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™ March 2017


Celebrating Women

HIDDEN NO MORE! Meet Linda Cureton Sabrina Thompson Yoli Stencil Cheryl McCants Terri Haskins Mary Jackson 1921–2005

Also Meet Winsome McLean-Davis Marty Gillis Marilyn Harris Marjorie Perry Michelle Stelle

Dorothy Vaughn 1910–2008

Katherine Johnson 1918–

CULTURE Spring into action... experience the magic of live performance! Trevor Noah Friday, March 31 Late Show Added! The host of Comedy Central’s Emmy-winning The Daily Show makes his NJPAC debut!

Munich Philharmonic

Valery Gergiev, conductor Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano Sunday, April 2 at 7pm Strauss: Don Juan Ravel: Piano Concerto in D (for the Left Hand) Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”)

Swan Lake

Moscow Festival Ballet Saturday, April 15 at 8pm A glorious must-see for ballet aficionados and newcomers alike.

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash Live! Thursday, April 27 at 6pm An action-packed live show featuring your favorite characters as life-size puppets and costume characters!

Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds: The Final Performances

John Steptoe’s Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

Al Jardine & Blondie Chaplain

Saturday, May 6 at 2pm A thrilling adaptation of John Steptoe’s tale of mystical Africa

with special guests

Friday, April 28 at 8pm Brian Wilson performs his Pet Sounds LP in a live concert event!

Yannick Lebrun. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Coming this April—Wayne Shorter Weekend!

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

2nd Annual Mother’s Day Good Music Festival

Will Downing Mother’s Day Celebration

Friday, May 12 at 8pm Saturday, May 13 at 8pm Sunday, May 14 at 3pm 3 NJ Premieres: Untitled America, Ella and r-Evolution, Dream.

Friday, May 12 at 8pm Tyrese, Anthony Hamilton, Kem, Brandy and special guest Major. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center

Saturday, May 13 at 7:30pm Sunday, May 14 at 7pm Celebrate Mother’s Day with one of the greatest voices in R&B!

Esperanza Spalding

Wayne Shorter

April 21-23

Featuring Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride, Joe Lovano and more!



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SECTIONS MONEY ...................................12 HEALTH...................................20 EDUCATION.............................28 CULTURE ................................48


39 ON THE COVER: On the cover: Inspired by the blockbuster film Hidden Figures (starring Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer), we shine a light on women making moves and doing big things in science, technology, and business in a special section on pages 39-47

&also inside

Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Wealth Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Fitness Doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Gospel Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 4

The Positive Community

March 2017

Wells Fargo: $60 Million for Black Homeownership..12 Final Power Breakfast at the Newark Club...... 13 Inez Dickens Inauguration.............................. 15 Walk to Washington on Amtrak........................16 United Airline Celebrates Black History............18 Black History Month at Newark Beth...............20 100 Black Women Go Red..............................21 Pint-Sized Newark Pastor Has Giant Spirit......22 Mentoring in Medicine Expo...........................28 NJ Legacy Foundation Juneteenth Preview......30 Black History is American History....................32 Black History in Staten Island: Mind, Body, & Soul...33 GBC Black History Gala...................................34 Rev. Bernard E. Johnson Installed...................36 NASA’s First Black Female CIO.........................40 An Unhidden Figure at NASA...........................42 Verizon's Yoli Stancil is Ready to Lead............44 PR Guru Cheryl McCants Handles Everything....45 Designer on Fire in Newark & Elsewhere..........46 Catholic Black History Month Mass.................48 Antioch BC Celebrates Pastoral Anniversary.....49 Positive Music Matters Fish Fry.......................52


New Jersey residents, learn how you can get


If you live in New Jersey and have both Medicare and full Medicaid, you may qualify for the UnitedHealthcare Dual Complete® ONE (HMO SNP) plan. It’s a plan that offers more benefits than Original Medicare, including: Health Products Debit Card Up to $564 in credits to buy things you may need.

Health Products Catalog Up to $700 in credits to buy things you may need.

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8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a contract with the State Medicaid Program. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. This plan is available to anyone who has both Medicare and full Medicaid benefits. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change on January 1 of each year. Premiums are covered for enrollees of UnitedHealthcare Dual Complete ONE (HMO SNP). Members must use network plan providers, pharmacies, and DME (Durable Medical Equipment) suppliers. Members will be enrolled into Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage under the plan and will be automatically disenrolled from any other Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-855-277-4716 (TTY: 711). 1-855-277-4716 (TTY: 711). Consult a health care professional before beginning any exercise program. Availability of the SilverSneakers program varies by plan/market. Refer to your Evidence of Coverage for more details. Healthways and SilverSneakers are registered trademarks of Healthways, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. ©2016 Healthways, Inc. All rights reserved. Y0066_161213_104149 Accepted H3113-005_CST12290

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The 14Th AnnuAl

wednesdAY, April 19, 2017 mAndArin orienTAl new York 80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street New York, NY 10023

Reception - 6:00 PM Dinner - 7:00 PM The BoArd of TrusTees of

new York TheologicAl seminArY is honored and pleased to present the

2017 urBAn Angel AwArdees

Bishop Yvette Flunder

Elder David Kwon

Founder and Senior Pastor City of Refuge UCC Oakland, CA

President and CEO Chemtech International, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ

The Rev. Michael L. Lindvall and The Brick Presbyterian Church in the City of New York New York, NY

For additional information, visit or contact Sontaia Briggs at 212-870-1257; or e-mail:

NYTS | 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500, New York, NY 10115 | (T) 212-870-1211 | (F) 212-870-1236 |








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

Mount Calvary United Methodist Church, New York, NY Rev. Francis Kairson, Pastor

Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn NY Rev. Anthony Trufant, Pastor

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

Empire Missionary B.C., Convention NY Rev. Dr. Ronald Grant, President

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

Aenon Baptist Church, Vauxhall NJ Rev Alphonso Williams, Sr Pastor

Fellowship Missionary B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elton T. Byrd Pastor/Founder

Agape Christian Ministries Worship Ctr. Rev. Craig R. Jackson. Pastor

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

Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, Pastor

Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor

First Baptist Church, East Elmhurst, NY Rev Patrick Henry Young, Pastor

Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Office of Black Ministry

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

Berean B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor

First Corinthian Baptist Church, NY Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr. Senior Pastor

Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Adolphus C. Lacey, Sr. Pastor

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

Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Timothy E. Jones, Pastor

Friendship Baptist Church, Rahway, NJ Rev. Allen Thompson, Jr., Pastor

Beulah Bible Cathedral Church, Newark, NJ Gerald Lydell Dickson, Senior Pastor

General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, Jr., Presiden

Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor

Good Neighbor Baptist Church Rev. Dr. George A. Blackwell, III, Pastor

Calvary Baptist Church, Morristown, NJ Rev. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., Pastor

Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor

Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem, NY Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor

Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark, NJ Rev. Allen Potts, Senior Pastor

Abyssinian B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor Abyssinian B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, Pastor Abundant Life Fellowship COGIC, Newark, NJ Supt. Edward Bohannon, Jr, Pastor

Mount Zion Baptist Church, Westwood, NJ Rev. Barry R. Miller, Pastor Mt. Olivet B.C, Newark, NJ Rev. André W. Milteer, Pastor Mt. Zion AME Church, Trenton, NJ Rev. J. Stanley Justice, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ Rev. Dr. Ronald L. Owens, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Dr. Frances Mannin-Fontaine, Pastor New Jerusalem Worship Center, Jamaica, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin Rice, Senior Pastor New Life Cathedral, Mt. Holly, NJ Rev. Eric Wallace, Pastor New Zion B.C., Elizabeth, NJ Rev. Kevin James White, Pastor Paradise B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Jethro James, Pastor

Canaan B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Barry L. Graham, Pastor

Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor

Cathedral International., Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor

Park Ave Christian Disciples of Christ, East Orange, NJ Rev. Harriet Wallace, Pastor

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Malcolm A. Punter, President & CEO

Pilgrim B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Glenn Wilson, Pastor

Charity Baptist Church, Bronx, NY Rev. Reginald Williams, Pastor

Imani Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev.Chuch Chamberlayne, Pastor

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

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

Christian Love B.C., Irvington, NJ Rev. Dr. Ronald Christian, Pastor

Macedonia Baptist Church, Lakewood, NJ Dr. Edward D. Harper, Pastor

Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Sheila Thorpe, Pastor

Mariners’ Temple B.C., New York, NY Rev. Dr. Henrietta Carter, Pastor

Shiloh B.C., Trenton, NJ Rev. Darell Armstrong, Pastor

Messiah Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT Rev. James Logan, Pastor

St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Dr. Ben Monroe, Pastor

Clear View Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Eric M. Beckham, M.Div., MFT Community B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor, Pastor Community Church of God, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie., Pastor Emeritus Concord B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Pastor

Messiah Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev. Dana Owens, Pastor Metropolitan B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor

Ruth Fellowship Ministries, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracey Brown, Pastor Shiloh AME Zion Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. John D. Givens, Pastor

St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper, Pastor St. John Baptist Church, Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor

St. Luke Baptist Church of Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie McCann, Pastor St Luke B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Pastor St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter, Pastor St. Paul Baptist, Red Bank, NJ Rev. Alexander Brown, Pastor St. Mark Missionary B.C., Jamaica, NY Rev. Owen E. Williams, Pastor St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Dr. Lanel D. Guyton, Pastor St. Paul's B.C., Montclair, NJ Rev. Dr. Bernadette Glover, Pastor St. Paul Community B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor The New Hope B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Joe Carter, Senior Pastor Union Baptist Temple,, Bridgeton, NJ Rev. Albert L. Morgan, Pastor Walker Memorial B.C. Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush Sr., Pastor Welcome Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elijah C.Williams, Pastor World Gospel Music Assoc., Newark, NJ Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder

Businesses & Organizations 125th St. BID City National Bank Essex County College, NJ Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Marion P. Thomas Charter School Mildred Crump, Newark City Council Muslim American Chamber of Commerce NAACP New Jersey* NAACP, NY State Conference* New Brunswick Theological Seminary New Jersey Performing Arts Center New York Theological Seminary NobleNNJ Nubian Conservatory of Music Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center for Research The College of New Rochelle United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc.

“The Positive Community magazine does outstanding work in promoting the good works of the Black Church. All churches and businesses should subscribe to and advertise in The Positive Community. Please support this magazine, the only one that features good news about the black community.”—Rev. Buster Soaries, General Baptist Revival, May 20, 2010


Jean Nash Wells, Editor-in-chief, The Positive Community

Hidden No More y now, almost everyone has heard of the award-winning film Hidden Figures. Inspired by true events, the film tells the heretofore unknown story of three black women who were instrumental in the success of NASA’s Mercury Project and several others. Thanks to the success of the film, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson are no longer unsung heroines. Today, their names and accomplishments are known by millions of people, as is the fact that there were many African-American women “computers” who worked at NASA and helped America claim victory in the great space race. And let us not overlook the fact that black women have been instrumental in many other parts of American history and progress, despite little-to-no acknowledgement throughout the years. A look at entertainment, beauty, fashion, and art reveals scores of black women at the forefront. The most popular entertainers in the world include two sistahs right at the top, and they’ve both been there for years. Beyoncé and Rihanna have sold hundreds of millions of records and won 30 GRAMMY® awards between them. Both are also widely considered both beauty and fashion icons. Meanwhile, THE prima ballerina of ballet is none other than Misty Copeland. With every leap, plié, and pirouette, Copeland weaves black girl magic and earns both praise and gasps of delight. Literature is also on lock thanks to black women. Michelle Alexander, Alice Walker, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are just a few of the current black female authors currently being noticed and lauded for their writing, and an honorable mention goes out to Oprah Winfrey, whose book club is credited with bringing many black women writers to national and worldwide attention. But if we step away from Hollywood, book and music sales, and the like—there are even more women who have shaped our society and our world, and yet remain virtually unknown, unsung heroines. These sistahs have impacted our lives in ways many of us take for granted. One such woman was Josephine Hulett. A single mother after being divorced, Hulett, as did many black women,


8 The Positive Community

March 2017

worked as a “domestic” —a maid, cook, babysitter, and basically a personal assistant who saw to the day-to-day affairs of a household for women (primarily white) who could afford assistance (light was shone upon these women in the 2011 film The Help). After being mistreated and cheated by employers, Hulett organized a domestic workers’ rights group in Ohio, and eventually became a field organizer for the National Committee on Household Employment. She shared personal stories from more than 20 years of domestic work; stories of working 16-hour days, no holidays or vacations, meager wages, and inscrutable behavior by employers such as moving away without notice or severance. Better to leave Hulett and countless others unemployed and in distress than to risk her lining up a new job and leaving an employer before they would like. Hulett traveled the country sharing her own experiences and listening and sharing the stories of others as well. Eventually, the courage and dedication of Hulett and other women like her resulted in amendments to the 1974 Fair Labor Standards Act. For the first time in more than 40 years, American domestic workers, who had been denied fair pay, Social Security benefits, and vacation time (paid or unpaid), were guaranteed minimum wage. Yes, 1974; until just over 40 years ago, domestic work —the primary field for black women in America for nearly 100 years— was exempted from basic workers’ rights standards and pay. We’ve come a long way as black people and as women. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and all of the accomplishments of corporate leaders, politicians, entrepreneurs, and others, let’s also remember the women whose accomplishments might not seem quite as glamorous or impressive. Without their strides on tired legs and sore feet connecting to aching backs, we would not have made it this far.

