GOOD NEWS FROM THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
™ November 2013 www.thepositivecommunity.com
HEALTH Meet George Hulse Dr. Roy Hastick, Sr. Life After Stroke Guest Editorial: Rev. DeForest Raphael
12 Years a Slave
Barnabas Health’s Michellene Davis: Jersey’s Homegrown Hero
Giving Thanks With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it is a good time to help children learn the meaning of gratitude. Here are some ways parents can help:
· Find a project: Encourage children to select some toys to donate or find a goodwill project you can do as a family, like helping an elderly neighbor with leaves.
· Have kids help at home: Give your child a chore and let him or her complete it without help. By helping out, children will realize the effort it takes to keep the household running.
· Talk about gratitude: Share things you are thankful for and encourage your children to do the same.
· Write thank-you notes: Make it a habit of having your children write a thankyou note for gifts and special activities. It helps remind them of how fortunate they are!
When families and schools work together, our children are the winners!
New Jersey Education Association… working for great public schools for every child. Wendell Steinhauer, President Marie Blistan, Vice President Sean M. Spiller, Secretary-Treasurer Vince Giordano, Executive Director Richard Gray, Assistant Executive Director
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10/9/13 3:42 PM
MICHELLENE DAVIS: JERSEY’S HOMEGROWN HERO
Michellene Davis, senior vice president for Policy Development and Governmental Affairs, Barnabas receives the 2012 award from Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer, Barnabas Health at the Executive Women of New Jersey Salute to Policy Makers Awards in May 2012.
Features Carver Bank’s Michael Pugh: You Can Bank on Him . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Avoiding Health Insurance Related Scams . . . 18 Newark Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Health Executives Celebrate 20th Anniversary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 George Hulse: No Ordinary Fella. . . . . . . . . . 30 Chasing Motherhood: Dealing with Miscarriage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Michellene Davis: Jersey’s Homegrown Hero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Mental Health and African Americans . . . . . 44 Life After Stroke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Harlem School of the Arts Gets New Name . . 53 Coalition of 100 Black Women . . . . . . . . .70
GEORGE HULSE: NO ORDINARY FELLA
Brian Branch Price
MONEY.................................................16 EDUCATION ..........................................20 HEALTH ................................................27 CULTURE ..............................................53
&also inside Publisher’s Desk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Fitness Doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Gospel Train. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Selah! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Etiquette Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Cover Photo: Brian Branch Price
Carver is Lending in the Community Commercial & Nonprofit When the Apollo planned to install a brand new, state-of-the-art sound system, Carver was there to help. For more information, we invite you to call our Lending Specialists at 718.230.2900 or visit us online at carverbank.com.
BEDFORD STUYVESANT • CROWN HEIGHTS • FLATBUSH • FORT GREENE • HARLEM • EAST HARLEM • JAMAICA • ST. ALBANS
North Jersey District Missionary Baptist Association
Rev. Ralph M. Branch, Jr., Moderator
NJDMBA Music Auxiliary Presents a
Sunday, December 22, 2013 5:00 p.m. Donation: $10
and a New Unwrapped Gift to be donated to a local charity
For more information, contact:
Crystal Wiggins President
Tiffany McDonald Secretary
R C OLL
MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!
he clergy organizations, churches, community businesses and institutions listed below have committed to the purchase of at least 50 magazines per month at $1.00 each (one-third of the cover price) or support this publication through the purchase of advertising. Find out more by calling 973-233-9200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Abyssinian B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor
Ebenezer B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Jovan Troy Davis, M.Div.
Messiah Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ Rev. Dana Owens, Pastor
St. Luke Baptist Church of Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie McCann, Pastor
Abundant Life Fellowship COGIC, Newark, NJ Supt. Edward Bohannon, Jr, Pastor
Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn NY Rev. Anthony Trufant, Pastor
Metropolitan B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Pastor
St Luke B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton, Pastor
Empire Missionary B.C., Convention NY Rev. Dr. Ronald Grant, President
Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, Harlem Rev. Dr. Gregory Robeson Smith, Pastor
St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Ben Monroe
Evening Star B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Washington Lundy, Pastor
St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter, Pastor
First AME Zion Church, Brooklyn, NY Dr. Darran H. Mitchell, Pastor
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. Vernon Walton, Pastor Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Tisha M. Jermin Mt. Neboh Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green Jr., Pastor
First B.C. of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset NJ Rev. Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, Pastor
Mt. Pisgah B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Pastor
Thessalonia Worship Center, Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. Shellie Sampson, Pastor
First Baptist B.C. of Teaneck, NJ Rev. Marilyn Monroe Harris, Pastor
Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, Pastor
Union Baptist Temple,, Bridgeton, NJ Rev. Albert L. Morgan, Pastor
Aenon Baptist Church, Vauxhall, NJ Rev. Alfonzo Williams, Sr., Pastor Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor Archdiocese of New York Brother Tyrone Davis, Office of Black Ministry Berean B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Arlee Griffin Jr., Pastor Bethany B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Jasper E. Peyton, Interim Pasto Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Pastor Beulah Bible Cathedral Church, Newark, NJ Gerald Lydell Dickson, Senior Pastor Black Ministers Council of NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Exec. Director Calvary Baptist Church, Garfield, NJ Rev. Calvin McKinney, Pastor Calvary Baptist Church, Morristown, NJ Rev. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., Pastor Canaan B. C. of Christ, Harlem, NY Rev. Thomas D. Johnson, Pastor
Fellowship Missionary B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Elton T. Byrd Pastor/Founder
First Bethel Baptist Church, Newark, NJ H. Grady James III, Pastor First Corinthian Baptist Church, NY Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr. Senior Pastor First Park Baptist Church, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Rufus McClendon, Jr., Pastor Friendship Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. James A. Kilgore, Pastor General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, President
Canaan B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Dr. Gadson L. Graham
Grace & Restoration Fellowship, Paterson, NJ Jerry Wilder, Sr., Pastor
Cathedral International., Perth Amboy, NJ Bishop Donald Hilliard, Pastor
Grace B. C., Mt. Vernon, NY Rev. Dr. Franklyn W. Richardson, Pastor
Charity Baptist Church, Bronx, NY Rev. Reginald Williams, Pastor
Greater Abyssinian BC, Newark, NJ Rev. Allen Potts, Senior Pastor
Childs Memorial COGIC, Harlem, NY Bishop Norman N. Quick, Pastor
Greater Faith Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA Rev. Larry L. Marcus
Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn, NY Rev. A.R. Barnard, Pastor
Greater Friendship Baptist Church, Newark, NJ Rev. John Teabout, Pastor
Christian Love B.C., Irvington, NJ Rev. Ron Christian, Pastor Community B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor, Pastor Community Church of God, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie., Pastor Emeritus Concord B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Pastor Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Willams, Pastor Cornerstone Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Lawrence E. Aker, III, Pastor
Greater New Hope Missionary B.C., NYC Rev. Joan J. Brightharp, Pastor Greater Zion Hill B.C., Harlem, NY Rev. Dr. Frank J. Blackshear, Pastor Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Drek E. Broomes, President & CEO It Is Well Living Ministries, Clark, NJ Rev. Kahlil Carmichael, Pastor Macedonia Baptist Church, Lakewood, NJ Dr. Edward D. Harper, Pastor Mariners’ Temple B.C., New York, NY Rev. Dr. Henrietta Carter
Mount Zion B.C., S. Hackensack, NJ Rev. Dr. Robert L. Curry, 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 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 Pilgrim B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Glenn Wilson, Pastor Ruth Fellowship Ministries, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracy Brown, Pastor Shiloh AME Zion Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. John D. Givens, Pastor Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Pastor Shiloh B.C., Trenton, NJ Rev. Darell Armstrong, Pastor St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper St. John Baptist Church Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, 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
Walker Memorial B.C. Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush Sr., Pastor World Gospel Music Assoc., Newark, NJ Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder
Businesses & Organizations 125th St. BID African American Heritage Parade American Diabetes Association American Heart Association, Northern, NJ Brown Executive Realty LLC, Morristown, NJ City National Bank Essex County College, NJ Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Medgar Evers College Mildred Crump, Newark City Council Muslim American Chamber of Commerce NAACP New Jersey* NAACP, NY State Conference* New Brunswick Theological Seminary New Jersey Performing Arts Center New York Theological Seminary New York Urban League Newark School of Theology Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center The College of New Rochelle United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. WKMB-1070AM
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!
“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
ADRIAN COUNCIL FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK
“. . . There were times when I thought I couldn’t last for long. Now I think I’m able to carry on . . .” A Change is Gonna Come” — Sam Cooke
A Positive Community Ideal he movie, 12 Years a Slave, now playing at a theater near you is a must-see for everyone! There can be no better illustration of the value of freedom when viewed in the context of this historical film! At the close of this Grand Jubilee Year (150th anniversary) of The Great Emancipation— 2013, let us all be inspired to take full responsibility for teaching our children that freedom isn’t free! A very, very high price has been paid for the freedoms we enjoy today as American citizens. It must never, ever be taken for granted. See this movie for yourself; see it for your family! In a guest editorial, Rev. Deforest Raphael reflects on the film (page 13). Cultural literacy — the ability to read, write, speak and comprehend — promotes knowledge and appreciation of our history. Always remember, culture is to a community, ethnicity, nation or race what the soul is to a man — the combined ministries of experience, wisdom, hope and faith. Without cultural literacy, there is little hope of progress; without a wholesome vision for the future, the people will be confused, conflicted and confounded — “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18); “My people perish for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
Watch Night Initiative Once again, on New Year’s Eve — Watch Night, let us come together, across denominations, as a brotherhood to commemorate the Grand Jubilee Season of Emancipation—2014, with an exercise in spiritual and cultural unity. We appeal to every congregation and representative clergy organization to incorporate into their service-in the first minutes of the new year- a prayer of thanksgiving for our ancestors; a prayer of hope for the children and a reading from the Cultural Narrative (page 11) by a young person in the congregation; in the same spirit that many, many churches welcomed the New Year of 2013. Cultural literacy, knowledge of history is the foundation, the very source of community pride, self-esteem, self respect and happiness . . . So, let’s do it again! On Health Such has been the tradition at The Positive Community, that in November we turn the spotlight on health. In this issue meet George Hulse, SVP Healthfirst, NY (Pg. 30) and Michellene Davis, (Pg. 34) SVP Barnabas Health, NJ. Both are dynamic leaders in a rapidly changing healthcare industry. This health edition takes on a special meaning as the first issue since the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect. Millions of Americans now have access to affordable, quality
healthcare. Within our community, it’s not just about the political “Obamacare,” it’s about affordable healthcare, simple and straightforward! In the coming months, we would do well to see to it that affordable healthcare becomes a priority in our community! Ideally, every family, church, college, health organization, community institution and socially responsible media outlet, should be about the business of promoting or signing up individual young people, and young families, the primary beneficiaries of the new law. The Affordable Care Act is about America’s future — our future — a healthy and prosperous future! We cannot afford to simply sit this one out. Give not an ear to naysayers — those who are either hostile or indifferent to the people’s progress and well-being! Sign-up today — this is our time! And, as the saying goes “You’ve got to be in it to win it!” It Pays to Care Special thanks to our readers and advertisers/community partners, especially member churches, businesses, public and private institutions that have joined The Positive Community’s Great Roll Call to Progress (partial listing pg. 7). Five years after we made the appeal to churches to contribute $1.00 per magazine for bulk deliveries at a minimum of 50 copies, we are most grateful for the response. The list of subscribers continues to grow. Thanks again, for the encouragement and support! We are now taking orders for the 2014 commemorative edition of the Grand Jubilee Calendar. Our 2nd edition continues to focus on African American culture and spirituality: our faith, our freedom and our future. Even at the time of this writing, we are still receiving requests for the 2013 edition. Collect both “Countdown to Freedom” calendars. It is our generation’s gift of faith unto a generation yet unborn. No church, school or home should be without one! And finally, there is still quite a buzz about the recent business roundtable hosted by the Montclair State University School of Business, sponsored by community partners, Wells Fargo and Verizon. See why everyone’s talking about “The event.” View comments online www.thepositivecommunity.com. Our next roundtable on health will be on January 22nd at Essex County College in Newark. As we begin a new year in our freedom journey, let us not grow faint or weary along the way! Resolve to keep the light of liberty shining brightly in our hearts! Stay focused, stay positive; stay healthy and be strong! Because…a positive community is everybody’s business… It really pays to care! continued on page 10
8 The Positive Community
THE POSITIVE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION PRESENTS THE . . .
2014 Grand Jubilee Calendar Only $19.99!
The Great Countdown to Freedom Commemorative Calendar for the 150th Anniversary Season of the Great Emancipation: Our Faith, Our Freedom, Our Future.
SUPPORT CULTURAL LITERACY! The calendar provides insight into our American story. It’s a cultural curriculum. The photos are beautiful, equally matched by inspired words of truth, encouragement and comfort! The Grand Jubilee Calendar featuring the Cultural Narrative is a quality commemorative product—a cultural and spiritual marker for this important season. The calendar is all that we have as a keepsake for this extraordinary time. The calendar speaks to the soul and points the way forward. No home, school or house of worship should be without one. Your $20.00 investment will yield compounded interest, unlimited returns if we were to learn the cultural narrative ourselves and teach it to a child. The progress of our children and the integrity of the very best African American culture, values and traditions mean everything. Cultural Literacy—celebrates our faith, our freedom, and our future. Through the words and images in this calendar, may generations yet unborn reflect glowingly upon our present times and sacrifices. Keep the calendar in the family. In this patriotic season, let’s get excited about our future, America’s future—today! Order calendars for your home, friends, school, business or organization—now!! Proceeds to fund events, activities, cultural literacy and emancipation awareness initiatives throughout the region. Send Check or Money Order to:
The 2014 Grand Jubilee Calendar
CALL TODAY: 973-233-9200
Grand Jubilee Calendar c/o The Positive Community Foundation 133 Glenridge Ave. Montclair, NJ 07042
Publisher’s Desk continued from page 8
Comments about Watch Night Initiative 2012
Young person reading the Cultural Narrative on Watch Night 2012 at Community Baptist Church, Englewood, NJ.
“On behalf of the Empire Missionary Baptist Convention we commend and congratulate The Positive Community for the special Watch Night Initiative . . . I also wish to personally thank our convention pastors and officials for their participation in this both solemn and joyous occasion.” —Rev. Ronald Grant, president Empire Missionary Baptist Convention of NY “The Watch Night Initiative information we received was disseminated to our membership, The Newark North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen (NNJCBC). At my church, the response was amazing. As we began our service and shared the Cultural Narrative with the congregation there were spontaneous shouts of ‘Teach us, pastor;’ 'Tell the truth, pastor,' ‘Help us, pastor.’ It bought tears to my eyes". —Bishop Jethro James, president, NNJCBC and pastor, Paradise BC, Newark, NJ “I was so enthusiastic about the intention . . ., especially as it relates to cultural and spiritual literacy I was moved to share the Watch Night Initiative and the Countdown to Freedom—Cultural Narrative with all the other Church Of God In Christ bishops in New Jersey and New York. —Bishop William T. Cahoon, jurisdictional prelate, New Garden State Jurisdiction
10 The Positive Community
“A combination of Watch Night and Emancipation Day helped to educate the people about slavery and freedom. Then we had a young child read the Cultural Narrative. Shouts echoed throughout the church from the congregation. ‘This is our history; this is our history’” —Rev. Dr. Robert M.Waterman, president, African American Clergy and Elected Officials and senior pastor, Antioch BC, Brooklyn “Watch Night Service at Cathedral International was extraordinary. The sense of expectation filled the sanctuary twice. Both the 7pm and lOpm services were phenomenal. The reading of the Cultural Narrative was powerful; We sang the Negro National Anthem and departed with tear-filled eyes, hands raised to the hymn, ‘We've Come this Far by Faith.’” —Bishop Donald Hilliard, senior pastor, Cathedral International, Perth Amboy, NJ “Watch Night 2012 was extra special since it was the combination of our usual Watch Night Service, but this time with an added attraction and historicity, that being the 150th observance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which proved both enriching and spiritually motivating. To God Be the Glory!” —Rev. Dr. J. Stanley Justice, pastor, Greater Mt. Zion AME Church, Trenton, NJ “As we watched through the night, in anticipation of a new tomorrow, may we as a people of faith (especially during this Year of Faith) be ever vigilant to avoid those things and people that entangle us in bondage or return us to the past days and present ways of "slavery!” —Br. Tyrone Davis, G.F.G., Office of Black Ministry, Archdiocese of New York
The Positive Community’s
Great Countdown to Freedom
The Grand Jubilee Season of Emancipation—2014 n January 1, 2013, America observed the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation—the sesquicentennial commemoration. From the date January 1, 1863 to the present we, as a group are blessed with an enormous opportunity to measure, assess and define our American journey, our claim on the American Dream. Below is a cultural narrative—our story—an oral history, a brief presentation of our deep collective experience that dates back to before this nation’s founding: The Cultural Narrative African Americans are a unique people with a peculiar history in this land. Brought to these shores in chains from Africa as slaves in the early 1600s, our people toiled and suffered as captives in brutal bondage for a quarter of a millennium (250 years). On January 1, 1863, two years into the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, became law signaling an end to slavery. On that day, the African American community of the United States of America was born. One hundred years later, in August, 1963, at the height of the civil rights movement, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial as he led hundreds of thousands to a “March on Washington” seeking an end to discrimination and Jim Crow segregation in the South. It was a demand for full citizenship rights for the people in what has been called “The Second Emancipation.” Forty years after Martin Luther King’s tragic assassination in 1968, America elected its first black president, Barack Obama (2008). In one hundred years between the first and second emancipation, in the midst of bitter persecution, humiliation, lynching and the denial of basic human rights, the resiliency of the African American spirit continued to shine brightly in religion, business, medicine, invention, sports and in the creative arts—music, fashion, dance, language, literature and theater. Indeed, original American art forms and a popular culture has become the envy of the world were founded upon the souls of a forlorn people! That is our story — the Truth, Beauty and Goodness of a loving and gifted race revealed!
