especially those involving skipped work and school days—and holiday sales are staple rituals of today’s mainstream America. Of course there will be an Easter sale, as well as a Christmas sale, a Labor Day sale, a Columbus Day sale, maybe even an April Fools’ Day sale. My childhood Easter recollections center more on the basket of candy and dyed hard-boiled eggs that my aunt provided, than on the salvation that Christ provided through His crucifixion. My young teenage Easter memo-
ries focus more on comparative put-downs concerning my Easter suit than on Christ’s resurrection. Christ criticized first-century Jewish leaders for emphasizing their tradition over God’s written commands. Since God does not change, I think He prefers that during this most important season of the Christian calendar, we focus squarely on Christ’s sacrifice for our sins rather than on new clothes, dyed eggs, and bunnies. Moreover, for people of African descent to replace African religion with European pagan tradition is to miss the mark. Centuries after Christianity came to Egypt, Abyssinia, and Nubia, other African peoples were introduced to Christianity by European missionaries in Africa and European-descended evangelists in the Americas (My further research suggests that after these initial introductions, far more black folks were led to Christ through other black folks). I doubt, however, that God’s intent was for us to adopt European foibles along with “their” religion. After all, it is not “their religion.” It is The Way provided by God. So as non-European Christians study and grow, we should consciously separate what is of God from what is of Europe. To worship God, the Father through Jesus Christ, is of God. To cling to pagan “Easter” traditions is idolatry. Perhaps Christians of European descent, because of enduring nationalism, still need symbols derived from preChristian Europe to ease them through Christian concepts. If so, that is between them and God. But that is not our struggle. People of African descent have enough trouble easing out of the vestiges of our own pagan origins, such as ancestor worship. For example, despite the Biblical command that the people of the God not communicate with the dead (Deuteronomy 18:11-12), we hear oth-erwise devout black Christians continuing to speak to and “hear from” deceased mothers and others. The 19th century British, in rationalizing colonization said it would bestow “Christ, Commerce, and Civilization” on the colonized. As we, the formerly enslaved and colonized, come to our senses, we should recognize that much of the colonizer’s civilization and commerce contradict Christ. So, with our free will, let’s keep Christ and reject that part of European civilization that embraces Easter paganism— and the commerce that profits from it. March 2016 The Positive Community
GOOD NEWS FROM THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
The Last Word thepositivecommunity.com March 2016
BY R.L. WITTER
Vol. 16, No. 3
WOMEN IN MARCH: HEAR THEM ROAR! Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.
Editor-in-Chief Jean Nash Wells Associate Editor R. L. Witter
Sales Angela Ridenour Adrian Council, Jr. NGS Communications, Inc. Satori MPR Marc Williams
Contributing Writers Mwandikaji K. Mwanafunzi g.r. mattox Patricia Baldwin Rev. Theresa Nance Glenda Cadogan Helene Fox Rev. Dr. Joanne Noel Photographers Bob Gore Wali A. Muhammad Seitu Oronde Rev. Dr. William L. Watkins, Jr. Darryl Hall Vincent Bryant Hubert Williams Brian Branch Price Karen Waters Art Direction & Layout Penguin Design Group Peter Gillo The Positive Community Corp. 133 Glenridge Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042 973-233-9200 Fax: 973-233-9201 Email: email@example.com Website: thepositivecommunity.com All contents © The Positve Community Corporation. All Rights Reserved. This publication, in whole or in part, may not be reproduced, stored in a computerized or other retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means whatsoever without the prior written permission of The Positive Community Corporation. Any opinions expressed herein are solely the opinions of the writer(s) and not necessarily those of The Positive CommunityTM, its management or staff. The Positive CommunityTM reserves the right to retain all materials and does not assume reponsibility for unsolicited materials.
58 The Positive Community
love the unpredictable nature of the month of March. Technically, she’s a winter month, and she often reminds us with cold days and whipping winds. But sometimes, she gives us a peek at spring with warm, bright days peppered with bulbs and blossoms. She reminds us of the renewal spring promises annually, but we still never really know what we’re going to get until we get it. March is also Women’s History Month. I find it apropos, being that women are varied and can be unpredictable, too. Women are anything but homogenous. We come in all shades, shapes, and sizes; and no two of us are exactly the same. Some of us will take the lion’s approach, others the lamb’s. But we all have challenges to face and obstacles to overcome, nonetheless. This month there are several women in the news for varying reasons. Once again, as we did eight years ago, the country is debating the election of a female president. Yes, Hillary Clinton is campaigning for the highest office in the land and regardless of her experience, her plans, or her resolve, the fact that she is a woman is still a factor. We’ve come a long way from just being the fairer sex and damsels in distress. World leaders like Angela Merkel have been proven effective at governing; yet that second X chromosome is still an issue of question. What really gets me is that we’ve had more than 40 men serve as President, but the idea of one woman having a chance at the presidency is cause for alarm and analysis. A woman might be too soft, too emotional, not calculating and strong enough. That takes me to another woman in the news, Serena Williams. After more than 20 years in professional tennis, she’s still in the top rankings. Heralded as possibly the greatest tennis player ever—of either sex—she’s still thrilling us both on and off the
courts with her #BlackGirlMagic! But still, Serena is criticized for not being feminine enough according to some people. Those people say she’s too muscular and masculine. Funny, but I’ve never looked at Serena’s curves and thought “mannish.” And whenever her name and figure come up in conversation, other women envy her figure and aspire to be remotely similar. Speaking of envy and aspirations, this month the world found out that Maria Sharapova —the blonde bombshell touted as one of Williams’ greatest rivals, yet has lost to Williams 18 times— tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). The media has thus far been kind to Sharapova, sympathetic even as the substance she’s been taking for more than 10 years was only banned in 2016. I, on the other hand, can’t help but wonder how Serena would have been treated had she tested positive for PEDs. I imagine she’d be banned from the sport and her titles stripped from her. Thankfully, that is not the case. And to be honest, part of me snickers that even with PEDs, Sharapova struggled and failed to best Serena. Not to bash my sisters in womanhood, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one more newsworthy blonde woman, Erin Andrews. Andrews was awarded $55 million in a lawsuit for having been photographed nude through a hotel room peephole. There were no physical injuries; she didn’t even realize it had happened until the photos hit the internet. But her emotional distress was worth $55 million. I’m wondering how the families of Sandra Bland, Kindra Chapman, Joyce Curnell, Ralkina Jones and Raynette Turner—all black women who died in police custody— are feeling about that… But perhaps next spring will bring renewal, and with it, justice. thepositivecommunity.com
2016 Saturday, May 7th Mother's Day Weekend
Competition 4:00pm Stars 6:30pm
Donnie McClurkin Jennifer Holliday Bishop Hezekiah Walker & LFC
Tye Tribbett Shirley Caesar
Karen Clark Sheard courtesy of the McDonald’s ICGT
To purchase tickets call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, go to www.ticketmaster.com or call the Prudential Center box office at 973-757-6600.
Celebrating Women! NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray Healing the City