Verizon congratulates Yoli Stancil. Congratulations to Yoli Stancil on her promotion to Verizon’s Regional President for MidAtlantic North. Yoli leads an organization of over 4,000 employees serving core, Fios and Special Service customers in New Jersey, Delaware, and eastern Pennsylvania. Her team is tasked with delivering excellent customer service, gaining share from our competition, growing revenue, increasing margin and introducing today’s latest innovative technology. It’s simple, it’s all about the customer. Yoli was recently recognized by Working Mother magazine as one of the “Top 50 Working Mothers of the Year.”

For more information on NJ SHARES just call at 1-888-337-3339 or visit

Better matters.


Rev. Nance is pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Passaic, NJ. She is also a radio talk show host and documentary filmmaker.

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar he month of March has been compared to both a lion and a lamb, but it can often be like a woman’s changing temperament. It can be blustery, whipping us around with its turbulent winds, or it can be a soothing, calming breeze brushing against one’s cheek ever so lightly. To liken women to the month of March offered this writer an opportunity to snatch some poetic license for this column, which is designed to highlight Women’s History Month. Unlike the previous month, we have more than 28 days to express our delight and sometimes surprise at the many marvelous accomplishments performed by the so-called weaker sex. That women are often referred to as the weaker sex is laughable. I have actually laughed out loud at the mere thought of men attempting to endure the pain of childbirth. Women often do what men do backwards, so to speak, and in heels, to borrow a line from a journalist who lauded Ginger Rogers for her ability to keep up with her dancing partner, Fred Astaire, in those terrific MGM movies of the 1930s. Well, the “sistahs” still do what they do under tremendous pressure where the word parity is sometimes discussed and oftentimes offered in the boardrooms of the ol’ boys’ network only. “Life for Me Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair. Still, they keep a’ climbin’,” as poet Langston Hughes’ character reminded her son in his classic poem Mother to Son. And, so do many of us. Are things better than they used to be? Well, it all depends on who’s talking. Actor Jennifer Lawrence griped because she reportedly said she did not receive salary parity in her role in the popular movie American Hustle. Then you look at other great thespians like Taraji Henson, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer and they may even make less than Lawrence, simply because they are black and female. Should we be happy because many women black, white, and other are coming into their own? Of course. But it’s too bad it has taken so long to get just a portion of what was due us. Imagine if we had had a truly equal playing field. Women have scaled great heights. Who isn’t proud of Oprah Winfrey or Cathy Hughes, who was recently immortalized by having the telecommunications department of


10 The Positive Community

March 2017

Howard University named after her? Serena Williams, who keeps slamming those tennis balls faster than a cat can wink its eye, is extraordinary. No, not just because of her athletic prowess —there are many great athletes. It’s because of the way both she and her sister Venus carry themselves. They are a credit to their race—the human race—as a journalist once said about Joe Louis, “The Brown Bomber.” No, Hillary Clinton didn’t become the first female president of these United States. But she came closer than any other woman has thus far, and there’s still time for another woman to break that glass ceiling. Fret not. As black women, we must be especially proud of the accomplishments we’ve witnessed and experienced. For many, being black and female has been a double-edged sword. Still, many are as tough as nails and as determined as any of our male counterparts. We’re making strides and inroads daily in myriad fields. It’s simply a matter of time now. And, because of this indisputable truth, the world itself has not yet seen what is about to come from the minds of women who will forge ahead simply because they have no other choice. We’ve always made a way out of no way; the future will simply be more of the same efforts and triumphs.




800.876.9225 1 SOUTH BOULEVARD NYACK, NY 10960



$60 Billion for African American Homeownership Brad Blackwell

Marc Morial

Ron Cooper

Wells Fargo to create a projected 250,000 new homeowners in 10 years


omeownership has become an indispensable part of being a full participant in American society,” said National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial. “An erosion of homeownership rates among African Americans represents not only a devastating financial loss, but a barrier to full participation in the American dream.” To help change the downward direction, the National Urban League (NUL), NAACP, and National Association of Real Estate Brookers (NAREB) have applauded the recent announcement by Wells Fargo & Company that the bank is committing a whopping $60 billion to create at least 250,000 new African American homeowners by 2027. The company’s commitment is a direct action to address the lower homeownership rates in the African American community and follows Wells Fargo’s announcement to address Hispanic homeownership rates in 2015. Wells Fargo’s commitment seeks to: • Lend $60 billion to qualified African American consumers for home purchases by 2027, • Increase the diversity of the Wells Fargo Home Lending sales team, and • Support the effort with $15 million to support a variety of initiatives that promote financial education and counseling over the next ten years. “Wells Fargo’s $60 billion lending goal can contribute to economic growth by making responsible homeowner-


The Positive Community

March 2017

ship possible for more African Americans in communities across the country,” said Brad Blackwell, executive vice president and head of housing policy and homeownership growth strategies for Wells Fargo. “And, we are grateful for the support of key housing and civil rights organizations, who work alongside us to increase economic prosperity in our communities.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by the year 2024, 75 percent of the expected 14 million new households (renters and owners) in the U.S. will be diverse. African Americans are projected to represent 17 percent, or the third largest segment, of the new households. “NAREB applauds Wells Fargo’s $60 billion loan commitment. The bank is the first financial institution to acknowledge publicly black Americans’ wealth-building potential which could be greatly improved through homeownership,” said Ron Cooper, president, of NAREB. “We welcome their entry into the struggle to close the wealth gap and look forward to having Wells Fargo as a partner in NAREB’s ‘2 Million New Black Homeowners in 5 Years’ program. Let us all work together and grow this initiative, which represents a solid and meaningful start for more black Americans to become homeowners and wealth-builders.” The African American lending commitment is the second initiative from the company’s Housing Policy and Homeownership Growth Strategies group, a Wells Fargo Home Lending team advancing homeownership for

Final POWER BREAKFAST At the Newark Club L–R: Charlene Simpson, Laurana Edwards, and TraceyLynn Counts


L–R: Don Viapree, Mayarani Smith, and Andrew Frazier

eatured guest speaker, Don Viapree shares his “Connecting the Dots for Success in Life and Business,” philosophy with attendees at the Power Breakfast at the Newark Club on February 15, 2017. A workshop “Marketing Your Small Business Like A Pro,” was facilitated by Laurana Edwards. Panelists were Charlene Simpson and Tracey Lynn Counts. The popular networking and informational Power Breakfast, a project of Andrew Frazier, president & COO of A & J Management, has held the quarterly sessions at the Newark Club for a number of years. One of the last events to be held at the now closed venue, Power Breakfast fans are anxiously awaiting details for the site of the next event.

norities, first-time homebuyers, and low- to moderate-income customers. In 2015, the team announced an agreement with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals to support their Hispanic Wealth Project. Wells Fargo has learned through a series of consumer surveys with Ipsos Public Affairs that African Americans view homeownership positively. According to the 2016 survey, 90 percent of African Americans say homeownership is a “dream come true,” 79 percent say it’s essential for building families, and 51 percent are considering buying a home in the next two years. Wells Fargo offers a number of home financing choices for a wide range of homebuying needs. For example, yourFirst MortgageSM has a homebuyer education incentive and offers a down payment as low as 3 percent for fixed-rate loans; for veterans, a VA loan requires no down payment; and Wells Fargo is the exclusive provider of the Union Plus mortgage program, which offers benefits for most union members and their families. There are also low down payment options for jumbo loan customers. The Neighborhood LIFT program, celebrating its 50th event on March 3, 2017, offers down payment assistance and homebuyer education to low- and moderate-income homebuyers, and has created more than 13,000 homeowners since 2012. There are still LIFT dollars available in some markets. Learn more at For more information or to speak with a home mortgage consultant, consumers can call 1-877-937-9357.

HEAVY CIVIL CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES Current Projects • Ashford Avenue Bridge • Fulton Avenue Bridge • Poplar Point Pump Station • Station Component Repairs at 4 Stations on the Jamaica Line • Platform F at Jamaica Station • Renewal of 7 Stations, New Lots Line (IRT) Ashford Avenue Bridge

• 151st Street Pedestrian Bridge

E.E. Cruz welcomes the participation of disadvantaged, minority and womanowned (D/M/WBE) businesses on all of its projects. E.E. Cruz also recruits minority and female union workers including teamsters, operators, carpenters and ironworkers. For all projects, we are looking for highly qualified M/W union workers and D/M/ WBE subcontractors and vendors certified for heavy civil construction.   If you are an M/W union worker or you are a federal, state, or city certified D/M/ WBE company involved in heavy civil construction work, please contact us at (212) 431-3993 or   E.E. Cruz is an equal opportunity employer and follows a policy of administering all employment decisions without regard to race, gender, religion, or sexual preference.

March 2017 The Positive Community



Rev. Dr. Charles Butler is the VP of Equitable Development, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI).

THE WORD Demands Studious Effort n Matthew 3:16 - 4:1 Jesus has just been baptized. The Spirit of God descended upon Him. A voice from heaven proclaimed, “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. After fasting 40 days and 40 nights, the enemy watched and waited for an opening to attack. He knew Jesus was hungry. He assumed Jesus would be spiritually weak. He figured Jesus was in no position to exercise sound mind and would fall into an alluring trap. The trap was to entice Jesus to sin against God. The enemy knew if he could get the Messiah to sin, then He could not become the sacrificial Lamb of God. His blood would be insufficient to wash away our sins. His death on the cross would be irrelevant. There would be no hope for the world. All humanity would remain lost in the darkness, eternally separated from God. We would have no way to be redeemed. Spiritual wealth building would not exist. Jesus, however, was up for this battle. His focus was laser sharp. The enemy starts with challenging Jesus’ deity and suggests, “if you are the Son of God, change the stones into bread.” But Jesus uses the Word of God as His defense and quotes a passage of scripture from Deuteronomy 8:3, “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The enemy quickly switches his attack and takes Jesus to the Holy city and places Him on the top of the temple. He then pulls out a scriptural reference from his arsenal to bait Jesus into jumping off the pinnacle and conveniently misquotes Psalms 91:11-12. He states, “If you are the Son of God cast yourself down,” for it is written: “He shall give His angels charge concerning thee and in their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” However, he left out the most important part of that verse which reads, “for He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Jesus again uses scripture to defend on this attack and quotes from Deuteronomy 6:16, which reads, “you shall


14 The Positive Community

March 2017

not tempt the Lord your God.” The enemy has one final trick. He takes Jesus to an exceedingly high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and promises them to Him, if He will only bow down and worship him. Again, Jesus uses scripture to fight off this attack. He said, “Get behind me satan,” and quoted from Deuteronomy 6:13, “thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall you serve.” The scripture reports the enemy departed from Him. Biblical literacy in our churches is at an all-time low. No one wants to put in the work to study God’s word. By not studying the Word of God, we are playing right into the enemy’s hands. He loves lazy Christians. You have no defensive strategy to fight him off. Psalms 119:11 said, “thy word I have hid in my heart so I might not sin against thee.” The Apostle Paul says in 2nd Timothy 2:15, “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman need not be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of truth.” We must get serious about studying the Word of God. It’s bad when the enemy knows more scripture than the body of Christ. These are troubling times, do not take the Word of God for granted.

Photos: Bruce Moore

L–R: Rev. Carl Washington, Inez Dickens, Rev. Dr. Shon T. Adkins, and Rev. Dr. Richard Chappell

L–R: Judge Tanya R. Kennedy and Inez E. Dickens, Assemblywoman, 70th Assembly District, NYS.