An Extraordinary History Ours is an extraordinary history of trial, tribulation and triumph that we must never forget! This is the story that we must tell our children and be ever remembered. We the people, descendants of the Great Emancipation, must tell our story to each other reminding ourselves, over and over again of the great, noble struggle and sacrifices of those who came before us. This is our story, our cultural narrative, our Grand Jubilee and springboard into a great and prosperous future—a vision of hope and progress; health and wholeness; peace and goodwill! 2014—the Grand Jubilee Season of the Great Emancipation! Author: Adrian A. Council, Sr. Editor: Jean Nash Wells Graphic Design: Penguin Graphics & Martin Maishman Published by: The Positive Community Corporation www.thepositivecommunity.com
Friday, december 6, 2013 7:00 pm
ong... honoring over 30 years of graduates of the
NYTS Master of Professional Studies Degree program at Sing Sing Correctional facility.
Celebrate with New York Theological Seminary Join us for an evening of Gospel praise through song. Hear live testimony from some of the graduates of the NYTS Master of Professional Studies Degree program at Sing Sing Correctional facility and about the work they are doing in the community. The Celebration in Song Gospel Concert is free. Suggested donation of $20.
Featuring new yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best gospel perFormances
The Rev. Keith Branch and The Branch Company
The Rev. Darren Ferguson and SWAGGER
The Imani Singers of Medgar Evers College
Cory Gray and Youth on Fire for Christ
Salem United methodiSt ChUrCh 2190 adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. new york, ny 10027 the rev. edward J. norman, PaStor For additional information, contact 212-870-1211, or visit us on the web at www.nyts.edu 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500 | New York, NY 10115 | Tel: 212.870.1211 | Fax: 212.870.1236 | www.nyts.edu
DEFOREST RAPHAEL GUEST EDITORIAL
Rev. Deforest Raphael is senior paster A.M.E. Zion Church on the Hill, Harlem, NY.
See this Film! 12 Years a Slave have spoken with several black people who, after viewing the film, 12 Years a Slave describe being confronted with emotions they could not control. One young woman said she sat in the theater after it had emptied, weeping uncontrollably. It took her several additional minutes in the ladies room before she could compose herself enough to leave. A young man, who went with a group of his male friends, was not able speak for hours. He recounted to me, “I wanted to cry, but couldn’t find the tears.“ A married couple found themselves arguing for several minutes before realizing they weren’t actually angry with one another; the film having dredged up such overpowering emotions that they just, in her words, “. . . lost it!” A close buddy of mine, a lawyer not given to extremes, thoughtful and usually well measured in his responses, was clearly apoplectic in his evaluation of the film. One would have thought he hated it, but it was clear to me that he was deeply touched and disturbed by what he’d witnessed on that screen. In a subsequent communication he said he felt an “overwhelming sense of hopelessness” while watching it. One of the many reasons this film is so devastating is because, though describing something that happened more than a century and a half ago, its relevancy is undeniable. At moments during 12 Years a Slave I had the unmistakable sense that I was listening to the echoes and watching the shadows of what we as black people continue to experience, embedded in the atrocities of the past. Seeing the images reflected across the screen, I was transported back to my 1950s living room in Detroit, watching the Birmingham Fire Department turn their water hoses on people who looked like me, who looked like those on the screen; the vicious, snarling (four- and two-legged) dogs of the Birmingham Police Department, cut loose on school aged children who looked just like me and looked just like those on the screen. In an instant, I knew why those who control the means of production don’t want this known in all its inglorious detail. It is in the wake of the State of Texas’ decision NOT to teach slavery, that 12 Years a Slave becomes essential if — and this is a huge if — America is
ever to be redeemed. And the redemption of which I speak, is no respecter of person. It is, like the leaves of the tree described in John’s vision, “. . . for the healing of the nation.” America’s sin-sickness is in the continued legacy of slavery, which is very much alive in her present. For us, this me and you from the bosom of Africa, we have work to do. It begins with admonishing all among our company, against what I expect will be great resistance, TO SEE THIS FILM! It will be hard, for this is almost UNWATCHABLE. This fact alone, makes it all the more ESSENTIAL. Then . . . soothing conversation, so as to decompress, process, digest and place it in its proper context so we can address what needs to be redressed. Take the volatility of our righteous fury and direct it toward the perfection of our own selves (we have work to do that has nothing to do with anything or anyone other than ourselves and each other . . . if we didn’t say another word about WP for the next 200 years, it would be too soon). Brother McQueen has screamed, whispered, sung, cried, laughed, cajoled, bludgeoned, challenged and stripped the filthy bandages off our blood soaked souls. There before our very eyes, he uncovered our misplaced, displaced trauma. There was not a conscious black soul in the joint that did not avert their gaze, because they had to; but they returned that gaze, because they had to! We didn’t WANT to, we HAD to! We wanted to hate it and him for the telling, but there was too much love coming from and through those sorrow-filled images! WE WERE COMPELLED TO BEAR WITNESS! “I’D RATHER YOU, PLATT!” Ain’t that what Patsy wailed?! I don’t know about the places where you saw it, but I’m told again and again, that there were more of them there, than there were of US!! We must bear our own witness, if we are to know how we came to be the who and what we have come to be. And this, 12 Years a Slave is as good a fresh point of departure on that journey as any that’s come in a long, long while. So, let us dare to look it in the eye; with all its naked viciousness and know the same people who are here now, came through that and worse, then! See. This. Film. Then let’s get busy . . .
November 2013 The Positive Community
REV. THERESA NANCE MY VIEW
Rev. Nance is pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Passaic, NJ. She is also a radio talk show host and documentary filmmaker.
LISTEN TO THE POSITIVE COMMUNITY HOUR ON WKMB 1070 AM HARVEST RADIO, MONDAYS, 1:30–2:30 P.M. WITH HOST THERESA NANCE.
Rev. Caffie Risher Grief Recovery Specialist Offers Her Expertise loss is not always equated with the demise of a loved one, although it can certainly include such an event. That’s what the Rev. Caffie Risher, a Passaic County Community professor, who also serves on the ministerial staff of the Community Baptist Church in Englewood, is about to advise the public-at-large at the outset of the fledgling Grief Recovery Method Outreach Program. I attended the grand opening on Oct. 8, in the city of Hackensack where the Rev. Lester Taylor, Rev. Risher’s pastor, was there to bless the new establishment. When is a loss not a loss? It’s a rhetorical question at best but losing someone — due to a severed relationship or death — has many long-term implications. That’s where this certified Grief Recovery Specialist comes in to offer her expertise, or to write biblically, to ascertain the conclusion of the matter. She calls the program Good Mourning Ministry, with an obvious play on the word mourning. Rev. Risher said there is an action plan or program for moving beyond death, divorce and other losses. Suffice it to say many who decide to divorce a spouse seemingly go through grief-like trauma as though they were, indeed, mourning for a deceased loved one. I’ve seen it. I’m sure many of you have as well. For whatever reason, church folks especially, like to talk about Heaven but seldom want to discuss unvarnished truths about a loss of any kind. It apparently is not the righteous thing to do if you are in the body of Christ. Pity.
Risher said there are a number of myths regarding grief and the overused cliches used as a verbal balm for the affected person do not give comfort for those who are suffering. These, she said, are some of the phrases uttered about grief: time heals all wounds, replace the loss, grieve alone, be strong for others and/or bury your feelings. She says, “Your feelings are normal and natural. The problem is that we have been socialized to believe that these feelings are abnormal and unnatural.” Well, there you go. “You can grieve,” she noted, “when someone dies, over divorce or the end a relationship, the loss of a career, trust, faith or safety — or loss of one’s health.” I can attest to that, if I may be transparent. The program itself offers inspiration, instruction and I imagine she’s apt at giving a solid listening ear because sometimes folks just want to vent and neither expect nor ask for a response. There also are methodologies in dealing with children who have experienced loss of some kind. She indicated that those who must be the bearers of such news should use patience and candor and refrain from imposing their own viewpoint at such a time, i.e., “Don’t feel scared,” et al. Risher has already begun to interface with people affected by some negative life experience, she said, and is looking forward to using both her spiritual and professional acumen to help hurting people sans editorializing with opinionated hollow words. The best to you Rev. Risher. Good Mourning Ministry.org.
November 2013 The Positive Community
Money Business, Money & work
You Can Bank on Him Carver Bank President Michael Pugh is Making a Difference and Helping Others By R.L. Witter
rowing up in Detroit in the 1980s, many kids dreamed of becoming Motown stars — traveling the world, singing songs and doing the latest dance steps, but not Michael Pugh. “I grew up with a family history in the healthcare industry,” Pugh reflected. “My mother was in management at a nursing home facility and my aunt owns a company that provides certified nursing assistants to people who typically require ‘round the clock care. Those two women were instrumental in my life.” He participated in a gifted and talented program called TOPS (Touching Outstanding Proficient Students), where he excelled academically and made lifelong friendships with other like-minded youths. There was talk of a career as a pharmacist. “I went on to get my undergraduate degree in Healthcare Administration…,” but Pugh’s path changed. The one thing he knew for sure was that he wanted to help people, “and here I am now in banking.” Since August 2012, Pugh has served as president and COO of Carver Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for Carver Federal Savings Bank, a federally chartered savings bank and the nation’s largest African- and CaribbeanAmerican operated bank. Of course, he didn’t start at
The Positive Community November 2013
the top in the field, and in fact, it was his pursuit of his Healthcare degree that led him to banking. “I started as a part-time teller to supplement my scholarships, grants and the family support I was receiving,” Pugh explained. That part-time job turned out to be a life-changing experience. Pugh continued working at the bank, expanding his hours to full-time while still in pursuit of his degree. “It was difficult at times, “he recalled, “but by the time I graduated, I had been promoted to entry-level management. When others were looking for their first job offer after graduation, I was already there.” After leading teams at Capital One and Citizen’s Financial, Pugh jumped at the chance to take the helm at Carver. “The history of the institution — 65 years being around — is one that if you are a minority and in banking, you tend to learn who are the leaders who are making a difference for the community at-large, and Carver clearly has been one of those institutions over the years,” he explained. “I have followed the career of Deborah Wright, our CEO and chairman of the organization,” Pugh continued. “I’ve marveled at her commitment to the community and …I knew that this was an organization I wanted to be a part of… One of my strengths is Continued on next page www.thepositivecommunity.com
my ability to come in and apprise their strong work ethic to either make something better or build something and I saw the opportunity to do that with the very smart and hard-working team here at Carver.” Founded in 1948 to serve African American communities whose residents and businesses had limited access to mainstream financial services, Carver Federal Savings Bank is now America’s largest African-American operated bank, a legacy that is important to Pugh. “Carver has a history of helping local residents turn aspirations into reality by investing the time to provide financial education, to make sure that banking access and means are available to the local neighborhood and doing that with a very high level of integrity,” he explained. “We know that in order for a community bank like Carver to be relevant, everyone has to have equal opportunity for financial education and banking access.” Now Pugh finds himself in a position to help people and give back in a way that is empowering for both himself and Carver’s customers. “The chance to educate and inform your customer about better ways to manage their finances and through that education and the customer then making decisions that help them feel better about their family, future plans, their neighborhood — it generated an influx of feelings for me around doing something good and making a difference,” Pugh said passionately. “My family is a group of people that cares about making a difference and helping others. I found a different way to do it. I fell in love with it.” With 1 in 5 American households considered “under banked,” Pugh seems to be the right person in the right place at the right time. “These are people that don’t have a primary banking relationship,” he remarked. That was a factor in introducing Carver’s latest offerings. “Carver has expanded its offerings to include a suite of new products and services that really help to fulfill the needs of our community. Whether you possess a bank account or not, you can have access to services such as check cashing, money orders, and being able to pay your bills through a program we call Carver Community Cash (CCC). It’s had an overwhelming response so far just from our local community.” With many people struggling in today’s economy, payday loans and check cashing storefronts have become more and more popular in urban communities, sadly costing residents more in interest and fees than traditional banks would charge. Pugh and Carver Community Cash aim to change that. “It provides consumers with access to savings, credit and other financial services,” he said of the program. “Some of the mainstream types of transactions that we typically do include being able to cash checks, send money though Western Union, get money orders, pay bills, and get a prepaid debit card they can reload with cash and continue to use.” All of these services are “provided at a low cost relative to what you would find at any of the check cashers,” Pugh www.thepositivecommunity.com
reiterated. “Most importantly, there is no bank account required, so it allows us to meet customers wherever they are in their financial journey.” With CCC kiosks in supermarket and public housing locations, Carver is working to meet customers and their needs on familiar ground. Some kiosks are even open 24 hours. Looking toward the future, Carver is coming up on its 65th anniversary and continues to provide small business loans in the community, helping local entrepreneurs keep their businesses open and provide paychecks to employees, as well as creating jobs as new business ventures open in the neighborhoods. After more than a year in his new position and having relocated to the New York City area, Pugh is acclimating to life in New York and the diversity, culture and opportunity it affords. As he and his family navigate the traffic and explore the city, Pugh also finds time to continue his work as a board member for The Society for Financial Education and Professional Development and Operation Hope. “Financial Literacy continues to be a passion of mine and making sure that it’s available to communities of color,” he explained. When faced with the challenges of finding time for business, family and his community work, Pugh reflects upon the words that his mother shared with him during a particularly difficult time: “’Never give up.’ Anytime I might question how I can achieve a challenge, I hear that whisper and it energizes me to stay focused on whatever the mission is.”
If You’re Ready to Buy a Home, We are ready to Help. The State of New York Mortgage Agency offers: up to $15,000.00 Down Payment Assistance 1-800-382-HOME(4663)
November 2013 The Positive Community
How to Identify and Avoid Health Insurance Enrollment-Related Phishing Scams
he October 1st rollout of federal health insurance exchanges has suffered from numerous technological glitches. However, another negative outcome — phishing scams disguised as official-looking enrollment emails — isn’t the fault of the government or its IT contractors.
• Why phishing, and why now? Periods of confusion provide great opportunities for scammer, and the current upheaval in health insurance delivery, with the federal HealthCare.gov site, multiple state-run exchanges, Medicaid expansion, and legitimate third-party/broker options, is a great example. Consumers are "faced with the challenge that there’s no official marking or labeling that they can look at on a site to know that it’s officially sanctioned,” says Christopher Budd, threat communications manager for Trend Micro. "A survey of state and third-party sites also shows that [many] aren’t required to verify the site using SSL [secure socket layers].” As a consequence, consumers are “going to be faced with potentially hundreds or thousands of sites that claim to be legitimate but won’t be able to easily verify that claim.” • What do these scams look like? Many suspicious emails will purport to be serious communications about health insurance enrollment. But rather than directing users to HealthCare.gov or an official state site, links point to bogus websites designed to glean personal information. In certain instances, simply opening an email or clicking on a link will immediately load malware on a user’s computer. 18
The Positive Community November 2013
Is your computer guy driving you crazy? • How can these phishing scams be prevented? The first step is obvious: avoid opening any email that comes from an unrecognized sender, especially if it contains attachments or links that look suspicious. URLs like healthcare.com, obamacare. com, and healthinsurancemarketplace.com are NOT official sites. Meanwhile, internet addresses that contain long strings of jumbled letters and numbers instead of words are also indications of scams. Avoiding search engine queries to find health insurance exchanges is another way to steer clear of fake sites. • What can small businesses do to protect themselves and their employees? Company-wide internet filtering can prevent workers from accessing some unauthorized websites. Employers should also take extra precautions to alert their employees when and from whom any insurance or enrollment-related communications will arrive. Also, notifying IT support staff — whether internal or external — when obvious phishing attempts do arrive can also cut down on future threat of fraud or infection.
Anyone with questions about the health care exchanges is encouraged to call the federal hotline at 1-800318-2596 (small businesses can call 1-800-706-7893). Although HealthCare.gov is still experiencing some technical glitches, recent news reports state that call center wait times are currently quite short.
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Education TEACHING, LEARNING, MAKING A DIFFERENCE
All are Welcome Newark Schools Engage Parents and Community By Reginald Lewis Reginald Lewis is Executive Director of The Chad Foundation, an education policy and advocacy organization based in Newark, New Jersey.
