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™ September 2016


Education Focus SUCCESS


A’Dorian Murray-Thomas

The Village Sends Kenya Off to College

Lamont Sadler

Guest Editorial— Rev. Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries

Child Health Plus HHHHH with Fidelis Care Affordable health insurance for children under 19. See top-quality providers, close to home. Checkups, dental care, hospital care, and more! H  Fidelis Care is a top-rated plan in the 2015 New York State Consumer’s Guide to Medicaid and Child Health Plus.

How much does Child Health Plus cost? Coverage may be free or as little as $9 each month, based on household income. For families at full premium level, Fidelis Care offers some of the lowest rates available. How do I enroll my child? Through NY State of Health at Apply by the 15th of the month to have coverage for your child on the 1st of the following month. Fidelis Care is in your community! Visit to search for the community office nearest to you.

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Primary Health Care – Adult Medicine and Pediatrics Ryan/Frederick Douglass Community Health Center 2381 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (@ 128th Street) Call today for an appointment: 212- 866-4400 Center Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9:00am – 5:00pm Thursday, 11:00am – 7:00pm | Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm The Ryan/Frederick Douglass Community Health Center is part of the William F. Ryan Community Health Network – a provider of primary, preventive, specialty and support services throughout New York City for almost 50 years. At Ryan, we believe that “healthcare is a right, not a privilege.” We accept Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans; affordable sliding fee available based on family size and income.


CONTENTS SECTIONS MONEY ...................................16 HEALTH............................24 EDUCATION............................30 CULTURE .................................62

Features Welcome Home at Randolph Homes..........16


Phil Murry Meets Newark Entrepreneurs.......19 Scenes from the DNC..................................20 Chow for Now: Healthly and Delicious..........24


Dr. Robinson Leads Fuld College of Nursing.....26


The Village Sends Kenya to College.........30

&also inside Publisher’s Desk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 My View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Wealth Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Elks Honor “Today’s Leaders”.........................34 Abyssinian Hosts Thursday Night Teachings...38 KIPP Hosts “Be the Change” Event................43 Rutgers-Newark’s New Financial Aid...........47 Uncommon Schools........................................56 Pastor Francine Manning-Fontaine Retires....60 Tasty Blues: Ma Rainey at Two Rivers............62

Fitness Doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Positive Music Matters...................................68 Gospel Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Harlem Week!................................................70 The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Rangel Honored ...........................................71 The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Honoring Rev. Ron Christian’s Memory...........74 4 The Positive Community September 2016

IT ALL HAPPENS HERE! From the Buena Vista Social Club TM Omara Portuondo “85 Tour” • 10/15 Part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival

2016 Tony Award® winners Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton) and Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer/songwriter

Kenny Lattimore Christian McBride,

Music Director

Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music

Savion Glover’s Chronology of a HooFer

Friday, October 7 at 6:30pm Saturday, October 8 at 10:30pm & 2pm When the new music teacher’s instruments go missing, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and their friends come to the rescue!

Saturday, October 8 at 8pm The tap master and Tony Award® winner chronicles his performance history through photos, words, stories and rhythmic percussion.

in An Evening of Elegant Soul

Jazz in the Key of Ellison Festival of Praise Wynton Marsalis, Talib Kweli, Angelique Kidjo & Patti Austin with big band led by Andy Farber and readings by Joe Morton Presented by Audible. Tuesday, November 1 at 7:30pm

Thursday, November 10 at 7:30pm A soul-stirring gospel extravaganza with GRAMMY winner Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker and more! Hosted by the comedian Earthquake.

A unique evening celebrating the jazz music beloved by Invisible Man author Ralph Ellison.

Saturday, October 1 at 7pm Performance only tickets $50 Sponsored by Prudential

Get On Up: Festival of Soul Keyshia Cole, Tank, Jagged Edge & Monifah A James Brown Celebration! Russell Thompkins, Jr. &

An Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Friday, November 11 at 8pm The ultimate Flashback Friday! Hear “Let It Go,” “Promise,” “Please Don’t Go” by these GRAMMY®-nominated R&B hitmakers.

Thursday, December 15 at 8pm

Christian McBride, Sharon Jones, Bettye LaVette, Lee Fields and James Brown Band alumni Pee Wee Ellis, Danny “Capeman” Ray, Robert “Mousey” Thompson, Fred Wesley, Ryan Shaw and Terrace Martin Friday, November 18 at 8pm

The New Stylistics, The Dramatics featuring LJ Reynolds, The Jones Girls featuring Shirley Jones, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, and Ted Mills – the voice of Blue Magic. Friday, November 25 at 8pm Only NJ appearance of this ‘70s soul band extravaganza!

The famed astrophysicist of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey unravels the mysteries of modern science for Earthlings!

Kwanzaa Celebration Forces of Nature Dance Company with special guests Les Nubians Saturday, December 17 at 2pm & 8pm Celebrate Kwanzaa with this daring theatrical dance company, this year featuring the Afro-French jazz duo Les Nubians.










he clergy organizations, churches, community businesses and institutions listed below have committed to the purchase of at least 50 magazines per month at $1.00 each (one-third of the cover price) or support this publication through the purchase of advertising. Find out more by calling 973-233-9200 or email Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Dr. Jesse T. Willams, Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bethany B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Pastor

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

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

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

New Jerusalem Worship Center, Jamaica, NY Rev. Dr. Calvin Rice, Senior Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Drek E. Broomes, President & CEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shiloh AME Zion Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. John D. Givens, Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St. John Baptist Church, Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Fall Events: Save the Dates!

| 212-870-1211

annual fall open house Do you know someone discerning a call to ministry? Invite them to our Open House!

oCtoBer 4 and 6, 2016 deCeMBer 6 and 8, 2016 (4:00 - 6:00 pm) Roundtable discussions with the NYTS Community (6:00 - 9:00 pm) Visit the class(es) of your choice

Our Programs: Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) | The Certificate Program in Christian Ministry | The Certificate Program in Islamic Studies The Certificate Program in Convergence Studies | The Certificate Program in Ministry and Leadership | The Certificate Program in Ministry and Leadership | The Certificate Program in Radical Inclusion Studies | The Master of Divinity Degree The Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling | The Master of Arts in Religious Education | The Master of Arts in Youth Ministry The Master of Arts in Religious Leadership and Administration | The Doctor of Ministry NYTS is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools of USA and Canada (ATS)

2016 annual BiBle ConferenCe The Bible & Migration

nyts day at the Baptist Ministers’ ConferenCe of Greater new york & ViCinity ConVent aVenue Baptist ChurCh 420 West 145th Street (145th Street and Convent Avenue) New York, NY 10031

Monday, November 7, 2016 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Interchurch Center, Sockman Lounge 475 Riverside Drive, NYC 10115 $30 Donation (lunch included) To register, please call Min. Cynthia Gardner-Brim at (212) 870-1244

order of the day preaCher Rev. Dr. Dale T. Irvin NYTS President

Monday, December 12, 2016 2:00 p.m.

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

2016 Fall Events: Save the Date!

| 212-870-1211

the twenty-third annual GeorGe w. webber lecture in urban Ministry

Dr. Anthea Butler

Associate Professor of Religion and Africana Studies University of Pennsylvania

The Fire this Time: Racism and American Christianity The history of Christianity in America has been equated with capitalism, intellectual thought, and nation building, but the real core of American Christianity is racism, and the attempts to counteract or reinforce racial stereotypes in order to promote an Americanized Jesus. Professor Butler’s talk will engage these historical problems associated with whiteness, Americanism, and a promotion of a meek and lowly Jesus archetype designed to stymie efforts towards racial justice and equality in America.

Thursday, October 6, 2016 7 p.m. The Riverside Church, Theater 91 Claremont Avenue, New York, NY 10027

nytswebber2016.eventbrite.coM The lecture is open to the public and free of charge. Seating available on a first-come first-serve basis. NYTS | 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500 | New York, NY 10115 | (T) 212-870-1211 | (F) 212-870-1236 |


It’s a Love Thing/Prayer Walk for Peace Enters Chicago


ecently, I visited Chicago to participate in the completion of a780 mile NYC 2 Chicago Prayer Walk for Peace co-sponsored by The Positive Community/Positive Music Matters. The Prayer Walk themed “It’s a Love Thing” offered hope, care and optimism to people suffering from the many issues affecting communities in the region.Inspiring. I joined Harlem pastor, Rev. Al Taylor and others as he started his 780 mile walk on Sunday, August 7th at Church of the Covenant on East 42nd Street in the shadow of the United Nations complex where Rev. Dr. Cornell Edmonds is pastor. The people walked that Sunday, in the words of the late Rabbi Abraham Heschel, “praying with their feet” passing thru Harlem then on to Paterson, New Jersey. The following day, August 8, Rev. Taylor received an enthusiastic welcome and send-off from officials and clergy leaders in the City of Newark. Inspiring. Leaving Newark, Rev. Taylor continued his journey passing through small towns and urban centers like Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; and Gary, Indiana arriving in Chicago, Illinois on September 7. In Cleveland, Ohio, there was a particular focus on the issue of gun violence. Rev. Taylor was joined by city councilman Zack Reed, dozens of community leaders and players and cheerleaders from the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. Inspiring. Exclusive Video Footage Rev. Edmonds and I rejoined Rev. Taylor in Chicago just as the news of its 500th murder of 2016 was recorded— more than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. We accompanied him as he walked, prayed, and ministered throughout Chicago’s South Side. A police vehicle escorted us through parts of Chicago, less for security, but more to give witness to the power of positive prayer and music to unite unreconciled communities. While in Chicago we bore witness to the very serious issue of proliferation of gun violence. We attended a press conference announcing the shooting of a 71-yearold man who lingered in critical condition after he was shot down, while watering his lawn, by two young men on

10 The The Positive Positive Community Community September September2016 2016 40

bicycles. See exclusive Prayer Walk video footage online During his thirty-one days on the road Rev. Taylor— though armed with only the power of prayer and the sounds of positive music—was fully protected. He stopped along the way and as Jesus did, prayed with and for people we might otherwise pitifully reject or tragically fear. The Prayer Walk reaffirmed in my mind that the journey to the positive community our magazine seeks to inspire is worth the endeavor. Like the journey to Chicago it may take a while and there will be some wear and tear. Along the way we may come across some broken hearts, but if we continue on, we reach the destination. In the words of Rev. Taylor, “. . . people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” I am inspired! Let’s Do it Again! The struggle continues; but victory is certain! Plans are now in motion for Rev. Taylor’s 2017 Prayer Walk for Peace. Together, we will discover solutions to the inner-group cultural and spiritual crisis gripping our communities today. The answers we seek can only come from within; our collective Soul—our deep rooted experience in this land; and our fondest hopes for the future. Ultimately, each of us is accountable to and responsible for the progress of our children and the integrity of our African American culture, values and traditions. So, People get Ready . . .! Below: Rev. Al Taylor (second from left) with Chicago youth sporting their new Prayer Walk tee shirts.

Above: Diane Latiker founder of Kids Off the Block and Rev. Edmonds at a memorial for young people under the age of 24 who lost their lives to gun violence. See



“A Down Home, All You Can Eat”*




Dress to Impress • Mature Adults Only (21+) Tickets: $25 in Advance, $30 at the Door (Includes Soul Food Buffet) • *All You Can Eat 7–9pm only Limited Seating Available • Reserve Your tickets now • Reservations: 973-233-9200 or 908-227-9065 An Arts Culture and Entertainment Group Production Go to our Website to order tickets online: OR purchase tickets at: Two Fish and Five Loaves, 2264 Rte. 22, Union NJ


Rev. Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soares isSenior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ.

We Must Renew the Passion for Education


he prohibition against teaching enslaved blacks to read and write was one of the most devastating aspects of slavery. The physical shackles of oppression were designed to train our bodies to submit to the will of our masters. But the intellectual shackles, restrictions on our ability to have access to education, were designed to limit our cognitive capacity in a manner that would make us dysfunctional, inadequate, dependent, and therefore inferior for generations to come. Understanding that, free and enslaved blacks placed paramount importance on education as a means of gaining and sustaining freedom. In 1863, following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, black education became for us, a cause of epidemic proportions. It evoked great commitment and passion. Blacks started schools, developed curricula, trained and hired teachers and literally transformed education in the South for both blacks and poor whites. The United States Government established the Freedman’s Bureau, which had responsibility for sending staff into the South to teach black people how to read. Once there, many of the teachers discovered that there was no work for them to do because black churches had already done the job! Southern black churches set up “Sabbath Schools” that implemented Saturday morning classes to teach their children how to read, write and count. This strategy was so successful that most of the government workers went back to their respective offices seeking new assignments because blacks in the community, and northern missionaries recruited by black people, had already accomplished the work that they had come to do – the work of educating blacks. This movement of educational uplift is indicative of what should occur today. We have an educational crisis just as compelling as we did in 1863. Black children are dropping out of high school at alarming rates and many black high school graduates lack the skills needed for

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September 2016

college. We don't need a new strategy; we simply need to be guided by the principles that informed our quest for learning following the end of slavery. We must respond to this educational crisis as aggressively as our ancestors did in the years between the Civil War and Reconstruction. The Sabbath School movement revealed a passion for education among black youth. The program was not legally compulsory; there was no requirement that anyone attend. Rather, the culture and values of the black population made it compulsory morally and emotionally for blacks to value education and the need to learn to read, write, and count. Freed slaves believed that education was a necessary attainment in order to rise above the limitations imposed upon them by slavery. They also believed that racial uplift meant taking advantage of opportunities accessible only when qualified through education. It seems as if such passion for education does not exist today. Yes, there are disparities in funding that subject too many black children to inferior facilities and programs, but no one can argue that the facilities used today to house educational programs are far better than the black churches where millions of nineteenth century blacks learned how to read. Too often students lack motivation to learn, and a lack of parental involvement in schools seems to reflect the thought that schools should raise our children instead of educating them. Disruptive student behavior and school violence have created a difficult situations in which to teach and be taught. As a community, we must regain the level of passion that we once had for education. We must assume the posture of our ancestors that education is the one thing that cannot be taken away and the responsibility for our education lies with us. A movement in this direction will greatly improve our communities and provide the skills needed to participate in a global economy.



AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF LINCOLN GARDENS Join us to learn how to get FREE...dfree® eliminating debt, delinquency, and deficit living and establishing deposits, dividends, and deeds! Our theme this year is Say Yes to the Next Level, intended to challenge conference participants to take existing dfree® tools and strategies to the next level of financial freedom and wellness. We have a power-packed lineup of workshops, networking opportunities and training sessions for participants, including our youth, with special guest DEE-1! We invite you to celebrate with us at the dfree® Awards and live concert with special guest Grammy Award-Winning Gospel Artist, ERICA CAMPBELL.

REGISTER TODAY Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.

Sr. Pastor, First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens Creator, dfree@ Financial Freedom Movement

September 2016 The Positive Community



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


Some September Thoughts


can’t believe it. I only closed my eyes for a moment while enjoying the sunlight on my face and the cool water lapping at my feet. September is here with all of its promises of changing weather, the continuation of organizations that have been on hiatus for two or three months, and the preparation for Indian summer, a season that often brings us cool mornings and warm afternoons. I love it. But I’m not sure that I’m ready for it. Where did the summer go and why did it seem to be in such a hurry? If I were to peep into the goings-on of most urban school districts, I dare say the academic landscape looks grim and gruesome. It ought not be that way. After all, if the children are our future, as the late Whitney Houston used to sing, then it is up to us, the village, if you will, to teach them well and let them lead the way. Budget cuts are dismantling many programs within such school districts and the arts are usually the first things to go. That’s my first concern. Now more than ever, our children need to know the importance of beauty, inspiration, and creativity; the art of the arts. My second concern has to do with the upcoming presidential election. Where in the past we’ve been used to a modicum of dignity from our candidates and a multitude of finesse, sadly, that is apparently no longer the case. There’s just so much mudslinging, vitriol, and viciousness. And never before has it seemed to spill out into the fabric of the American people as it has thus far during the current election. Perhaps God is trying to tell us something, though heaven knows I haven’t the foggiest idea of what that something might be. Issue number three: September also should remind us that we’ll only have the Obama family in the White House for a few short months more. What a pity. No matter what obstacles and challenges they’ve faced, the Obamas have stood as such an example of grace, charm, and an erudite mind from both the President and First

Lady. Sasha and Malia have grown from adorable little girls to poised, industrious, and attractive young women right before our eyes. Those of us who appreciate what this black First Family has gone through because of unchecked racism, hatred run amok, and rank jealousy unbridled, must not allow their legacy to be tainted or marred by the lying mongers, for there are many. We must champion what the President has done and even champion those things he tried to accomplish but couldn’t because he is black and comely, to borrow a phrase from Scripture. Despite the racism, hatred, and misinformation, Barack Obama will be remembered throughout history as not only the first black President of the United States of America, but also as one of the most successful, and as a fantastic role model. What other U.S. President has so fully embodied the American dream? The product of an interracial marriage; son of an immigrant; raised with the help of public aid; a Harvard scholar; and a man with swagger and a jumpshot to back it up. So, for this old gal, September slips in like a bittersweet refrain, enabling many to enjoy the last remnants of summer while we settle into autumn and brace for the dreaded winter that might lie ahead.

Peter Souza/

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September 2016

Ever think about how catching a ball is like keeping your eyes on God? Consider Psalm 123 To you I lift up my eyes, To you enthroned in the heavens. As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the Lord our God, Until he show us his mercy. Those who love God ever seek to keep their eyes on the prize, which is love, peace, healing, and joy flowing from the Living God Since 1997 The Newark School of Theology has offered master level classes in Theology to all who are seeking a greater knowledge and understanding of God. We offer Ecumenical Certificate Programs in Theological Studies Biblical Studies Diaconal Studies Pastoral Counseling Consider becoming one of the hundreds of students who have studied at NST and had their lives transformed. The Newark School of Theology Two Park Place, Newark, NJ 07102 Tel: 973-297-0505 Mail: P.O.B. 831, Newark 07101 The Rev. R. Douglas Bendall, Ph.D. Tel: 973-297-0505

September 2016 The Positive Community


The model apartment at Randolph House


A. Phillip Randolph Houses Phase One “Welcome Home Celebration”


ne hundred and sixty-seven families have gained new homes at the newly renovated Randolph Houses at 214 West 114th Street in Harlem. The completion of the first phase of the redevelopment was celebrated at a Welcome Home program to show off the up-to-date apartment complex. When all 36 of the original Randolph Houses tenement buildings—historic landmark buildings— are remodeled there will be 283 revamped units in total. “West Harlem Group Assistance is excited about its role as the resident services coordinator, providing workforce development, health and wellness, and a myriad of other services to families in a state-ofthe-art facility,” says Donald C. Notice, executive director of West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. “The redevelopment of Randolph Houses marks a precedent in public private and community-based partnership in reinventing public housing as a neighborhood asset providing sustainable, healthy, safe, and affordable housing for low and moderate income families. Funders of the $95.5 million dollar renovation project include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA); New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC); U.S. Department of the Interior; National Park Services; New York State Historic Preservation Office; TD Bank; Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.; and JP Morgan Community Capital. 16 The Positive Community September 2016

L-R: Donald C. Notice, executive director of West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. and Patrick Lee, principal of Trinity Financial

Front row L-R: Holly Leicht, regional administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; Congressman Charles B. Rangel; Kenan Bigby, managing director of Trinity Financial; Council Member Inez E. Dickens; Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer; Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright; Shola Olatoye, chair and CEO, NYC Housing Authority; Donald C. Notice; West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc.; Patrick Lee, principal of Trinity Financial

Audience members at the Welcome Home Celebration

IS YOUR DREAM TO OWN YOUR OWN HOME? BCB Community Bank may have the answer. BCB Community Bank has a reduced cost loan program that may make your dream come true. A reduced cost BCB Community Bank loan will provide: • Up to 97% financing for a single unit, or up to 95% financing for a two family unit in low to moderate census tracts*, • Expanded qualifying ratios, and • BCB will also waive title review and application fees (up to $850 in savings). To see if you qualify for the BCB Dream Loan Initiative, call our lending professionals at 1-888-464-7234. Our representatives will be available to review your information and help put you in your dream home. DON’T HESITATE. CALL TODAY.

BCB Community Bank is located in Hudson, Essex, Middlesex, Bergen, Monmouth Counties, New Jersey and Richmond County, New York. Qualified applicants are required to attend comprehensive homeownership education. Private Mortgage Insurance required. Available on purchase and no-cash out refinances. *Low/moderate census tracts as identified on Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.


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

A Matter of Faith


n Romans 10:9-10, the Apostle Paul really provides us with a sound prescription for spiritual wealth building. He states, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The basis of our belief is our faith, absolute faith in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins and God raised Him from the dead. The Apostle Paul before his own conversion, when he was the Pharisee Saul, did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. He received letters from the high priest giving him authority to persecute the followers of Christ (Acts 8:1-3; 9:2). However, while on the road to Damascus, Saul had a personal encounter with Jesus and truly saw the light. Paul became not only a staunch believer, but also the foremost preacher of the gospel message. From that time on his faith in Jesus never wavered. Faith is the most powerful of all components of spiritual wealth building. Not only is faith an essential ingredient of wealth building, but it is the cornerstone foundation that supports all the other principles. Hebrews 11:6, states, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that God will reward them that diligently seek Him.” God expects you (believers) who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light to trust in Him. You are to rely on Him to supply all of your needs. You are to have complete confidence in Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” If on the other hand, we lack faith in God’s supreme ability it opens the door to doubt. Doubt is the enemy’s weapon of choice. Doubt is the opposite of faith. This lack of belief in Jesus as the Son of God interrupts and impedes the power of faith to overcome obstacles. You may recall how Peter confidently walked on the water when Jesus called him. But once he started to doubt the

power of God he became afraid and began to sink. Then he cried out to Jesus to save him. Jesus said to him, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt . . . ? “(Matthew 14:28-31) The lack of faith in God is a major problem plaguing our community today. The lack of faith in God is what continues to thwart any positive change we attempt to make. The lack of faith is why we are under constant spiritual attack from the enemy. “We have not because we ask not.” (James 4:3) We simply do not place our faith and trust in God so we suffer the consequences. We still want to live life on our terms rather than in obedience to God’s Holy Word. Jesus tells His disciples that if they just had the faith of a mustard seed, great things they would accomplish, (Mark 11:22-23). Imagine, my brothers and sisters, if we were able to step out wholeheartedly on faith, trusting God. What abundant blessings would God generously pour upon us if we could only trust Him! God has a tremendous blessing in store for us. Are you ready to receive it? It starts by having faith in Him. September 2016 The Positive Community


Phil Murphy Meets Newark Entrepreneurs

At Dan’s Hats & Caps, speaking with the Dan Phillips Jr. and his mother. Three generations of the Phillips family are involved in the business.

Phil with Randal Pinkett and Lawrence Hibbert of BCT Partners.

Phil Murphy, Democratic candidate for governor, recently toured downtown Newark to meet with the small business owners making a difference to find out what they would need from New Jersey’s next governor to be successful. Their input was vital to the crafting of Murphy’s economic plan, which was unveiled in a speech at NJIT in Newark on September 8. A cornerstone of that proposal is the creation of a state-owned public bank to partner with community lenders — like Newark’s City National Bank — to ensure they have the capital small businesses need to grow, succeed, and create jobs.

Phil with Abdul Kariem and Hamidha Abdullah owners of Ali’s Oil’s and Fragrance

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

September 2016 The Positive Community


Photo: Margot Jordan

Democratic National Convention

L-R: Leah Daughtry, CEO 2016 Democratic National Convention Committee with her parents Rev. Herbert Daughtry, and Rev. Karen Daughtry

Basil Smikle, executive director, New York State Democratic Party

US Senator, Corey Booker, NJ

L-R: Bishop Jamal Bryant, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Bishop Bernard Jordan

L-R: H. Carl McCall, Hon. David N. Dinkins, and NYS Assemblyman, N. Nick Perry

L-R: Darryl Towns, regional director, Governmental Affairs, American Airlines; April Ryan, veteran journalist; and Karen Boykin Towns, VP Business Unit Public Affairs, Pfizer Inc.

20 The Positive Community September 2016

L-R: Eric Eve, founder and CEO, Ichor Strategies, and Rodney Capel director, Intergovernmental Affairs office of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo

Tanya Lombard, assistant vice president, Public Affairs at AT&T, and National Action Network board member

T U E S D AY, OCTOBER 18, 2016 P L A C E : ESPACE 635 West 42nd Street (Between 11th & 12th Avenue)

T I M E : 6 – 9:30pm Cocktail Hour, Hors D’Oeuvres, Entertainment & Awards Presentation



F E AT U R E D A R T I S T :

Jean Carn

World-Renowned American Jazz & Pop Singer

HONOREES: Community Service Award

Reginald Higgins

Principal, PS 125, Ralph Bunche School Leadership Award

Hazel Dukes

President, NAACP, NYS Conference Leadership Award

David N. Dinkins

106th Mayor, City of New York F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N : 212.862.1399 • 212.862.3281 (fax)

September 2016 The Positive Community


22 The Positive Community September 2016

Anti-violence Crusader Honored by NYPD


he New York City Police Department (NYPD) Harlem Career Day was held on Saturday August 20 at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building Plaza. Dozens of New Yorkers came out on the sunny, hot day to learn more about career opportunities NYPD offers. Among the many happenings on the plaza was the presentation of a special award to community activist Jackie Rowe-Adams for her many years of hard work, service, and dedication to reduce gun violence in the Harlem community. The award was presented by Assistant Chief Kim Y. Royster on behalf of NYPD. Royster, the highest ranking African American female in the history of

L-R: Captain Rosalind Knox-Ritter; Ranee Woodbur y; Inspector Olufunmilo Obe, 28th Precinct commanding officer; Jackie Rowe-Adams; and Willie Walker of S.A.V.E. (Stop Another Violent End); and Assistant Chief Kim Y. Royster

NYPD, is a candidate for commanding officer in the Assessment Division. A crusader against gun violence, Rowe-Adams cofounded Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. with Jean CorbettCovington, after her two sons were murdered. The organization provides grief counseling and financial help to the families affected by gun violence.

September 2016 The Positive Community



You Won’t Believe It’s Diet Food!


24 The Positive Community

September 2016

Aaron Houston


osing weight is a challenge for most of us. And finding satisfying things to eat while on a weight loss program is an even bigger challenge Ana Isa Otis would manage, with great effort, to lose 100 pounds from time to time going on almost every diet plan available. She even tried gastric bypass surgery with disastrous results. The weight would eventually come stealing back, along with 10 or 20 pounds extra. When her father died in 2008, she got a reality check. She saw herself on television at the funeral and knew that losing some of the 407 pounds she had packed on over the years—and keeping it off — was a priority in her life. She’s a big woman with an even bigger talent nurtured by the very atmosphere in which she was born. The daughter of the legendary songwriter/producer Clyde Otis and 1960’s-era top model, Lourdes (Lulu) Guerrero. The June 1960 Ebony features the then-future Mrs. Otis’ beautiful portrait on the cover and a lengthy article on how the couple courted under the eye of a chaperone—her mother. Some of the greatest perAna Isa Otis formers in R&B and Jazz were considered part of the Otis family and the community where Ana grew up. Dizzy Gillespie lived just across the street from the Otis home in Englewood, NJ; Ana called him “Uncle” and didn’t know he was famous. The family was also close to the Isley Brothers, who also lived nearby. Then there were the artists her father wrote for and/or produced: Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Charlie Rich, Johnnie Mathis, Aretha

Tuscan Shrimp with grilled Asian Ginger Asparagus— less than 300 calories. More than a pound of food!