Inez Dickens Inauguration

L–R: Ricardo Aguirre, Esq.; Inez Dickens; former Congressman Charles B. Rangel; and former mayor, David Dinkins


undreds of friends, colleagues, and well-wishers packed into the auditorium at Harlem Hospital to witness the inauguration of life-long Harlem resident and former NYC Councilwoman Inez Dickens. The inauguration featured a who’s who in Uptown social, political and business life! Mistress of Ceremony Tina McCray opened the program with welcomes and greetings; the National Anthem was performed by Ahmaya Knoelle Higginson, Jackie Rowe Adams sang the Negro National Anthem. The invocation was delivered by Rev. Shon Atkins, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, Harlem. Next came a stream of dignitaries: U.S Senator Charles E. Schumer; Mayor David Dinkins; NYS Assembly Speaker

L–R: Lloyd Douglas, Michael J. Garner, Doug E. Fresh, Lloyd Williams, Daniel Paterson, Donald James, and former Governor David Paterson

Carl Hastie; Democratic County Leader Keith LT Wright; NYC Public Advocate Letitia James; Hon. Hazel Dukes, NAACP; Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.; NYC Councilmember Annabel Palma; Lloyd Williams, CEO, Greater Harlem of Commerce; Lesha Sekou, CEO Street Corner Resources; and former Congressman Charles B. Rangel all gave congratulatory remarks. The oath of office was administered by New York State Supreme Court Justice Tanya Kennedy. Assembly member Inez Dickens delivered a heartfelt message of thanks to all. The benediction was delivered by Iman Izak-El M. Pasha of Majid Malcolm Shabazz, House of Worship. March 2017 The Positive Community


NJ Gubernatorial Candidate Phil Murphy, and Dr. Susan A. Cole, Ph.D., president, Montclair State University NJ Senator Ronald Rice and Regional President Verizon MidAtlantic North, Yoli Stancil

L–R; Yoli Stancil; Essex County Executive Joseph DiVencenzo; and Leecia Eve, senior VP, Verizon of staff, Montclair State University L–R: Shante Palmer, VP Capital Impact; Lolita Cruz, chief of State Assemblyman for Tom Giblin; Shivaun Gaines, Dir. Government Relations MSU; and Sarah Jones, government affairs BCBS.

L–R: Mayor Lester Taylor, East Orange, NJ and Rev. Tracey l. Brown, pastor, Ruth Fellowship Ministries

Walk to Washington on Amtrak Movers & Shakers Mingle


t began in 1937 when several of the state’s top business executives decided to take a train to Washington and meet with members of the New Jersey congressional delegation. Today the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce charters an Amtrak train and as many as 1,000 corporate, small business, and government leaders hop aboard to take what has become the “Walk to Washington.” According to the NJ Chamber of Commerce website, the purpose of the event is for

attendees to mingle with the state’s movers and shakers and make connections that will help businesses grow and succeed. The train departs from Penn Station following breakfast at the Newark Gateway Hilton Hotel sponsored by Verizon, where the networking begins. There are stops along the way picking up more travelers, and riders walk through the 13 private cars to meet and greet the captive politicians and corporate leaders in a rather fun, informal way and at least

begin the machinations of a deal or two. Hosted by the NJ Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by some of New Jersey largest corporations the train arrives in Washington, DC around 3:30 pm. A grand reception is followed by a dinner honoring New Jersey’s congressional delegation. Those who wish to can attend a number of after-dinner parties and hospitality suites. The train departs for the ride back to New Jersey at 11:45 a.m. and arrives in Newark in time for dinner. —JNW Photos: Vincent Bryant

Samuel Delgado, Verizon, VP External Affairs; Yolanda (Yoli) Stancil, regional president Operations; Leecia Eve, EVP State Government Affairs, NJ, NY, CT; Carol Dam, general manager, Verizon Business; Cheryl Abdu-Salaam, external affairs manager; Loretta O’Neill, executive secretary, NJ, NY, CT; and Doug Schoenberger, director, Verizon, State Government Affairs of staff, Montclair State University


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March 2017

L–R: Dennis M. Bone, former president, Verizon; Tom Simpson, Montclair State, building code official; and Keith D. Barrack, chief of staff, Montclair State University

Sean Conner, Uber, Public Affairs and Craig Ewer, Uber, Communications


arjorie Perry is the president and CEO of MZM Construction & Management Company, Inc. She is also an innovator, public speaker, writer and role model for women and minorities in business. Using her extraordinary path to success and 26 years of experience as fodder for inspiration, Perry finds her calling to be motivating nascent entrepreneurs to develop and pursue their dreams. Perry’s own success meant taking life’s lemons and making lemonade. Trained as an educator with a B.A. from Kean College, Perry’s path in teaching was diverted after she was caught in a series of layoffs with the Newark Public School system. In a fortuitous career move, she decided to try her luck in sales and marketing—an uncalculated fit. She went on to work for corporate giants 3M, Johnson & Johnson and United Airlines, ultimately cultivating a burgeoning vision for a life as a selfmade entrepreneur.

Marjorie Perry

Perry launched a consulting company focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed in the marketplace. Resourceful and open to possibility, it wasn’t long before she and two partners founded MZM Construction & Management. Soon after, she became sole principal of the company, which has sustained a multi-million dollar bottom line for the last 24 years. Perry is now a coveted inspirational speaker and writer, motivating people with the message that, “You, too, can do it!” She has spoken throughout the United States on women in business and at small business conferences on how to navigate while playing in shark filled waters. Perry excelled in receiving her MBA in finance from NJIT with additional coursework at Rutgers, Stevens, NYU and NJIT and completed Leadership for the 21st Century at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. She completed a finance certification program in 2016.

Majorie Perry President & CEO

March 2017 The Positive Community


United Airlines Black History Program


nited Airlines commemorated Black History Month during a month-long Diversity Program honoring Black Americans in Aviation. From food to fashion, the arts, and entertainment, United personnel attended a number of different events to listen, learn, and network with fellow staff members. Myra McGill-Cobb, who has been organizing the Black History Month program for 20 years, put together a successful roster of participants including Andre Williamson; Sgt. Neno Morris; Jean Wells; Adrian Council; The Andrea Project; Nubian Gents; Feminine Fire Step Team; and Jeremy Johnson, executive director of the Newark Arts Council. Among the vendors featured on Madame C.J. Walker Vendor Day were Just the Right Touch Accessories, Jackie’s Jewels & Accessories, and others. Even the food vendors in the airport got involved with Giorgio’s Italian Ristorante and Mesan Tropical offering special menus and meal deals. —JNW

L–R: Myra McGill-Cobb; UA Representative Felicia Daniels; and Jeremy Johnson, executive director, Newark Arts Council

The theme for United’s Black History program annually is “Influenced by past generations, we have the power to build momentum to create a better tomorrow.” FRONT ROW; L–R: Toy Campbell, Sgt. Neno Morris, Myra McGill-Cobb, Jean Wells, Leslie Headley and Mary McDowell; BACK ROW; L-R: Tiera Williamson, Event DJ Frank Ross, Andre Williamson, Adrian Council, guest, UA Assistant Director Jackie, and Steven McCoy

The Andrea Project in performance


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March 2017

As the African American Committee chairperson, she helps to ensure that McDonald’s is speaking to the African American consumer in a relevant and compelling way

Marty Gillis


argaret Gillis, ‘Marty’ as everyone calls her, is the youngest of James and Aileen Gillis’ four children. Marty received a Bachelors of Arts in History and Education from Douglass College at Rutgers University and a Masters in Business Administration from Rutgers University Graduate School of Business.

After graduate school, she accepted an offer at Manufacturers Hanover Trust, now known as JP Morgan Chase, and worked her way up the ranks to become vice president. Feeling that she had hit the proverbial “glass ceiling” in her banking career, Marty decided to take her aspirations in another direction. She became a registered applicant in the McDonald’s Franchisee Training Program in 1991. She worked full-time by day at the bank and part-time at night and weekends at McDonalds’ restaurants with no pay, to train to become an owner/operator. In 1995 Gillis opened her first McDonald’s restaurant in Neptune, New Jersey. Today she owns eleven. An active member of the


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National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA), she is vice president of marketing and a member of the national executive board. The NBMOA’s mission is to assist African-Americans to be successful operators, vendors, and employees in the McDonald’s system. She is chairperson for the African American committee for OPNAD, a counsel of McDonald’s operators that works in concert with McDonald’s corporate staff on the McDonald’s national marketing plan. As the African American Committee chairperson, she helps to ensure that McDonald’s is speaking to the African American consumer in a relevant and compelling way. Marty has assisted the local police department with community outreach programs such as National Night Out. Among the organizations she supports are Little League, Pop Warner, Soccer League, and Girls Basketball teams. This year, her organization donated a total of 2,000 single subject notebooks to local schools. She welcomes school and organization fundraisers at all eleven locations and provides annual scholorships to her employees. Her alma maters, Delsea Regional High School, Douglass College of Rutgers University, and Rutgers University Graduate School of Business Management all receive scholarships each year. Her father’s high school motto “Strive not only to succeed, but to excel,” has served Marty well. March 2017 The Positive Community


Rev. William D. Watley, Ph.D. and Darrell Terry, Sr.

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

Black History Month at Newark Beth Hosted by President/CEO Darrell K. Terry

L-R Michellene Davis, Esq., EVP, RWJ-Barnabas Health and Rev. Marilyn Monroe-Harris, VP Community Relations

L–R: Newark Beth VP Rev. Marilyn Monroe Harris, Congressman Donald Payne, Sr., and President/CEO Darrell K. Terry, Sr.


ev. William D. Watley, Ph.D, pastor of Saint Philip African Methodist Episcopal Church, traveled from Atlanta, GA to serve as guest speaker at the annual Black History Month awards program at RWJ Barnabas Health – Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. Watley is the former pastor of Newark’s St. James A.M.E. Church. “Legacy of Strength” was the theme of the Friday, February 24, 2017 event. Founded more than 30 years ago by dedicated employee and community champion Alma Beatty, the celebration has evolved from a humble gathering of interested employees and residents to a month-long set of cultural and educational events. As part of the program, several employees received awards for showing their strength and putting forth extra efforts in their positions. They are: Khalilah Ismael, 20 The Positive Community March 2017

Women’s Health Center; Glenda Tappins-Britton, Human Resources; Rudy Estwick, Environmental Services; Nejlah Clark, MD, Emergency Department; and Compton James, Environmental Services. “Over the years, I’ve watched the Black History Month celebrations at Newark Beth Israel evolve into a vibrant reflection of our employees and a large portion of the community we serve,” said Darrell K. Terry, Sr., MHA, MPH, FACHE, who hosted the celebration as the hospital’s first African-American president and CEO. “Our hospital is truly a part of the fabric of Newark and we are proud to serve its residents in a variety of ways.” Terry assumed his position last spring after nearly 20 years with the RWJBarnabas Health system and a lifetime connection with the hospital. He was born at The Beth and raised just a few blocks away—JNW

100 Black Women “GO RED” Bergen/Passaic NCBW President Yvonne Witter

Janice G. Johnson and Angela Logan, actress and owner/founder of Mortgage Apple Cakes Co.

Promoting healthy lifestyles to reduce heart disease Photos: Karen Waters


dvocating on behalf of black women and girls to promote leadership development and gender equity in the area of health, education and economic empowerment is the mission of the National Coaltion of 100 Black Women (NCBW 100). In partnership with Englewood Hospital and Medical Center (EHMC), the NCBW 100 Bergan/Passaic chapter presented its 8th annual heart healthy wine tasting event in recognition of the Annual National Wear Red Day. Held in the Feriole Gallery at RHMC, this year’s event focused on the importance of organ donations, specifically in the African-American population. In addition to wine tasting, live jazz, refreshments, and door prizes, .information from the American Heart Association and heartfelt testimonies from African-American donor families on behalf of the NJ Sharing Network, made for an enjoyable and educational evening reinforcing the need for women to make healthier lifestyle and diet choices while taking action to reduce heart disease. A special presentation of $1,000 to the American Heart Association by the NCBW husbands showing their understanding and support of the effort to reduce and eliminate heart disease, the #1 killer of women. —JNW

L–R: Dr. Hazel Ryner, Kenneth Sadler, and Cecil Cates

Nicole and Rev. Darrell James

L–R: Traci Burgess, MD; Ketsia A. Sadler, Ed. D; Margaret Cammarieri, Regional VP Multicultural Initiatives & Heart Equity, American Heart Association; Paula Madison-Ryner, NCBW 100 Bergen/Passaic Health Chair; Stephanie Stokes; and Janice G. Johnson, NCBW 100 Bergen/ Passaic PR Chair

March 2017 The Positive Community


With a radiant smile and heart of gold, Pastor Osborne doesn’t take the time to fret over the genetic disorder that makes her bones so brittle she could break a rib if she sneezed too hard.