Parent Portal Operational in many of the District’s 71 schools, parents can now access timely information about student attendance, grades, and assignments over a secure internet connection. At the PowerSchool Parent Portal, teachers and parents can communicate electronically about the progress of individual students and ways in which a child can be better supported in school. Parents no longer have to wait for the end of marking periods to receive report cards and/or a general status update on their children’s performance. Parents can create their own accounts by accessing PowerSchool at http://sis.nps.k12.nj.us/public. The portal will be available system wide by January 1, 2014. School Snapshots for Families In addition to the Portal, parents have been introduced to School Snapshots, which provide a user-friendly overview of how a school is performing in several different areas, including test scores in reading, growth in academic performance, attendance, and graduation rates. Parents can find out how well their child’s school compares to the district as a whole. The Snapshots provide parents with a tool to assess the quality of instruction in their children’s classrooms, and if necessary, inform decisions when seeking options for better schools. The 2012 Snapshots can now be found on the NPS web site (www.nps.k12.nj.us).
omething new is happening at Newark Public Schools (NPS). Perceived for many years as unwelcoming, indifferent, and unresponsive to the interests of parents and the community, a number of efforts designed to strengthen school-community relationships have been launched recently. Led by a new Office of Family and Community Engagement, NPS is attempting to bolster ways to better connect parents, caregivers, and Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow concerned residents to the teaching and learning Excessive absences are a significant cause of low perDr. Calvin O. Butts III blessing his grandson at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem, NY formance in the primary grades, and aPhoto: strong process. Four initiatives are worth a closer look. Bobpredictor Gore continued on next page
20 The Positive Community
Business Award Honoree A. Curtis Farrow, CEO Irving Street and Wesley N. Jenkins, president, Babyland Family Services
of drop out when the problem persists at the middle grades and high school level. In response to the continuing problem of chronic absenteeism for Newark students (15 percent of elementary children and 45 percent of high school students were absent 20 days or more last year), the district opened the 2013 – 14 school year with an ambitious campaign to significantly increase student attendance. Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow is a district wide effort that holds every school accountable for encouraging parents to get their children to school every day, and on time. Through newly required attendance improvement plans, schools now actively seek out parents to ensure that students miss as few instructional days as possible. Real Choices at the Secondary Level During the Spring of 2013, for the first time in Newark’s history, NPS offered a citywide high school admissions process for eighth graders and their parents. Unlike prior years, parents and students, regardless of where they live in the city, could consider high schools aligned to their preferences and needs. A single online application was introduced for available seats at the prestigious and highly-competitive magnet schools (e.g., Science Park, University High Schools), as well as the comprehensive schools. To better support the decision making process, a high school fair was hosted on a Saturday in March to give parents and students the opportunity to attend and receive one-on-one application assistance. All parents and students received notifications of placement by May 1. Sixtyfour percent of students received one of their top three choices, forty-three percent of students were matched with their first choice. Research confirms that when parents are engaged in schools, students tend to take on a greater interest in learning. Academic, social and developmental outcomes improve, and students stand a greater chance of avoiding dropping out and successfully completing high school. NPS’ recent efforts to strategically engage parents and the communities that surround neighborhood schools are commendable: keeping parents up-to-date on their children’s progress during and between marking periods via a secure portal access, providing useful data snapshots on each Newark School, holding parents and schools accountable for ensuring that students attend school regularly, and giving every eighth grade parent access to quality high school choices – all represent a major culture shift in Newark public education. These and other key reforms designed to improve the parent-school connection deserve to be sustained. www.thepositivecommunity.com www.thepositivecommunity.com
Babyland Family Services Annual Gala
L–R: Hon. Larrie Stalks and Hon. Calvin D. West
Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson received the Martha Palmer Chaneyfield Award Education Honoree Dr. Gale E. Gibson, president, Essex County College
Community Award Honoree Elnardo J. Webster, Esq.
Dr. Mary Ellen Clyne, President/CEO, Clara Maass Medical Center received the Mary Palmer Smith Award
abyland Family Services, Inc. hosted its annual gala the evening of Thursday, October 17, 2013. This year’s event was especially significant as the organization celebrated its 45th anniversary. Babyland has been at the forefront of service to the Greater Essex County area in a number of areas including: childcare, domestic violence and foster care. This year Babyland honored the outstanding achievements of six leaders: In Business; A. Curtis Farrow • Education; Dr. Gale E. Gibson • Health; Dr. Mary Ellen Clyne • Community; Elnardo Webster Jr., Esq. and Political Engagement; The Honorable Blonnie Watson. Babyland’s Person of the Year 2013 was Dr. Roger A. Mitchell, Jr., NJ State Medical Examiner. As the three hundred attendees began to arrive at the Best Western Robert Treat Hotel for cocktails, it was clear the evening would be spectacular. Cocktails were followed by a seated dinner in the hotel’s Tri-State Ballroom. Guests were treated to performances by Charisa, The Violin Diva and Dimensions Band featuring Valarie Adams. The evening’s host, Dr. Joyce Wilson Harley, Esq., did a fantastic job of introducing the distinguished honorees. Babyland’s executive director, Wesley N. Jenkins, thanked the many community partners whose support allows the agency to continue its meaningful work. The agency continues its theme “Proud Past, Promising Future.” November 2013 The Positive Community November 2013 The Positive Community
General Colin Powell Contributes $5 Million to School at City College By Helene Fox
olin L. Powell, retired four–star general and former Secretary of State, a graduate of the Class of 1958 of the City University of New York, is donating $5 million to his alma mater, in particular the Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, formerly the Division of Social Science. General Powell’s $5 million gift brings his total giving to the school to nearly $7 million. The Powell School was inaugurated in April 2013. The Colin Powell Center, which Powell founded in 1997, has been incorporated into the new school. Students can choose from five departments—Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology as well as interdisciplinary programs, such as those in International Relations, International Studies,
The Positive Community November 2013
Latin American and Latino Studies, Mental Health Counseling, Pre-Law, Public Service Management, Women’s Studies, and the Skadden Arps Honors Program for Legal Studies. The School offers a wide variety of traditional and interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate degrees and houses the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology offered by the CUNY Graduate Center. Powell’s gift brings the total raised for the school’s capital campaign to $44 million. Funds from the campaign for the Powell School strengthen academic programs; enhance recruitment and retention of topquality faculty, students, and staff; and improve campus facilities and services. Through its scholarships and paid internships, the endowment also helps students reduce or eliminate their need to work extra jobs.
I am delighted to invite you to the special events that mark CUNY Month during the month of November at CUNY’s 24 colleges and professional schools. – Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly
pen houses, admissions and financial-aid workshops, sports tournaments, lectures, performances, and book talks, most of them free, and panel discussions with world-class faculty, high-achieving students and honored guests.
NOV. 1-DEC. 20
LATINO NEW YORKERS 1980-2001
NOV. 1-DEC. 15
ART AS WITNESS
Commemorating 100 Years of El Diario LaPrensa Longwood Art Gallery Hostos Community College Noon-6 p.m. Free
Exhibit of works by Rosemarie Koczy Queensborough Community College Tues. & Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Wed. & Thurs. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. & Sun Noon-5 p.m. Free
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WEEK
Study Abroad Programs CUNY campuses
THE HUNGARIAN STATE FOLK ENSEMBLE Lehman College Center for the Performing Arts 8 p.m. $35-$10
MPH & MS GRADUATE STUDENT INFORMATION SESSION
CUNY School of Public Health 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Free
Explore CUNY Graduate Programs 2-7 p.m. at Grand Hyatt
UNWANTED: THE FACES AND VOICES OF HAITIANS AND DOMINICANS
Prof. Luis Barrios John Jay College of Criminal Justice 1:30 p.m. Free
NOV. 7-DEC. 11
A CENTURY IN ART
Exhibit of works by Theresa Ferber Bernstein Baruch College Sidney Mishkin Gallery Mon., Tues., Wed., and Fri Noon - 5 p.m. Thurs. Noon - 7 p.m. NOV. 14-NOV. 15
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY AND DESIGN CONFERENCE
LEED design, renewable fuels, solar thermal and more Registration Info: csebcc.org/conferences.html Bronx Community College 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free
NOV. 10-DEC. 15
LIES MY FATHER TOLD ME
National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene Baruch College 2 p.m. $50-$60
Kingsborough Community College Performing Arts Center 10:30 a.m. For Ages 4 and up. $12
A CONVERSATION WITH THE HON. SONIA SOTOMAYOR
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court President Lisa S. Coico Prof. Lyn Di Iorio The City College of NY 5:30 p.m. Free
ONLINE MS IN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP INFORMATION SESSION
School of Professional Studies CUNY Graduate Center 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Quality. Affordability. Degrees of Value. For a complete listing of Open Houses at all CUNY colleges and details on hundreds of other events during CUNY Month visit www.cuny.edu/cunymonth CUNY Month ad Positive Community.indd 1
11/12/13 2:45 PM
It’s happening at
Columbia in November
Friday, November 1-May 2014 Exhibition: The Raging ’70s Latino New York as Seen by El Diario’s Bolívar Arellano
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 420 Hamilton, Morningside campus For more info, call (212) 854-0507 or visit www.columbia.edu/cu/cser. Thursday, November 7 An Evening of Poetry and Conversation
6:15 p.m. Social Hall, Union Theological Seminary 3041 Broadway at 121st Street Speakers: Poets Tom Pickard, August Kleinzahler and Maureen McLane. For more info, call (212) 854-8443 or visit www.heymancenter.org. John Zorn and Jay Sanders: Theatre of Musical Optics and the World Around It
6:00 p.m. Prentis Hall, 632 W. 125th St. Curator Jay Sanders and avant-garde composer/performer John Zorn discuss experimental performance practices. The talk coincides with Sander’s exhibition on view at the Whitney Museum and Zorn@60, a year-long festival celebrating 60 years of John Zorn in New York City. For more info, call (212) 854-2875 or visit www.arts.columbia.edu. Exhibit Opening: The Dancers
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 1219 International Affairs, Morningside campus The Dancers is a retrospective of photographs from both the Russian and American periods by Nina Alovert. For more info, call (212) 854-4623 or visit www.harriman.columbia.edu/events.
Friday, November 8
Monday, November 11
Wednesday, November 13
Stargazing and Lecture: Exhibition: Adolf Loo, Our Astronomer vs. Astronomer Contemporary
Comics at Columbia: Brooklyn Comes to Morningside Heights
7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 301 Pupin, Morningside campus Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Buell Hall, Morningside campus Speaker: Jennifer Weston, Columbia University. Lecture followed by stargazing Speakers: Beatriz Colomina, Princeton with telescopes, weather-permitting. For University; Hermann Czech, Atelier Czech; directions, weather and more info, visit Pedro Gadanho, Museum of Modern Art; http://outreach.astro.columbia.edu. and Yehuda Safran, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 854-3414 or Lecture: The Evolving Image visit www.arch.columbia.edu/events. 3:00 p.m. Burke Library, Union Theological Seminary Tuesday, November 12 3401 Broadway at 121st Street
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 523 Butler Library, Morningside campus
Speaker: Joseph Ferguson, stained-glass artist and author of The Evolving Image. For more info, call (212) 854-7309 or visit www.library.columbia.edu/news/ exhibitions.
8:00 p.m. 501 Northwest Corner, Morningside campus
Saturday, November 9 An Afternoon with Eleanora Antinova
2:00 p.m. Wallach Art Gallery, 826 Schermerhorn, Morningside campus In conjunction with the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery exhibition Multiple Occupancy: Eleanor Antin’s Selves, Antin reads and discusses excerpts from the memoirs of her invented character, Eleanora Antinova, an African American ballerina. For more info, call (212) 8542875 or visit www.arts.columbia.edu. Monday, November 11 Documentary: Jazz Education in Pre-Katrina New Orleans
8:00 p.m. 101 Prentis, 632 W. 125th St. Speakers: Filmmaker Geoffrey Poister and musician Courtney Bryan. For more info, call (212) 851-9272 or visit http://jazz .columbia.edu/events/upcoming.
Manhattanville Course Auditing and Lifelong Learners Program
Columbia University funds up to 50 courses each academic year through its School of Continuing Education for residents of Manhattanville Houses, Grant Houses and others in the local community. The program provides adults not currently enrolled in college with the opportunity to attend selected lectures drawn from the University’s offerings in the arts and sciences. For more information, visit http://ce.columbia.edu/auditing/manhattanville-auditing-program.
Research Without Borders: Expanding Public Access to Federally Funded Research
Noon Faculty House, Morningside campus For more info, call (212) 854-7309 or visit www.library.columbia.edu/news/ exhibitions. Music at St. Paul’s: Juilliard Chamber Music
6:00 p.m. St. Paul’s Chapel, Morningside campus For more info, call (212) 854-1487 or visit www.columbia.edu/cu/earl/music. Wednesday, November 13
Speakers: Brooklyn cartoonists Dash Shaw, The New School; Gabrielle Bell, The Voyeurs; and Lisa Hanawalt, My Dirty, Dumb Eyes. For more info, call (212) 8547309 or visit www.library.columbia.edu/ news/exhibitions. Thursday, November 14 Evaluation, Value and Evidence: Genes, Children and Ethics
This talk will focus on genotypes, phenotypes and stereotypes, and the variability of “expression” in Down syndrome. Speakers: Rayna Rapp, New York University; Michael Berube, Penn State University; and Faye Ginsburg, New York University. For more info, call (212) 8548443 or visit www.heymancenter.org. Tuesday, November 19 Moving the Curbs
1:00 p.m. 114 Avery, Morningside campus
Cocaine’s Historical “BlowStreet design is an old art that was given back”: The Long Road to Today’s over to traffic planners and engineers in Hemispheric Drug Crises the 20th century. This lecture discusses
6:15 p.m. Heyman Center, Morningside campus
how cities are moving curbs to restore the primacy of walking. Speaker: Michael King, street design architect. For more info, call (212) 854-3414 or visit www.arch.columbia.edu/events.
Speakers: Paul Gootenberg and Pablo Piccato, Columbia University. Unintended impacts of prior U.S. drug interventions have brought the overseas drug war to a crossroads and to the next phase of cocaine’s Wednesday, November 20 globalizing history. For more info, call (212) Gospel of Freedom: Martin 854-8443 or visit www.heymancenter.org. Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Suburban Erasure: How the Suburbs Ended the Civil Rights Movement in New Jersey
Birmingham Jail and the Struggle that Changed a Nation
Noon Lehman Center, 406 International Affairs, Morningside campus
Noon Lehman Center, 406 International Affairs, Morningside campus Sociologist Jonathan Rieder, Barnard College, discusses his latest book. For Speaker: Walter David Greason, more info, call (212) 854-2927 or visit Monmouth University and CEO of www.columbia.edu/cu/lehmancenter/ International Center for Metropolitan seminars. Growth. For more info, call (212) 8542927 or visit www.columbia.edu/cu/ lehmancenter/seminars.
All events are open to the public. This is a sampling of them. For additional events or general information, visit www.columbia.edu or call (212) 854-2871. For Columbia sports info, visit www.gocolumbialions.com. Guests in need of disability services should call (212) 854-2284 prior to the event.
Ministers Unite to Address Societal Ills Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green, host pastor
Rev. Dr. Patrick H. Young, Pastor First Baptist Church, Queens, NY.