Franklin, Nat “King” Cole and his daughter Natalie, and perhaps his closest collaborator, balladeer Brook Benton. A show business veteran since she was seven, Ana sang in the vocal cast of Sesame Street for 10 years. She also made a name for herself singing commercial jingles and on TV specials. There is a YouTube video of her singing “Take A Look,” a song her father wrote that was successful for Aretha Franklin and, years later, Natalie Cole. She even wrote a song, “If You Wanna Sing Me (I’ll Be A Song)” that Nancy Wilson recorded and often performed live. Branching out from show business, Ana, who studied in Paris at the Sorbonne and the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, utilized her love of reading and photographic memory to study for and receive her realtor’s license. She also spent considerable time reading up on personal nutrition, the science of proper eating, and nutraceuticals: foods containing health-giving

Ana Isa Otis’ mother, 1960s model Lourdes (Lulu) Guerrero.

additives and having medicinal benefits. “Anything we really need for ourselves, God put it here on rarth for us to find,” she learned in her studies. “You look at the pharmaceutical companies — where do they get the original extracts that they make these synthetic medicines from? From plants. People have forgotten that.” When Life Gives You A Lemon…. As fate would have it, Ana seriously injured herself in a fall from a ladder. The recuperation period turned out to be a blessing as it gave her time to put her research in weight loss into action. Using herbs, enzymes, pure foods, unrefined sugars, and amino acids she was able to create a personal meal plan that resulted in an organic weight loss of over two hundred pounds over two years. People at church began calling her “the incredible shrinking woman” and asked how she did it. She began taking orders from church members for her food, which she prepared along with her partner, May Ola Bolton. The church’s pastor was on the food plan; so were members of the choir and the congregation. The members started telling other people and the home-based business grew to the point that people arranged to pick up their orders. “We started the business in our home, but we outgrew it,” Ana explained. “It got to the point that people were picking up their orders at 3 o’clock in the morning.” Settling into a space in the Pio Costa Shopping Center in Fairfield, NJ, they designed and furnished it with items from their homes, salvage and second-hand sales, and Home Depot, and opened to the public in March, 2016. “It’s very hard to get financing for a startup, and especially one for an African-American woman,” Ana said. Working with what they’ve learned, what they have, and the services of consultant Len Torine, who invented the veggie burger and once owned a diet food franchise, Chow for Now turns out some of the most mouth-watering dishes this side of a five-star restaurant. Calorie counts for entrees ranging from organic chicken, grass-fed beef and wild-caught seafood go from 98 calories (Asian ginger sole), to 480 calories for the eightounce Cajun burger. Side dishes encompass starches and vegetables like jasmine rice (excellent with the curry chicken), southern cabbage or zucchini in a vineripened tomato marinara sauce.

Entrees and sides are vacuum-sealed in heavy duty plastic pouches and flash frozen for microwave steaming or the sous vide method (immersing the pouches in slowly heating water), the preferred mode of preparation. This method not only maintains the freshness and flavor of the food, but clean-up is minimal. The Proof Is in the Eating There are other features of the Chow for Now food program that make dieting almost like fine dining. There’s a “Pro-to-Go” weekly meal kit that includes a variety of the entrees; a “Room Service” menu designed for the traveling professional; low-calorie, flavorful condiments and seasonings; and her line of “Alpha-Pep” nutritional supplements, to help speed up metabolism and boost weight lost. Then there is Ana’s personal consulting service, where she freely gives nutritional advice to her customers. As she writes on, Ana is trying something scary. She is so confident that Chow for Now leads to significant weight loss, that she put on about 60 pounds on purpose, in order to start a blog to chronicle her weight-loss journey to lose 50 pounds in 75 days or less, which means before this Thanksgiving. The blog on and Facebook will contain posts and videos of Ana as she sheds weight on Chow for Now foods and Alpha-Pep. The business leaves little time for Ana to sing, but she’s not completely closed the door on that. “I feel like I’ve had enough singing for a while, yet I do like to sing,” she admitted. “I plan to do more in the future, but right now I’m consumed with Chow for Now.” Ana sees starting up in the church as an essential part of the business. “It was never created to make money,” she explained. “I felt this as a calling from the Lord to help myself and then help others. This is how it came to be; it’s just that it took over, so I know it’s God’s plan for me.” The website is filled with testimonials from the people she’s helped with the food she’s cooked. One person reported they had been on insulin for 37 years; after 12 days on the program they no longer needed to take that medicine. A man claims to have lost 75 pounds in two months. People she has helped with the program from years back just call her to say, “ Hi” and remember her for the help she gave them. Her photographic memory allows her to remember them right back. “That is far more fulfilling to me than selling a house or singing in a club.”

For more information on Chow For Now, visit their Facebook page, or call 855.367.2469. September 2016 The Positive Community


Dr. Wendy Robinson Leads Helene Fuld College of Nursing BY GLENDA CADOGAN


r. Wendy Robinson was one of those very gifted students who never wanted to focus on just one career. “I always felt like I wanted to be everything,” she revealed. “My thoughts were that maybe it’s possible to become one thing, and spend a few years doing that and then become something else.” And without putting an active plan in place, that’s exactly how her life turned out. However, she never expected that one of “those things” would result in her becoming the president and CEO of what is now ranked as the best community college in the nation. But it did. In 2012, Dr. Robinson created history when she became the first African American to be named President of Helene Fuld College of Nursing (HFCN), a 68-year-old institution with a 450-person student body population. Her journey up the ladder to that position is colored with three years as a chemist with a New Jersey based lab, seven years as a marketing analyst with Reader’s Digest and 17 years running her own marketing and consulting business with her husband. In 2002, when Robinson decided that it was once again time for something new, she began teaching nursing education at Helene Fuld, which was then led by the legendary educator Margaret (Peggy) Wines. “Even though I had taken nursing classes and worked as a nurse practitioner, I knew nothing about nursing education,” she said. “But I had great mentors and so was able to advance from a nursing instructor to program coordinator, to vice president and now president in 14 years.” With team effort, Dr. Robinson and her 80-member, full- and part-time faculty have seen their hard work pay dividends. In August, the College beat out 821 other institutions to be ranked the number one community college in the nation by the personal finance website, WalletHub. “Every day, we stay true to our mission of providing men and women with the education and support needed to advance in a very competitive environment,” said Dr. Robinson. “Although we may not have the financial resources of larger institutions, the faculty and staff focus on ensuring that we provide a strong educational foundation and an incredible support system. This national 26 The Positive Community September 2016

Dr. Wendy Robinson

To many of the HFCN students, Dr. Robinson is a role model. “I never realized the impact my appointment had on people until students who attended the college years before started calling me to say how proud they were,”she said. distinction is attributed to their hard work and to our graduates whose successes continually keep us centered.” Located on the third and fourth floors of Bethel Gospel Assembly Church on 120th Street in Harlem, HFCN began operations in 1945 as a private, nonprofit institution offering opportunities through accelerated programs for licensed practical nurses to earn Associate in Applied Science degrees and become registered nurses and for registered nurses to earn Bachelor of Science degrees. To many of the HFCN students, Dr. Robinson is a role model. “I never realized the impact my appointment had on people until students who

HELENE FULD COLLEGE OF NURSING 24 EAST 120th STREET NEW YORK, NY 10035 Ldldldldlddlldldddddddddldldllllmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm



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attended the college years before started calling me to say how proud they were,” she said. “Our average student is a woman of color, age 35 and who has spent a majority of time working in nursing. Many of them have taken college courses before and this is another attempt at completion. Our job is to show them that this is their time. This is how they turn passion into success and we are here to show them how.” Even with the historical marker of her presidency and the top ranking honor, Wendy Robinson is not prepared to sit on those laurels. She has placed an aggressive, strategic plan in motion that includes a new building, increased finances, and easier access to education. “Our number one goal is to increase the accessibility to a health care education,” she explained. “As such we have submitted a proposal to New York State that would allow students to enter the college without having prior LPN or RN experience.” President Robinson’s heart is and has always been in Harlem— she grew up just blocks away from where the college is located. Every fiber of her being is focused on doing all it takes to ensure that every student who walks through the doors of HFCN is a success story.


1851 Seventh Ave. • New York, NY 10026


September 2016 The Positive Community


KAHLIL CARMICHAEL THE FITNESS DOCTOR Kahlil Carmichael is the spiritual director and founder of It Is Well Wellness and Worship Center in Somerset, New Jersey. He is a spiritual leader and the owner of The Fitness Doctor; a fitness and wellness consulting company. He writes a monthly column for The Positive Community Magazine and is the author of 50 Tips for a Better You! To grow spiritually and improve physically, or have Pastor Carmichael present his wellness seminar to your church or group you can email Kahlil at or call 732-921-3746.

Get Your Zeal Back


am so excited about the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer and all that comes along with this wonderful time of year. Long walks on the beach, summer evenings in New York City, barbeques, family reunions, and pool parties make for summer fun. But summer has a way of taking us away from our routines and daily habits that breed success. Most people tend to discard the very routine and habits that enable them to live well and enjoy the bountiful blessings that life has to offer. Daily routines such as prayer; regular church attendance (including bible study); healthy eating; and of course, exercise; are discarded for the sake of summer pleasure and relaxation. Although statistics show most people are more active in the summer (i.e. walking outdoors, hiking, swimming etc.), these statistics do not appropriately articulate the components necessary to meet the requirements of a complete exercise program (strength training, aerobic exercise, and flexibility instruction). Unfortunately, exercise and healthy eating are often discarded during the summer months. Don’t misunderstand me—I am all for summer amusement and relaxation. But not at the cost of casting aside the very routines and habits that have produced favorable results within our lives. Someone once said, “The secret of your future and success is hidden in your daily routine.” I agree. That’s why I love the fall. During this season, we are afforded the opportunity to fall back into our daily routines. It is these very routines that help us live healthy, whole, and successful lives; Spirit, Mind, and Body. If you have set aside your fitness routine or other healthy habits that help you feel good inside and out, here are a few tips to help you fall back (or establish) into healthy routines. 1.) Make an appointment with a professional fitness therapist and trainer. I have noticed my clients at The Fitness Doctor tend to stay

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September 2016

on track throughout the summer and beyond because of the accountability factor as well as the ability to make and keep their appointment. My mantra to my clients and anyone who starts a program at my studio is “just show up!” If the client shows up I will motivate them to success. 2.) Utilize your faith Meditate on this biblical truth found in the book of Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Beloved, the lazy, hazy days of summer are over. If you have allowed the summer to take you off your routine—or worse forget that you need to start one, it’s time to get back on track. Now is the time and the season. Come on. Let’s go! You can do it! 3.) Move forward and forget what you did or did not do over the summer. I am constantly preaching about the forward progression of God. Although we are falling back into our healthy routines, we do not have to keep looking back at our lack of a routine during the summer months. You may have discarded your fitness regimen and had your fill of delicious, but unhealthy, food during the summer. Let it go, move forward and fall back into a healthy productive routine. We all get off track at one time or another. Summer gives us the opportunity to unwind and celebrate with family and close friends. Successful people are not those who stay on track all the time. Successful people are the ones who find themselves off track, yet these individuals have the wherewithal to fall into their proper place and get back on track. That’s success, and it can be yours! Eat healthy. Exercise consistently, and live well! If you’re interested in a free consultation or more information on FitCare, call 732-921-3746 or email Disclaimer: The information contained in this column is of a general nature. You should consult your physician or health care professional before beginning any exercise prgram or changing your dietary regimen.

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September 2016 The Positive Community





t her “Sweet 16,” Kenya Jacobs choose to give up her lavish birthday party in order to participate in the Justice for All March on Washington called for by Rev. Al Sharpton in protest of the many public killings of Black men nationally. “I am black and I live in America,” she told The Positive Community in an interview at the time. “I must stand up for my race and my community.” This summer her community stood up for her. Kenya, a former honors student at Bronx High School of Science, headed to college with a full scholarship to

Kenya and her mom, Nandi

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September 2016

Dartmouth. A week before her departure from her Crown Heights home, her mother, Nandi Keyi, organized what she called “a community blessing circle.” In a powerful ceremony, a circle of Keyi’s friends — many of whom Kenya calls “auntie” and “uncle” and have known since she was a toddler — came together as the “village” that had raised her. Though showered with tangible and practical gifts, the essence of the ceremony was not the gifts she would carry in her suitcase, but the words of encouragement and ritual blessings each elder shared with the college freshman. “I wanted Kenya to be in the midst of her own powerful village before she left for Dartmouth,” explained her mother, adding, “She needed to leave with a firm foundation: a concentrated dose of who she is, who she owes, and what she is meant to do.” At the ceremony, Kenya sat in the middle of the circle as each elder shared a blessing. She received words of encouragement about dealing with friends, maintaining a spiritual center, loneliness, and focus. On the day after Labor Day, she left for New Hampshire, bags packed with the usual amenities of a college student. However, tucked away in her heart and consciousness were the powerful words she understood would not just take her through the next four years of college but through a lifetime: Love! Happiness! Determination! Peace! Courage! Joy! Fortitude! Togetherness! Patience! Grounding! Honor! Faith! and Fearlessness!

According to Kenya, when her mother first shared the idea with her she was not enthusiastic. “I admit that at first I went along to get along, It was only after it happened that I embraced its power and purpose in my life. For me the ceremony helped to put things in perspective. It was a good refocusing on why I am going to college and what I need to do there. Now I really thank my mom for doing it,” she said. “It made a difference. It was very sobering when I realized how many people are rooting and caring for me.” Speaking to The Positive Community after being in Dartmouth for just a week, Kenya said that with the winds of her community elders beneath her wings, she has settled in and buckled up for the ride. “However, I am giving myself time to feel completely settled before making huge goals,” she explained. Under the Dartmouth system, students declare a major when they begin their sophomore year. So Kenya has chosen to take classes signaling her intentions to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering and International Relations. “My goal is to learn how to harvest different forms of energy and then create ways in which science can be applicable to the daily lives of people around the world,” she said. Asked if she will recommend this kind of community ritual blessings to others, Kenya gave a resounding: “Yes! I think that it is very important and necessary, especially for

someone like me who is going to be entering an environment where they are an ethnic minority. I would definitely recommend this ceremony as a practice for college bound students.” Mom Keyi reflected on the ceremony. “It was an honor for me to witness the blessings that were bestowed on my daughter in whatever form they came. I felt that a rite of passage had taken place in which she was no longer just my daughter but the community’s daughter, and in that comes a security that she will be fine.” At the close of last year’s March For Justice, Kenya described her biggest takeaway this way: “It is summarized in a quote from Dr. King in his book: Why We Can’t Wait, in which he said: ‘Unity is not uniformity.’ There were a lot of different emotions experienced throughout the day . . . But even so, what was constant was this incredible sense of togetherness and being part of history.” She drew on this strength at the close of the sendoff ceremony when asked to leave a word with the elders in her proverbial village. “Unity,” she said with passion. And with the sound of the word still reverberating through the quiet in the room, each elder raised hands and pronounced the eternal blessing on her: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

September 2016 The Positive Community













Essex County College New Programs Bolster New Academic Year Photo: VIctor Colon, ECC Graphics Department


Essex County College Paralegal Studies Professor Dr. Linda Carter with students in class