Pint Sized Newark Pastor With a Giant Spirit Bethel’s Leader Reaches the Lost At Any Cost


tanding only 4ft. 1 inch tall, Pastor Felicia Osborne has the heart of a giant. Born with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a rare bone disorder, this pintsized pastor lets nothing get in her way. With a radiant smile and heart of gold, Pastor Osborne doesn’t take the time to fret over the genetic disorder that makes her bones so brittle she could break a rib if she sneezed too hard. “I’m a walking miracle,” declared Pastor Osborne. A forearm crutch helps her balance and braces strengthen her legs. “I want Bethel to be a beacon of light in a dark place.” And it is! Her goal, in spite of the countless setbacks she has experienced along her journey, is to take back Newark’s roughest neighborhoods. Since taking over as the executive director and CEO of Bethel Counseling Services in 2013, Osborne has expanded the organization and started a much needed food pantry that relies on donations and the support of volunteers. She oversees three churches under the umbrella of Bethel Worldwide Love & Resource Outreach Ministries in Newark, New Jersey. “I’m on mission and just want to give back to my community,” Osborne stated. “Helping others and winning souls for the Lord, this is my purpose.” After a successful career as a senior metrics and reporting analyst with AT&T, Osborne changed gears to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor while completing a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling. When she joined Bethel Counseling 22

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Services to help her parents, Dr. Marian and Reginald Osborne, run the organization and the church, she answered a calling from God. She became Bethel’s pastor after her parents retired and moved to Florida two years ago. “Pastor Osborne is an inspiration to us all,” said Sarah Drinkard, who works closely to assist the “Little Giant” and runs the food pantry. “She will do everything in her power to help someone in need. She is phenomenal.” Inside Bethel’s safe haven, clients attend support groups; and while Bethel has grown into a community anchor over the years, Drinkard adds, the food pantry is facing a major financial challenge due to limited funding and shrinking food stamps. She says donations are crucial to ensure that services are continued. “Pastor Osborne’s vision is making a huge impact, and we need help,” she explained. “We are seeing way too many people going hungry.” Located at 63-65 Pierce Street in Newark’s South Ward, Bethel’s drug treatment center and church are beacons of hope to many, thanks to Pastor Osborne. Pastor Mary Hart, of the Bethel New Vision Outreach Ministries in Irvington, sees Osbourne as someone who is elevating others in leadership. “When you have the Holy Spirit, it directs your path and Pastor Osborne has a vision to expand. She is continuing the legacy of her parents. They would care for the hungry and feed people and pray for them just like Jesus. Now she is doing the same but shepherding others with great passion.”


Continued from previous page Pastor Hart, recently ordained by Osborne, believes that the “Little Giant” has been a catalyst and gives credit to her leadership for the church’s expansion to include satellite churches in Irvington, Paterson, and Atlanta. “I’m excited to see others in ministry grow and succeed,” said Osborne, Th.D., who is also a new chaplain. “There is so much work in our communities, and people need everything from fellowship to addiction services and prayer.” It’s not always an easy task to juggle management of the church, the drug treatment center her parents started, and oversee the three satellite churches, but Osborne doesn’t mind the sacrifices that are required. She credits God for her spunkiness, strength, and towering faith. “I’m blessed beyond words to be able to serve, I’m not into titles because only what you do for Christ shall last. Won’t he do it?” she chuckles. She says her parents have always encouraged her to keep the love of others alive as love remains the core of the Bethel mission. It’s no secret that her love for the Gospel and for people are a contagious force creating a gigantic ripple throughout the ministry. “That’s what life is all about, giving back,” says Pastor Osborne. “I want to love people just like the Messiah does and love comes in all packages, so I thank God for mine.” Caryl Lucas is a writer, coach, and speaker from Bloomfield, NJ. She is passionate about sharing stories about extraordinary people like the Little Giant.


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March 2017 The Positive Community


Michelle Steele Amida Care Member and Health Advocate


ichelle Steele is a Brooklyn native and Amida Care member who says her HIV diagnosis helped her take back her life in order to give back to others. Michelle was diagnosed with HIV soon after giving birth to her son in 1985. After her diagnosis and learning that her son was born HIV-negative, Michelle adopted a life motto of “I can do this,” and took the initiative to learn as much as she could about HIV.

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March 2017

Through joining Amida Care, New York’s largest Special Needs Health Plan (SNP) for people living with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS and behavioral health disorders, Michelle was empowered to take control of her health. Each member at Amida Care is assigned to an Integrated Care Team (ICT) of health professionals who design and oversee individualized care plans that support members’ unique health needs and goals. The ICT also works closely with members to help them address non-medical needs that may impact their health, such as housing, legal concerns, job training, and transportation. People with complex health conditions need access to providers with specialized knowledge, and Michelle was able to utilize Amida Care’s wide network of top health care providers. Michelle learned to advocate for herself during her regular doctor visits and adhere to her HIV treatment so she could achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load and stay well. Michelle overcame drug addiction and has been living with HIV for over 31 years without being hospitalized once. Michelle participates in Amida Care’s member Town Hall meetings and has served on Amida Care’s Member Advisory Council (MAC), a group that voices the concerns and needs of plan members. The MAC regularly provides feedback to Amida Care to ensure members’ needs are being met and helps leadership improve programs and services. Michelle is dedicated to helping others understand they are not alone after being diagnosed with HIV and that they can ultimately lead a happy and healthy life. She successfully completed Amida Care’s Workforce Initiative Network (WIN) program, which trains members for jobs in health navigation and outreach. During the six-week workforce development program, Michelle learned to use her life experience to help people living with HIV become virally suppressed and to help those most at risk of HIV infection remain HIV negative. “I look forward to showing people I come in contact with some motherly love,” she says.

Winsome McLean-Davis Excellence in Leadership At The Allure Group’s Harlem Center For Nursing And Rehabilitation


insome McLean-Davis, born in Jamaica, West Indies came to the U.S. in 1981 and attended Howard University. Soon after, Winsome began her career in healthcare as a hospital Social Worker. Winsome has since risen through the healthcare community to become the administrator for The Allure Group’s Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. Winsome’s ability to lead and inspire has helped transform the nature of sub-acute care in the Harlem community. In 2014, Winsome received the Caribbean Healthcare Leadership award. This award is given to Caribbean American leaders who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the healthcare industry. In 2016, Winsome was the recipient of the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) Award for Leadership Excellence. ACHCA uses Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data for the prior three years to identity top performing facilities nationwide. Winsome was recognized by virtue of CMS quality indicators at her facility. The ACHCA award is a direct reflection of Winsome’s excellence in leadership at The Allure Group’s Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. “Winsome’s commitment to optimizing patient outcomes benefits not just Harlem Center, but the community in which the center serves,” says The Allure Group’s COO, Melissa Powell.


MAKING HARLEM STRONG Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation provides outstanding short-term rehabilitation programs and an array of customized treatment programs designed to get you back on your feet after a hospital stay.

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March 2017 The Positive Community


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 or call 732-921-3746.

No One Compares f a picture is worth a thousand words, think about what that means when it comes to the glamorous, idealized celebrity images that are so often sent out through mass media. It’s easy to compare ourselves against these images, but we should not. Many of those we see looking so perfect are paid professionals who make a living being in front of the camera and have their images created by others. This is not the case for most of us—especially the wonderful women who make up our community. As a fitness coach and counselor, I have an opportunity to help some of the most powerful, successful, intelligent, and beautiful women in the world lose weight, reverse the effects of obesity related illnesses, and improve their health—mind, body, and spirit. Although I enjoy helping others, what I find difficult is keeping the sisters from doing what most women consistently do: compare themselves to one another. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is when many of these women—who are accomplished attorneys, teachers, stay-at-home moms, and preachers—compare themselves to celebrities and fitness models in magazines. How can you compare yourselves to Viola Davis, Michelle Obama, or any other person who lives their life in front of the camera? Many of you are working long hours, taking kids to activities, commuting long distances, and being caretakers to loved ones, to name a few of the tasks that consume our time. I am not saying that those who live their lives in front of the camera do not live real lives just as complicated as ours, but they don’t live your life. We often compare ourselves to an ideal that is not realistic or obtainable for us. And sadly, this comparison can cause us to feel let down. Here are 3 reasons why using social comparisons is wrong:


after three hours of squabbling and sniping. If we knew others’ whole truths, we might not feel so inadequate when comparing ourselves to their carefully crafted public images of “perfection.” 2. Life isn’t fair. Some people are born with more advantages than others: a perfectly symmetrical face, rapid-fire metabolism, wealthy parents, or social connections that help them score a coveted job. Yet, when we compare ourselves (unfavorably) to others, we often beat ourselves up for not trying hard enough. It’s much more likely that the differences we see reflect an uneven playing field—a reality that Americans just don’t like to accept. Hard work just isn’t enough sometimes. 3. Comparisons turn friends and allies into rivals. In a perfect world, we would celebrate and genuinely enjoy the joys and accomplishments of others. Yet, if we use others as a benchmark to evaluate ourselves, that creeping twinge of jealousy may undermine our ability to truly cherish the good things that come to others. Just remember: over time, things may even out, and a friend’s success may enable him or her to support and make opportunities for others (including you). (Psychology Today) Stephen Furtic of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina reminds us, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” No matter what age and where you are in life, you can be in the best shape of your life and achieve great health. Instead of looking to be like someone else, make the decision to be the best you possible. Romans 15:7 teaches us to accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, to bring praise to God. Accept both who you are and who you are not—just like God does. Exercise consistently, eat healthy, and live well!

1. Others’ so-called “perfection” is an illusion.

The glorious vacations, the enviable professional accomplishments, the perfect children and spouses we see on our friends’ Facebook pages are just one sliver of their real lives. It’s the truth, but not the “whole truth and nothing but the truth.” A friend may proudly announce the publication of their new novel, but conceal the 12 rejections their manuscript received before being published. We may envy the smiling family we see on a tropical vacation, although we’re not privy to the fact that the 30 seconds of smiling came

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If you’re interested in a free consultation or more information on FitCare, call 732-921-3746 or email Disclaimer: The information contained in this column is of a general nature. You should consult your physician or health care professional before beginning any exercise prgram or changing your dietary regimen.

Reverend Dr. Marilyn Monroe Harris

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You probably know Reverend Dr. Marilyn Monroe Harris as the first female Vice President United Missionary Baptist Convention of NJ, associate minister Bethany Baptist Church and the first female pastor of First Baptist Church in Teaneck, New Jersey. She also built a successful career in healthcare, overseeing several clinical laboratories throughout the state before joining Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in 2008. Harris was great at keeping both worlds compartmentalized until last year, when she was tapped to be the hospital’s VP of Community Affairs. “Most people at the hospital are unaware of my deep connection to the community through ministry.” Harris said. Now she finds unique ways to bring all of her experiences with her to the workplace. She is inviting the community to use the Reverend Dr. Ronald B. Christian Community Health and Wellness Center; and to use The Beth Greenhouse as a source for fresh produce. She is also helping physicians host events at local churches as well as bringing faith leaders into the hospital to improve the patient experience. When asked if she feels like a “Hidden Figure” at The Beth, Harris says, “My job is to empower others and I don’t need to be in the spotlight to be successful at that.”