Leading Lady Bernita Washington, wife of Dr. Carl Washington, New Zion BC, Harlem, NY
Hugh Wyatt, publisher of the Spiritual Herald
First Lady Loretta Erskine, wife of Rev. Dr. Kris Erskine, Bethany BC, Harlem NY Photos: Bruce Moore
Inspector Ruel Stephenson
epresentatives from African American churches throughout the city gathered at Mt. Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem on the evening of October 24, 2013 for the first general meeting of the newly formed organization called Mobilizing Preachers and Communities (MPAC), a non-profit coalition consisting of more than 250 interdenominational churches formed to address issues that impact African American communities. The partnership also includes social, civic, political and corporate organizations, philanthropists, as well as concerned individuals focusing on but not limited to the issues of stop and frisk, low-income housing, gentrification, domestic violence, education and economic development. The role of black churches as advocates for the public and catalysts for change was a theme repeated throughout the night. “The last 20 years the church has strayed from its role of advocating for its members,”
The Positive Community November 2013
Larry English, former Community Board 9 chair and legal counsel for the group, said. “To see these pastors step back up and say that they’re reclaiming that mission is a transformative act.” MPAC intends to use the moral authority earned by the great pastors that came before us, and the strength and solidarity of its expansive congregations within the tri-state area to create a new paradigm of social, political and economic action to impact on improving the lives of our congregants and the citizens of the greater New York City and vicinity. For most of our 400-year history in the Diaspora, the authentic black church has been the center of our life. The black church sustained us through 400 years of slavery and 100 years of apartheid and it is now poised to lead us through the 21st century. Rev. Johnnie Green, pastor of Mount Neboh Baptist Church is a founding member of the organization and its president and executive director. — JNW www.thepositivecommunity.com
Health P r e v e n t i o n , T r e at m e n t & C u r e
Beverly Glover, Georges Leconte, Marian Y. Scott and Percy Allen II
Health Executives Mark 20th Anniversary Awards and Scholarships Part of the Festivities
Photos: Seitu Oronde
L–R: National President Greg Calliste, Antonio Martin and Percy Allen II
L–R: Lorraine Braithwaite Harte and Hubert Harte
fter a year of demanding and critical work, members of the New York Regional Chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives took time out to bestow honors on their colleagues and award scholarships to deserving young people. The 20th Anniversary Dinner Dance was held on September 26 at the Marina Del Rey in Throgs Neck, NY. Honorees were Antonio Martin, executive VP and corporate CEO of the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation; Paula Mayo, president and executive director of the Interchurch Center; and Sylvia White, chief of staff at Harlem Hospital Center. Scholarship recipients are Samuel O. Ayo, a student at the City College of New York studying Primary Care Medicine; Camille Cox, a graduate student at Long Iswww.thepositivecommunity.com
L–R: Sylvia White, Antonio Martin, Paula Mayo, Georges Leconte
land Universty studying Healthcare Administration; and Philip Essienyi who is a graduate student in Healthcare Management at Columbia University. The National Association of Health Services Executives was established to elevate the quality of healthcare services rendered to minorities. A non-profit association, among its goals are to strengthen the experience of African American professionals in healthcare, encourage African Americans to enter the field of healthcare administration by providing scholarships, internships and mentoring, and broaden the healthcare knowledge of the African American community. Greg Calliste, PhD is president of the New York Chapter; Marian Y. Scott, MS is president-elect; Orvile Francis, treasurer and Marlo Gantt, secretary. Andrea R. Price, FACHE is NAHSE national president. — JNW November 2013 The Positive Community
Fidelis Care Offers Tips for Choosing Health Insurance Coverage
f you or your loved ones do not have health insurance, you have new options available through New York State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace. Created as part of the federal Affordable Care Act, the goal of the State’s Marketplace is to make sure all New Yorkers have health insurance. With open enrollment underway, Fidelis Care wants you to know that choosing your coverage does not have to be overwhelming. Chief Marketing Officer Pamela Hassen offers these tips: Research Your Options All health plans participating in New York State of Health offer standardized products, making them easy to compare. “The products are organized by metal levels, so when you’re comparing silver products between plans, the biggest difference is the price. At Fidelis Care, we wanted to keep the coverage as affordable as possible. That’s why we are among the lowest-priced plans at each metal level,” she says. Hassen also recommends looking at a plan’s provider directory to see if your doctor participates. If you take medication, you should also check a plan’s formulary to see if the medication is
covered. All health plan options are listed at nystateofhealth.ny.gov. Determine The Cost “The Fidelis Affordable Care Advisor can give you an estimate of the price you will pay, including subsidies and tax credits, and it only takes about two minutes,” says Hassen. Found on Fidelis Care’s website, fideliscare.org, the Affordable Care Advisor only needs the names and birthdates of family members who would be covered, zip code, and yearly income to calculate an estimated monthly cost. It can also let you know if you may be eligible for other government-sponsored health insurance coverage, including Medicaid. Get Help From An Expert All participating health insurance plans and many community health organizations have employees who have been trained by the State to help New Yorkers enroll. Hassen suggests contacting these experts because they understand the process. “Fidelis Care’s experts will meet you in your home, at our office, or in a convenient public place like a library. We will sit down with you and explain the
choices, then help you enroll. It’s a great way to discuss your options and be fully informed as you make this decision,” she says. Have Important Information Ready In order to enroll, you need to provide information about yourself and any family members who need coverage. The State requires you to provide your Social Security number (or document number for legal immigrants), birth date, and employer and income information. If you currently have health insurance, you will also need your policy number. Hassen wants everyone to know that health insurance is important, even for people who are healthy. The government is requiring most Americans to have health insurance in 2014 or pay a tax penalty. Open enrollment for New York State of Health runs through March 31. You must be enrolled by December 15, 2013 for coverage to take effect on January 1, 2014. To make an appointment with a Fidelis Care Representative, call 1-888-FIDELIS (1-888-343-3547) or visit the Contact Us section of fideliscare.org.
“I want a health plan that has the benefits we need.”
Quality health coverage. It’s Our Mission. Fidelis Care is pleased to offer comprehensive coverage in our Medicare Advantage and Dual Advantage plans for 2014 – with a special focus on the benefits, care, and services that mean the most to you.
Fidelis Care representatives will meet with you in the comfort of your home, answer all your questions, and help you choose the plan that’s right for you.
Depending on the plan, features may include: • $0 plan premium • $0 or low copays for doctor visits • $0 copays for generics • $0 prescription drug deductible • Flexible spending, with reimbursement up to $1,000 • Prepaid Over-the-Counter cards with up to $125 monthly • Dental and vision care • Transportation and much more!
Open Enrollment runs from October 15-December 7, 2013 It’s easy to enroll anytime online at fideliscare.org! The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information, contact the plan. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, premium, and/or copayments/coinsurance may change on January 1 of each year. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. Fidelis Dual Advantage plans are offered by Fidelis Care, a Coordinated Care Plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the New York State Medicaid program. Fidelis Care is a health plan with a Medicare contract.
1-800-860-8707 | fideliscare.org
Hours are 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week from October 1 to February 14, and 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday, from February 15 through September 30. H3328 FC 13120.R1 CMS Accepted
George Hulse NO ORDINARY FELLA BY GLENDA CADOGAN George Hulse on the job (c) with Pat Wang, president and CEO(r) and Isabel Gomez, site developer at the Healthfirst-sponsored event “Let’s Talk About Obamacare” on the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building in Harlem. Photos: Seitu Oronde
fter working in the sales department of Healthfirst for six years, George Hulse approached the then president with an idea about community partnerships. Based on that recommendation he was given a mandate: ‘Let’s see how you can position Healthfirst as a good community partner.’ Ninety days later, Hulse was made vice president of External Affairs. That was 11 years ago and during that time Hulse has not just become the most recognizable man in healthcare in the New York metropolitan area, but has built a strong network of community partners which have made Healthfirst one of the strongest brands in the managed care industry. “I feel privileged that I have been given this tremendous responsibility to follow through on the mission of Healthfirst, which is to educate and inform the community about good health practices,” Hulse said. “At Healthfirst we believe that a good, healthy communi-
30 The Positive Community
ty is not just about clinical outcomes, but also about education and prevention.” In pursuit of this mission, Hulse’s unit has cooperated with more than 500 public schools in New York City and Long Island, local banking institutions and church ministries. “Our work is wide ranging from financial literacy to immigration because we believe that these are issues that impact the lives of our members.” One of Healthfirst’s “best” friends, Hulse says, is the faith-based community. “Just like others in America, the church leadership has adjusted to realization that a healthy church ministry also has to have good physical health,” he explains. “Therefore, the faith-based community has been a good partner with us in trying to keep their congregations happy and healthy.” Healthfirst partnerships also include active projects with the NYC Department of Youth Services and www.thepositivecommunity.com
Community Affairs in which programs are developed to serve children in low-income communities. In the partnership with New York City Housing Authority, the aim is to change the health culture of people who live in public housing. Elected officials too, have benefitted from strategic alliances with Healthfirst. Concerned about health outcomes in their constituencies, elected officials at every branch of government have developed programs with Healthfirst that provide health information and education. But by far one of the most elaborate partnerships Hulse has spearheaded is the one currently underway at the Claremont Houses in the South Bronx. With its community partners: Bronx Lebanon Hospital, the American Diabetes Association and Fordham University, Healthfirst has created the Healthy Village Health & Wellness Initiative. Claremont Village consists of five public housing complexes with 15,000 residents. The aim, according to Hulse, is to get people to take charge of their health by bringing the system to them —the support available right at their doorstep. “We are changing the healthcare culture in the area and making it a healthy village by working with residents every week in exercise, nutrition and smoking cessation programs. In addition we have created walking clubs and brought in experts in diabetes and hypertension management. I think this is the most ambitious project we have undertaken,” Hulse declared. “In the year since we launched this initiative it has been exciting and rewarding. We are seeing more and more people joining the walking clubs and asking about other kinds of health related information.” The Healthy Village Initiative is designed to last over a 36-month period and its success is critical. “If we can successfully do this in the South Bronx, then we can replicate it in other areas with similar socio-economic and health indicators and help change the health culture in community after community,” said Hulse. As a not-for-profit managed care company, offering low or no-cost health insurance to eligible individuals and families, Healthfirst insures one out of every 10 people in NYC. Its model is simple — keeping people healthy. “Healthfirst is so committed to making a healthier community that it is very easy to align with this vision,” said Hulse, adding, “I view what I do not as a job but as a responsibility. And to me it’s flattering to have been given this opportunity to give back since I believe I have been privileged by being born in America.” Though he calls himself “just an ordinary fella,” George Hulse’s life has been anything but ordinary. Growing up in the bedroom community of Somerville, New Jersey, he gained an understanding of the black www.thepositivecommunity.com
George Hulse with Congressman Charlie Rangel and WBLS radio personality Dr. Bob Lee at “Let’s Talk About Obamacare” event.
experience in America from an early age thanks to his southern-born mother and Belizean father. “There were always black newspapers and magazines around our house and though not much was said about them, I had the opportunity to read them regularly.” With that influence young George embarked on one of the greatest adventures of his life at the age of 16. “I left our New Jersey home and my parents thought I was going to Philadelphia. But instead,” he disclosed, “I hitchhiked to Atlanta because I heard so much about how black people there lived in affluence. I wanted to see the big houses for myself. ” It is that kind of adventurous spirit that has been the hallmark of the George Hulse experience for most of his life. After a tour of duty as a drill sergeant in the US Military, Hulse took to real estate and for 15 years became one of the most successful builders and brokers in Central New Jersey. The next frontier was retail sales and there too, he conquered by owning a general merchandise store in midtown Manhattan and a costume jewelry store in the Times Square area. According to Hulse, by the age of 30 he was “burnt out. So I decided that I would do something ‘easy’ like teaching.” But after a few substitute teaching excursions he quickly realized that it was not that easy. So his next foray was to experience what it was like to work for someone else. “I saw that Healthfirst was looking for people in their sales department so I made a move toward that,” he explained. Though he never revealed his business background, it was soon evident that Hulse was indeed “an extraordinary fella.” Thus the mandate which has given Hulse the opportunity he was looking for to give back to his community. He speaks about this “privilege” in this way: “I am a golfer, and every time I go on the course I can’t help but think what it would be like if I was 50 years older. I may have been on the same golf course but would probably be chasing the ball as a caddy rather than hitting the ball as a vice president of a major managed care company.” So despite his obligation to also secure the company’s profit margin, Hulse is determined that when it comes to its members, their good health is always first at Healthfirst. November 2013 The Positive Community
HEALTHCARE OPTIONS Fast Facts for New Yorkers Get Ready With Healthfirst® New Yorkers can buy health insurance through the New York State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace. Open enrollment runs through March 31, 2014, and coverage can begin as soon as January 1, 2014. Healthfirst® understands that finding trusted health insurance in the New York City area isn’t easy. That’s why we’re here. We can help you find the health coverage that works best for you and your family.
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Healthfirst representatives can work with you to see what insurance options are best for you, and also help find out if you qualify for any financial assistance.
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Let Healthfirst help find the plan that fits your needs. Reach out to us today. Call 1.888.974.3187 (TDD/TTY 1.888.542.3821), Monday through Friday, 8am–8pm
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Healthfirst® is participating in the New York State of Health
I’M IN I’ve never had insurance and
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We also support you with neighborhood offices, reps that understand your culture and treat you with respect, and a network of thousands of doctors and specialists at top New York hospitals. Ask around. Your neighbors know us for over 20 years. Find the health plan that fits your needs. Go to www.JoinHealthfirst.org/TPC.
Michellene Davis Jersey’s Homegrown Hero BY R.L. WITTER
Photo: Brian Branch Price
sk any comic book fan and they can tell you the one major difference between Superman and all other superheroes. Mortals put on costumes or used radioactivity to become Batman, Spiderman or the Hulk. But Superman was always Superman. The logo he wore was from his home planet; yet Clark Kent, the mild mannered reporter, was his disguise, his alter ego. I wonder if Reverends Ruby and Duval Davis knew their daughter was a superhero at birth, or came to that conclusion later? Growing up in Camden, NJ, Michellene Davis knew what she wanted to do with her life at the tender age of six years-old. Her mother was a social worker; her father ran the family construction business that had been started by his father. “Running my grandfather’s construction company — a black-owned company — I heard the term ‘lawyer’ often,” Ms. Davis recalled. “I’m not sure I knew yet what exactly a lawyer did. But what I did know was that if you needed something fixed or needed justice, that was the reason people picked up the phone and called a lawyer.” Michellene Davis knew she wanted to fight for justice. It was a lofty goal for a little black girl rom Camden. Similar to their standing in faith and being Christians in this world but not of it, Davis’ parents reminded their children that they lived in Camden, but were not of it.
34 The Positive Community
“They were so balanced,” she remarked of her parents. “They were extremely deliberate.” Davis and her siblings were sent to private school in Cherry Hill, NJ, rather than the Camden public schools. “Education was very important to my family,” she reflected. At one point, the Davis children seemed to be feeling pretty full of themselves because of their private education and the material things they had that the neighborhood kids didn’t. “I distinctly recall that my father made us go shopping for school clothes at the thrift shop with the admonition: ‘Let us be clear about what we value here,’” Davis said, imitating her father’s voice with a chuckle. “It was intentional parenting.” It was that type of lesson that informed Davis’ strong sense of right and wrong, her passion for equality and integrity. And the lessons would keep on coming. After attaining her Bachelor’s degree, Davis enrolled in law school and clerked for the presiding judge of the Criminal Division of Essex County. From there she went on to clerk for the Honorable Betty J. Lester, the first African American woman appointed to the bench in Essex County, and only the second black woman appointed to the bench in New Jersey. “I knew that if I was going to truly be someone who was going to seek justice on behalf of communities of concern, I was going to need to know not just how to practice law, but www.thepositivecommunity.com
how to practice law as a black woman,” Davis explained. “Having that practical experience with her was one of the greatest gifts.” In her capacity as a criminal defense lawyer, Davis witnessed firsthand how justice seemed to elude certain people and situations and sought to right as many wrongs as she could. She noticed that too often, brown and black people were treated harshly and without dignity by those in positions of authority. “My people deserve zealous prosecution and defense. I am here to support them because they deserve it,” she once passionately told a naysayer. She recalled a particular case where a man who came to court on a misdemeanor warrant on a Friday afternoon was going to be held in custody until Monday because some people were ready to go home for the weekend. “I lost my mind,” she said incredulously, unable to stomach the fact that this man — a father — would spend the weekend in jail. Davis donned her cape that day and as she said, “No one went home until we handled that matter.” There were other cases, other incidents. Each time, Davis summoned her super powers to serve justice. Most often she won, and people in high places noticed. The Department of Health asked her to submit her resume, largely because her arguments were based on public policy. She recalls stating matter-of-factly that she didn’t have a background in healthcare. “But what I can tell you,” Davis asserted, “is that the criminal justice system is full of individuals who really need access to behavioral health and mental illness treatment…” At the time, the State needed someone to represent them on the Governor’s Task Force to oversee prisoner re-entry issues nationwide. It would seem that their prayers were answered. As Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Health, Davis oversaw Public Health Services, which includes the Divisions of HIV/AIDS and Family Health Services. “I was able to apply that same passion to ensure the continuation of programmatic elements that help the most vulnerable populations,” she explained. “So for me, it was all connected.” Her star continued to rise. “Governor Cody called me in and announced that he was going to name me Director of the Lottery and I remember saying, ‘I’m an attorney, not necessarily with a business background’ — and he replied ‘What we need is someone in that chair who is going to ensure an integrity to the process.’” Two years later, she was Chief of Staff for the State Treasury Department; soon after she was State Treasurer. Next, Davis was appointed Special Counsel for the State, then Chief Counsel. “I kept getting promoted,” she explained. “People would ask me, ‘Who is your political Godfather?’ I’d tell them, ‘I don’t know any of these Governors; I www.thepositivecommunity.com
know God…’ My entire career has been proof positive of praying parents.” Currently, Davis holds the position of Senior Vice President for Policy Development and Government Affairs for Barnabas Health, New Jersey’s largest healthcare system, and the state’s second largest employer with more than two million patient encounters and over 18,000 employees. Davis helps to direct the strategic policy decisions of the system and enhances the system’s position with state and federal elected officials and agencies. “It provides me with an opportunity and a landscape to advocate that much more vociferously . . . defending the rights of communities of concern to have access to programs when their looking to decide which programs to cut,” she explained. “Being over Policy Development and overseeing Governmental Affairs… means that we get to set a policy agenda that is determinative of who we become as the State’s largest healthcare system… I get to have a seat at the table and a voice that says… we’ve got to take a look at an urban expansion strategy and then if we’re going to be in this community, we need to be of this community… Those are the kinds of conversations I get to have.” Davis is also having conversations on the Affordable Care Act these days. “The more individuals that are covered, the better it is for everyone,” she stated emphatically. “Whether you are a healthcare provider; business owner; a mother of four children; a single, childless adult — having healthcare coverage is better for all of us.” She stressed the importance of the shift from seeking crisis treatment for chronic diseases to managing conditions through treatment and regular medical care. In using her powers for good and seeking to identify super powers in other women, Davis recently launched the Barnabas Women’s Leadership Forum. “We created a true forum for women in regard to advocacy and to really help to propel them both professionally and personally to the next plateau in their lives,” she explained. She also lends her time and efforts to numerous organizations throughout New Jersey. She has been honored with scores of awards and accolades, but still cites her close bond with her family among her greatest achievements. She said humbly as we ended our conversation, “Being the first African American female to serve as Treasurer or the youngest Lottery Director in the nation’s history doesn’t mean as much to me as the opportunity to give back to the people I come from . . . I get to live in a world where what I do every day in the area of healthcare is a personal mission. I am richly blessed.” And New Jersey is blessed to have her. Gotham City has Batman, Metropolis Clark Kent. New Jersey has Michellene Davis, our homegrown superhero. November 2013 The Positive Community
KAHLIL CARMICHAEL THE FITNESS DOCTOR Kahlil Carmichael is the Pastor and Founder of It Is Well Living Church located in Monroe, NJ. He is the CEO of the Fitness Doctor Inc., a Fitness Rehabilitation and Wellness Consultation company. To contact Kahlil to become spiritually and physically fit visit www.itiswellchurch.com or call 732-921-3746
hanksgiving is here and I am so excited. Although it is my custom to give thanks to God every day of my life, I must admit, I love this holiday! This is a time when we can come together with our family, friends, and community to offer thanks and praise to God for all of our blessings. Unfortunately there are many who do not share my enthusiasm for this wonderful holiday. To some, the holiday season poses a serious threat to their quest to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. The temptation of being around all that delicious, homemade soul food can cause even the most disciplined fitness enthusiast to feel anxious. The obesity epidemic within our nation (and especially our community), has prompted many to dread the holidays. I was blessed to attend a wonderful conference in beautiful Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago titled “The Formative Prayer Seminar.” This seminar, sponsored by The Healing Place, focused on helping the body of Christ heal from the effects of emotional pain. One of the topics discussed during this 4 day event was the addictive behavior that derives from our inability to process pain. What do you think was one of the most prevalent addictive behaviors within our community? That’s right, overeating or compulsive eating disorder. People suffering with compulsive overeating have what is characterized as an “addiction” to food, using food as a way to hide from their emotions, to fill a void they feel inside, and to cope with daily stresses and problems in their lives. Exactly as I have always suspected, the obesity epidemic is much deeper than we thought. We must begin to deal with the emotional pain and devastating loss that people within our community endure daily. When we no longer
36 The Positive Community
hide our pain and finally allow ourselves to feel and deal with it, people will experience better health and the motivation needed to commit to a consistent exercise and healthy eating regimen. If you find yourself feeling down as we approach the holiday season, talk to your physician and/or get some professional counseling. Talking to a trained medical and/or pastoral counseling professional is a great way to start the process of getting those emotions up and out! Here are some tips to help you with Holiday Eating: • Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight. • Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Try 10- or 15-minute brisk walks twice a day. • Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge. • Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced. • Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy. • If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. It is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie! Although overeating is a serious problem, you can overcome this eating disorder. My prayer for you is that you would not allow your fear of overeating to keep you from gathering with friends and family who love you. I humbly ask God to help you overcome overeating. Amen. “Beloved I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in good health . . .” — 3 John 1:2 (AKJV) 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 program or changing your dietary regimen. www.thepositivecommunity.com
One of the in the region.