New Board Member Dr. Leila Sadeghi (center) swornin by, from left, Board Attorney Juan Fernandez, Acting President A. Zachary Yamba, her husband Dr. Daniel Korya and Board Chair Bibi Taylor Photo: Ms. Fatima Matos ECC Graphics

ssex County College is starting the 2016-2017 academic year with national recognition for an existing program, a pair of new degree programs, and increased online offerings. The academic year also began with two new members of the College’s Board of Trustees. Gov. Christie appointed Dr. Leila Sadeghi and Thomas C. McDermott, Jr. to the board. From the academic standpoint, the existing Associate in Science (A.S.) Paralegal Studies (PLS) Program received a seven-year approval, ending in August of 2023, from the American Bar Association (ABA). The College has also launched an A.S. Finance Program and is preparing to offer an A.S. Supply Chain Management Program, starting in January. “With our new degree programs and ABA-approved Paralegal Studies program, we are renewing our commitment to provide programs that address current workforce needs and allow our graduates to be competitive in the job market,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lee, vice president for Academic Affairs. According to Professor Linda Carter, director of the program, “The ABA designation reaffirms that our Paralegal Program is a sound, highly regarded program,” she pointed out. “Perhaps most importantly, it also exemplifies an institutional commitment to enhancing the lives and advancing the careers of our students, permitting them to contribute to the economy of Essex County.” “The Finance degree program, which replaces the Associate in Applied Science Business Administration - Financial Services Option, began this fall semester,” explained Business, Industry & Government Dean Carlos Rivera. He noted that by offering this major as an A.S. program, it would be easier for students to transfer all their course credits after graduating from Essex. The upcoming Supply Chain Management degree program, popularly known as “logistics,” is an expansion of the current certificate offering launched in early 2015. “There is definitely a huge demand for a workforce trained in logistics,” said Dean Rivera. He noted that the New York metropolitan area has many career opportunities. “For computer savvy students, there are now degree programs in Liberal Arts and Business Administration that can be earned by taking fully-online classes,” said Leigh Bello-DeCastro, associate dean of Online and Learning Resource Technologies. “With the active involvement of our faculty, the program continues to rapidly grow,” said Dr. Bello-DeCastro. On the administrative side, an educator from West Orange and a business executive from the Short Hills sec32 The Positive Community September 2016

New Board Member Thomas C. McDermott, Jr. (center) sworn-in by Attorney Juan Fernandez and Chair Bibi Taylor

tion of Millburn received three-year terms on the College’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Sadeghi is executive director for the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peter’s University. Mr. McDermott is vice president of Sales and Marketing for the Midland Steel Corp., Bronx, New York, and former Millburn mayor.

Join Us For Our Open Houses Undergraduate Sunday, October 16 Sunday, November 20

Graduate Wednesday, October 12 For more information, call 800-925-NJIT. University Heights Newark, NJ 07102

Positive Community We Prepare Our Students for Success 7 x 4.75” NJIT opens the door to the future of technology and innovation New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is one of the nation’s leading public research universities, with more than 11,300 undergraduate and graduate students exploring its multidisciplinary curriculum and a computing-intensive approach to education. NJIT offers the intimate educational experience of a small campus with the vast resources of a major public research university. “We prepare students for today’s high-demand jobs across the disciplines of STEM, computing, design and the management of technology,» said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom. «We are one of only 32 polytechnic universities nationally and our research expenditures exceed $120 million.” Five colleges call NJIT home – College of Architecture and Design; College of Science and Liberal Arts; Martin Tuchman School of Management; Newark College of Engineering; and Ying Wu College of Computing Sciences – along with the Albert Dorman Honors College. Currently, NJIT is ranked among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment according to

NJIT students graduate prepared with workplace experience and degrees in the hottest fields such as engineering, physics, biology, architecture, design, computing sciences and business. Students graduate with the skills that recruiters are seeking through the university’s successful internship and co-op programs. NJIT maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 18 to 1 and has over 40 dedicated outreach centers and laboratories from robotics to sustainable design to nanotechnology. The National Science Foundation ranks NJIT in the top 10 among universities whose main research is in engineering. NJIT also offers 19 Division I sports, as well as club and intramural programs. The Highlanders are part of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Prospective students seeking greater involvement in the changing role of technology can find direct access to the industry’s future at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Visit or attend one of our upcoming Open Houses – September 2016 The Positive Community


Photos: Karen Waters

ELKS Honor “Today’s Leaders”

L-R: Mary Morgan, Grand Lodge treasurer; Bonnie Thomas, director; Willie Seabrooks, State president; Gladys Brown; Leading Knight Leonard Polk; and George Gore, liaison officer, Civil Liberties

John Harmon, president and CEO of African American Chamber of Commerce, NJ


n June 10, under the leadership Gorge B. Gore and Bonnie Thomas, state directors, the Civil Liberties Department of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW) New Jersey chapter, hosted their Annual Community Awards Luncheon in Cinnaminson, Township NJ. The theme of this year’s event: Today’s Leaders. Featured honorees were TPC Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.; John Harmon, president and CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ; Tiffany Warren, director of the Education Opportunity Fund Adrian A. Council, Sr., publisher, The Positive Community Program, The College of New Jersey; and Rev. Eric Dobson, staff outreach coordinator for the Fair Share Housing Center of NJ Founded in 1902, the core values of the IBPOEW are entrenched in the following statement: Effective community leadership involves moving people toward shared objectives. Those objectives are developed through rational Rolanda Brewer, financial advisor, operations manager, Sturdivant and Co.; Sergeant Stacey discussion, coupled with plain Lloyd NJ State Police and Captain Kristin Visalli, NJ State Police and simple, yet meaningful communication. Effective leaders are those who administer community programs not by forcing people to follow false messages created for a few, but by the creation of messages and programs which help the many. These leaders succeed by garments of the populace and the implementation of programs that improve the communities’ collective quality of life… 34 The Positive Community September 2016

Mission Accomplished! TouroCOM in Harlem Graduates Record Number of Minority DOCS!!


n 2007 Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) opened its doors on 125th Street in Harlem, across from the Apollo Theatre. Our mission: educate and train students in the field of medicine to become physicians who would practice in communities where health status issues are in crisis. We graduated our first class in 2011 and are proud to announce that over 50% of TouroCOM graduates become Primary Care/Family Practice Physicians. In the past four years TouroCOM has graduated 84 Underrepresented Minority (URM) Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (40 Black/African-American and 44 Hispanic/Latino). TouroCOM’s Community Advisory Board has supported the school’s fundraising efforts resulting in $175,000.00 for the URM Scholarship Fund. Unfortunately this is not nearly enough money to help reduce the average medical graduates’ debt of $180,000.00. Communities of Color need more Doctors.




Drew Theological School—a community of scholars, ministers and activists gathered on a beautiful, wooded campus—has trained rooted, innovative and courageous leaders for 150 years for service to the Church, the academy and society. We are a diverse and open community that dares to pursue the love, wisdom and justice at the heart of the transformative gospel of Jesus Christ. We are proudly grounded in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition of bold ideas that impact people’s lives for the good. We believe that when ancient wisdom is in lively engagement with contemporary challenges, great things are possible. Meet your mentor. Our faculty—adventurous scholars and engaging teachers—are leaders in theology, biblical studies, liturgy and social ethics. They don’t settle for easy answers or empty pieties. Innovative and provocative, they challenge you and each other. Our alums say working with their faculty mentors was among the most valuable experiences of their Drew education. Less sitting. More doing. We expect you to read, write and discuss things that matter— yet we firmly believe that real-world experiences—through which you apply, test, challenge and assess what you learn in the classroom—are essential to a modern theological education. You’ll do this through ministry placements, internships and cross-cultural courses around the world, in virtual classrooms, at a community garden, in a prison. We prepare students for the real world IN the real world. Authentic community. The circle is wide. The engagement is deep. Second career and twenty-somethings collaborate on projects. African American gospel music resounds from the chapel. Students practice sermons—in Korean and Spanish. Students, faculty and staff pray, eat, learn, sing and travel together. We disagree, misunderstand and struggle—together. Ready to join our community? Please contact the Office of Theological Admissions at 973.408.3111,

Drew University I Madison, NJ I

Theological School




Interdisciplinary courses that demand out-of-the-box thinking. Apprenticeship training that addresses real-world issues. Modes of learning that promote adaptability and innovation. We offer six degree programs: Master of Divinity (M.Div.) n


Professional graduate training for ministry as a pastor, industry leader or community activist Required by several denominations for ordination

Master of Arts (M.A.) n n

Study in one or more disciplines in religious studies Tailored to student’s interests and goals

Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) n n

Graduate training for ministry in a variety of settings Flexible and focused on apprenticeship learning

Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) n n

Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) n n

Multidisciplinary advanced study for ministerial leaders Furthers theological reflection and recharges professional expertise

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) n


Drew University I Madison, NJ I

Advanced study to augment previous theological education For deepening ministry or preparing for doctoral work

Advanced interdisciplinary study and research in the academic theological disciplines Equips university and college teachers, thought leaders and public intellectuals

Theological School

L-R: Rev. Dr. C. Vernon Mason, Min. Rashad Moore, Rev. Reginald Bachus, Dr. Calvin Butts, and Rev. Lee Hodge

Carmen Dixon, Black Lives Matter

Tamika Mallory, Mallory Consulting

Bob Law, radio personality, activist

Professor Leonard Jeffries

Abyssinian Hosts Thursday Night Teaching


n Thursday August 18, Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, senior pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, kicked off a monthly Thursday Night Teaching Series. Congregation members and the general public are invited to attend the monthly forums that will focus on politics, culture, and economic issues impacting communities of color. Guest speakers for the kick-off event included Carmen Dixon of Black Lives Matter; Tamika Mallory, Mallory Consulting; Bob Law, radio talk show host and community activist; and Professor Leonard Jeffries. The forums take place on the third Thursday of the month at Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 W 138th Street in Harlem. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Future discussions in-

clude such topics as debt as a present day form of slavery, how NYC taxpaying residents are indebted to a racially unjust economic system, and methods toward financial freedom. In 1808, The Abyssinian Baptist Church of the City of New York was organized by Ethiopian merchants and free African Americans living in New York City who refused to tolerate racial segregation in the House of God. For 209 years, the church’s dynamic leadership – including Reverend Dr. Adam Clayton Powell Sr.; Congressman Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Jr; Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor; and currently, Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III – have guided Abyssinian as an iconic champion of social justice for positive reform. – JNW

Photos: Anthony Moody

38 The Positive Community September 2016

Choices Made the Difference For Two Charter School Students, Success is the ONLY Option

A’Dorian Murray-Thomas

Lamont Sadler

A’Dorian Murray-Thomas is One to Watch

Photo by Winnie Au

By R.L. Witter

Glamour Magazine: 2016 College Woman of the Year: A'Dorian Murray-Thomas

“She may be the reason I survive. The why and wherefore I’m alive.” —Charles Aznavour


here is a group of young women in Newark, NJ for whom those words likely describe A’Dorian MurrayThomas. In Murray-Thomas, these ladies have found more than a friend, a mentor, or a role model. In her they have found their strength, their voices, and a kindred spirit who reached outside of herself and into their lives to make

the air feel lighter and the sun seem brighter as they went from simply holding on and being, to actually living. Born and raised in Newark, a young A’Dorian MurrayThomas wanted to be a forensic specialist. “I was really into Bones and Law & Order,” she recalled. “I thought that solving crimes through forensic science was the only way to bring justice to the world.” She came by it honestly. MurrayThomas knows more about the cost of living in an urban city than most. Sadly, her father was killed by gun violence when she was only 7 years-old. “He was on his way to go pay my tuition to the school that I went to in Newark and he was robbed and gunned down,” she told USA Today. That tragic day would inform her life in a way she never imagined. Maybe it was because her dad was paying her tuition that awful day, or because he had a love of reading. Perhaps it was always her destiny, but Murray-Thomas takes education seriously. She attended TEAM Academy, a KIPP charter school from grades 5 through 8, then went on to boarding school. Of her TEAM experience she says, “I enjoyed my cont’d on next page September2016 2016 The The Positive Positive Community Community 41 39 September

CHOICES continued from previous page

time at TEAM. What I loved most was both the collegefocused culture and the emphasis on values and good character traits.” Mantras like ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ and ‘Do the right thing even when no one is watching’ were common at our school and really shaped the culture.” A 2016 graduate of Swarthmore College, she sees education as a means to an end for other Brick City youngsters. But she knows that education is more than classrooms and books, and understands that without intervention, broken young people evolve into broken adults. That’s where A’Dorian’s compassion and empathy merged with her academic drive to leverage an opportunity and transform it into a legacy. Thus was born She Wins! A leadership for program for girls 10–15 who have lost a loved one to violence in Newark, She Wins! helps gather the pieces of young girls shattered by loss and begins to put them back together and seal the cracks by teaching them to express their feelings, face their fears, and feel empowered. A’Dorian recalls, “My first social justice based class, Liberation Arts, was at TEAM and it was formative in my learning to see myself as a global, civic-minded critical thinker from an early age. Its focus on having young people think critically about issues affecting our community (like education, major political events, and other social issues) was a huge inspiration for the SHE Wins Inc. curriculum I would develop years later.” “I researched resilience,” Murray-Thomas explained. “Girls are particularly more vulnerable to psychological difficulties and other side effects of dealing with trauma… so I designed the She Wins! program around building resilience in young girls.” “The three main pillars of resilience building,” she explained, “are giving girls a safe space to feel secure and empowered, opportunities to learn, and strong, positive peer relationships and positive relationships with adults.” Funded by a $10,000 Lang Opportunity Scholarship awarded to Murray-Thomas while at Swarthmore, She Wins! does all of those things through a hands-on mentoring program where its founder’s personal, tragic experience opens a door of commonality and empathy that grants her access to parts of these young girls others simply cannot reach. “This one young lady who came to us last year,” A’Dorian reflected, “she was really resistant to vulnerability and letting other people in—both adults and her peers. She wasn’t comfortable talking about what she went through and using that as a therapeutic means to overcome it.” It didn’t happen overnight, not even in a month or two. But after 18 months, A’Dorian has witnessed a change brought about by her program. “Not only is she consistently talking about her own story of survival…it’s really beautiful to see her blossom and transform.”