March 2017 The Positive Community


Education Mentoring in Medicine Health and Science Expo Photos and text by Bob Gore Keynote speaker Dr. Gary Gibbons delivered a moving testimony to the power of hard work and mentors in guiding him through his career to become the director of the National Institute of Heart, Blood and Lung


he atmosphere in the packed auditorium at Harlem’s Frederick Douglass Academy felt like a pep rally. “Who’s in the house?” shouted Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt. They shouted back with the names of their hometowns. The six hundred plus young people and their parents had come on a snowy Saturday from throughout the metropolitan area and as far away as Buffalo, NY, to attend the 9th annual Health and Science Expo sponsored by Mentoring in Medicine (MIM), which works to eliminate disparities in health careers. The daylong event featured workshops, lectures, and experiments that revealed the steps that would lead to a career in the health field, with an emphasis on the process of becoming a doctor. Admissions officers discussed academic requirements, applying to medical school, admissions tests, the selection process, and ways to pay medical school tuition. Physicians shared their personal experiences and offered tips on how to be accepted and succeed in school. For most in attendance, it was their first opportunity to hear first-hand what it takes to become a doctor. Practitioners offered personal introductions to scores of health careers. Students met an array of professionals including nurses, chiropractors, surgeons, physical therapists, nutritionists, emergency medical technicians, and medical school admission officers. Wide-eyed, students exuded excitement manipulating medical devices, 28 The Positive Community March 2017

examining preserved organs, and testing stethoscopes and robotic surgical arms. Some sutured pig’s feet and performed chest compressions on CPR dummies. The keynote speaker, Dr. Gary Gibbons, delivered a moving testimony to the power of hard work and the mentors who guided him through his career to become the director of the National Institute of Heart, Blood and Lung—the third largest Institute at the National Institutes of Health with an annual budget of more than $3 billion and a staff of 917 federal employees. In addition to the Health Expo, MIM provides afterschool programs for middle and high school students, a virtual summer science camp, a hip-hop science play, a medical school preparatory program, and a volunteer/shadowing program. According to founder Dr. Lynn Holden, “The goal of our programs is to ignite an interest in science and health careers for students while providing hands-on experiences and clinical exposure.” In the blog STAT, highlighted student groups across the United States are calling attention to the lack of diversity on medical school campuses and pushing administrators to recruit and enroll more minority students to help end racial health disparities that have persisted for decades. The article noted, “Creating a more diverse class of doctors-to-be is no easy task; while there has been progress in recent

Lynn Holden (pictured left, standing), Mentoring in Medicine founder, is an Emergency Department physician at Montefiore Hospital and serves as its Residency Site director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program.

years, there still aren’t enough minority medical school applicants.” The MIM program most directly addressing campus disparity is the 20-week Medical Pathway Program (MPP), an intensive boot camp that helps disadvantaged and minority students increase their competitiveness for acceptance into medical school and targets those who require advanced preparation. Students come to MPP because they did not meet the medical school admission test and other thresholds. After course completion, 90 percent of MPP students are accepted into medical school. By industry indicators, MIM’s programs are on target and worthy of support. “The pipeline itself is just too small,” said Marc Nivet, chief diversity officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). “The barriers exist up and down the continuum to our segregated education system... Too many of our minority students are in poor-performing or underperforming K-12 school systems.” One might ask how having more doctors of color benefits society. One perspective offered in a recent article by David R. Williams, PhD and Fitzhugh Mulland, MD, put it this way. “Black people need far greater access to culturally connected physicians who understand their lives and their challenges as much as their clinical needs. Cultural competence plays an important role in communication that goes far beyond diagnostic skill. It encompasses the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to bridge cultural, ethnic, and linguistic gaps between patients and providers. It’s not a once-and-done module or in-service training, but a lifelong pursuit.”

Over the years, more than 50,000 students, parents, and educators have participated in MIM programs and more than 1,000 health and science professionals have volunteered to train or mentor MIM students. Mentoring begins in elementary school and continues into professional life. Achieving a medical education is demanding with many challenges along the way. Help from doctors who have completed their training is essential. When my son, Dr. Robert Gore, sought advice on preparing for his medical board examination, Dr. Holden came through and so did he, in flying colors.

Students at Health Expo

Dr. Sarah Jamison

Students at Health Expo

March 2017 The Positive Community


L–R: Vernell Wright, Kim Nesbitt, Yvonne Davis, and Belinda Smiley L–R: Mary Payne, Barbara Hunter, Monica Mims, Kim Nesbitt, and Katherine Carter

NJ Legacy Foundation Previews Juneteenth Anina and Che Dashiell


t was a beautiful display of unity and fellowship as members of the NJ Legacy Foundation under the leadership of Kim Nesbitt, president and founder, gathered on the first day of February at the VFW in Kenilworth, NJ, to formally launch the campaign for its 2017 Juneteenth Celebration. The event will take place on June 24th at 2pm sharp at the Elizabeth Arena, Elizabeth, NJ.

According to Ms. Nesbitt, “This is a huge undertaking. We are bringing in a big ship that will serve on that day as a floating African American history museum.” All are invited. Co-hosted by attorney Robert Taylor of East Orange, NJ, the Juneteenth celebration is a free event for the entire family with a buffet dinner, games, and live performances. For more information call Nesbitt Funeral Home 908-352-7078. Photos: Karen Waters

The community gathering at VFW in Kenilworth


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March 2017

SAVE THE DATE In Association with


NYC Leadership Roundtable

Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century Building Positive Communities Thursday April 27, 2017 2pm–4pm

Participants in the Interchurch Center Networking Day Are encouraged to attend or RSVP

Interchurch Center 475 Riverside Drive New York, NY 10115 Entrance on 61 Claremont Ave at 120th

For Information call: (973) 233-9200

L–R: Adina Nance, Saideh Browne, president, National Council of Women at the United Nations; Newark Municipal Council President Mildred Crump, Vice President Ralph Grant, and Della Moses Walker Director of Advancement Kathy Proctor with Vice President Ralph Grant Jr.


Professor Joanne Noel

Betzi Schroeder

Black History Is American History


lack History is American history and American history is Black History. The phrase may sound cliché, but the diversity of attendees at Pillar College’s first official program, on February 23, to acknowledge and celebrate the rich contributions of people of color to American life and culture, illustrated this fact. The diversity of the attendees reflected the student population at Pillar College and embodied Pillar’s mission to serve students from all cultures in NJ’s urban centers. The event, at the Military Park building in downtown Newark, was developed and coordinated through the office of Operations and Public Affairs, headed by Dr. Ralph Grant, vice-president. As emcee, Dr. Grant, a master craftsman in rhetoric, mingled quotations with stories and experiences, generating laughter and creating a warm atmosphere. 32

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Lonnie Youngblood and Ruth Hunt

Pillar College’s first Black History Month celebration The program began with a powerful invocation, the pledge of Allegiance, and a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” In inspiring ways, several Pillar College students paid tributes to great men and women who have shaped Black History. The First Lady of Pillar College, Mrs. Betzi Schroeder, brought greetings on behalf of President Schroder. Guest speaker and Civil Rights veteran David Barrett superbly recounted interesting data about how black people have contributed to history. Remarks by Provost Dan Wright emphasized reconciliation and the brotherhood/sisterhood of humanity; finally, the benediction was a historically-appropriate beatitude, written for the event by Bishop Joseph Crooms. Pillar’s first Black History Month celebration was an exceptional event.

Journalist, syndicated columnist, and author Roland Martin, host of News One Now

L–R: Roland Martin; Dr. Lester W. Taylor, Jr., President, GBC; Andrea Holms; and Rev. Dr. Evans L. Spagner

Black History Inaugural Gala General Baptist Convention


First Lady Gayle Green Taylor, wife of Dr.Taylor; (to the left), Rev. Dr. Darrell Armstrong, pastor, Shiloh B.C., Trenton, NJ Photos: Karen Waters

he General Baptist Convention of New Jersey led by President Rev. Dr. Lester W. Taylor, Jr. is “Restructuring for Relevance.” The organization’s Inaugural Black History Gala on February 25, 2017 was evidence of that. The black tie affair was both a celebration of the past, as well as a time to look toward a more challenging future. Journalist Roland Martin, the keynote speaker addressed the subject with a no holds barred discourse on the current conditions in the United States and the impending issues that are bound to affect the black church. The Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens was filled to capacity. Rev. Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries is the senior pastor.

Councilwomen Mildred Crump

Sis. Emma Lewis, Usher’s Auxiliary

Rev. Ralph Branch, moderator, North Jersey Baptist Association; First Lady Tammi Branch; and daughter, Chelsea Synclaire Dr. Guy Campbell Jr., former president, General Baptist Convention and Deaconess Dr. Dorothy S. Campbell


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Deacon Vincent Bryant and Deaconess Doris Bryant

Masterpiece, Collector’s Edition


™ Winter 2017


124 ! Pages

Barack Obama

A Presidential Journey | 2009–2017

By popular demand, We are releasing a limited print run of the original blockbuster Winter ’17 Issue. Don’t Miss Out. Order your copy of the ULTIMATE MASTERPIECE EDITION Save this keepsake issue for future generations. Let us never forget this special time on our freedom journey in American history. Invest in the future. Own your history today! Only $13.99 includes shipping and handling. Order by March 6, 2017 Order online Allow 6 weeks for delivery. Call 973-233-9200 for more information.

Rev. Bernard F. Johnson and First Lady Sonia Johnson

Rev. Bernard F. Johnson Installation Service

Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr. Cathedral International, Perth Amboy, NJ


Rev. Bernard F. Johnson

fter the sudden death of the Rev. John T. Teabout Sr., founder and pastor of the Greater Friendship Baptist Church International Ministries for 19 years in 2014, the membership of the Greater Friendship Baptist Church was elated to celebrate the installation of Rev. Bernard F. Johnson, III and Sonia Johnson as their new pastor and first lady on Sunday, January 15, 2017. A weekend celebration began on Friday night with the Rev. Dr. Bernadette Glover and the choir of St. Paul Baptist Church, Montclair, NJ; and concluded on Sunday with Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr., Cathedral International, Perth Amboy, NJ and Rev. Dr. Johnny M. Caldwell, Jr, moderator, New Hope Missionary Baptist 36

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Rev. Dr. Edward Harper, Macedonia B.C., Lakewood NJ

Association officiating. In attendance were officials from the Sea Coast Baptist Association, the New Hope Missionary Baptist Association, ministers, members, family, and friends. Rev. Gloria Smith gave a musical selection setting the atmosphere of praise and thanksgiving before the Word was given by Bishop Hilliard. The highlight of this historic event was the gathering of clergy around Rev. Johnson in powerful and anointed prayer, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”– Matthew 22:14. Rev. Edward Harper had the honor of bestowing the Charge of the Church to Rev. Johnson, which was followed by presentations from the Installation Committee and Deaconess Melodee Fields, chairperson.

It’s Happening at

Columbiain March

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1 Lunchtime Talk: The ACLU LGBT & HIV Project

12:10 P.M. TO 1:20 P.M. 105 Jerome Greene Hall, Morningside campus Speaker: ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangi discusses religion-based backlash against LGBTQ rights. Free and open to the public. For more info, call (212) 854-1951 or email eb2596@

THURSDAY, MARCH 2 Screening: Stella Maris

NOON TO 2:30 P.M. 511 Dodge Hall, Morningside campus Mary Pickford puts modern technology to shame tackling not one but two main roles in this touching drama. Live music by Belgian jazz musician Adriaan Campo. For more info, call (212) 851-9567 or email

Composer Portraits: Misato Mochizuki

8:00 P.M. TO 9:00 P.M. Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, Morningside campus Misato Mochizuki’s music integrates Occidental tradition, the Asiatic connection to breath, and a fascination with ritual. She performs here with Yarn/ Wire and JACK Quartet. For more info, call (212) 854-7799 or email

FRIDAY, MARCH 3 Navigating Race and Religion During the Trump Administration

9:00 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M. Jerome Greene Hall, Morningside campus Scholars and advocates of racial justice and religious liberty discuss the relationship between those issues, as we brace for a period likely to bring increased efforts to undermine racial justice and expand religious liberty. Invitation-only. To request invitation, call (212) 854-0167 or email

SATURDAY, MARCH 4 Women’s Basketball vs. Yale

6:00 P.M Frances S. Levien Gymnasium, Dodge Physical Fitness Center, Morningside campus

For the team’s full schedule and more info, call (212) 854-2535 or visit

Screening: Oklahoma City 6:30 P.M. TO 8:30 P.M. Stabile Center, Pulitzer Hall, Morningside campus

This film explores the antigovernment tension and sentiment that lead up to the deadliest domestic terrorism incident in U.S. history. Followed by Q&A with director Barack Goodman. For more info, call (212) 854-5047 or email

MONDAY, MARCH 6 Suicide, Cyberbullying, and Social Media 6:30 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M. School of Social Work, Room 311, 1255 Amsterdam Ave.

Jonathan Singer explores how changes in communications technology have affected how youth articulate their thoughts and feelings, in conversation with Professors Desmond Patton and Elisabeth Counselman-Carpenter. To register or for details about the livestream, visit events.

TUESDAY, MARCH 7 Pop-up Concert: Miranda Cuckson

6:00 P.M. TO 7:00 P.M. Miller Theatre, 2950 Broadway, Morningside campus

Miranda Cuckson, an audience favorite for her great range of repertoire and styles, offers new violin works. Admission first-come, first-served; doors open at 5:30 p.m. For more info, call (212) 854-7799 or email ·

For disability services, call (212) 854-2284 prior to the event.