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Telephone: 973-926-7000 www.NewarkBeth.org
Newark Beth Israel Excels in 6 Areas Says U.S. News & World Report
The Frederick B. Cohen, MD, Cancer and Blood Disorders Center Newark Beth Israel Medical Center 201 Lyons Avenue (973) 926-7230 The Frederick B. Cohen, MD, Cancer and Blood Disorders Center treats more than 13,000 cancer patients a year. The Center was the first hospital-based cancer program in New Jersey, started by Dr. Fred Cohen. Under the direction of his daughter, Alice Cohen, MD, The Center continues today as one of the most respected oncology and blood disorders centers in the region. The Cohen Cancer Center has a multi-disciplinary approach to care that combines the latest in technology, education and treatment. A major focus of The Cohen Cancer Center is women’s breast health. In 2012, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center provided care to over 130 breast cancer patients. One facet of the breast health program is the Breast Cancer Patient Navigation Program, funded by Avon. The Patient Navigator addresses the many barriers associated with continuity of care: from screening, to diagnosis, to treatment and survivorship. For more than 25 years, the Cohen Center has conducted free breast screenings, with nearly 200 women participating every year. The Cohen Center has been a grant recipient of Avon Foundation and the Susan G. Komen North Jersey Foundation.
The Center for Geriatric Health Care Newark Beth Israel Medical Center 156 Lyons Avenue, Lower Level Floor (973) 926-8491 The Center for Geriatric Health Care at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) offers medical care for the elderly, including 24-hour emergency coverage, coordination of services, transportation, and house calls, for frail elderly. The assessment team is available for all aspects of medical care, including the evaluation and treatment of falls, dementia, loss of mobility, incontinence, constipation, depression, weight loss, and medication problems. The Center is a widely recognized program designed to provide assessment and primary health care for adults 60 and over. Total health care on an outpatient basis enables the patient to live independently at home and to enhance his or her quality of life. The uniqueness of the program lies in its multidisciplinary approach to providing medical care for seniors. A team of specially-trained geriatricians and advance practice nurses provide primary care to patients and, if necessary, make referrals to sub-specialty physicians located on-site at the medical center. NBIMC also includes the new Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr. Geriatric Emergency Depatrment, one of the few geriatric emergency rooms in New Jersey.
John A. Brennan, MD, MPH President and CEO NBIMC & CHoNJ/Executive VP, Barnabas Health
Darrell K. Terry, Sr. MHA, FACHE, Chief Operating Officer,NBIMC & CHoNJ
Cardiology and Cardiac Care Barnabas Health Heart Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center 201 Lyons Avenue (973) 926-7000 The Barnabas Health Heart Centers offer a single comprehensive adult and pediatric cardiac program with locations throughout New Jersey. Our network of cardiac specialists treats patients close to home with advanced technologies and the benefits of cutting-edge cardiac research. From heart disease prevention programs and the finest emergency heart attack care to cardiac catheterization, minimally invasive valve implantation, complex cardiac surgery and heart transplant, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Barnabas Health Heart Centers are nationally recognized for excellence. The Barnabas Health Valve Center, located at Newark Beth Israel and Saint Barnabas Medical Centers, is the first cardiac program in New Jersey to perform 100 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures. It is also one of the top 10 centers in the nation in the number of TAVRs performed and has achieved excellent outcomes in this minimally invasive treatment for aortic stenosis.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube! http://www.facebook.com/newarkbethisraelmedicalcenter http://twitter.com/barnabas_health • www.youtube.com/barnabashealth
treatment of growth disorders, obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, bone disease, hyperlipidemia, pituitary disease, early and late puberty, thyroid disease, and adrenal disease.
Neurosurgery and Neurosurgical Services Family Health Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center 166 Lyons Avenue, Lower Level Floor (973) 972-2323 The Division of Neurosurgery and Neurosurgical Services at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center offers programs in neuroscience to diagnose and treat stroke, aneurysms, brain tumors, spine tumors, and acute and chronic back pain. Staffed by the renowned, dedicated physicians of The Rutgers Neurological Institute of New Jersey, our eight neurosurgeons and one physiatrist provide unparalleled neurosurgical care for adults and children at the highest technological and surgical level. Recognized nationally, the Neurosurgery team offers the latest in cutting-edge technology and minimally invasive techniques. Patients receive the most effective and most advanced treatment plans, with the goal to achieve the highest possible quality of life. Diabetes & Endocrinology The Diabetes Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center 201 Lyons Avenue (973) 926-3218
The Diabetes Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center provides education and support for patients with diabetes. Our services include outpatient education, group and individual counseling. Workshops cover topics of nutrition, medications, and preventing complications. The center also offers a support group and various community enrichment programs. Examples are the Basics of Diabetes, Medication and Blood Glucose Monitoring, Healthy Eating with Diabetes, Hypertension, Cholesterol and Meal Planning and Managing Gestational Diabetes. Pediatric Endocrinology 201 Lyons Avenue, L5 (973) 926-7274 Pediatric Health Center 166 Lyons Avenue (973) 926-7300 Prompt #4 The Division of Endocrinology treats children with diabetes and endocrine disorders (growth, thyroid, early onset of puberty) from birth to age 21. The team consists of board certified pediatric endocrinologists, diabetic educators and advance practice nurses who work closely with patients and families to educate them and make referrals when necessary. Nutritionists and social workers round out the team, which provides
Nephrology Renal Treatment Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center 201 Lyons Avenue (973) 926-7600 Renal Transplantation Satellite at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (973) 926-7555 The first in New Jersey to offer highflux kidney dialysis, the Renal Treatment Center has a dedicated nursing unit, an extensive hemodialysis unit, a peritoneal dialysis unit, and several home training stations. Serving hundreds of patients annually, the Center has years of experience in research and treatment of kidney failure. Hypertension Clinic at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center offers personalized, state-of-the-art treatment for hypertension, renal disease management and prevention to the hospital community. The full-service transplant satellite of the Barnabas Health Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center provides transplant recipients with an improved quality of life, independent of dialysis and its restrictions. A renowned Nephrology Fellowship Program is shared between Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center offering a broad-based clinical experience in the practice of nephrology, with both urban and suburban patient populations.
One woman’s quest to heal herself after miscarriage leads to help for others BY AYORINDE
n the 2004 world of Sonia Daly, “motherhood” was a noun and so to be a mother meant to give birth to a child. And having a child was one of her most deeply held desires. So at the detriment of even her own life, Daly continued to “chase motherhood” as she chronicles in her blog by the same name. But today, a survivor of multiple miscarriages, Daly has evolved to the point of accepting “motherhood” as a verb; an act of guiding and nurturing, so she has embraced being a mother to the children in her life. In addition, she has taken on the social responsibility of helping other women who have miscarried, heal. She has done so by authoring and recording a guided meditation CD that speaks in a knowing and compassionate voice. She has turned her grief into gratitude and in so doing, the loss of her five precious babies has become a testimony to the triumph of the human spirit. After almost a decade of living through and learning from her pain, the Brooklyn native launched Voices of Zen in October and with it has opened a window of new healing opportunities for women who have miscarried. According to Daly, she sees Voices of Zen as a gift to other women who find themselves in a similar circumstance. “I know what it is to keep all that hurt inside,” she explained. “My hope is that I can be an inspiration to other women and help them navigate through some of the darkest moments that come with losing a child. When it comes to miscarriages, women do not talk about their feelings. They are reluctant to face the shame, guilt, embarrassment and humiliation that sometimes surround the loss of an expected life.”
40 The Positive Community
Gifted with a golden voice that is smoothing all on its own, Daly blended this gift with the pain of her miscarriages to come up with a healing project. In 2010, after she lost a baby girl whom she named Zen, Daly took a year off from her job as chief-of-staff in the office of State Senator Kevin Parker and set out on a journey of healing. “There were many dark days,” she said. “But I was tired of putting on a game face and going out to work, then just returning. home and sitting in darkness. I searched for something like a meditation that would help quiet my mind and the hurt, but none was available.” So after going through an intense personal training and self-development course, Daly set her intentions to “be the change I wanted to see in the world.” She teamed up with two-time Emmy award-winning composer Michael Whalen, who created an original score for the CD and the result was a beautiful 17-minute long guided meditation in which Daly invites listeners to affirm their motherhood. However, in addition to its primary purpose as a healing mechanism, Daly also has a bigger picture in mind for Voices of Zen. Creating this CD was part of a much larger initiative to work with holistic practitioners, medical professionals, women’s ministries and other women who have miscarried in crafting a language that is responsible and compassionate when dealing with this issue. “Right now there is no protocol about how we speak to a woman who has miscarried,” she said. “There is language and even a name for a man or woman who has lost a spouse; we know how to speak to a child who has lost a parent or someone who has lost a sibling. What we don’t have is the language of how we speak to a woman, man or family who has suffered the loss of an expected life. At best we are lost for words,” she continued, “and at worst we are insensitive. This is what keeps women in shame and even anger. Because, speaking from experience, I know that being told to ‘just try again’ is not what a woman who has just lost a child wants to hear.” As much as Daly hopes that this CD helps other women to heal, to her it has been salve to her soul. “By doing Voices of Zen, I have been able to heal myself,” she said. “And so I can fully embrace these words that I try my best to live by: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” www.thepositivecommunity.com
Rev. Maurice Douglas, Brooklyn Community Church, with 99 year-old Carrie Ward, the church’s oldest member.
Brooklyn Community Church Celebrates 3rd Anniversary
ne of Brooklyn's newest and fastest growing congregations, Brooklyn Community Church, celebrated its 3rd Church Anniversary during the month of October. With a membership roll of 200, BCC presently worships on Sunday at 11 AM at PS 67 in the dynamic Ft. Greene section of Brooklyn. Rev. Dr. Fred Lucas is senior pastor, Rev. Maurice Douglas serves as pastor for Outreach Ministries, and Rev. Pamela Stanley is pastor for Church Administration. NYS Supreme Court Justice L. Priscilla Hall and Deacon Weyman Carey serve as vice chairpersons of the BCC Deacon Ministry.
One of the Top 3 Hospitals in New York is the #1 Hospital in New Jersey.
HackensackUMC is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Top 3 NYC Metro Area Hospital and #1 in New Jersey. In a region that boasts more world-class hospitals than anywhere else, Hackensack University Medical Center solidified its position among the elite. This U.S. News & World Report ranking is a testament to the commitment of our doctors, nurses, and entire medical team to the health of our patients and their families. We will continue to challenge ourselves to pursue new non-traditional treatments and to go beyond ordinary thinking. Discover how one of the nation’s top hospitals can help you by visiting HackensackUMC.org/USN. © 2013 Hackensack University Medical Center
November 2013 The Positive Community
ow that the weather has gotten cold, keep your energy up with vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables.
Autumn offers an excellent opportunity to not only revel in seasonal activities such as pumpkin picking and trick-or-treating, but it is also the prime time to visit your local farmer’s market and stock up on some fresh fruits and vegetables in preparation for the winter weather. Parsnips, for instance, are rich in dietary fiber and potassium. Just one cup of this sweet, juicy root vegetable, when sliced, provides more than 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber.
Adequate fiber in the diet can promote healthy digestion, reduce blood cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar levels, prevent obesity and provide feelings of fullness. In addition to fiber and potassium, parsnips are also very low in saturated fat, rich in vitamins K and C, and high in folate. A member of the same vegetable family as onions and garlic and cultivated for thousands of years, leeks offer many health benefits and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Leeks are a rich source of vitamins A and C. Just one of these leafy, elongated stalks provides more than
The following easy-to-make recipe is sure to delight, and will send you out into the crisp fall air to soak up all the season’s offerings: Sautéed Vegetable Medley Preparation: Heat oil and add pepper, onion and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are softened. Add leeks and sauté for about 5 minutes until leeks are softened. Add carrots and parsnips and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add fresh herbs to taste.
30 percent of your recommended daily allowance. Leeks also offer anti-bacterial properties, can help protect against heart disease and are high in potassium. Potassium can aid in maintaining a normal blood pressure and fluid balance. It can also help muscles contract. One of the spiciest pepper varieties on earth (of the same family as chili and jalapeno peppers), habanero peppers offer many health benefits in addition to their intense heat. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and capsaicin, and they promote both respiratory and digestive health. Ingredients:
4 leeks, cleaned well and chopped 2 carrots, grated 2 parsnips, grated 1 onion, sliced 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped 1 teaspoon thyme (or ½ teaspoon, dried), finely chopped ½ Habanero pepper, chopped 2 teaspoons olive oil
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. In combination with daily exercise, it can contribute to a very fulfilling, and long, life. Karen Smith-Hagman, RN, MSN is Vice President, Medical Management at EmblemHealth where she oversees initiatives that improve the health and well-being of New Yorkers. EmblemHealth is a sponsor of Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, which provides access to locally grown fruits and vegetables and cooking demonstrations at the West Harlem, East Harlem and Metropolitan farmer’s markets.
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©EmblemHealth Inc. 2013, All Rights Reserved. Group Health Incorporated (GHI), HIP Health Plan of New York (HIP), HIP Insurance Company of New York and EmblemHealth Services Company, LLC are EmblemHealth companies. EmblemHealth Services Company, LLC provides administrative services to the EmblemHealth companies.