40 The Positive Community

September 2016

In addition to regular meetings and mentoring sessions, She Wins! boasts a six-week summer program that focuses on mentorship, checking in daily with individuals and weekly as a group. In addition to mentorship, the summer academy offers programs in social justice and empowerment. Meeting three days each week, the curriculum targets and analyzes issues facing urban communities. Participants also read poetry by Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou and others, then empower themselves to write their own words. “What makes me beautiful?” What makes me unique?” Murray-Thomas asks her young charges. “Everything we do pedagogically centers on self-empowerment and social justice… We want them to know the power of the positive impact they can have on their communities” A third facet of the summer program is community service. Murray-Thomas explained, “We partner with different organizations within the community so that the girls are tangibly engaged in ways to make the community better.” Projects have included working at food banks, passing out backpacks to children in need, and other activities that solidify a connection with the local community while fostering self-confidence. “There is something extra these girls get out of being the ones to serve their community,” Murray-Thomas continued. “There’s nobody coming to save them; they’re saving themselves and giving back to the community.” Citing her mother, Dana Thomas, a former social worker; and grandmother, Hattie Taylor, who sent handwritten letters that included both prayers and scripture while A’Dorian was in school, as mentors and role models; Murray-Thomas is grounded in the knowledge that she is blessed and highly favored. “I’m a lifelong member of St. James AME Church,” she said proudly, adding, “I worked with the Swarthmore Christian Fellowship at school, I led Bible study, and have definitely relied on God’s power to keep me anchored. I pray about She Wins! and those girls so much—I ask God to order my steps, make himself bigger, and make me smaller because I know it’s so much bigger than me.” She’s already accomplished so much in her young life and has her sights set on continuing her education, with her goal being a doctorate degree in Educational Studies or Educational Psychology. She sees the current She Wins! participants as a pool from which future leaders of the organization can be plucked and she’ll take a less prominent role on the organization’s Board. It seems that perhaps those DC trips had a second purpose as currently, Secretary of Education seems to be her dream job. That’s still a few years away, and only time will tell. But one thing we know for sure is that A’Dorian Murray-Thomas is one to watch. We also know that with her dedication to community service and empowering young women, when she wins, we win. Godspeed, A’Dorian . . . You go, Girl!

Lamont Sadler’s Future is Bright By Josh Frank


n elementary school, Lamont Sadler was classified as a special education student because of his bad behavior. As a third grader, he was placed in a in a classroom with other special-ed students, where he ran the hallways and played hide-and-seek with the security guards. Though he doesn’t remember learning much, he was passed from grade to grade. “When I got bored, I played catch with my classmates or I picked fights with other boys,” said Sadler, who grew up in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The turning point came in fifth grade, when he won the lottery to attend Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School, one of 22 public charter schools operated by Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn. Any family in NYC can enter the Uncommon Schools admissions lottery; students are selected at random. Uncommon operates another 13 schools in Newark called North Star Academy. “Everything changed at Uncommon Schools,” he said. “There was no running around at my new school. I learned pretty quickly I wasn’t going to get away with what I used to. I tried, and ended up in detention — often.” Teachers helped Sadler reflect on his choices and how those choices affected others as well as his own future. “The teachers kept telling me that my behavior was getting in the way of me going to college,” Sadler said. “College hadn’t even been a thought in my mind. They never said I ‘might’ go to college; they said I would. After a while, I started to believe, too.” After a year at Uncommon Schools, he had grown so much academically that he was declassified as a

cation student. Though he still got into trouble and sometimes needed extra help staying within boundaries, he said he always had teachers whose high expectations helped him stay on track. “I came to realize, too, that classes were actually more fun than roaming the hallways. They were led by teachers who were passionate about what they were teaching—who helped me to become an ace at math, created fun games like Science Jeopardy, and inspired me to delve deeply into history.” He was so inspired with history that, in eighth grade, he helped organize a school trip across the South that included visits to important civil-rights landmarks. At Uncommon Charter High School, Sadler became a true leader and was elected school president in his senior year. “Lamont exemplifies the type of student some people say doesn’t exist at charter schools,” says Tara Marlovits, chief operating officer of Uncommon Schools NYC. “Many of our students are just like Lamont. They are brilliant young people who just need a safe and supportive school with passionate teachers in order to thrive. We see stories like his every day in our work.” Sadler is now a senior at State University of New York at Oswego in the EOP program, where he is thriving. There, he has won two Oswego Communications Awards: “Best Hip Hop Radio Show” and “Most Likely to be Famous in Broadcast.” The judges were his professors and peers. He is host of Live with Monty Kelvin & Friends, a radio show on WNYO 88.9 FM, SUNY Oswego’s radio station, where he has conducted interviews with public figures from TV journalist Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, to musicians such as Flo Rida, and Rich Homie Quan. He is also the Podcast Department director at the station. He is also working for Lakeside Media, where he produced a video on the dangers of synthetic marijuana, which will be shown to many school-aged children throughout Central, N.Y. It hasn’t been easy, though. He still continues to struggle with his ADHD and the culture shock of living in Oswego after growing up in Bed-Stuy. But he said he would never have ended up in college at all if it wasn’t for having the opportunity to attend Uncommon Schools, which is why he has become an advocate for charter schools. He has been a speaker at several rallies in Albany and Brooklyn when he’s not in class, and often meets with elected officials to tell his story. “If it wasn’t for my teachers at Uncommon Schools, who made me believe that I could attend college, I would not be where I am today,” Sadler said. “I strongly believe that children who grew up in circumstances like I did should have access to the same opportunities I had.” September 2016 The Positive Community



Learn more about our schools! i

C A L L 9 7 3 . 7 5 0 . 8 3 2 6 | W W W. K I P P N J . O R G

42 The Positive Community September 2016

ts Annual s o H y e rs e J w e KIPP N lebration e C in t n e v E ” e “Be the Chang mplishments of Student Acco Leaders ” and Community “Be the Change

Annual sted the Ninth event, KIPP New Jersey ho Center. At the ts Ar ing rm Recently, KIPP rfo Pe ughout the ey rs ro Je th s w nt Ne e ts of its stude en m sh Celebration at th pli m aneyfield co ac Ch ghted the woman Gayle New Jersey highli rvice of Council dicated se de e of th p d re ou gr no ho adstreet, and a Br school year and & n ring a Du su n; en he er Dan Co ntributions to Jenkins; volunte e substantial co ad m ve ha om wh parents; all of rsey students. for KIPP New Je quality education u wish be the change yo ndhi, “You must rate Ga a leb m ce at to ah 07 M rds of tablished in 20 Inspired by the wo al event was es ose words nu th d an e die th bo ,” em rld ve to see in the wo d parents that ha mden’s schools unity leaders an Newark and Ca in s and honor comm ge an ch ive sit po te ita and helped facil . and communities an Hill, success,” said Ry tion was a huge ra te this ra leb ce leb ’ ce ge to an the Ch ve a great deal ha e “This year’s ‘Be “W hers, O. ac CE te d Founder an ders, parents, KIPP New Jersey the of what our lea d d an ou pr ion at ely uc m ed e extre e both a quality ak m year and we ar to ne do orters have for our students.” faculty and supp dreams attainable eir th of t en m achieve Ward as Newark’s South ened its doors in 4,500 op er t ov rs fi e rv ey se rs Je w since grown to s ha In 2002, KIPP Ne d an s er ad 80 fifth gr a single class of and Camden. K-12 in Newark es ad gr in s nt stude

2016 KIPP New Jersey Parent Honorees Ryan Hill, KIPP NJ Founder & CEO

Keynote speaker Chris Eley

L-R Skip Dillard, operations manager-WBLS/WLIB, Co-Pastors Elaine and Floyd Flake

Keynote speaker A’Dorian Murray Thomas

L-R: Kevin Smallwood with Color Purple cast members Carla R. Stewart and Angela Birchett

Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins with KIPP THRIVE Academy student KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy drumline

September 2016 The Positive Community








arning a college degree is a major achievement, and for many New Yorkers it takes many steps to get the kind of quality higher education that will lead to a successful career. At New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS), a division of Touro College, faculty and administrators understand and embrace students who keep their eye on that goal –regardless of background or time schedule. NYSCAS welcomes applicants who are recent high school graduates, transfer students, working adults, parents of young children and students who have taken a break from their education, but are now ready to continue. As a progressive urban institution of higher learning, NYSCAS supports, accommodates and celebrates diverse cultures and ethnic origins. With classes at night and on weekends, NYSCAS knows that one size does not fit all when it comes to delivering comprehensive academic programs to those dedicated to their academic and career future. Academic pathways to real world professions With over 45 associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, NYSCAS offers rigorous academic training in majors that prepare graduates for well paying, real-world job opportunities, including Business Management and Administration (with concentrations in Accounting, Finance, and Marketing), Criminal Justice, Digital Multimedia Design, Education, Biology, Health Sciences (pre-med, pre-dental) Human Services, Information Technology, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Paralegal Studies, PreLaw and Psychology. Experienced counselors and caring academic advisors are on hand at seven convenient locations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens to guide enrollees from application and admissions to graduation and beyond. Career development personnel and faculty with professional networks in their field help undergrads land meaningful internships and prepare graduates for job interviews with sought-after employers. Reaching higher in higher ed For students who want to go further, NYSCAS degrees open

44 The Positive Community September 2016







many possibilities to rewarding professional careers. Students like Sanjay--who graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in biology, went on to earn a degree from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and is now a medical resident at Hackensack University Medical Center--are maximizing their NYSCAS degrees. “The professors and deans at NYSCAS took an interest in each student individually,” said Sanjay. “They sincerely wanted to help us focus on our studies so we could succeed. I’ve had a great education.” There is Ronald, a NYSCAS class of ’13 graduate, who is currently enrolled in Touro Law Center, and Chana, NYSCAS class of ’16 valedictorian who is working in the emergency room at Jamaica hospital and plans to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant at Touro’s School of Health Sciences. These are just a few examples of our outstanding alumni who are pursuing careers in a variety of fields. Personalized Academic Attention A recent survey showed that Touro students found administrators and faculty welcoming, open, friendly and had favorable experiences regarding teacher involvement and personalized attention. “The faculty was friendly and approachable and made you love the subject they were teaching,” said Chana. “When I needed letters of recommendation for graduate school, the teachers were happy to spend time writing me a letter. They made me feel like family.” An excellent value A NYSCAS education is more affordable than you may think. Financial aid counselors can discuss the best ways to pay for your education and help determine your eligibility for a wide range of aid, including federal, New York State and internal Touro grants and scholarships. So what are you waiting for? Call (212)463-0400, ext.5500 to make an appointment or visit us at Career focused, student-centered. Let NYSCAS get you to where you want to go. Touro is an equal opportunity institution. For Touro’s complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please visit www.

Clement O. B.A. | NYSCAS ’16 Customer Support NYC Dept. of Transportation


Apply Now!

Your path to success starts at NYSCAS. Choose from more than 45 associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs at seven convenient locations throughout the metro area. Think college, think NYSCAS. A division of Touro College.

MANHATTAN: 212.463.0400 x5500 BROOKLYN: 718.265.6534 x1003 Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach, Flatbush, Kings Highway, Starrett City

QUEENS: 718.520.5107 x109 Forest Hills | @nyscas

Touro is an equal opportunity institution. For Touro’s complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please visit



Visit Us. Learn More. Apply. NEWARK.RUTGERS.EDU

Where Opportunity Meets Excellence

Rutgers University-Newark’s New Financial Aid BY PETER ENGLOT


utgers University-Newark (RU–N) announced a major new financial aid initiative called the Talent & Opportunity Pathways program or RU–N to the TOP—which will make college more affordable for wide swaths of New Jersey students, especially residents of Newark, those transferring from county colleges, and those with great potential to make an impact on the world. Effective fall 2016, RU–N to the TOP will provide the following to RU–N’s undergraduate students who qualify:

•All Newark residents who gain admission and whose household adjusted gross income (AGI) is $60,000 or less will be offered scholarships covering 100 percent of undergraduate tuition and fees (after federal, state, and external scholarships have been awarded). •Admitted students who are transferring to RU–N after earning an associate’s degree from a New Jersey county college, and whose household AGI is $60,000 or less, will be offered scholarships covering 100 percent of undergraduate tuition and fees (after federal, state, and external scholarships have been awarded). •All students admitted to RU–N’s innovative new Honors Living-Learning Community will receive 100 percent residential scholarships covering the full cost of room and board. RU–N long has been known as an engine of opportunity for Newarkers and New Jerseyans who are first-generation college-going students, first-generation Americans, and students from hardworking families of modest means. Chancellor Nancy Cantor believes the new financial aid initiative strengthens that tradition significantly in ways that speak directly to challenges facing Newark and New Jersey today, as well as communities everywhere. “Our city, state, and nation need to increase educational attainment to both strengthen

our democracy and compete in today’s global economy. As an anchor institution in Newark, we help to achieve those goals by investing in the people of Newark and our state and discovering individuals whose true talent may not jump right out at you if you rely only on traditional ways of identifying it.” The depth and breadth of that talent search is nowhere clearer than in RU–N’s innovative Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC). In addition to gleaning information about applicants from the standard Rutgers application form, the HLLC team engages prospective students in in-person activities, through which a range of talents and characteristics associated with academic success may be evaluated. RU–N to the TOP and the HLLC are part of the university’s broader commitment to increase educational attainment through the Newark City of Learning Collaborative. This citywide initiative aims to increase postsecondary attainment among Newark residents from 17 percent to 25 percent by the year 2025 by engaging more than 60 public, private, and nonprofit entities from Greater Newark in collaborative programming to strengthen pathways to college. To learn more about Rutgers University-Newark, visit us at












Saint Peter’s University Public Policy Program with that of the experiences of fellow students and staff. Saint Peter’s examines life conditions in the communities in which the students live and work and the public policies that have shaped them.


he fields of community affairs, local government, political office, public or private administration, human resources and urban planning are ever-growing and thriving. Saint Peter’s University offers programs that will help advance or prepare an individual for careers in these sectors. The public policy program is an innovative program designed for para-professional, entry-level government or social service workers who are also active in community, civic and volunteer organizations. There are multiple options offered to help students be successful in these fields. Saint Peter’s offers an associate's or bachelor's degree in public policy and a master’s degree in public administration. The flexible schedule of Saturday and evening classes is geared toward busy, working and mature adults. What makes the public policy program stand out is the approach to education. This approach is called “experiential learning,” which simply means that the starting focus of Saint Peter’s classes is the students’ own personal experiences, coupled