Voices From Inside America’s Mass System of Punishment

The Kremlin Turns Ideological

6:30 P.M. TO 9:00 P.M. Low Library Rotunda, Morningside campus

NOON TO 2:00 P.M. 1219 International Affairs, Morningside campus

Reverend Vivian Nixon, a Columbia Community Scholar, discusses the historic complexities of America’s system of punishment and its links to race, class, gender, political suppression, and religion. For more info, visit or email

In recent years, the Kremlin has begun to build a national identity for Russia that borrows from its past as well as incorporates conservative principles from the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian political analyst Maria Lipman explores this ideological turn. For more info, visit

THURSDAY, MARCH 9 Imaginative Geographies of the Black/White Atlantic

6:15 P.M. The Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave., Morningside campus Professor Catherine Hall discusses historian and slave-owner Edward Long, whose imagined geographies constituted the Atlantic as a place of white power made productive by enslaved black labor. Register at For more info, call (212) 854-4788 or email

SATURDAY, MARCH 11 Listen Up! A Public Forum on Hearing Loss 9:30 A.M. TO NOON Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center, 173 Fort Washington Ave.

Hear composer Richard Einhorn discuss his hearing loss and his work to improve public access to hearing aid technology. Receive a free hearing and a set of earplugs to wear in the subway. Coffee and cookies served. For more info, visit

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22 Deconstructing the Culture of Post-Truth Under Milošević 6:00 p.m. 1219 International Affairs, Morningside campus

Author Milica Mićić Dimovska deconstructs the institutional, cultural, and media mechanisms of mass self-deception. For more info, visit

FRIDAY, MARCH 31 Neither Grapes Nor Lettuce: U.S. Immigration and Migration 11:00 A.M. TO 1:00 P.M. School of Social Work, Room 305, 1255 Amsterdam Ave.

In honor of Cesar Chavez Day, this symposium will showcase interdisciplinary initiatives related to immigration and migration, particularly around farmworker justice. For more info, visit

Columbia Community Scholars Program Columbia University offers independent, community-based scholars from Northern Manhattan access to a range of University services and resources at no cost to participants. These include access to all of 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 Thursday, April 27. For more info, call (212) 854-5710, visit or email

Columbia University in the city of new york


HIDDEN NO MORE! A Legacy of Success, Courage, and Womanhood

March 2017 The Positive Community


A Black Woman as NASA’s CIO?


inda Cureton has had an almost lifelong affair with math. She still remembers asking a question of her seventh grade teacher, Mr. Murray, on whom she might have had a bit of a crush. She may have initially excelled in math to get his attention, or perhaps her love of math was simply meant to be, but either way, that love of math has lingered and shaped her life and career. Growing up Washington, DC, Cureton thought she’d be a math teacher herself. “I knew I loved math and thought the only thing I could do was be a math teacher,” she recalled. A gifted student and musician at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, she matriculated to Howard University after spending the summer as a candystriper and contemplating a career as a microbiologist in an infectious disease lab. Her stellar academic performance landed her in an accelerated pre-med program. “I hated it,” she chuckled looking back. “They tended to push the students with great grades toward medical school and I didn’t know what else I could do.” Thankfully, a wise Latin teacher explained that a math degree offered many options beyond being a teacher or a doctor, and told Cureton, “You don’t have to be a physician to be successful. If you study what you love, you’ll be successful. You don’t have to be a doctor, just be passionate in what you’re studying.” So back to math it was, to continue the love affair and be successful. “I didn’t know what I was going to do with it,” she said referring to a math degree, “but I knew it would come.” What came was serendipitous. Cureton attended a career fair in the Howard University gymnasium. “The companies were set up alphabetically,” she explained. “I came in toward the middle and NASA was right in front of me.” NASA seemed to be a good fit. “They were excited I was a mathematician and had taken classes in FORTRAN and IBM assembly. I was exactly what they were looking for… and part of me had always wanted to be an astronaut,” she laughed.


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Her first job was working on a mainframe supercomputer, perhaps a generation or two after what was portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures. Cureton has seen the film and some parts definitely resonated with her. “That movie was set in the 1960s,” she explained, “and here we are in 2017 and many of those biases still exist. People are wondering what’s going on in the world and minorities are saying, ‘it’s the same world we’ve been living in.’ It’s funny that back then, women were relegated to working on computers at NASA, but men eventually took that over. Biases about women in technology still exist.”

After about a year and a half at NASA, Cureton explored other opportunities working for the federal government. She worked for the Dept. of the Navy, Dept. of Justice, Dept. of Energy, and the ATF. “My path wasn’t linear,” she reflected, “more of a zigzag.” After 25 years Cureton returned to NASA as its Chief Information Officer. Sometimes, her title was met with disbelief; a black woman as CIO? Despite some awkward moments and challenges, Cureton recognizes that things have improved and continue to change for the better. “There’s more of an acknowledgement from the agency that they need to be more inclusive of everybody and have more programs to ensure that. It’s necessary but not sufficient,” she remarked. “What’s necessary is to change the hearts of those in power and authority.” She recalled the scene from Hidden Figures where Kevin Costner’s character knocked down the “colored” bathroom sign and proclaimed all restrooms for all people regardless of race. “If enough people like that are able to make a difference, then ultimately society will see a great benefit.” Cureton retired from NASA in 2013; “I didn’t know five years ago I’d be where I am. I didn’t plan it; I just knew that I had planned to retire after the first Obama term. I didn’t want to work under another new administration.” She’s now the CEO of her own business, Muse Technologies, which delivers transformation and IT consulting services, and has authored a book on leadership, The Leadership Muse: Inspiration for the 21st Century Hero Leader. That math degree has certainly served her well. Outside of work, Cureton enjoys spending time with her husband, Douglas Cureton, who serves as COO of Muse Technologies. She also teaches piano, occasionally tutoring her music students in algebra and other forms of math. She also enjoys word games and puzzles like cryptograms and Sudoku. She laughed as she told me she recently attended her first Howard homecoming game, more than 30 years after her time as a student. “I had a VIP invitation,” she said. “I stayed for one play, took a photo and left.” In a perfect example of life coming full circle, Cureton attended a school function for her grandson several years ago to find that he had the same Mr. Murray who had encouraged her love of math as a teacher. “He didn’t remember my name or when I was his student, but Mr. Murray did remember me,” she chuckled. “Teachers need to be aware of how influential they are in young people’s lives.”

March 2017 The Positive Community


SABRINA THOMPSON AN “UNHIDDEN FIGURE” AT NASA abrina Thompson is black; she is a woman and an engineer. At age 31, she has experienced the challenges of what it means to be all three. She graduated valedictorian from Roosevelt High School in Long Island, NY but college was an obscure idea. She didn’t know where she wanted to go, what she wanted to study, or how she was going to pay for it. But now, she is an aerospace engineer at NASA and is one of only two black women at the Navigation and Mission Design branch at Goddard Space Center in Maryland. Just like Katherine Johnson, the main character of the blockbuster movie Hidden Figures, she helps plan space missions. But unlike, Johnson—a mathematician who created history by calculating flight trajectories for Project Mercury during the space race— she is not a “hidden figure.” “I refuse to be hidden,” she stated bluntly. “I do a lot of outreach for NASA, and one of my greatest challenges is explaining to high school students what I do for a living. Now, I just reference the movie and Katherine Johnson and say: ‘I do exactly what she does but just in a more modern way.’” And just like Johnson, Thompson feels the weight of carrying other black women on her back. “Added to the stress of the job, Ms.


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Johnson had the pressure of knowing that how she performed affected all the other black women human ‘computers,’” said Thompson. “For me, it’s showing other black girls who look just like me what is possible. This then is not just a job; it’s a mission.” Describing the movie as “awesome,” Thompson said she was elated when it was released. But her excitement was tempered by the realities of the depths in which this history was “hidden.” “It’s unfortunate that as a NASA Engineer I knew nothing about these women until the book and movie came out,” she said. “Like many of my colleagues, we had never heard the names Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, or Mary Jackson. Yet they lived right there in Virginia just a drive away from our base. But other people knew. So why didn’t we as African American women who do the same work they did? It’s a question that still troubles me,” she lamented. “Even so, I am glad I know now because it gives me the fire to refuse to be hidden. As one of two black women in my branch at NASA, we have a greater opportunity to put positive images out there.” Though Thompson is a recognized figure at NASA, her journey to that place was not a garlanded one. As a young black girl from one of the poorest towns in Long

Island, she often had to climb the slippery side of the mountain. At SUNY Stony Brook, where she received her Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering, the women’s basketball coach denied her access to even a practice uniform and unequivocally told her that she would never play in a game. But like every Mount Everest in her life, Sabrina transcended that barrier to become one of the most favored players on her team. But it was while pursuing her graduate degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology that Thompson came face to face with the terrible twins— sexism and racism. As the only black person in her class of 70, Thompson felt the brunt of the rebuffs from both faculty and peers. “Being in the Aerospace Engineering Program at Georgia Tech made me into who I am today,” she said. “I quickly learned that they thought I was an outcast,” she recalled, adding, “I was on my own. But as any good engineer would tell you, engineering is a team sport. You cannot do it alone. It was tough; really, really tough.” However, things changed when she was embraced by another black female student who was an upper classman, and introduced to an association of black engineering students from across disciplines. “This is what got me through the program,” she said. Despite the challenges, Thompson graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2009. Unfortunately, her battles were not over. This time

her “Goliath” was the economic downturn and a veritable hiring freeze in her discipline. Unable to find a job, she moved back to Long Island to live with her mother. She was broke but not broken. At her lowest, Thompson caved in and decided to take a job at Barnes & Noble. But “brokenness” was denied the opportunity to raise a victory flag when she received a call for an internship as a safety engineer at NASA Glenn. “At the time I had no idea what a safety engineer did, but my foot was in the door,” she said with a smile. Now, Thompson doesn’t just show up for work, she shows up in life with a determination to make the way easier for others to follow. “I am happy here at NASA, but first I had to unlearn everything I learned at Georgia Tech,” she said. “The NASA Engineering community is committed to teamwork, and so I had to let go of trying to do it alone.” Every day as she calculates figures and plans space missions, Thompson is reminded of what she sees as her greatest mission: to inspire young girls to dream big. “On my death bed, I want to be comfortable in knowing that I did my best. How would I measure my best?” she questioned. “By the number of people I have positively inspired and motivated in this life.” As an “unhidden figure,” Thompson’s mission could be summed up in the motto of the National Association of Colored Women, “Lifting as We Climb.”

March 2017 The Positive Community


Yoli Stancil on the Front Lines for Verizon

oli Stancil has been named Regional President for MidAtlantic North, in charge of wireline field operations. In this role, Stancil, who has been with the company for 28 years, has the task of overseeing all wireline services, from FiOS to DSL, to traditional telephone service in every subscriber’s home. Her territory and responsibilities are extensive. In one of the most hig profile jobs in the company, she oversees 4,300 Verizon employees throughout operations in New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania. Headquartered in Livingston, Stancil is focused on ensuring customer satisfaction. She analyzes every level of contact between a customer and the Verizon team, working to ensure prompt, courteous, and knowledgeable interactions at every point. “One of the biggest opportunities in this position is to identify ways in which to further enhance customer service,” she explained. “We want to meet all of our customers’ needs and be flexible, giving them what they want in a timeframe that works best for them.” Stancil has been preparing to take over the position for weeks, watching and learning under the tutelage of Paul Sullivan, her predecessor, who is moving to the national team, where he will be developing processes and solutions to enhance the entire network. Stancil has set aggressive goals for 2017, delivering on


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a promise to make customer service even better, as well as preparing for further growth. “I am extremely interested in nurturing the culture we have at Verizon,” Stancil said. “I want each and every employee to want to be here and recognize that the company is not just someone else’s. We all have a stake in Verizon and ensuring success.” The proud mother of three beautiful daughters, Basia, Zakayiah, and Dream, ages 7, 9 and 11 respectively, Yoli was recognized last year by Working Mother magazine as one of the “Top 50 Working Mothers of the Year.” When not working, she is focused on volunteering for the PTA at her daughters’ school. She sits on the Diversity Committee, ensuring no student or family is left behind as the neighborhood continues to change and evolve. “I am extremely family focused,” Stancil declares, but, every once in a while, she does get a chance to relax with a good book.