Living at the
BOTTOM Mental Health and African Americans
ae (name and circumstances have been changed to protect her identity) is 35-years-old and African American. She works as a secretary at a local bank. Over the past year, Mae has missed more than her share of work days, adding more stress to her already pressured life. Financially, she has overextended herself. She experienced the death of three close relatives in the past two years, there have been multiple lay-offs at her workplace causing her workload to be doubled, and her beloved— to whom she was engaged—left her for someone else. In response to her pressures, Mae has become withdrawn, sleeps most of the time when she is not at work, and eats very little. Mae first confided in a friend who told her that, as long as she had a friend, she didn’t need anything else. But Mae’s supervisor referred her to the company’s physician, who diagnosed Mae with depression. On hearing her diagnosis, Mae has become even more withdrawn and hasn’t returned to the doctor or taken any of her prescribed medicine. “Seeking help is as simple as a regular checkup with the primary physician or simply feeling like you need to talk things out with someone who is neutral,” says Clarencia Shade, a licensed clinical social worker and doctor of theology practicing in Maplewood, NJ. Shade adds that “Historically, African Americans and their communities are distrustful of the medical systems in the U.S. Consequently, their general healthcare and emo-
44 The Positive Community
tional wellness are not checked regularly. When they do access the system it is not primarily for prevention, but for treatment of conditions and diseases that are quite serious and in severe stages.” Mae is one of over two million Americans diagnosed with mental illness and for whom the pressures of living in a modern society have become overwhelming. Most people’s beliefs about mental disorders are garnered from the media. According to the Washington State Coalition for Mental Health Reporting fact sheets (WSCMHR), “The vast majority of news stories on mental illness either focus on…negative characteristics (e.g., unpredictability and unsociability) or on medical treatments. Notably absent are positive stories that highlight recovery of many persons with even the most serious of mental illnesses.” This fact, coupled with the stigma of mental illness and an historical distrust of the American medical system, has caused many African Americans to side-step mental health services. Shade, who says that 70 percent of her practice is made up of African Americans, is adamant that mental illness is evident in all communities equally. “I do believe, however, that African Americans enter treatment in the late stages of severe symptoms versus other races and nationalities,” says Shade. African Americans may not access traditional mental health resources as much as their white counterparts, but use other coping mechanisms that have not proven helpful. According to Shade, those mechanisms include
confiding in friends and sometimes turning to destructive methods such as drug and alcohol use. “Friends can rarely be impartial and often they do not forget once the person has moved on,” says Shade. “Help should be sought when a mood or troubling behavior lasts more than a month. Recurring anxiety, fears, sadness or feelings of hyper-energy followed by lows,” she adds. Shade says that the aspect of mental wellness is often not on the spectrum, thus reinforcing the stigma of being “crazy” and needing hospitalization or medication. The Michigan Psychiatric Society (MPS) website states that the number of Americans suffering from mental illness is well over two million. “An estimated 26.2 percent
African Americans may not access traditional mental health resources as much as their white counterparts, but use other coping mechanisms that have not proven helpful. www.thepositivecommunity.com
of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year,” the site states. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. The Counseling Directory website states that “figures suggest that at least 25 per cent of individuals with symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety do not report this to their (doctor) and of those who do, up to 50 per cent only provide details of their physical symptoms and do not detail any mental and emotional aspects.” This phenomenon is closely related to the fact that there is still a stigma associated with mental illness and people are generally afraid to acknowledge symptoms of this disease. Shade says that, initially the signs of illness can be subtle and easily ignored. “There’s often a change in weight or appetite, change in sleep pattern, just not feeling like yourself all the way to paranoia and hearing voices,” Shade says of the most common symptoms. “One should explore their family history but often the African American family tries to eliminate mental illness from the stories,” adding that tragic events like suicides are changed in the narrative to, “dropped dead” or “someone else having killed them,” and so on. A unique feature of Shade’s practice is the addition of Christian therapy where she works closely with pastors who refer clients to her. “I also go into the churches to conduct various workshops to assist in the educational process. This collaboration, once contentious, is now being embraced more fully as pastors recognize their limits and liability to treat a parishioner,” says Shade. “Now more than ever, pastors are earning advanced degrees in counseling but simply do not have time to maintain weekly sessions.” If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, anxiety, and/or difficulties processing reality, contact your medical practitioner immediately and follow through with a specialist, such as a psychiatrist, therapist, or psychologist. Early detection and treatment can derail any escalation and prevent this disease from taking over one’s life. To learn more about mental illness, log onto the Centers for Disease Control’s web site at www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth. Quinita E. Good is the founder and operator of Qwrites Writing & Editorial Services. She can be reached at email@example.com.
November 2013 The Positive Community
A Focus on Women’s Health
stages. Ask your health care team whether a mammogram is right for you based on your age, family history, overall health, and personal concerns. Cervical Cancer
By Jill S. Mitchell, RN, BSN, CPHM
omen have many competing priorities and your health and well-being should be at the top of the list.
Screenings are an important part of that process. These tests look for diseases before you have symptoms of disease. Blood pressure checks and mammograms are examples of screenings. A well visit with your primary care physician is a good time to discuss these and other preventive health screenings that may be appropriate for you, such as checking your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI). You can get some screenings, such as blood pressure readings, in your doctor’s office. Others, such as mammograms, need special equipment, and may require that you see a different type of provider. Before a screening test, ask when you will be notified of the results and whom you should contact if you have questions. Breast Cancer Almost one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). A mammogram only takes about 20 minutes and can help identify cysts, calcifications, and tumors within the breast. Experts don’t agree on when women should get their mammogram and how often; however, the ACS recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40, as the one of the best ways to detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable
If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. Pap tests, (sometimes combined with a test for human papilloma virus (HPV)) can also prevent cervical cancer by finding abnormal cells, so they can be treated before they turn into cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screening is recommended for women who have been sexually active starting at age 21. Discuss with your physician the frequency of Pap testing, and whether HPV testing is appropriate for you. Women age 65 and older and women who have had a hysterectomy should discuss the need for continued cervical screening with their health care provider. Osteoporosis Screening and Bone Health Osteoporosis is a common condition in women which leads to weakened bones and can result in fractures. A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures how much calcium and other types of minerals are in an area of your bone, and helps your health care provider detect osteoporosis and predict your risk of bone fractures or needed treatment. Women 65 and older, and women younger than 65 who have risk factors for osteoporosis in addition to menopause, should begin screening. Talk to your health care provider about your individual risk factors, participating in regular weight-bearing and resistancetraining exercises, eating foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D, and taking the recommended amount of dietary supplements. Colorectal Cancer A colorectal screening could save your life because colon cancer is a curable disease with a 90 percent survival rate when detected
early The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50. However, people with certain risk factors, such as inflammatory bowel disease, family history of cancer, certain medical or hereditary conditions, or people from certain racial backgrounds (African American or Ashkenazi Jews) should discuss colorectal screening before age 50 with their health care provider. Colon cancer screening is not as painful or embarrassing as you might think. There is more than one way to test for colorectal cancer, so talk to your health care provider to discuss your individual risk factors and colorectal cancer screening options. You can work with your doctor to choose a screening appropriate for you that you’re comfortable with. Diabetes Diabetes is a lifelong (chronic) disease associated with high blood-sugar levels. Untreated diabetes can cause many complications. Diabetic screening is recommended for women between 19 and 39 years of age if at risk. Beginning at age 45, women should be screened every three years or as recommended by their health care provider. Risk factors include those adults who are overweight or obese, have high blood pressure; women who had diabetes during pregnancy or have polycystic ovarian syndrome; or if you are a member of a highrisk ethnic population (African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander). Taking good care of your health is the best gift you can give yourself and your primary care physician can help ensure that your care is coordinated and that you are getting the health care that you need and deserve. Jill S. Mitchell, RN, BSN, CPHM, is director, Clinical Services for AmeriHealth NJ.
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STROKE Roy Hastick’s Village Helped Him Heal
n a sub-freezing January day in 2008 when Dr. Roy Hastick, PhD first felt the numbness in his right hand and leg, he knew that “something was wrong,” though he never imagined that he was having a stroke and that his life was about to change dramatically. As head of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), Dr. Hastick lived a busy life filled with meetings, seminars, workshops and attending events. But he also considered himself to be in good health and was full of vibrant energy. Further, before that fateful January day, he experienced absolutely no warning signs of a stroke. When he did, his first action was to call his wife, Dr. Eda Hastick, and though he was conscious and able, she immediately took him to Downstate Hospital. That move not only saved his life, but preserved its quality. As he communicated with the attending physicians, Hastick says he felt certain that he was going to be discharged the following day. So, though he tried focusing on plans for one of CACCI’s upcoming major calendar events, it was not to be. He spent a month in the hospital, his mobility was compromised and eventually he faced the reality of an altered life. Now for the first time, Hastick is speaking publicly about life after a stroke. “It has been a challenging journey but I thank God everyday that I am so blessed,” he told The Positive Community. “A few days after the stroke I started therapy and I had to learn to walk again,” he revealed. “But with the support of my wife and children, my staff, medical team, members of the chamber, friends and the general community behind me, my road to recovery has been rewarding. Not everyone has that kind of support after suffering a major illness, but it is the number one thing
48 The Positive Community
in surviving and thriving after a stroke,” he said, adding, “We know that it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to help someone heal.” According to Dr. Hastick, the next important factor in living a full life after a stroke is technology. “I was someone who at first resisted the fast track to technology,” he says. “But I am so grateful that I finally wised up and learned to use the computer. It is what has enabled me to sustain a work life. Now, though I may not be walking as much, I am able to keep a full schedule by working from home and going to the office two or three days a week.” In addition to his work schedule, Hastick says that included in his daily routine post-stroke are exercise, prayer, mediation and reflection. “Every day as I wake up and I lay my foot on the ground, I say a prayer of thanks because I remember the days I couldn’t.” In 1985, Dr. Hastick founded CACCI with 10 members and a mission to promote economic development and provide small business services to the Caribbean and African American communities. In the past 28 years it has grown to a well-recognized organization advocating on behalf of its now 1,700 members. It is with this same spirit of determination that he aims to use his recovery to help others. “At first I was embarrassed,” Hastick said with candor. “But my doctors encouraged me to go out and keep doing the things I did prior to the stroke. And members of the chamber did not give up on me or the organization either. They kept coming and encouraging me to stay positive. I owe them a debt of gratitude.” In the three weeks after the stroke, he was unable to attend the organization’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. continued on next page
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©2011 UnitedHealthcare Community Plan
a CACCI event. But by March, he made a triumphant return to the Women’s Salute event and since then has not looked back. In looking forward, Dr. Hastick prescribes a formula for would-be stroke sufferers. “The best approach is pay attention to your diet, listen to your doctors, have faith and stay positive,” he advised. “You will undoubtedly have to make some physical and mental adjustments but never give up.” As for his future, he is taking his own advice to heart. “I see myself 100 percent recuperated and talking to young people about how to stay positive. I am going to use my voice as one of motivation and my life as an example of what it means to have faith.” Through his collaborative efforts, patience and persistence, CACCI has been designated the developer for the Caribbean American Trade and Culture Center in Brooklyn. During his convalescence, the project lost the $5 million raised in capital funding. It was a major blow, but he never allowed it to be a cause of stress. Instead, he This proof is for your protection. It is your opportunity to catch any errors made during the started all over. And once again the center has raised not marked. This is not a second opportunity to redesign the ad. Your original layout inst funding —$15.5 million—in capital funding and Hastick changes may result in an additional charge. Please proof read all copy thoroughly and sign is poised to make a major announcement of its location r OK with chan and groundbreaking in January 2014. “It just goes to show that if you believe in the Master, have determinar Please provi tion, a vision, and nurture partnerships, you can do anyDrAlfredDavis-BB CLIENT SIGNATURE: ______________________ thing,” he avows, “even live a full life after a stroke.” NJ11-MC006 Pos Community Ad 8.5x11V1.indd 1
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November 2013 The Positive Community
November 2013 The Positive Community
Kidney Recipient Encourages Others to Support Organ Donation Edith Baker-Jackson is proud to say she is a survivor. A devout Christian woman, with enormous pride in her church and pastor, Edith is a breast cancer survivor and the recipient of a donated kidney – a gift she received in February 2012. Edith says she has much to be thankful for, and there is no better time to express her gratitude for life and the Lord than on the annual National Donor Sabbath, scheduled for November 15-17. This year, Edith will not be just one of the flock at the Freedom Temple AME church in Gibbsboro. Rather, she will be leading the charge for the estimated 110 AME churches in New Jersey to rise up in unison and support the Donor Sabbath event. Through emails and letters, “I have more years of life now because Edith is reminding all the of organ donation. It is a gift that I pastors in the AME church want to help pass on to others.” network to use the pulpit to encourage their flocks to register to become organ donors. She is urging a second collection plate be passed that Sabbath so church-goers can contribute to NJ Sharing Network. And she wants to remind everyone that Christianity and most major religions support organ donation to save lives.
SHARING FAITH, SHARING LIFE National Donor Sabbath marks a special time across the country when clergy and their congregations unite to increase awareness of the critical need for organ and tissue donation. Here are some ways that you can make a difference: •
Share the life-saving message of organ and tissue donation with your congregation or contact NJ Sharing Network to have a transplant recipient or donor family member speak briefly at one of your services.
Request a NJ Sharing Network volunteer to host an on-line or paper registration drive at your house of worship following the service.
Provide informational materials at faith services and events, and include messaging in your bulletin and newsletter.
Include an organ and tissue donor registry link to www.NJSharingNetwork.org on your house of worship’s website and Facebook page during National Donor Sabbath in November and beyond.
“The more people who become registered organ donors, the more lives we will all save,” said Edith, a mother of two living in Irvington. “I have more years of life now because of organ donation. It is a gift that I want to help pass on to others.” Edith began volunteering for NJ Sharing Network in 2011 when she was on dialysis and waiting for a kidney. She now serves as an ambassador for the charity, has a team in their annual 5K Walk/Race, volunteers for speaking engagements and crochets shawls for NJ Sharing Network’s “Wrapped in Love” program, which presents the shawls to donor families as an expression of comfort and compassion. “Some say it is a miracle I am alive,” Edith said. “I don’t need to be someone’s hero. But rather, through my work with NJ Sharing Network, I hope to be an inspiration.”
To learn more, to get involved, and to register as an organ and tissue donor today, call NJ Sharing Network at 1-800-742-7365 or visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.
Wayne Fletcher is a member of the clergy and a family support coordinator at NJ Sharing Network. He provides spiritual and emotional support to families making difficult end-of-life decisions. Wayne encourages individuals of all faiths to support organ and tissue donation during National Donor Sabbath.
at its source. Cancer is an enemy that takes careful precision to conquer. Fortunately for patients in New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and private physicians in the community – offers a full-range of medical, surgical and radiological weapons to help
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“ We are passionate about getting you the best care.” George Ingram, Horizon NJ Health
Horizon NJ Health is a compassionate and caring organization with employees who clearly understand the needs of the people they serve in New Jersey. We’re here to guide and assist you to get the health care you and your family needs. If you are on Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare, or are uninsured, Horizon NJ Health can help. To enroll, visit HorizonNJHealth.com or call 877-765-4325 (TDD/TTY: 1-800-654-5505).
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The Horizon® name and symbols are registered marks of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. © 2013 Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Three Penn Plaza East, Newark, New Jersey 07105.
Fishburne and Torres with HSA Student Hosts (L–R): Taliyah Whittaker, Brandon Trent, and Jaden Michael
Culture L i f e , M u s i c , A r t & L i t e r at u r e
The Harlem School of the Arts Renamed “The Herb Alpert Center”
Fishburn and Herb Alpert
Arturo O’Farrill, 2013 Artist in Residence with the Fat Cats Youth Orchestra & HSA Students. L–R: Gabrielle Garo (Flute/Alto Sax); Matthew Whitaker (B3 Organ); Dominique Gervais (Drums); Maximo Gonzalez (Congas); Zack Heinze (Bass)
he Harlem School of the Arts (HSA), whose facility was recently renamed “The Herb Alpert Center” in recognition of gifts totaling $6,000,000 from The Herb Alpert Foundation, celebrated their Fall 2013 Benefit at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room. David Ushery, host of The Debrief on WNBC, was the emcee for an evening of awards and performances and Mr. Alpert was the Lead Chair of the Benefit. Continued on next page www.thepositivecommunity.com
L–R: Christopher Williams, chairman and CEO of Williams Capital Group LP; actors Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres; Janice Savin, senior principal at Williams Capital Group LP; Yvette Campbell, president and CEO of Harlem School of the Arts; and Michael Campbell, chief operating officer of Cofinance Inc. November 2013 The Positive Community
Continued from previous page
“Best New act iN america!” -America’s Got Talent
A Mesmerizing Story Told Through Music, Dance & Technology
Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Department of Cultural Affairs, presented the Leadership Award to Janice Savin Williams and Christopher J. Williams, founders of The Williams Capital Group, L.P. Established in 1994, Williams Capital serves institutional investors and corporations worldwide in the fixed income and equity capital markets. Darren Walker accepted the Philanthropy Award on behalf of The Ford Foundation, which endeavors to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. The award was presented by Rona Sebastian, president of the Herb Alpert Foundation. The Visionary Artist Award was shared by actors Gina Torres and Laurence Fishburne, who are also husband and wife. Torres stars on USA Network’s hit original series Suits and Fishburne, who has garnered a Tony, a Drama Desk Award, an Emmy Award and an Oscar nomination, currently stars in NBC’s Hannibal, whose second season will begin in 2014. “I’m thrilled to celebrate these exceptional honorees — who in their own unique ways — are making it possible for us as HSA to continue bringing the arts to children every single day,” said HSA President and CEO Yvette L. Campbell. “For nearly 50 years The Harlem School of the Arts has made it their stellar mission to enrich the lives of children through the arts, and every honoree, performer, student and attendee is helping make that mission a reality.”
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The Positive Community November 2013
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Mike Epps • 11/15
The Apollo Theater’s Ellington at Christmas with Savion Glover • 12/8
Forces of Nature– A Kwanzaa Celebration • 12/14
Celebrate the Holidays with Mary Mary • 12/15
Dance Theatre of Harlem • 1/17
Cirque Éloize • 12/13
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company • 1/25
ACS featuring Geri Allen, Terri Lynne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding • 1/25
2013–14 Season at a glance November 2013 Nov 10 Dorthaan’s Place: Paquito D’Rivera Nov 10 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition Nov 10 Forever Tango Nov 13-16 John Leguizamo’s “Ghetto Klown” Nov 15 Mike Epps Nov 22 Bonnie Raitt / Marc Cohn Nov 23 Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales Nov 23 Freestyle & Old School Extravaganza Nov 24 Tommy Tune Nov 24 Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Steve Tyrell sing the songs of Sammy Cahn Nov 24 Jimmy Fallon in Conversation with Stephen Colbert Nov 29 Marsha Ambrosius: Friends and Lovers
December 2013 Dec 5 Kenny Rogers Christmas Tour Dec 7 SalsaPalooza™: Andy Montañez, Grupo Niche, Jerry Rivera Dec 8 The Apollo Theater’s Ellington At Christmas with Savion Glover and more Dec 11 Holiday Express Dec 13 Up-Close and Personal: On Stage with Alan and Marilyn Bergman Dec 13 Cirque Éloize Dec 14 Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Dec 15 Dorthaan’s Place: Cecil Brooks III Dec 15 Celebrate the Holidays with Mary Mary
visit njpac.org for a full 2013-14 schedule 1-888-Go-NJPac Groups of 10 or more: 1-888-my-NJPac
JaNuary 2014 Jan 10 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Jan 17 Dance Theatre of Harlem Jan 19 Dorthaan’s Place: Steve Turre Jan 21 Pixies Jan 25 Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Jan 25 ACS: Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding Jan 26 Bill Burr Jan 30 Hezekiah Walker & Friends starring Marvin Sapp
Tickets make great gifts! Call 1-888-GO-NJPAC and get your shopping done early! youtube.com/njpactv
Please call our ticket services department to let them know if you require ADA services, particularly if you require wheelchair seating.