Graduates from the public policy program will be prepared for a career in a wide-variety of fields including research analysis, program development and planning, human services, business, education and social science research. Coursework can also be combined with internship and research opportunities. Students who have completed the public policy program at Saint Peter’s University have landed jobs in a wide-variety of federal, state, local and non-profit agencies in fields related to healthcare, education, job training and other areas related to social justice. Amayia Gomez ’10, came to Saint Peter’s as a mother with a full-time career. She was undecided about her major and her career plans when she first came to campus, but her dreams to work in the community in a public health position inspired her to investigate the public policy program. “I think the professors are very knowledgeable and well-rounded, so they bring different perspectives to the program,” she said. “I knew I found the right place when the department helped me define my vision and guided me hand-in-hand the whole way. My educational plans turned from an unreachable dream into a realistic goal at Saint Peter’s.” In 2013 the University introduced the master’s program in public ad-

48 The Positive Community September 2016

ministration. The program provides an excellent next step for graduates of the public policy program or for individuals with a bachelor’s degree who are considering continuing their education. The program prepares graduates with the knowledge and skills required of successful public servants, non-profit workers and private sector employees working towards the public good. Saint Peter’s University offers a host of advantages to potential students of the program given the University’s commitment to issues of social justice and a clear mission to serve communities. Additionally, the University’s close proximity to the United Nations and the maintenance of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status, provides students with a unique “laboratory” experience in the work and practices of an international organization. Saint Peter’s University has a history of educational excellence and commitment to service in the Jesuit tradition since 1872. That, combined with the experiential learning approach, makes this program stand apart from the rest. The main campus location made up of nearly 25 acres is in the heart of Jersey City, N.J. and can be easily accesed by car or public transportaion via the Journal Square PATH station. To learn more about the Public Policy and Public Administration program, please call the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies Admission at (201) 761-6470 or visit us

Revolutionary Reformer Rutgers alumna helped pave the way for school desegregation In 1934, Julia Baxter Bates was the first African-American student admitted to the New Jersey College for Women, now known as Rutgers’ Douglass Residential College. Bates’s college experience was the first of many inroads the civil rights pioneer would make in her lifetime. As the head of research at the NAACP for two decades, her research directly influenced Supreme Court rulings against discrimination, including Brown v. Board of Education, which declared school segregation unconstitutional. The work of Julia Baxter Bates revolutionized education for millions of Americans. Read about more Rutgers Revolutionaries at

Celebrate the culmination of the yearlong commemoration of Rutgers’ 250th Anniversary on November 10, 2016, by visiting, posting Rutgers photos tagged #Rutgers250 on social media, and downloading the Rutgers 250 app. THANK YOU TO OUR RUTGERS 250 SUPPORTERS












Julia Baxter Bates: Proving the Scientific Case for Public School Desegregation


ll Julia Baxter Bates wanted was to receive a college education and become a teacher. In 1930s America this basic dream presented a challenge: Bates was black. Admitted to college only due to a clerical error and denied teaching positions because of the color of her skin, Bates turned to civil rights activism with the goal of changing the system that hindered her from seeking the education and career she earned. She succeeded: Before her 40th birthday, Bates would play a key role in ensuring that no child would be denied access to a public school based on the color of his or her skin. As a light-skinned black woman, the scholarly Bates grew up in a predominantly white community in Bernardsville, New Jersey. In 1934, she sent her application, along with the required photograph, to New Jersey College for Women, which has evolved into Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University. Mistaking Bates for Caucasian, the admissions department invited her to interview. When the administrators saw her in person, they tried to steer her to a black college where they said she would be “more comfortable.” Bates was steadfast. She was an excellent

student, had been accepted to the institution and had every right to attend. The college acquiesced but denied her the opportunity to live on campus. She stayed with family in Newark and commuted to New Brunswick by train to study English, with the goal of following in her grandfather’s footsteps as a high school instructor. Bates’ college experience was the first of many inroads the civil rights pioneer would make in her lifetime. Being the first African-American student to be admitted and to graduate – magna cum laude – from Rutgers’ women-only residential college was just the start. Denied permission to teach in New Jersey because she was black, Bates grew increasingly frustrated by repeated encounters with racism. She joined the staff of NAACP headquarters in N.Y., where she spent over two decades as national director of research and information, working alongside legendary civil rights leaders W. E. B. DuBois, Thurgood Marshall, Walter White and Roy Wilkins. During the 1950s, Bates researched and co-authored the winning brief in the historic Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, which the NAACP used

to prove the scientific case against segregation in the nation’s public schools in the Supreme Court. In the field of public education, Brown struck down the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which held that as long as separate facilities for the separate races were equal, segregation did not violate the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause. Considered one of the most important decisions of the 20th century, Brown is regarded as the catalyst of the modern civil rights era. Until her death in 2003 at the age of 86, Bates continued to serve as a mentor for young activists. Since Julia Baxter Bates acceptance in 1934, Rutgers has evolved to become one of the most diverse public research universities in the nation. Today, as we prepare to celebrate the universities 250th anniversary on November 10, Rutgers enrolls more than 67,000 students from all 50 states and more than 120 nations on six continents. Rutgers University’s flagship campus in New Brunswick is the most diverse in the Big Ten Conference, and Rutgers University-Newark has been consistently ranked among the nation’s most diverse campuses by US News & World Report.












Montclair State University: An Educational and Community Resource


ew Jersey’s second largest public university—Montclair State University—enjoyed a decades-long reputation as a regional go-to resource for students training become teachers. While its teacher education programs are still top-notch (ranked number 14 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report), Montclair State now offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in nearly 300 areas. Most programs are offered at its park-like suburban campus 14 miles from New York City, but the university has expanded online and hybrid offerings as well. More than 20,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students call Montclair State home.

As the campus grows, so does its reputation for providing a rigorous education that prepares students to succeed in business, the arts, education, communication and the sciences. Montclair State’s growth in research activity and doctoral-level education has earned it designation as a Research Doctoral university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Montclair State also meets the Hispanic-Serving Institution criteria of the U.S. Department of Education, evidence of its successful dedication to providing diverse populations with access to top-quality, affordable higher education.

This campus long known for transforming lives through education and training has undergone its own transformation in recent years. Just last year alone, the university received the largest philanthropic gift in its history ($20 million to support the Feliciano School of Business), opened two major new buildings for teaching and research, launched a new School of Nursing and started construction on a new home for the School of Communication and Media.

Montclair State is equally committed to serving its neighbors. In 2015, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named Montclair State a Community Engaged Campus. Programs such as the nationally recognized Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency, which prepares students to become teachers in the Newark Public Schools, and the annual National Day of Service, during which hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni go into the surrounding neighborhoods

to help with everything from clean-up projects to serving at local food banks, are a testament to that commitment. Montclair State’s excellent service to New Jersey has gained notice far beyond the Garden State. The campus has received national and regional recognition for its academic excellence, athletic achievements and community service. Montclair State is one of only 50 institutions in the country selected for value and affordability by Money magazine and was named one of America’s greenest campuses by The Princeton Review Guide to 353 Green Colleges. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Montclair State in the top tier of Northern Regional Universities and as No. 7 in 2016 on their “Top Public Schools” list for the region. Among Montclair State’s many other accolades is being named a “Top Degree Producer” by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine in its ranking of institutions that confer the most degrees to minority students, and being included in The Princeton Review’s The Best 295 Business Schools. Learn more about Montclair State University by visiting

“I had a great experience at Montclair State University. The faculty created an environment where students could bring their differences to the classroom each day, knowing that their voices would be heard.” KEISHA HUTCHINSON ’02 ACCOUNTING PARTNER, KPMG

journey at Pillar “My College has been rewarding

academically and spiritually... I’ve gained invaluable knowledge, as I increased my relationshipbuilding skills; my outlook on the business world has opened doors of opportunity which are advancing my career.

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Pastor’s Appreciation Breakfast Wednesday, October 12, 2016 7:30am-11:00am Robert Treat Hotel 50 Park Place, Newark, NJ 07102

RSVP: Pillar College | 60 Park Place, Newark, NJ 07102 | 973-803-5000

Efrem Smith Speaker

About Efrem Smith Efrem Smith is an internationally-recognized leader who uses motivational speaking and preaching to equip people for a life of transformation. He also consults on issues of multi-ethnicity, leadership, and community development for churches, educational institutions, and other organizations. Efrem is the President and CEO of World Impact, an urban mission, church-planting, and leadershipdevelopment organization. He is also an Itinerant Speaker with Forge Forward and author of the books, “Raising-up Young Heroes,” “The Hip Hop Church,” “Jump,” and” The Post-Black and Post-White Church.” Efrem is a graduate of Minneapolis North Community High School where he was a student in the Visual and Performing Arts Program. He is also a graduate of Saint John’s University and Luther Theological Seminary. Efrem served as a Regional Superintendent of the Evangelical Covenant Church prior to coming on board with World Impact. Efrem is married to Donecia and has two daughters; Jaeda and Mireya.

Darriana Howard is hoping to come back to Brooklyn to teach at Uncommon Schools after she finishes her senior year at Bucknell University next year.

Kamani Cook-Christian, who graduated from Newark’s North Star Academy Clinton Hill Middle School and North Star Academy High School in 2013, was selected to participate in Uncommon School’s Summer Teaching Fellows program.

Making Diversity Happen Uncommon Schools Program Promotes Teachers of Color BY JOSH FRANK


omething unexpected happened to Equel Easterling this summer when he started teaching at Uncommon Schools’ North Star Academy in Newark, N.J., where he attended middle school. “I began to see myself in some of the students,” he said, particularly the boys who were fooling around or not taking class seriously. “That used to be me,” he said. As a rising senior at Morehouse College now looking back at his behavior in middle school, Easterling said “it means so much more to me to know what I missed. So I don’t want them to miss what I missed.” Easterling is one of 147 rising college seniors from around the country who spent the bulk of their summer break as Uncommon Schools’ summer teaching fellows. Uncommon Schools, which runs 49 schools serving 16,000 students in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, scours the country every year for students like Easterling, who are bright, enthusiastic and committed to teaching in urban areas.

More than 400 college students have already gone through the Uncommon Schools Summer Teaching Fellows program since 2010, and this year’s group was by far the largest at 147. About 70 percent of the college students are black or Latino, reflecting Uncommon Schools’ unwavering commitment to teacher diversity. About 40 percent of Uncommon’s fulltime teachers are black or Latino — more than double the national average in U.S. public schools — and Uncommon is thoroughly committed to increasing that number even further. “It’s important for our teachers to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of our student body,” said Jacobi Clifton, one of the Summer Academy directors and a fulltime dean of students at Uncommon Schools. “Our Summer Teaching Fellows program is another way for us to recruit some of the best, brightest and most passionate teachers in America.” Lavar Young, executive director of Black Alliance for Educational Options, applauded Uncommon Schools’ efforts to ensure that teachers reflect the community in which they teach. “Uncommon Schools is clearly com-

56 The Positive Community September 2016

mitted to ensuring our students have access to teachers that look like them,” Young said. “They don’t just talk about diversity, they are actually making it happen with this successful program.” The fellows received training for several weeks in May and June before getting a taste of the teaching profession in Summer Academy in July at public college-prep charter schools in Newark, Brooklyn, Troy, Rochester and Boston. After spending the last few weeks teaching Summer Academy at Uncommon Schools’ Excellence Girls Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant, Darriana Howard is hoping to come back to Brooklyn to teach after she finishes her senior year at Bucknell University next year. “Every day I go into the classroom wanting to be better than the day before,” said Howard, who was raised by a single mom in Boston’s South End, a neighborhood much like the one taught first grade in this past summer in Brooklyn. “Students that look like me aren’t always taught to walk with their head held high. I love that we are helping them develop their confidence.”

The Unification Theological Seminary President's Message Recently I was able to attend two important forums sponsored by The Association of Theological Schools (ATS). More than 270 graduate Bridging religious schools of theology form ATS, and and cultural divides UTS is an affiliate member.


Both of those events showed me that UTS is engaged in issues that are at the forefront of theological education. Throughout the United States, churches are asking serious questions about the educational benefits of theological study for training priests, ministers and pastors. The political, social and economic forces of our times seem to demand a more “practical” orientation to problem solving. The question is “How does each theological school measure up?” UTS, like other theological schools, is now educating students for a wide variety of ministries. We see many of our graduates pursuing chaplaincy; other graduates have gone on to careers in the non-profit sector. Still others teach at elementary, middle and high school levels, and there are UTS graduates who are professors and administrators at universities, colleges and seminaries. Our alumni are represented in the counseling, health care, law, and business professions. And yes, we see many UTS graduates involved in pastoral ministries and church management. They are planting new churches or taking a ministerial role in an existing congregation. There are the external challenges which all seminaries appear to be facing, and there are the internal challenges which are unique to each institution. Both need solutions. Our task at UTS is to explore innovative ways to meet those challenges and to renew our commitment to provide our students with the knowledge and tools needed for their success. UTS operates in New York and Maryland, perhaps the most diverse places in the world. We are proud to have a footprint there. However, the demand for our training and degree programs is growing throughout North America and other countries around the world. In order to meet that challenge and opportunity, this academic year that began on August 24 UTS is expanding its programs to include more distance and

MA, MRE, MDiv, DMin & Certificate Programs






online learning; at the same time there will be a growing emphasis on “intensives” (short 2, 4 and 6 week courses).

Hugh D. Spurgin, Ph.D. President

I suspect that as it was in the time of Gideon, God does not need thousands and thousands of people to guide and model the path of truth and righteousness. He needs just a few good women…. and men. The challenge is to properly equip our students to meet their unique callings and become the lights of truth and love for others, whichever field of endeavor they enter. At UTS, we are very aware that the current climate in science, economics and politics needs the added voice of those trained in theological scholarship and ethical values. In an increasingly secular world, the guiding voice and love of God needs to be both heard and felt. The primary goal of UTS is to prepare our graduates as faith leaders who provide moral clarity with a tempering spirit for a world in need of reconciliation. This is done through graduate education in God’s Word, and in the historical, social and cultural contexts in which God has been working throughout the millennia to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. Our Heavenly Parent raises up spiritual leaders to herald in a world of love and peace. A new cohort of faith leaders is emerging from UTS who will be those champions, prepared both morally and intellectually to serve in their chosen missions and nations. Hugh D. Spurgin, Ph.D.

Unification Theological Seminary 4 West 43rd Street (& 5th Ave) New York, NY 10036 Call: Joy Theriot (718) 690-4988 Email:












Nyack’s Diversity: More than Numbers

different cultures and ethnicities over the course of a semester in a structured conversation to spur discussion that uncovered participant differences and similarities.