Cheryl McCants: Building Relationships in Public Relations While Handling Everything BY R.L. WITTER he’s poised, professional, and calm under pressure. She always seems to know exactly what to say or do, regardless of the situation. If you find yourself or your company in crisis, first say a prayer, then call on her and her company to handle it. You might be thinking of Scandal’s Olivia Pope right now. You’re wrong, but you’re not far off. Her name is Cheryl F. McCants and as president and CEO of Impact Consulting Enterprises, she’s got this, that, and everything else handled—or “Cheryled” as her staff likes to say. A New Jersey native, McCants’ curiosity, creativity, and logic skills presented myriad options for her future. As is often said, it’s a blessing and a curse; but McCants saw only the blessing in her gifts and both sampled and enjoyed a variety of options before aiming her laser focus on building the Impact brand. As a teenager, she “wanted to be a biomedical engineer and design the first black bionic woman,” she recalled. “I was studying math… and I read this book called Mathematics and the Imagination, which talks about paradoxes and how certain things can never be figured out,” she explained. “…It intrigued


me…and then I wondered why there was no black bionic man or woman show, so I was going to go out and create one.” She studied Engineering at Brown University, but switched first to Applied Mathematics, next Economics, then with the help of Dean Barrett Hazeltine, studied at L’Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Upon her stateside return, she graduated with a degree in Business Economics and was fluent in Spanish. And shortly thereafter, Impact Consulting Enterprises was born. She started out subcontracting for a telecommunications company, and it was a great fit. “I love writing; I love telling a story. I love doing things where you are intellectually stimulated, but then you have to connect with people on an ordinary, everyday language platform,” McCants explained. So it made perfect sense that she could read an operational manual for a telecom switching station and boil it down to plain language that laymen could understand and with it, maximize their usage of technology. But that wasn’t all she could do. continued on page 47 March 2017 The Positive Community


Designer on Fire Terri Haskins’ creativity transforms interior spaces By g.r.mattox he changes in Newark’s downtown area are exciting! A new Whole Foods supermarket is bustling with business inside the newly-renovated Hahne’s building. A gleaming, 20-story office building, Prudential logo prominently displayed, replaces the S. Klein building that stood in that spot for decades. New restaurants, upscale stores, and coffee shops dot the area to serve both long-time residents as well as a new, growing population. A project that is not as visible at present but just as energizing and sure to be yet another jewel in Newark’s crown, is the subtle transformation of The Robert Treat Hotel. One of the city’s most iconic landmarks, it was the first luxury hotel to be built in the city a little over 100 years ago and remains the destination of choice among businessmen and leisure travelers. Generations of high school proms, dinners, breakfast meetings, fashion shows, concerts, and parties have been held within the walls of this hotel, currently operated by the Best Western brand.


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The major redesign is one of the latest projects for Presentations Elements of Design, or PEOD. “It’s a bit of a mouthful,” laughed lead designer and owner Terri Haskins. But it’s a definite handle for the elegant residential and commercial spaces she’s remodeled from Cambridge to Basking Ridge, and all around New York City. The interior designer is a graduate of Virginia’s Hampton University, with additional study in interior design at Berkley College in New Jersey. After over 17 years in the music and fashion industries, including some executive marketing positions at Bad Boy records and the Sean John now-closed 5th Avenue store, “It was challenging, exciting work,” she recalled. “There was a lot going on; it was fun and we made history.” But after almost two decades and two careers, she took her experience and, with the encouragement of friends and colleagues, decided to take a leap of faith and turn what was a hobby working with friends, into a business.

The Presidential Suite of the Robert Treat is a prime example of the elegance of Haskins’ work. Cream-colored walls encompass furniture of dark, rich wood done up in soothing, classic hues of blue, grey, ivory, and gold with a pop of lavender and copper here and there to draw the eye. A completely reconstructed bathing area is spacious and gleaming. “As a creative person, I’m based in classics.” she said. “I try to do things that are going to last and wear over a period of time as opposed to the trendy or current.” For Haskins, the project, which includes the update of the ballrooms and redesign of the suites, is an opportunity to meld the new with the old. “I saw a historic building with a classic structure and great rooms,” she said. “The challenge is to bring it up-to-date as much as possible, working with what exists and also keeping its classic traditions while making it fresh.” She got the nod for the project after former State Assemblyman Bill Payne saw the renovations Haskins completed on McLoone's Boathouse in West Orange, and restaurateur Vonda McPherson’s now-closed Duke’s Southern Table in Newark. He introduced her to Miles Berger, head of The Berger Organization, one of the region’s leading real estate development and management companies. About a year after their first meeting, Berger made contact with Haskins about PEOD’s availability to redesign parts of the hotel. “Terri has managed to transform the luxurious Presidential, Governor’s, and Gateway Suites at the Robert Treat into a palatial experience. The mix of modern and traditional elements sets these beautiful suites apart,” Berger said. “Since the redecorating and rebuilding of the suites, demand for their use has soared.” “I’m really excited to be a part of the changes that are happening in Newark,” Haskins, a native of Paterson, said. “When I learned that the city was undergoing a renewal, I recognized the opportunity as an interior designer to make an imprint and be a piece of the fabric of the change that was developing in NJ’s largest city. As a minority woman, it is my goal to be a part of the footprint of what is happening, and hopefully I can be an inspiration to young people.” There is other impressive work in PEOD’s portfolio. There are two projects with Hilton Hotels: one in Virginia Beach three years in the making, with a groundbreaking in the spring; and another redesign/renovation of what will be a 4-star Hilton in Memphis. She’s also involved in a new restaurant venture by McPherson and basketball/Newark legend Shaquille O’Neal. “Interior design is a field where there are not many African Americans. It’s something that is growing and is becoming a bit trendy,” Haskins offered. “And it is an exciting, fulfilling, and lucrative career. As a business owner, I am able to earn my living doing what I love, and I hope to inspire others to discover their talents and pursue their career passion.”

CHERYL MCCANTS continued from page 45

Projects at Impact range from government and non-profit campaigns to social media and everything in between. “Now I have truly embraced the idea of helping others, specifically women, and my sweet spot is Christian and Muslim women of color—to help them, and for me to become a better leader,” McCants reflected. “Our mission is to tell stories that make people feel good about where they are and better about where they’re going.” A 2016 ‘Top 25 Leading Woman Entrepreneur’ and a 2012 cohort of the National Urban Fellows ‘America’s Leaders of Change,’ Cheryl has been honored by Time Warner and Essence Magazine. In January she was recognized by PR News as one of nation’s most influential women in public relations. Perhaps her biggest project last year was largely unknown; she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Where others might have floundered and faltered, McCants relied on what she does best, “I ‘Cheryled it,’” she chuckled as she recounted dealing with doctors, hospitals, and insurance coverage. She also leaned on her deep faith. “I have always been committed to the church,” she explained. “I believe that having a grounded community lifts you up when you least expect it.” She and Rev. Dr. Bernadette Glover of Montclair’s St. Paul Baptist Church prayed before her surgery and during her recovery. “‘All is well’ was our code,” the choir member and leader of Operation Just Hope said quietly. Her poise, faith and confidence have served herself, her clients, and her family well. When not handling everything, McCants enjoys raising her daughter, a high school freshman. She left me with some science-based advice that seemed to perfectly sum up who Cheryl McCants is and how she approaches life: “You have to hug somebody for at least six seconds…it takes that amount of time to release…endorphins that make you feel good… Otherwise, just shake my hand.” If you’re blessed to be hugged by Cheryl McCants, they’ll be six great seconds; and it’ll feel like everything is handled.

March 2017 The Positive Community


Culture L I F E , M U S I C , A R T & L I T E R AT U R E

Bishop Fernand Cheri, O.F.M.

Bishop Cheri offering communion with Cardinal Dolan

Procession of priests

Catholics Celebrate Black History Month Mass


he Annual Black History Month Mass celebrating The National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family is held on the first Sunday of February 2017 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This year’s celebration acknowledged the Centennial Anniversary of Catholic Charities of NY (CCNY), as four families presented four baskets of non-perishables during the offertory for the CCNY Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign. This yearly celebration is an opportunity for the many diverse cultures throughout the Archdiocese to gather together and celebrate the faith and culture of people of African descent. During this special liturgy, dozens of priests and deacons 48 The Positive Community March 2017

are welcomed to concelebrate, along with a number of young people who participate as altar servers. The Charles Barbour/Dolores Jefferson Memorial Combined Choir led the Music Ministry. The 75-100 person choir is comprised of persons from various parishes within the Archdiocese and includes several accomplished singers. The Archbishop of New York, His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, served as the principal celebrant; and Bishop Fernand J. Cheri, O.F.M., an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and an accomplished choir director, served as the guest homilist.

Rev. Dr. Robert Waterman and First Lady Lola Waterman

Eleven of the thirteen awardees receive recognition for their commitment to their church, community, and family. Photos: Chris Sheridan

L–R: District leader Olanike Alabi; Assemblywoman Latrice Walker; Divinah Bailey, Watchful Eye; Dr. Robert Waterman; Senator Roxanne J. Persaud; Judge Robin Sheares; Bishop Jasper Rolle; Councilwoman Laurie Combo; and Congressman Hakeem Jefferies

NYS Assemblyman Walter Mosley and Dr. Robert Waterman

Antioch Baptist Church Celebrates Pastor’s 15th Anniversary


he Antioch Baptist Church marked the the 15th pastoral anniversary of their pastor, Rev. Dr. Robert Waterman, during a week of celebration, February 6 through 12, 2017. Nightly worship services Monday through Friday featured guest preachers Pastor Donnie McClurkin, The Perfecting Faith Church, Freeport, NY; Pastor Craig Gaddy, The Friendship B.C., Brooklyn, NY; and Rev. Steven E. Carter,

Mt. Ararat Missionary B.C., Brooklyn, NY. At the Saturday banquet at El Caribe in Brooklyn, Rev. Daryl G. Bloodsaw, First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, was the guest speaker. Apostle Bishop Jasper Rolle, Jr., pastor of The Abundant Life Tabernacle, Bronx, NY, gave the sermon at the concluding worship service on Sunday morning. Thirteen young people who committed themselves to showing

other young folks how to be Christians and not be ashamed of living their faith were honored for their accomplishments. A former NYC Department of Education administrator and teacher, Rev. Waterman was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife, the former Lola Oguntunde. They are the proud parents of Nia Folasade, and Imani Oyinlola Waterman. March 2017 The Positive Community


Things Just Keep Getting Bigger for Jekalyn Carr BY PATRICIA BALDWIN GRACE & PEACE o my 23-year-old niece, Alisha, sings this one song every time we get in the car. I try to quiet her, not because she can’t sing, rather because she’s so forceful with it. But the more I do, the louder she sings. One Sunday morning going to church, the song came on and there she went again, but this time I didn’t stop her. I finally really listened to the lyrics and became conscious that I was trying to stop her from speaking in the declarative prophetic. “For I know You’re great in all the earth/For I know You’re great in all the earth/You’re Bigger” are the words she sang. These are the lyrics of an independent Stellar Awardwining recording artist, evangelist, insightful public speaker, and author by the name of Jekalyn Carr and God is using her in every aspect of her life to touch every area of ours. “You’re Bigger” is on her #1 Gospel Album The Life Project. It’s in rotation hourly, which makes it #1 Gospel Airplay and “You’re Bigger” also peaked at #33 on the Adult R&B Radio Airplay chart. At the age of 19, “You’re Bigger” earned Jekalyn her first Grammy® Nomination in 2016 for Best Gospel Performance/Song, but this is not her first time as a recording artist. You may remember a song that also spoke revelation to your situation, “Greater is Coming,” and she did that when she was only 15 years old and it won Jekalyn her first Stellar Award®. Her accolades continue with being listed as “One of the Top Ten Faces You Need to Know” by Jet magazine, as well as being recognized on the legendary Ebony magazine’s Ebony Power 100 list of influential people. Now the gospel world is making sure to promote and showcase the gifts of Jekalyn Carr. She has appeared on many of your favorite shows and networks like TVOne’s The Triumph Awards and Black Music Honors, BET’s Joyful Noise, and we can’t leave out appearances on TBN and The Word Network to name a few more. To be recognized for your gifts is an honor, but it’s not just the gifts that make her who she is; it has to be the anointing of God. The push, the drive, and the trust that she has in God keep her focused on the plan that He has for her. Her latest and third album, The Life Project (which is Carr’s first live recording), was a shift


50 The Positive Community

March 2017

that clearly had to be a God move. The evidence is its debut at number one on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart with “You’re Bigger” holding the number two spot on the Radio airplay chart for eight consecutive weeks and continuing on Billboard’s Top 5 Gospel Airplay chart for 30 consecutive weeks —these stats are crazy! The Memphis, TN native explained, “I thank God for the tremendous favor he has shown me, and for my father and the rest of my family who recognized and cultivated my calling and gift early in my life. This is truly a dream come true and I plan to take in every moment of the experience.” So now, Ms. Carr is taking in the fact that she’s nominated in four categories for the 2017 59th Annual Stellar Awards including the Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year, Artist of the Year, Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year, and Praise & Worship CD of the Year. Staying busy is not hard for this young lady who will be making her film debut in I Never Heard My Father Speak. She’s also touring the country, spreading the Word through song. Her next single, “You Spoke Over Me,” is looking like a hit as well, however what’s most important to her are the music and the message she promotes as she ministers. Whether it’s in song or speaking, Jekalyn wants you to know that you can be successful if you believe, pursue the vision, and most of all trust God. Keep Building the Kingdom Li’l Sis!