10/24/13 3:59 PM
Presents FIRST FRIDAY’s
Manhattan School of Music
Friday January 3, 2013
Featuring Live Music By:
The Fred Mac Band and DJ Darryl James
Doors Open at 7:30 Admission $20 in Advance $25 At The Door
Photos: Hubert Williams
A Monthly Gathering For Mature Adults
L–R: James Gande, president Manhattan School of Music; Voza Rivers, vice chair, HARLEMWEEK; Geoffrey Eaton, president Mid-Manhattan Branch NAACP
arlem Marathon Week began on October 30th with a special concert at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music that celebrated the big band music of Joe Henderson with special “Celebrating History” awards presented to Hazel Dukes, president, New York State NAACP and The Mackey Twins Art Gallery. The event was hosted by Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Lloyd Williams, president.
For Tickets Go To:
Conveniently Located At MIST Harlem 46W. 116th Street New York, NY
The Positive Community November 2013
Honorees: L–R: Hazel N. Dukes, president New York State Conference NAACP with the Mackey twins, Karen Witherspoon and Sharon McGee
L–R: Patricia Ricketts, Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce; James Gande; Vivian Scott-Chew, CEO Timezone International and her husband, Bandleader Ray Chew. www.thepositivecommunity.com
Plus Special Guest Malik S.
December 2nd 8pm
December 5th 8pm
November 2013 The Positive Community
BY PATRICIA BALDWIN
Lisa Page Brooks is Ready
Grace & Peace! hen it comes to a call from God (and it’s real), most people don’t want to accept it. But once you understand that He doesn’t call the equipped, rather he equips those He calls, it helps to make the burden a little easier to bear. Don’t doubt that The Master knows what He’s doing. Where He leads, you will follow; you will obey and submit; that’s how you know you’re ready. It’s a path known all too well by the beautiful Detroit native psalmist Lisa Page Brooks and now she has a new testimony, a new CD and she is READY! Lisa Page Brooks is no stranger to the gospel music business by any means; in fact she’s a veteran. And if you’ve ever seen her minister live, she puts every part of her being into what she’s singing. From the facial expressions, to the lifting of that left leg, you can feel the passion and the conviction of a woman who knows who God is and who she is in God. She has been featured on several popular projects and was the featured lead vocalist with the GMWA and Stellar Award winning, Grammy nominated popular female contemporary gospel group Witness (this was the late 80s for you babies out there). Her debut solo effort, the 1997 critically acclaimed release More Than You’ll Ever Know, got a buzz going in the industry and she walked away with a 1997 Dove Award nomination for Best New Artist and won the 1997 Stellar Award in the same category. Then there was her sophomore self-titled 2001 release and debut on the
The Positive Community November 2013
Atlanta International Records label, produced by her husband, Michael Brooks. I believe she’s most popular from those famous lyrics “…and I thank him for my husband, too” in her 2010 #1 hit “I Want To Say Thank You” on her 3rd project, Strong. Now, Ready is Brooks’ new project and is being hailed across the social networking blogosphere as her “best work yet” and “triumphant.” Back in the day, the older saints used to say “I wanna’ be ready when Jesus comes!” Brooks explains, “If you consider the state of our nation as a whole, the question ‘Will you be ready when Jesus comes?’ is so befitting and thought provoking,” She acknowledges that in life she’s learned that allowing moves or decisions that weren’t ordained by God will have you in the wrong place at the wrong time and sings about it on “A God Thing.” Brooks explains, “It speaks about a person having a dream; it talks about going to California because the sun was calling me, but right here where I was is the safest place to be and I thought I really knew what was best for me but in the center of his will he supplied my every need. You know how we get carried away; it may be a good thing but you need to make sure it’s a God thing.” Once again, she credits her husband, who not only produced this track, but most of the album. Mrs. Brooks commented, “I like working with my husband because we sing not only scripture based music but it tells a story and reaches the heart. If you give a problem in a song you have to also give the solution. I’m not putting anyone else’s music or lyrical content down because if it encourages or promotes Jesus I’m all for it — I don’t care what the beat is. If it gives hope or life I’m with it. My point is, I don’t want to sing about I can’t pay my bills and not tell you how you can pay them.” Keeping it a family affair, Brooks’ daughter, Tasha Page Lockhart, was a recent BET’s Sunday Best winner, and even though it may seem as if she’s passing the torch, she’s still in the race and nowhere near finished, nor tired. Lisa Page Brooks has more to say with declarations, worship, and straight taking-it-back-to-church songs of praise on this CD. Lisa Page Brooks is building the Kingdom and she is Ready! www.thepositivecommunity.com
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November 2013 The Positive Community
JOANNE J. NOELLE SELAH!
Professor Joanne J. Noel, B.A., M.A., M. DIV., DMIN is Assistant Professor of English and Director, Instructional Resource Center at Somerset Christian College
I am Comin’ Out ver the years, there have been a series of men and women “coming out of the closet,” admitting they are in same-sex relationships and attracted to people of the same sex. Recently, Senator-Elect and former Mayor of Newark Corey Booker married several gay couples. I, too, am coming out of the closet: I confess that I am a Christian saved by grace; I confess that I am in a relationship with the Christ who redeemed me. I admit that I am attracted to people like me who believe in this Christ.
Unashamed I am coming out of the closet because I want to be flamboyantly Christian. I won’t allow liberals to make me feel bad with anti-Christ ideologies and accusations of narrow-mindedness because of my beliefs. I will stand for what I believe. If that means that I need to be counter-cultural, then so be it. I am coming out. My coming out would mean that I will “not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” because the message of the Gospel has the power to transform lives. That is, I will not be a closet Christian afraid to admit my belief in Jesus, that I go to church on Sundays, attend Bible study on Wednesdays (sometimes) or that I try to wholeheartedly follow the Bible, but sometimes I fail. I won’t be ashamed to pray openly in public in Jesus’ name because I don’t want to offend anybody. Unapologetic I recognize that people have the right to worship the gods they choose: money, vanity, haute couture, Krishna, Mohammed, or Buddha, but I will not offer the excuse that there are many ways to God in order to appease those who have a differing opinion. There is one way to God: JESUS CHRIST. He is more than a highly moral being, more than a teacher, and more than a carpenter: “He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father EXCEPT through Jesus” (John 14:6). Furthermore, I will not cower in the face of well-thought out arguments about why God does not exist and therefore by extension, Jesus does not exist. I will “study to show myself approved… rightly diving the Word of truth so that I will be more conversant with biblical truth and rational theology. I will not raise my voice because I get angry when someone ridicules Jesus or my faith, but I will strengthen my argument (Desmond Tutu). I will unapologetically state, to anyone listening, the reality of sin and insist on creationism rather than naturalistic evolution. Even though the Bible pre-supposes the existence of
60 The Positive Community
God, the design and order of the universe and everything in it point to the fact that we were created. The Bible reveals that GOD/YHWH created the world, “…God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1ff). I am a sinner who needs reconciliation with God, which comes through Christ, “For God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Jesus should not perish, but have everlasting life. God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that through him the world may be saved.” (John 3:16 ff) God offers me the kindness of grace through his son who paid the price with his own life for my redemption, so in confessing that Jesus is Lord, I vicariously take on the righteousness of Jesus and am no longer subjected to receive the punishment rightly deserved; faith in Christ justifies me. Paul says, “It is by grace that we are saved and not through works; it is the gift of lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8). Jesus, then, is God’s gift – not punishment — to all humanity. Coming Out but Keeping It Real In my coming out, I want to “keep it real.” Coming out gives me a platform to be me and to let others know who I am in Christ, but it does not give me a platform to sin; to be offensive; to go on a witch hunt against those who don’t believe what I believe; to ostracize, belittle, or denigrate. So, I won’t sin purposefully and then insist that I have grace so I will be forgiven. That makes me presumptuous. Paul argues, “Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? ...being made free from sin you became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:1-23). I may sin in words, thoughts, and deeds; however, because of grace, I won’t allow sin to enslave me. I won’t malign my witness at work by being too busy proselytizing instead of giving my employer a full day’s work for a full day’s pay; I won’t ostracize people who are different, disdain people by judging some sins greater than others because sin is sin, or belittle my witness by stealing my company’s pens, gossiping about my boss and co-workers, throwing others under the bus; taking credit for work I didn’t do; spreading lies and rumors, or scheming to get lucrative positions and promotions. I am coming out by reading the Bible and praying more, serving others, having a better attitude, grabbing hold of Godopportunities, and loving my neighbor better. I will be a better witness in my home, at the marketplace, and in church. I have had enough of closet living. I am coming out. www.thepositivecommunity.com
AACCNJ Hosts Corporate Awards
onald N. Langston, principal of Langston Global Enterprises (LGE), LLC, was the keynote speaker for the third annual Corporate Awards Dinner of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ). Over 200 entrepreneurs and business leaders attended the event, which was held on October 17 at the Hyatt Regency Princeton. Mr. Langston is the former national director of the Minority Business Development in Washington, D.C. Appointed by President George W. Bush in March 2001, Langston served until January 2009—the first person to hold the title of National Director and the longest serving in the history of the agency. The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Inc., (AACCNJ) is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activities and provides advocacy and support for businesses throughout the State of New Jersey.
L–R: Tammi Smith, Alamo Insurance Group and Jim Golden, AACCNJ vice chairman
L–R: John Harmon and Keynote Speaker Ronald Langston
L–R: Jan Walden, TESC; Toni Proffitt-Brown, Delaware River Port Authority, AACCNJ Board of Directors; Avis Yates-Rivers, Technology Concepts
L–R: John Nietzel, Investors Bank and Hosea Johnson, AACCNJ board chair
L–R: AACCNJ Board members Ed Hill, retired Johnson & Johnson executive and Michele N. Jackson, Morgan Stanley
L–R: From At&T; Alithia Bruinton, President J. Michael Schweider and Yvette Mounton www.thepositivecommunity.com
November 2013 The Positive Community
�cenes from �AAFA
t. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York, Brooklyn under the leadership of Pastor David K. Brawley hosted their 19th Commemoration of The MAAFA Suite: A Healing Journey. This dramatic presentation chronicles the journey of our people from Africa to the Middle Passage; from slavery to freedom. The theme for the 150th anniversary of the Great Emancipation: “Dreams of Freedom.” The MAAFA is a series of special events, conferences, and worship services that take place in September. It is designed to promote a healing in our communities resulting from generational stresses resulting from the associated traumas of slavery of pastor emeritus,. The MAAFA is the vision Rev. Dr. Johnnie Ray Youngblood, pastor of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Brooklyn and pastor emeritus of St Paul B.C. Rev. Brawley seeks to expand on the tradition to make the dramatic production available to audiences everywhere by creating a touring company.
The Positive Community November 2013
Birthday Well Wishes to GBCNJ Sis. Barbara D. Strothers L–R: Rev. DeForest B. Soaries,Jr., senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ; and Rev. Darrell Armstrong, senior pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Trenton, NJ
SEATED L–R: Rev. Gloria Killings, Sis. Barbara D. Strothers, staff assistant and Sis. Thelma D. Scott. STANDING L–R : Rev. Dr. Albert Morgan; Jackie Carter; GBCNJ Staff Assistant, Sis. Nellie Suggs and President Guy Campbell, Jr.
SEATED: L–R: MCBA Moderator, Rev. Tracey L. Brown and Sis. Nellie Suggs STANDING: GBCNJ General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Jospeh L. Woods.
Congress of Christian Education Evening Of Elegance Photos: Vincent Bryant
Rev. Michael Sanders, Fountain Baptist Church
L–R: Rev. Dr. Albert Morgan, guest speaker for the Superintendent's Banquet; Rev. Corey L. Jones, host pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Burlington, NJ; Minister Leatha WIlliams, GBCNJ Congress president and Rev. Edward Bryant, vice president
L–R: First Lady Jocelyn Thomas of Mt. Pleasant BC, Newark, NJ, and First Lady Heather Woods, of St. Phillips BC, Trenton NJ
Charlotte Kinglsey, with one of our community partners, UnitedHealthcare www.thepositivecommunity.com
L–R: GBCNJ First Vice President Rev. Dr. Lester W. Taylor, Jr.; First Lady Dorothy S. Campbell and President Campbell; General Secretary Dr. Joseph Woods and First Lady Woods and Host Pastor Rev. Dr. Cory L. Jones November 2013 The Positive Community
DORIS YOUNG BOYER ETIQUETTE POWER
Doris Young Boyer speaks writes and coaches on ways to be confident and successful in business and social situations. She is co-author of Mastering the Art of Success with Les Brown, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. She is CEO of A Sense of Grace Global Protocol. www.asenseofgrace.com. Write to her at Doris@DorisYoungBoyer.com. www.DorisYoungBoyer.com
To Tip or Not to Tip — Part 2 Tipping During the Holidays he holiday season is a time to thank those who provide a year round service that makes our lives easier—from the baby sitter to the dog walker. Holiday tipping is really about saying “Thank you; I appreciate you and your services.”
• Regular babysitter: Cash equal to one evening’s pay as well as a small gift from your child • Day Care provider: Cash - $25 to $50 or a gift for each person who works with your child
Consider the following as you decide to tip or not to tip: • Tip only what you can afford
• Housekeeper/Cleaner: Cash equal to one week’s pay and/or a small gift
• Determine a budget and stick to it
• Barber: Cost of one haircut
• Determine who you will tip. You do not need to tip everyone who has done something for you during the year. Who are your high priority service providers? Concentrate on those you cannot live without. Make sure they know they are special
• Beauty Salon Staff: Cost of one salon visit divided for each person who works with you • Pet groomer: Cash equal to one grooming session • Dog Walker: Up to one week’s pay
• Cash, gift cards and small gifts are appropriate ways to say thank you • Make gift choices that are thoughtful and reflect the person • Some service providers (such as mail carriers) may not be able to accept a gift unless it falls within a prescribed dollar amount, for other providers, they can accept if it is something that can be shared with coworkers
• Newspaper deliverer: Cash of $20 to $30.00 • Delivers Packages: Small Gift • Trash/Recycling collectors: Cash of $10 to $30 for each person • Yard/Garden worker: Cash of $20 or more for each worker • Home Health employees: A small gift
• When giving cash or a gift card, place it in an envelope with a handwritten card. Handing the person cash that you have just taken out of your pocket may make the person feel uncomfortable • Wrap gifts and include a handwritten card Determining the correct amount can be confusing and sometimes stressful. Etiquette experts at the Emily Post Institute, provide the following recommendations for specific service providers: • Teachers: Gifts rather than cash. Include a note from your child
64 The Positive Community
• Nursing home employees: A gift that can be shared by the staff Give gifts that you know will be appreciated by the receiver. Some acceptable gifts are picture frames, candy, cookies, candles, books, pens, etc. Avoid giving anything that could be considered political, sexual or controversial. The goal is to let your service providers know you appreciate them and look forward to working with them in the coming year. What do you think? Write to me at Doris@DorisYoungBoyer.com www.thepositivecommunity.com
See Dee Dee BriDgewater in American Debut the Performance of a Lifetime!
L–R: Tennes Rogers, Jessie Rogers, Jonathan Council, Regina Rogers and Lynda Council Photos: Wali Amin Muhammad
“SeDuceD Me inTo a STaTe of bLiSS.”
L–R: Joel Rose, Victoria Robinson and Roland Garrison
n October 8th, 2013, Actor Jonathan Council performed his one-man stage show, Dark Stars, at its American debut. After successful runs in Australia and New Zealand, Dark Stars was selected to participate in the United Solo Festival, the world’s largest festival of one-person performances, and debuted to sold out performances as one of the festival’s hottest tickets. Dark Stars weaves the stories of Irving Sayles, an African American vaudeville performer who found fame in Australia in the early 1900s, and Council, a native New Yorker always seemingly one moment away from his big break. Their lives seem to parallel as they travel halfway across the world in search of fame, success and acceptance, but too often finding disappointment and heartbreak. After the performance and standing ovation, Council was celebrated by friends, family and theater insiders at a reception at Chez Josephine. One theater-goer remarked, “We laughed, gasped, cringed and even felt our hearts fracture a few times… it was wonderful!” Council performed a second sold out show one week later, then announced that he is currently in talks to take the show to London in 2014. www.thepositivecommunity.com
- Charles Isherwood, The New York TImes
“ThiS iS The biLLie hoLiDay We’ve been WaiTing To See!” - TheaTermaNIa
“MaSTerfuL!” - NY1
Photo: Carol Rosegg
Council with playwright Arthur Meeks
LadyDayTheMusical.com Telecharge.com 2 212-239-6200 Little Shubert Theatre 422 W. 42nd St. November 2013 The Positive Community
Molefi Asante, Ph.D., Author, Professor Temple University delivers luncheon keynote address at NJBIC Conference
L–R: Larry Hamm, James Harris, Geraldine Clark, Barbara James, Jerome Harris, Elease Evans, Vince Giordano, Executive Director NJEA, NJBIC Distinguished Service Award recipient.(center),John Smith, Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Luncheon Keynote Speaker, Bessie White, Diane Colson
Cornell Brooks, Esq., president/CEO NJ Institute for Social Justice delivers keynote address at Opening Plenary Session of the NJ Black Issues Convention
By Clyde Allen
The NJBIC Board members and keynote speaker Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams pose with Vince Giordano, Executive Director NJEA (center), who received the coveted NJBIC Distinguished Service Award at the NJBIC Business and Youth Luncheon
New Jersey Black Issues Convention Over 1,300 Attend the 31st Anniversary Session
ew Jersey’s community leaders, activists, business professionals, legislators and corporate leaders convened at the 31st Annual New Jersey Black Issues Leadership Conference with the theme “Participate In Our Future: Make New Jersey Better.” The conference was held September 26 – 27, 2013 at the East Brunswick Hilton Hotel. The conference was both informative and inspiring. The message emerging from the gathering is that black people in New Jersey have made some progress. However, there is more that each of us must do in order to make New Jersey better, or as Dr. Molefi Asante suggested "Mo Better,” invoking a colloquialism from the elders.