.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) recently released its 2017 Best Colleges lists, which ranks Nyack College among the top 10 regional universities in the North for ethnic diversity. This recognition follows the summer 2016 announcement by Best naming Nyack as one of America’s top 50 most ethnically diverse colleges. Nyack’s diversity on its New York campuses and at the extension in Puerto Rico is represented in a population of nearly 3,000 students who are 31% African American, 29% Latino, 19% White, 12% Asian, 6% International and 3% Other. Against the backdrop of a number of racially charged incidents across the nation, Dr. Gwen Parker Ames, Nyack College Associate Dean of Student Success, responded to a student inquiry on the process and need for racial and cultural reconciliation and made it a campus wide teachable moment. She launched an initiative, “The Conversation Project,” which gathered leaders of several Nyack student organizations to participate in focus groups on segregation of race and culture outside of the classroom. The students were encouraged to connect with three people of

Feedback from students laid the groundwork for addressing issues such as opportunities available at the College to educate students about its broad spectrum of cultures and ethnicities; how to successfully navigate interpersonal exchange across racial and cultural lines; the development of clubs and organizations that reflect the College’s diversity; and with more than 80 denominations represented, the unifying power of faith and race. Dr. Ames designed “The Conversation Project” to generate candid dialogue on race and culture that would have a positive impact on student learning and inclusivity. She also presented the project to educators who participated in the 2016 Diversity Conferences hosted by the Washington, D.C.-based Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) that was held at the Nyack NYC campus in September. In addition to the breakout session, “The Conversation Project: Expanding the Dialogue on Race & Cultural Reconciliation,” other topics addressed by Nyack faculty and staff included “Getting on the Same Page: Spiritual Formation in a Diverse Community;” and “Sponsorship & Networking: Critical Contributors to the Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development.”

Nyack College President Michael G. 58 The Positive Community September 2016

Scales spoke of Nyack’s commitment to diversity from the start of his administration. In his 2007 inauguration speech addressing the importance of being intentionally diverse, he said, “We are gratified to know that Nyack is a diversity leader in higher education. It is precisely when we purpose to learn from each other that excellence in education is authentic; these exchanges happen overwhelmingly outside of the classroom. Being intentionally diverse is important to us because some challenges in our world can only be met when people, who would not otherwise come together, rally around a common cause. Our challenge, our cause is for our graduates to build the kingdom of God in every neighborhood, every profession, every socio-economic strata—every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9) We cannot allow our differences to divide us. We are to be a microcosm of the world and the kingdom of Heaven. No person is more important than another. Every person is owed ultimate dignity and respect.” “The Conversation Project” and a dramatic production, “Picture Promise,” written by Dr. Ames, performed locally and in Rochester, NY for a consortium of Higher Education Opportunity Programs, are examples of how intentional diversity is being elevated beyond lists and numbers and is bringing the campus to the heart of reconciliation through face to face dialogue within its diverse population of students, faculty and staff.




Photos: Karen Waters

Pastor M. Francine Manning-Fontaine Retirement Celebration


nd we say to the Lord, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” for sending us yet another pioneer, the Reverend Dr. M. Frances Manning-Fontaine. “‘May the Work I’ve Done Speak for Me’ is what we believe the Reverend Doctor M. Frances Manning-Fontaine has earned the right to say as she commences a new journey,” wrote Andrea Oates-Parchment in the

Rev. Dr. M. Frances Manning-Fontaine, senior pastor

Rev. Calvin McKinney, general secretary, National Baptist Convention Inc., senior pastor, Calvary B.C., Garfield NJ extends greetings

Laying hands in prayer over Pastor Manning-Fontaine

Rev. Dr. M. Frances Manning-Fontaine, senior pastor; Nia Gordon; and Calvery B.C. members

60 The Positive Community September 2016

souveneir program. She became pastor on May 7, 1993, making her the longest-standing pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, New Jersey. A trailblazer from the start as the first woman to pastor a major Baptist church in Hackensack and vicinity, she ends her tenure as a trailblazer. During her time as pastor she has led the way for numerous groundbreaking ministries first conceived and executed by New Hope Baptist Church. She now moves forward to what God has in store for her and her family. —JNW

Columbia University Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Frances Negrón-Muntaner is one of the world’s leading scholars of Latino studies and a groundbreaking filmmaker. Her scholarship and artistry span a wide range of forms, such as documentary film, essay, and poetry, with a focus on the Caribbean, the African diaspora, and Latinos in the United States. NegrónMuntaner has also founded transformative programs and institutions, including the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and the Latino Arts and Activism Collection at Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which aims to preserve and make accessible materials about the Latino experience. A gifted, intuitive teacher, in 2012 Negrón-Muntaner received the Lenfest Award, one of Columbia’s most prestigious recognitions for excellence in teaching and scholarship. This fall, she will appear in front of the camera in Habla y Vota, a 12-part HBO documentary, discussing Latino contributions to the American political imagination.

Photo: Ugla Hauksdóttir

Culture M U S I C ,




Those Tasty



When I read ‘Ma Rainey’ I realized I know this person and I know these people. I was immediately familiar with the jargon and speech patterns. I wanted to do Ma Rainey because despite all that was going on, she was a woman who knew her power. This whole play is about power; Ma Rainey was smart enough to believe in herself and trust her power. — Arnetia Walker, actress


wo River Theater in Red Bank, NJ welcomes Arnetia Walker to its stage to open the 2016–17 season. She looks forward to playing the woman known as “The Mother of the Blues” in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with focus, excitement, and a sense of fun. A veteran of stage and screen, Walker distinguished herself when she played all three female lead roles in the 1987 Broadway revival of Dreamgirls. She spent three seasons playing the role of strong-willed Nurse Annie Roland in the NBC sitcom Nurses, and she has appeared in several films including Scenes from the

L–R: Peter Van Wagner (Sturdyvant), Michael Cumpsty (Irvin), Arnetia Walker (Ma Rainey) and Marcel Spears (Sylvester).

62 The Positive Community

September 2016

Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, and Love Crimes. Working the stage for Walker has a magic all its own. “I would say the best part of it is the interaction between the audience and the actors on stage,” she Arnetia Walker explains. “One of the most exciting things about the stage is that, when the curtain goes up, it is what it is; whatever happens, you have to go with it. And it’s different every night.” A native of the Washington D.C. area, Walker originally comes from Columbus, GA, the same town in which Ma Rainey was born and called home. Orphaned when she was young, she was “passed around” to different family members but got the chance to hear Doris Day sing the song “Secret Love” in the film Calamity Jane and knew what she wanted to do. “I just thought her voice was so beautiful and it touched my heart,” she remembered. “I wanted to make people feel like that.” Walker went to live with a brother in Harlem when she was 11-years-old and discovered the High School of Performing Arts. By the time she was 16 she snagged her first Broadway gig in The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window starring Hal Linden. The next major job was as a stand by for Stephanie Mills as Dorothy in the original Broadway run of The Wiz. The Play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will play the Two River Theater from September 10 to October 9. It is the third play in

August Wilson

Wilson’s The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received a Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Fences earned him a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award in 1987. He won another Pulitzer Prize in 1990, for The Piano Lesson. Each of the ten plays in The Pittsburgh Cycle is set in a different decade of the 20th century and depicts the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience. This play deals with issues of race, art, religion, and the historic exploitation of black recording artists by white producers and is the only play in the cycle not set in Wilson’s hometown of Pittsburgh. In a Chicago-based recording studio, Ma Rainey’s band gathers to record a new album of her songs. As they wait for her to arrive they banter, tell stories, joke and argue. Tempers flare to the boiling point, and tragedy ensues. Tradition Two River Theater has made a tradition of opening its season with an August Wilson play and having events related to the production. This year’s pre-season activities included an on-stage discussion of the play, which included Walker with veteran Two River performers Brandon J. Dirden, Michael Cumpsty, and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson moderated by WBGO/88.3FM News and Sports Director Doug Doyle. SantiagoHudson, who has directed memorable August Wilson plays Jitney and Two Trains Running at Two River, told the audience he was mightily impressed with Walker’s audition. “All I know is this woman walked in the room and blew me away,” he recalled. “I kept telling the casting director, ‘don’t let her get away, don’t let her get away!’” Santiago-Hudson went on to say that he considers Two River his home, having debuted his own play, Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine on its stage last year. Ma Rainey was the first August Wilson play he ever saw and for him it was a revelation. “It let me know that there was a place

in the American Theater for me, for my stories, my community and my family.” All of the play’s actors were present to meet and mingle with ticket holders at an outdoor block party in celebration of the upcoming production and season. “A Taste of the Blues” offered live blues music, dancing, and a sampling of food from local restaurants. The theater’s Community Events Coordinator Gilda Rogers says events like this are an important part of the total presentation. “This was a fantastic success,” she said of the block party. “And it’s an opportunity for ticket holders and potential Two River theater goers to see what the theater, the play, and the actors are all about on an upclose and personal level.” Familiar Faces Brandon Dirden, one of the actors who enlivened the outdoor event, is a familiar presence on the Two River Stage. Having appeared in three productions and making his directorial debut at the theater last year, this time around he plays the role of “Levee,” the young, impatient, but talented trumpet player who considers himself an artist. His ambition to write his own music and make it big with his own band causes tension with the rest of the group. “He’s a warrior; he has his sights on bigger dreams,” he said, explaining his character. “He wants to bring in a new kind of music and refuses to accept what is handed to him.” Other cast members making a return to the Two River stage for this production include Harvy Blanks, (Two Trains Running, Jitney) who has appeared in all 10 of the plays in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle; Brian D. Coats (Seven Guitars) who received a Helen Hayes Award for his work in Invisible Man; and James A. Williams (Two Trains, Jitney), another actor wellversed in the work of August Wilson having played multiple roles across the American Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center. Blueprint for Regional Theater The relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that surrounds the production, the actors, the eclectic and diverse productions, and the town itself are added dimensions to the dedicated work of the actors and the theater, making it the blueprint for regional theater. “I feel wonderfully supported here,” Walker said regarding her experience both in and out of this theater. “I like Red Bank; I like walking down the street and people actually smile and say ‘hello’ just like in the South.” For further information about Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and the upcoming Two River season, visit

September 2016 The Positive Community


64 The Positive Community September 2016


SEP 23–24, 7PM & 9:30PM


DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER: SONGS WE LOVE Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater with Vuyo Sotashe, Brianna Thomas, and Riley Mulherkar (9/23); and Theo Bleckmann, Alicia Olatuja, and Ulysses Owens, Jr. (9/24)

SEP 22–24, 8PM

HANDFUL OF KEYS: A CENTURY OF JAZZ PIANO The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and pianists Joey Alexander, Dick Hyman, Myra Melford, Dan Nimmer, Helen Sung, Isaiah J. Thompson, and Larry Willis

SEP 30–OCT 1, 7PM & 9:30PM

IBRAHIM MAALOUF Trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf with Frank Woeste, Scott Colley, Rick Margitza, and Clarence Penn

SEP 30–OCT 1, 8PM

BRAD MEHLDAU Two unique evenings featuring Brad Mehldau: with Joshua Redman (9/30) and solo (10/1)

venue frederick p. rose hall box office broadway at 60th st., ground fl. centercharge 212-721-6500 @jazzdotorg JAZZ.ORG

September 2016 The Positive Community



Celebration in Gospel Music I

n a world of confusion and chaos, good news is all around. The celebrations in the gospel music world are filled with new collaborations, reunions, births, and anniversaries. Tyscot Records, the oldest existing black gospel recording label, is celebrating their 40th anniversary with an anthology album and concert. Founder and artist of the label, Dr. Leonard Scott, along with greats like the legendary Rance Allen Group, Anthony Brown & Group therAPy, and others, are coming together to lift their voices and rejoice. The 15-track anthology will contain some of Tyscot’s greatest musical moments from artists including Vashawn Mitchell, Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Larry Trotter, Kirk Franklin with the Trinity Temple Full Gospel Mass Choir, and the new radio hit “Feel Good” by Dr. Leonard Scott. Congrats Dr. Scott & The Tyscot Family, and thank you for 40 years and counting! Speaking of congrats being in order, Anthony Brown & Group therAPy are at it again with four nominations for 47th Annual Dove Awards. It doesn’t stop there, people., These gospel music labels are on the come up at the Doves this year! Motown Gospel has a healthy eight nominations with Ms. Tasha Cobbs leading with four nominations of her own. Pastor John P. Kee is also on the list with two nominations, and the other two nominations belong to Pastor Janice Gaines and Tim Bowman. Eone trumps it, with 15 nominations: four for Jonathan McReynolds; two each for William McDowell, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, and Gospel’s version of MJ, Deitrick Haddon. James Hall & WAP, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Todd Dulaney, and Jonathan Nelson also garnered single nominations. In more news, although Grammy Award-Winning Israel Houghton just came out of a 20-year marriage, God has restored him and gifted him with a woman, whom Houghton then gifted with some carats, a diamond ring that is! Happily newly engaged, Houghton is head over heels for his bride-to-be, The Real’s Adrienne Bailon. He states, “I have seen and felt the essence of God’s grace

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through the life, the kindness, and the courage of this woman.” I believe that’s how you know she’s the one. Congratulations were also rumored to be in order for Pastor Donnie McClurkin and Gospel Singer Nicole Mullen on their engagement, but the Pastor took to Periscope to clear that up. He also emphasized that they are not engaged but plan to get married after first getting counseling, among other important steps, before jumping into a lifelong commitment. “I’ve fallen in love with Nicole and we’re talking daily and any plans that we’re making have not been officially established. I have never given her a ring. I didn’t propose to her officially and there have been no official statements made at all,” he said. “What you saw on TBN was Matt Crouch letting everybody know that I am in love and I am working toward marriage. The truth of the matter is that my plan is to get married. But as I stated on TBN, she and I both have agreed that the protocol of counseling is necessary.” However, you can congratulate him on his new album, The Journey (Live), that’s filled with 14 tracks—three powerful new songs and 11 of his re-recorded classics. This year in honor of the 10th anniversary of his syndicated Donnie McClurkin Radio Show, he will give fans a chance to be a part of his multi-city tour, “An Evening with Donnie McClurkin.” You know he’s going to have some special guests, he’ll be speaking in tongues (native & spiritual), and it’s going to be a glory-filled night of worship! Finally, I must congratulate Lisa Knowles-Smith (of the Quartet group Lisa Knowles & The Brown Singers) and husband Marcus Smith on the birth of their healthy 8-pound baby boy, Marcus Jr. We praise God for their recent 1-year anniversary and new bundle of joy! Congrats to everyone on everything! And to all I didn’t mention, congrats to you as well—cause good news travels faster, because the Gospel cannot be hidden. Keep kingdom building and growing higher and higher! Rest easy, Tunesha Crispel October 26,1972–July, 13, 2016







mon SEP


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w/ Special Guest




September 2016 The Positive Community


Positive Music Matters at Newark Family Fest Concert Series Photos: Karen Waters


ayor Ras J. Baraka; Rev. Patrick Council, director of Neighborhood and Recreational Services; and Gwen Moten, executive director of Cultural Affairs and Tourism, recently hosted an outdoor concert series throughout the city of Newark, “Family Fest: Positive Music Matters.� The five-week concert program took place at sites in all five wards to showcase young artists, entertain residents, and empower them with positive and supportive messages and social commentary. We will continue to use the inspiring power of music to send positive messages to our residents of all ages, which will promote neighborhood unity and to transform the lives of at-risk persons, most importantly our youth, who draw their messages and ideas from these musical forms. Our commitment to showcase our home-grown talent and their examples of dedication to achieving positive success will inspire our youth to do the same in their lives. I congratulate our partners on developing this initiative. Mayor Baraka said. The performances included jazz, hip hop, gospel, house music, and comedy.