Honorable Inez E. Dickens Assemblywoman NYS Assembly District 70

Honorable Patricia Anne Williams NYS Supreme Court Justice

Parag Mehta

Barbara Askins

Principal PM Architecture

President & CEO 125th Street Business Improvement District

Leah Abraham President & Founder Settepani

Special Presentations to

Founding & Former Board Members

Thursday, April 27, 2017 Marina del Rey One Marina Drive, Throgs Neck, NY 10465 Reception 6pm | Dinner 7pm Rev. Dr. John E. Carrington

For tickets visit or call 212-281-4887, ext. 236

Rev. Dr. Adolph Roberts



APRIL 9 • MAY 14 • JUNE 11 Multi-generational programs designed to showcase the Museum’s exhibitions and permanent collections and gallery experience. Enjoy performances, artist-led tours, art/maker demonstrations, workshops, lectures,music and family activities. Official Airline

The Newark Museum, a not-for-profit museum of art and science, receives operating support from the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State — a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the Prudential Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Victoria Foundation, the Wallace Foundation and other corporations, foundations and individuals. Funds for acquisitions and activities other than operations are provided by members and other contributors.

49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 973.596.6550 TTY 711 On-site parking available for a fee.

March 2017 The Positive Community


Positive Music Matters: Friday Night Fish Fry An Intergenerational Love Affair In Classic Black Comedian Damon Rozier

Laughter and fun!!!


Photos: Vincent Bryant, Karen Waters, Wali Amin Muhammed and Ray Hagans


positive community was born at the second Friday Night Fish Fry at Newark’s historic Robert Treat Hotel on February 17th. Folks from all walks of life came out to celebrate the collective talents and gifts of a people. It was a healthy, happy, and wholesome function at the junction; a stone soul picnic: good food (healthy choices), great music, fun and laughter for all. On that night, the ideals of community, progress, peace, and goodwill prevailed! See it for yourself—go to: for exclusive video footage. Thank you to all who came out. Very special thanks to community health advocacy volunteers AAHA (African Americans for Health Awareness); Kim Nesbitt, Nesbitt Funeral Home, Elizabeth, NJ; True Artists Productions, DJ Barry Wise; Two Fish Five Loaves– “Caterers to the Stars.” From Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady” to Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama”; From The O’Jays to Outkast, let us always gather to rejoice in all that is true, beautiful, and good in community life and culture—Positive Music Matters. --AAC

L–R: Deacon Jimmy Wilson, Deacon William Miles, Sister Belinda Smiley, Deacon Ronald Suggs, and Deacon Odell Chisolm


The Positive Community

March 2017

Kim Nesbitt, Nesbitt Funeral Home


Devon Houston, CEO/Founder, True Artist Productions and Jessyn Blue, poet

SAVE THE DATE: Next Fish Fry. April 28, 7PM at the all-new Crystal Room, Robert Treat Hotel Lynada Marotta with sons Michael and Mark Marotta

Spoken word artist Samad Savage

L-R: Dr. Edward Daniel Harper, First Lady Virginia Harper, and Rahway Councilman Hon. David Brown

Dr. Albert Lewis, First Lady Balena Ali, and Pastor Bryant Ali

Hon. Richard Chimelis; Terry L. Seeney, Panasonic; and TPC Publisher Adrian Council

Jennifer Hayes and Rev. Dr. R. Douglas Bendall, president, Newark School of Theology

Kathy Sumpter, Don Viapree, and Sheila McEachern March 2017 The Positive Community








tue feb


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Valentine’s Celebration with


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WBLS Welcomes




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The Positive Community

March 2017


“A superb new play

throbbing with heartfelt life.”




Original Off-Broadway cast photo: Pari Dukovic; Design: Drewdesignco/Area of Practice

March 2017 The Positive Community


Calvin West

In Memoriam

Forever in My Heart Larrie West Stalks My Sister April 2, 2015

Audrey West My wife & My Best Friend March 17, 2003


“INTERNATIONAL MEMORIAL MUSEUM AND EDUCATION CENTER” PROPOSED FOR DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN AFRICAN BURIAL GROUND s a new African American History Museum coming to New York City? The lead article of the Friday, February 24, 2017 Daily Challenge newspaper stated that a bill has been proposed in the United States Congress to establish a museum connected with the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan. Reportedly, the “African Burial Ground International Memorial Museum and Education Act”— if passed—would authorize Federal funding of the project. The following members of the New York Congressional delegation reportedly introduced the bill: Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Gregory Meeks, Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, and Adriano Espaillat; and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. A statement explained that the proposed museum is intended to “tell the untold stories of those who helped build New York City, and shed a light on their perseverance and strength of character in the face of adversity…” The museum would be located within the African Burial Ground National Historic Landmark, where an estimated 20,000 black people, including slaves and free persons, were buried from approximately the 1690s through 1794. The site, uncovered in 1991 during construction of the Ted Weiss Federal Building, was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1993, and designated as a National Monument in 2006. Numerous church congregations have organized group visits to Washington, DC’s National Museum of AfricanAmerican History and Culture. These include Greater Allen Cathedral, located in Southeast Queens; New Sardis Baptist Church, based in Memphis; St. Paul Community Baptist Church (with whom I visited the museum), located in East New York, Brooklyn; and many others. Even as I stood on line to enter the museum, a group affiliated a different church stood behind us. New Sardis and St. Paul both incorporate black history within their ministries. St. Paul hosts the “Maafa Commemoration” every September, which focuses on the horrors of the slave trade and chattel slavery. “Maafa” is Swahili for “disaster” or “great suffering.” St. Paul’s Maafa commemoration includes a temporary “Maafa Museum” set up on the church campus each September. New Sardis ser-


mons often incorporate aspects of black history to illustrate biblical points. The décor of the corridors within New Sardis resemble a museum, with numerous wall mountings and showcases devoted to black history. The National Museum of African-American History and Culture sort of touches on, but does not deeply explore, the historical role that Christianity and the church played in ending the slave trade and chattel slavery. Slavery and slavetrading proliferated throughout the Western Hemisphere from the early 1500s until deep into the 1800s. When the American Revolution began in 1775, all 13 colonies were slave states. By the end of the 1700s, “The Great Awakening” had begun, during which huge numbers of people, black and white, came to Christ. By the end of the 1800s legal chattel slavery had ended in the Western Hemisphere. In the United States, it took what I see as somewhat of an apocalypse: more Americans died in the Civil War than in all other United States wars combined. The Emancipation Proclamation, which decreed freedom for slaves in the Confederacy, was passed by the U.S. Congress while the Civil War ensued. But it could not be enforced until the Confederacy was defeated. By the end of the Civil War, victorious Northern troops were singing, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” I hope you get to experience the black history museum in Washington, D.C. I hope the black history museum proposed for New York becomes reality. After you visit such museums, do not let your study of black history end. Follow up on topics that interest you by studying books. In New York City, the Schomburg Center for Research and Culture, located in Harlem, contains an extensive collection of non-fiction books that can be studied on the premises. Other libraries can also be perused, including some located on college campuses. Nonfiction black history books can also be ordered through bookstores. Avoid “historical fiction” to avoid confusing fiction with fact. After studying, share the historical facts with others. And study the Bible too. Accurately understood, it will enable you to see God’s hand where you might not have seen it otherwise. March 2017 The Positive Community



The Last Word BY R.L. WITTER

Vol. 17, No. 3

IF NOT US, WHO? IF NOT NOW, WHEN? 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: Website: 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

n the heels of Black History Month, March marks Women’s History Month. While we aren’t able to celebrate America’s first female president, we can celebrate our first woman presidential candidate of a national political party and that’s still quite an accomplishment. As I contemplate various articles and events to commemorate Women’s History, I find myself looking back. I didn’t have to look far to see unprecedented support and celebration of Hillary Clinton throughout the 2016 presidential election. Women all over the world expressed excitement and jubilation at the thought of a woman in the Oval Office. There were secret social media groups created, pantsuits made a comeback, and after the sting of defeat wore off a bit in January, millions of women around the world marched to voice their disappointment and demand their voices be heard regarding women’s health and women’s issues. It was an amazing sight—women banding together in solidarity on a mission to be seen, heard, and counted. Celebrities and everyday people made speeches, led chants at rallies, and formed a sisterhood. And all the while I wondered: why is this only happening today? Why don’t we celebrate this sisterhood every day? Yes, I realize we can’t march en masse daily, weekly, or even monthly; but we can still support and encourage one another, can’t we? I’m thinking of how millions of tiny drops of water fill huge vessels or how 10 people lifting 100 pounds make the job much easier than just one person doing the heavy lifting. In both situations, pooling our resources and sharing the load benefit everyone involved. Can’t we do that regularly? We most certainly can, and it really isn’t that difficult. For me, it would begin with us truly celebrating one another as women. It’s breaking down

March 2017

the barriers that divide us as women, and black women in particular. It’s rebuking silly hashtags like #teamlightskin, #teamdarkskin, #teamnatural, and #teamrelaxer. It’s simply being members of team humanity, team sheroes, and team sisterhood. We saw it in Hidden Figures. Those women weren’t bickering and backstabbing; they were taking care of business and encouraging each other to strive and succeed. Josephine Hulett and thousands of other women who worked as domestics did it, too. They shared their experiences and supported one another, resulting in American domestic workers finally receiving minimum wage and Social Security benefits after 40 years of laboring without them. We often hear about the good ol’ boy network; well, I propose that we all participate in a sisterhood network. There are no membership fees, passwords, or secret handshakes. Instead, the cost of admission is a genuine smile and a kind word. Membership is contingent upon our ability to recognize and celebrate each other, our challenges, and our accomplishments. A parade isn’t necessary; a listening ear, a caring heart, and a “Go ‘head, Gurl!” will do. A sincere “Congratulations!” or “How can I help?” is plenty and actually will go a long way toward fostering the support we as women and sisters truly need to thrive. In a world where women are seemingly always in competition, it’s a blessing to have a circle of sisters to lift each other up regularly, carry one another when necessary, and are always ready to give a six-second hug. Let’s continue to celebrate women each March, and make an effort to continue it daily throughout the year. If we don’t celebrate ourselves, who will? Don’t wait; do it now. Celebrate us!


hil Murphy, Democratic candidate for governor, unveiled an ambitious agenda to revitalize New Jersey’s cities in a major policy address delivered to more than 200 community, faith, and political leaders at Newark’s TechWorld on Wednesday, March 22. Murphy was introduced by Mayor Ras Baraka. Other mayors from throughout northern New Jersey also were in attendance, including Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp and Hobokon Mayor Dawn Zimmer. In his address, Murphy laid out a series of steps he would take as governor to unlock the potential in New Jersey’s cities to make them engines of economic growth and educational excellence, as well as strengthen neighborhoods. His plan calls for direct investments in infrastructure and schools, and a focus on attracting new, innovation-based businesses to create jobs. He also focused on the need to increase accessibility to affordable housing, as well as comprehensive criminal justice reform to increase trust between communities and law enforcement to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. “I chose to house my campaign in Newark because Newark is a city on the rise,” said Murphy. “Newark — and indeed, every city in our state — has what’s needed for New Jersey’s future. I will be the governor who breaks the system that has held us back, changes the way of thinking, and again looks to our cities as the vital economic and social engines they can be.”

Paid for by Murphy for Governor, One Gateway Center, Suite 1025, Newark, NJ 07102

Newark Beth Pos Comm 8.25x10.75 v2_Layout 1 3/13/17 3:19 PM Page 1

Your family has no history of breast cancer. You still need a mammogram.

It’s curious how healthy habits can become go-to excuses. But don’t excuse yourself from getting a mammogram. At RWJBarnabas Health, we offer the latest in comprehensive breast health services including mammograms, 3D mammograms, genetic testing, breast surgery and more — like peace of mind. And with breast health centers conveniently located throughout New Jersey, finding us is simple, too. Making excuses is easy. Making an appointment is easier. Schedule your visit to the The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Breast Health Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center at or call 973-926-7466. Let’s beat breast cancer together.

March 2017  

Hidden No More! The Positive Community highlights women in science, technology, and business. Wells Fargo: $60 Million for Black Homeownersh...

March 2017  

Hidden No More! The Positive Community highlights women in science, technology, and business. Wells Fargo: $60 Million for Black Homeownersh...