The Positive Community November 2013
NJBIC short term action agenda includes:
• • • • •
Informing and enrolling eligible individuals in insurance under the Affordable Care Act between now and March 2014. Informing our community of the positive impact of the minimum wage increase that appeared on the November 5, 2013 ballot. Advocating for the elimination of barriers to employment by supporting "Ban the Box" initiatives. Active participation in state and national “reduce violence and access to guns” initiatives. Protect voting rights by participation in local, state, and national elections. Continued on page 71 www.thepositivecommunity.com
UMBA Honors Outgoing Auxiliary Presidents The four outgoing presidents L-R: Walter Powell, Jr. (Ushers Auxiliary); Rev. Dr. Betty A. Spencer (of Rev. Dr. John L. Scott Associate Ministers Auxiliary); Lizzie Pannell (Congress of Christian Education) and Terry Smith (Laymen's Auxiliary) Photos: Bruce Moore
Ministers of the Rev. Dr. John L. Scott Associate Ministers Auxiliary with Moderator Arrington
L-R: Rev. Keith A. Bolden, Sr., financial secretary; Rev. Wayne Williams, assistant treasurer; Rev. Patricia A. Morris, corresponding secretary and Rev. Dr. Carl L. Washington, Jr., first vice moderator
embers of United Missionary Baptist Association churches, auxiliaries, family and friends honored the outgoing presidents of four auxiliaries at a banquet on Friday, September 27, 2013 at Eastwood Manor in the Bronx. It was night of fellowship and celebration as Presidents Walter Powell, Jr.; Rev. Dr. Betty A. Spencer; Lizzie Pannell and Terry Smith accepted gifts of gratitude and good wishes for their future endeavors. First Vice Moderator Rev. Dr. Carl Washington preached the celebration message. Second Vice Moderator Anthony Lowe was the toastmaster.
Lâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;R: Rev. Melvin Freeman, pastor, Faith Mission BC, NYC; Moderator Lee A. Arrington and President Terry Smith www.thepositivecommunity.com
November 2013 The Positive Community
Circle of Sisters
Jacob Javits Center, October 2013 Photos: Karen Waters & Seitu Oronde
“HOT, SWEET AND ALTOGETHER GLORIOUS! YOU’LL LL BE IN SEVENTH HEAVEN HEAVEN.”
PHOTOS BY MATTHEW MURPHY
– The New York Times
BROOKS ATKINSON THEATRE, THEATRE,256 256 W.47TH ST.· AFTERMIDNIGHTBROADWAY.COM · SEE FANTASIA NOW U P C O M I N G k.d. lang FEBRUARY 11 – MARCH 9 THROUGH FEBRUARY 9 GUEST STARS Toni Braxton and Kenny “ Babyface” Edmonds
The Positive Community November 2013
MARCH 18 – 30
NAACP State Conference of New Jersey
L–R: Richard Smith, former NAACP national president Kweisi Mfume and James Harris
Richard and wife Cee Cee Smith
L–R: Smith, Harris and member Deacon Richard Barber
he NAACP State Conference of New Jersey hosted its annual convention and elections in Atlantic City Oct.11-13. Former Vineland, NJ Branch president Richard Smith was elected to lead the state
conference. Former state president James Harris, who chose not to seek another term, pledged his support to the organization’s leadership and will remain active as an advocate for justice.
Harlem Dowling Benefit Concert Hosted By Vaughn Harper & Alyson Williams December 2, 2013 at MIST
46 West 116th St (Bet Lenox & 5th Avenue) General Admission $80.00 VIP Meet and Greet $105.00 To Purchase Tickets Logon to: www.harlemdowling.org
Doors Open At 7:30 pm For Further Information Call: 212.749.3656 x370
Featuring Award Winning Artists Regina Belle
Dr. Ben Tankard
November 2013 The Positive Community
The New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Women Photos: Hubert Williams
NYCOBW award recipients: L–R: Beacon Award recipient Antoinette Hamilton, AVP, Diversity & Inclusion at L’Oreal; Sheener Bailey Briggs, York College of the City University of New York, recipient of the Edna Beach Political Awareness Scholarship ; Dorothy Gordon Lifetime Role Model Award; Beacon Award honorees Honorable Tanya R. Kennedy, acting New York State Supreme Court Justice and NYCOBW board members L–R: Cheryl Green-Foster, 1st vice president; Lynn Little; Jean Nash Wells, co-founder and editor-inJoyce Hoggard; Dr. Barbara Kairson, 2nd vice president; Felicia Stanley; chief, The Positive Community magazine. Wilma Brown-Phillips; Dorothy Burch and President Avalyn P. Simon
Founders Day Reception
he founding chapter of the New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Women (NYCO-HBW) hosted their annual Founder's Day and Beacon Awards reception on September 28, 2013. In 1970, Edna Beach and 24 women came together to create an organization that would help shape the potential of African-American women through political, social and economic empowerment, and by advocating for the advancement of Black women through access to equal opportunities. The group later became the founding organization for the National Coalition of one Hundred Black Women. This year’s event was held at the Yale Club In New York City. Honorees were Sheener Bailey Briggs, of York College who was presented with the Edna Beach Political
Awareness Scholarship .Beacon Award recipients were Antoinette Hamilton, Antoinette Hamilton, assistant vice president of diversity & inclusion, L’Oreal USA; Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy, Acting Supreme Court Justice; Jean Nash Wells, cofounder and editor-in-chief, The Positive Community; and Sheena Wright, president & CEO, United Way of New York. The Beacon Award is given to women for their “ achievement in their professional careers and their commitment to the community. Each of them exemplifies what it means to lead by example and is illuminating a path for others, which embodies the spirit of our founders’ vision,” said Coalition President Avalyn P. Simon. The Lifetime Role Model Award was presented to Dorothy Gordon one of the original 24 organizers.
and highly successful Youth Forum that stressed “Make New Jersey Better” and more youth activism. Luncheon keynoter Antoinette Ellis–Williams, Ph.D focused on more reasons for youth to be involved in current events. NJEA Executive Director Vincent Giordano received the NJBIC Distinguished Service Award. The youth workshop schedule was filled with concurrent seminars concerned with health, finance, physical activity, college planning, using social media, and responsible citizenry. A forum on “Decriminalizing Black Men” found lively discussion as did the “Sandy Recovery in Our Cities.” The closing event was the Community Change Awards & Reception where four (4) NJ organizations were recognized for model practices. 2013 sponsors were: PSEG, GEICO, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Bank of America, AFLCIO NJ, Comcast, NJ Long Term Care Ombudsman, Cablevision, Barnabas Health, NJEA, Positive Community magazine, AARP-NJ, PNC Bank, Rutgers The State University of NJ, YMCA, Community Education Centers, LIUNA, East Orange General Hospital, NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids, and CWA New Jersey.
Continued from page 66 Barnabas Health System vice president Michellene Davis, Esq. led Thursday’s Senior Forum about implementing the Affordable Care Act. The forum included input from RWJ University Hospital President & CEO, Stephen K. Jones; Scot McCray of CAMcare Health; Anton Gunn, Director of External Affairs of U.S. Health & Human Services Region II; and Dr. Oronde A. Smith of the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Care Center in Virginia. Attendees at the Senior Symposium on Black Aging Luncheon enjoyed informative remarks from Paul Fishman, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Keynote speaker, Molefi Asante, Ph.D, Temple University professor and author of 74 books, delivered an insightful message to 550 seniors on the conference theme. Conference forums addressed the Affordable Care Act and “The Church and The Community,” while workshops covered long term care, Medicare, Social Security, holistic medicine, financial strategies, social media, and voting. Cablevision’s live “Meet the Leaders” session on reducing violence in our community was led by Al Bundy. The NJBIC State Chair’s Reception was followed by the presentation of the independent film The House I Live In. On Friday, September 27th, Kaleena Berryman of the Abbott Leadership Institute led an invigorating
The Positive Community November 2013
We wish to thank all of those who contributed to the success of the 31st Leadership Conference and urge all the members of our extended Leadership Family to play an active role in Making New Jersey Better. www.thepositivecommunity.com
ft i G t c e f r e P e h T 10
issues for $22.00 Send check or money order to:
The Positive Community, 133 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042 Subscribe online at www.thepositivecommunity.com
November 2013 The Positive Community
13th Annual Golf Classic
arden State Funeral Directors held their 13th Annual Golf Classic October 21 at Galloping Hills Golf Club in Kenilworth, NJ. Proceeds benefit the GSFDA Scholarship to assist students achieve their higher education aspirations in the funeral service industry and in other educational endeavors.
L-R: Zinneford Smith (center) receives Closest to the Pin prize from Darryl Jeffries (L) and Sam Arnold, GSFDA President
Sam Arnold (in tie) awards second place prizes to L–R: Jason Greer, Dave Wynn and Bill Ward
L–R: Zinneford Smith, Norman Mixon and Jeff Collymore
L–R: Cal Beatty, George Gresham, Don Weeks and Douglas Jeffries
Longest Drive Prize winner Dave Wynn
L-R Benny Green, Joe Pack and Al Wexler receive prizes as winning team from Sam Arnold, GSFDA president (center)
L–R: Lacy Carmack, Don Lucarello, Allen Smith and Darryl Jeffries
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The Positive Community November 2013
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MWANDIKAJI K. MWANAFUNZI THE WAY AHEAD
Partying with Christians Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. − 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New Revised Standard Version)
recently attended a huge party celebrating the birthday, wedding anniversary, and pastoral anniversary of the leader of a relatively large congregation. The vast majority present were members of that congregation. In a large hall rented for the occasion, we danced to lively rhythmic secular music. Men danced with women and women danced each other, as sisters often do when they want to dance but no brothers have asked them to dance. At times, folks linedanced, filling almost the entire dance floor. Meanwhile, sitting at tables and standing in groups, there was much conversation, including some discussions concerning church business. It was a joyous experience. I sensed much greater and deeper group fellowship than I recall experiencing in discos. I think this is because of who was partying: a Christian congregation. When Christians party, we should maintain our Christcentrism. Regarding that, here are some suggestions. • If your congregation worships on the Sabbath Day (Saturday), don’t party on Friday night. You want to be able to get up early and fresh for worship on Saturday morning. Similarly, if you worship on the Lord’s Day (Sunday), don’t party on Saturday night. • During the party, engage in private conversations with others regarding church activities and Christian issues. • Throughout the party, constantly pray for God’s direction and guidance. • If secular music will be played at the party, the organizers should screen song lyrics in advance, so that no lyrics will directly contradict God’s commands. • If it turns out during the party that some lyrics do, in fact, contradict Christian values, focus on the rhythm rather than the words. • If considering dancing to Gospel music or hymns, the party organizers should discuss the theology of this in advance among church leadership and the congregation, and announce to the congregation in advance what the policy will be. • John 15:17 reads in the New American Standard Bible, “This I command you: that you love one another.” Remember that agape, not eros, is the “love” that Jesus is talking about in this passage. • In this regard, avoid sexy dancing with anyone who is not your spouse.
• Sisters especially, cover your bodies appropriately. Worldly party attire frequently involves excessive exposure of limbs and torso. A brother dancing, conversing, or even passing by a sister so exposed could inadvertently touch her skin rather than her clothing, perhaps resulting in unintended arousal. • If you sense that a married man and woman are having a “date night,” avoid dancing with either partner. • Drinking: If your denomination or congregation prohibits alcoholic beverage consumption, have no alcohol at the party. • If you are a recovering alcoholic or substance abuser, don’t drink at the party, regardless of what others are doing. If the congregation includes a significant number of recovering alcoholics, the party planners should consider banning alcohol at the party. • In general, consider avoiding partying with nonChristians. If you do party with non-Christians, remain prayerful and cautious throughout the experience, remembering that, as a Christian, you are in the world but not of the world, and that others may step toward Christ after seeing His light shine through you. • As the Christmas season approaches, avoid environments that associate Christmas more with drinking and carousing than with honoring the birth of the Messiah. • Rhythms and rhythmic dancing have been intrinsic parts of black culture for centuries, if not millenniums. Today’s African-American line dancing reflects traditional African line dancing, physically and culturally: having everyone doing the same steps at the same time could have bonding effects on participants. Christians line-dancing with fellow Christians may remind us to “be on one accord.” Let’s retain aspects of African culture that support Christian thought and values, while discarding any that contradict them. • Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night— 0Psalm 1:12 (NIV) “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” —John 14:15 (NASB) How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. —Psalm 1:1-2 (NASB) November 2013 The Positive Community
GOOD NEWS FROM THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
www.thepositivecommunity.com November 2013
The Last Word BY R.L. WITTER
Vol. 13, No. 9
Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.
Editor-in-Chief Jean Nash Wells
Associate Editor R. L. Witter
Contributing Writers Mwandikaji K. Mwanafunzi g.r. mattox Patricia Baldwin Rev. Theresa Nance Rev. Reginald T. Jackson 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
Art Direction & Layout Penguin Design Group Martin Maishman
The Positive Community Corp. 133 Glenridge Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042 973-233-9200 Fax: 973-233-9201 Email: email@example.com Website: thepositivecommunity.com All contents © The Positve Community Corporation. All Rights Reserved. This publication, in whole or in part, may not be reproduced, stored in a computerized or other retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means whatsoever without the prior written permission of The Positive Community Corporation. Any opinions expressed herein are solely the opinions of the writer(s) and not necessarily those of The Positive CommunityTM, its management or staff. The Positive CommunityTM reserves the right to retain all materials and does not assume reponsibility for unsolicited materials.
74 The Positive Community
e often use sports analogies and metaphors in life. A successful person is a winner or perhaps “number one”; an achievement might be a touchdown or a goal. Families and work groups are teams, and the leaders are often the captain or the coach. It makes sense since we often look to sports figures as role models and refer to them as heroes. We buy jerseys that bear their names and sneakers, sports drinks and other items they endorse. Fans’ love for their sports teams and athletes transcend geography, age and race. We are quick to forgive or excuse our heroes when we hear of professional athletes having legal troubles, often for violent or alcohol and drug related offenses… as long as they appear contrite and continue to perform on the field or the court. We hold these people in high regard, yet we don’t seem to hold them to higher standards. And what makes these people heroes? Is it because they are often larger, faster and stronger than the rest of us? How do we measure strength? Is it merely the ability to lift massive amounts of weight or topple an opponent? What about moral character and strength of conviction? In recent weeks, it has come to light that in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room, Jonathan Martin was repeatedly harassed and bullied by teammate Richie Incognito. Reportedly, the harassment included threats of violence against Martin’s family members and being referred to as “the n-word.” When the allegations came to light, surprisingly, many team members seemed to support Incognito. Some
Sales Angela Ridenour Adrian Council, Jr. NGS Communications, Inc. Satori MPR
even said he had “a pass” and was “an honorary black” — that his hard scrabble upbringing made him “more black” than decidedly middle class, Ivy League educated Martin. Really? It saddens me to think that in 2013 — during the second term of the first African American U.S. President, when the film 12 Years A Slave is playing in movie theaters across the country — that African American men would continue to use “the n-word” so nonchalantly and condone its use by what is essentially a white co-worker. To add insult to injury, the same African American teammates who stood in support of Incognito and his racist slurs called Martin “soft” for walking away from his team and his lucrative professional football career, choosing instead, to seek solace and peace. It brought to mind the poignant scene in 12 Years A Slave when Platt stood up to an abusive white plantation worker and as punishment, dangled perilously from the end of a noose with his toes barely finding the ground to save his life. He dangled there for what seemed like forever, and for the rest of the plantation, life simply went on. Chores were done, children played, and Platt dangled, shuffling to preserve his life. I wonder if that’s how Martin saw it; if that was the final straw that led him to escape the Miami Dolphins locker room — the plantation just beyond the field on which he toiled. In my opinion, Martin’s actions were not soft. They were the epitome of courage and bravery. He knew or at least suspected that they wouldn’t be well received, yet he held to his convictions anyway. We need to look more closely at those we call teammates and especially “heroes.” Healthfirst’s George Hulse is a team player, as is Barnabas Health’s Michellene Davis. They are both working for the benefit of the entire team and doing so with integrity. And might I remind Mr. Martin: Ms. Davis has both a cape and a law degree. www.thepositivecommunity.com
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