Children games

68 The Positive Community September 2016

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3:50 PM

Featuring a Distinguished Panel of National and Local Activists and Scholars from that Era: • Amina Baraka

Chair, Women's Division, Committee for Unified Newark

A Two-Day Conference on the Historic Uprising that Changed Power Relations in the City of Newark, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of “Black Power”

• Courtland Cox

Board President, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Legacy Project

• Sally G. Carroll

Former President, Newark National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

• Fred Means

Former Chairman, Newark/Essex Chapter of Congress of Racial Equality

• Phil Hutchings

Former Chairman, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Member, Students for a Democratic Society

• Martha P. Noonan

Member, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

• Professor William Strickland

Former Executive Director, Northern Student Movement

• Calvin West

Rutgers University-Newark, Paul Robeson Campus Center, Essex Room. 350 Martin Luther King Blvd. FREE. Meals and refreshments provided.

Newark’s first African American councilman-at-large

Opening Remarks: •

Nancy Cantor

The Honorable Mayor Ras J. Baraka

Chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark City of Newark

Moderators: Presented by the Abbott Leadership Institute at Rutgers University-Newark, for the Newark Celebration 350. C








RSVP and for more info or call (973) 353-3520. #newark350

Sandy King

Junius Williams

Host/Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning program, "Due Process." Newark Celebration 350 Chair and Director of the Abbott Leadership Institute

HARLEM WEEK 2016: Celebrates Harlem/Havana Connection Photos: Seitu Oronde, Hubert Williams, Gerald Pert and R. Hegans

L-R: Lou Katsos, Jekmar Associates; Ray Hodge, husband of honoree; Patricia Ricketts, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce; and Charles Flateman, Shubert organization

African Drummers AfriaKumba and DJ Mitch provided great energy for the thousands who participated in the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run/Walk.

At the starting line over 7,000 runners prepare to participate in the Percy Sutton Harlem Health 5K walk/run

The famous JJ Folkloric Cuban dance company wowed the audience at the Harlem/Havana Gala Reception

Nyack College gospel choir

Havana fashion showcase at the Harlem/Havana Gala reception

70 The Positive Community September 2016

Congressman Rangel Honored on Harlem Day


reat day in Harlem, The Annual Harlem Week event, honored Congressman Charles B. Rangel for forty-six years of outstanding service to Harlem, America, and the world, with special tributes and salutes.

Congressman Charles B. Rangel and Rev. Al Sharpton

L-R: Adrian Council, publisher TPC; Alma and Congressman Charles B. Rangel; and Jean Nash Wells, editor TPC

The crowd watching

L-R: Assemblyman Keith Wright, and Journalist Herb Boyd L-R: Jeff Eaton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Alma Rangel, Inez Dickens, Congressman-Elect Adriano D. Espaillat, and Rev. Jacque DeGraff

September 2016 The Positive Community


National Voter Registration Day Tuesday, September 27, 2016.

On the next TWO Sundays, every PNBC church is urged to focus on voter registration. To check your voter registration status is as easy as 1,2,3: 1. Go to on your smartphone, laptop or tablet 2. Enter your information as requested 3. Receive updated registration info immediately. Remember, your vote is your voice! VOTE EARLY, VOTE ABSENTEE, or VOTE NOVEMBER 8!!!

72 The Positive Community September 2016

Couples Night at Greater Allen Cathedral Photos: Karen Waters


n July 25, WLIB-AM and WBLS-FM collaborated with the Tony Award-winning musical The Color Purple on Broadway for a special couples night out at Greater Allen A.M.E Cathedral of New York. Lucky on-air listeners as well as members of the Church’s Marriage Ministry attended the exciting event hosted by WLIB-AM and WBLS-FM Radio Personality Liz Black. Attendees participated in an in-depth Q&A session with Reverends Floyd and Elaine Flake, enjoyed live music sung by cast members, Carla Stewart and Angela Birchett of The Color Purple on Broadway, had opportunities to win tickets to the Broadway show, and were treated to live a preview of the Broadway musical at the event. The panel, led by Liz Black, addressed marital issues and experiences that couples encounter and proved to be an enjoyable and informative discussion. Couples selected from the audience played the newlywed game, much to the audience’s delight. It was an unusual and wonderful romantic night out for all. JNW

L-R Skip Dillard, operations manager-WBLS/ WLIB, Co-Pastors Elaine and Floyd Flake

L-R: Kevin Smallwood with Color Purple cast members Carla R. Stewart and Angela Birchett

Mr. Quiet Storm Hosts Family Day Festival


ever Mother Green Award. A variety of entertainment was featured throughout the day and included Master Sabu Karate for self-defense; Reggie Lampton Herbal Life Exercise; and singers Cocoa Sara, D. Note, and Lillo Thomas, with a special appearance by James “D-Train” Williams and Cheryl Pepsi Riley. Lem Peterkin

rooklyn’s Von King Park was the site of the 12th annual Lenny Green Family Day Festival. The annual event is sponsored by WBLS radio personality and fan favorite Lenny Green, host of the top-ranked Quiet Storm on 107.5. In a surprise presentation, mothers attending received the first

Host Lenny Green receiving the Brick Layers award from Borough President Eric Adams

L-R: Lenny Green, Lillo Thomas, Cheryl Pepsi Riley, and James “D-Train” Williams

First Lady Ty and Rev. Brandon Watts of Epiphany Church, Brooklyn

September 2016 The Positive Community


Essex County Executive Divincenzo Memorializes Rev. Ron Christian Recreation Complex Named for Beloved Pastor


ssex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. dedicated the Essex County Rev. Ronald B. Christian Recreation Complex in Essex County Weequahic Park in honor of the late Rev. Ron Christian on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Rev. Christian, who passed away on October 30, 2015, was the charismatic and dynamic pastor of Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, who treated everyone with kindness and respect. The complex named in his honor received a $4.5 million makeover with a new football/soccer field, track and field facility, two softball fields, and a two-mile, rubberized walking track. “Rev. Ron was like a force of nature. He was kind and compassionate, and welcomed everyone he met into his life,” explained DiVincenzo. “Through his church, Rev. Ron gave spirited and energetic sermons that inspired and motivated his followers. But he also was a leader in the community, assisting the less fortunate and opening his heart to anyone who needed help,” he added. “Rev. Ron was a track star when he attended Weequahic High School. And, when we held our press conference to announce this project, Rev. Ron attended and gave a blessing to the improvements. It was his last public appearance because he passed away later that 74 The Positive Community September 2016

day,” DiVincenzo pointed out. “I knew then that naming this facility in his honor was the most fitting tribute we could give to our friend.” Members of Christian’s family were excited about the project. “If you really want to honor Ron, then we encourage you to come here and use this facility. He stood for everything that was good. He was everyone’s friend, father, cousin,” said his father, Rev. William Christian. His mother, Willie Mae, recalled, “My husband and I used to bring our children and their friends to this very space every week. We would read the Sunday newspaper and watch the children run and play. Later, when Ronald was on the track team in high school, he used to leave home before sunrise and come here to train.” “I want to thank Joe DiVincenzo for putting this together and not forgetting my husband,” said Christian’s widow, Tami Christian. “Now my family has a place that will serve as a source of pride for our children. And it will be a reminder of the commitment he had to the community and impact he had on so many people.” Rev. Ron’s sister, Everette Christian, spoke, saying, “We are so happy and grateful to have this stunningly beautiful sports complex named in honor of our beloved Rev. Ron.”

An amazing array of elected officials and community leaders were present and shared stories and their support of the complex bearing his name. “Ron and I were just kids on Bergen Street and we often would talk about how amazing it was of what we were able to accomplish,” Congressman Donald Payne remembered, adding, “ I thank the County Executive for demonstrating his commitment to people who mean something to us.” “Ron taught us all what is meant to be a human being. What is happening with the transformation of this complex is extraordinary and it’s appropriate to dedicate it in Ron’s name,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said. Other speakers included: NJ State Senator and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz, Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver, RWJBarnabas Health President/CEO Barry Ostrowsky, former Governor James McGreevey, Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss, Sheriff Armando Fontoura, Prosecutor Carolyn Murray, and Freeholders Britnee Timberlake, Patricia Sebold, Rufus Johnson, Lebby Jones, and Leonard Luciano. Rev. Christian was a correctional officer at Northern State Prison in Newark, where he attained the rank of sergeant. He fell on hard times, but turned his life around and dedicated himself to helping others. He

visited rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters, preaching to those he met and using his own life experiences as examples. Rev. Christian decided to follow his father’s example and became a minister. He joined the Upper Room Missionary Baptist Church in Newark, where his father, the Rev. William E. Christian, mentored him. He later joined Clear View Baptist Church as an associate minister and was later installed as its youth pastor. When he moved to Christian Love Baptist Church in 2001, he took a floundering institution and grew the congregation from 50 members to over 6,000. The church became a community landmark, safe house, and center of inspiration with powerful worship services; ministries for bereavement, marriage and men’s issues; and programs for childcare, tutoring, computer learning, homeless prevention, and gang intervention. The choir and SBT Praise Dancers from Christian Love Baptist Church, Lyl Harper, and Essex County West Caldwell Votech Teacher Mark Beckett performed during the ceremony. Ihmir Marsette, a junior at Weequahic High School, ran a victory lap for Rev. Christian on the new track. Visit our for more on this story.

September 2016 The Positive Community



Slave Trade, Chattel Slavery, and Seeking Christ “Whoever kidnaps a person, whether that person has been sold or is still held in possession, shall be put to death.” — Exodus 21:16


he preceding quote is one of the many laws that God, after communicating the Ten Commandments, instructed Moses to set before the ancient Hebrews. Centuries later, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ stated: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 (NRSV) Heaven and earth had not yet passed away during the 15th to 19th centuries A.D, when millions of unwilling victims were captured in Africa and transported to the Americas and Caribbean to be sold as chattel slaves. The perpetrators who captured and/or sold those Africans were not typically punished for those acts. So the transatlantic slave trade was a massive, international violation of God’s law. On Sunday, August 21, 2016, 60 Minutes aired a segment about attempts to retrieve remnants of a slave ship situated near the Mozambique coast of Africa. An apparently knowledgeable present day African stated that during the transatlantic slave trade, Africans brought other Africans to the Mozambique coast and sold them to Portuguese slave traders. So, some Africans were victims and some Africans were perpetrators. The process was similar along other parts of the African coast, although the nationalities of the slave traders varied. The Portuguese were generally most active along the coasts that are now part of present day African countries of Mozambique and Angola. Along other African coasts, British, French, Spanish, Arabs, and others were more active as slave traders at various points in history. After purchasing the Africans presented for sale, European slave traders typically packed them beneath ships’ decks, then shipped this human cargo across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean, North America, or South America. Although many Africans died during this “middle

76 The Positive Community

September 2016

passage,” the white slave traders typically resold the survivors at a high enough price to both cover the losses, and generate a sizeable profit. The purchasers were typically Europeans or persons of European descent who, from the late 1400s through the 1800s, gained increasingly expanding control of the “New World.” “Chattel slavery” means treating slaves as things rather than as people. My analysis is that God essentially outlaws chattel slavery as it was practiced in the Americas and the Caribbean. Slaves should be treated as people, not as things. For example, Christ’s command to “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31; NRSB) makes no exception for an “other” who is a slave. During the Great Awakening, mass numbers of people in America and Europe, black and white, free and enslaved, came to Christ and/or enhanced their study of and commitment to Christ. In the process, they realized that chattel slavery is not God’s will. As a result, the Great Awakening of the 1700s and 1800s was the catalyst through which chattel enslavement of blacks in the Americas and the Caribbean eventually ended. On the downside, toward the end of the 1800s, the bases Europeans had established on the African Coast to facilitate their slave trading activities became the bases from which they colonized all of Africa except Ethiopia and Liberia by the early 1900s. But most of that colonization lasted less than a century, compared to the more than three centuries that the transatlantic slave trade lasted. Now and in the future, we, as Christians, should focus primarily on doing God’s will, and secondarily, if at all, on personal enrichment. Jesus Christ said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24 (NASB).

(During September and early Autumn, the MAAFA Museum, hosted by St. Paul Community Baptist Church, is a possible source to enhance one’s knowledge of the transatlantic slave trade and chattel slavery. Call 718.257.1300, ext. 174, to book a tour.)

Photos: Bruce Moore

Charity Baptist Church 27th Annual Reach-out Block Party


amily, friends, congregation, and community gathered in the Bronx for Charity Baptist Church’s 27th annual block party.

First Lady Sandra Williams is on the left in the yellow shirt. Pastor Reginald Williams is seated in the front row with the children.


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Call: (973) 233-9200 September 2016 The Positive Community 77 9/14/16 7:33 PM


The Last Word BY R.L. WITTER

Vol. 16, No.7

AN IMPORTANT LESSON Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.


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

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

Contributing Writers Mwandikaji K. Mwanafunzi g.r. mattox Patricia Baldwin Rev. Theresa Nance Glenda Cadogan Helene Fox Rev. Dr. Joanne Noel Photographers Bob Gore Wali A. Muhammad Seitu Oronde Rev. Dr. William L. Watkins, Jr. Darryl Hall Vincent Bryant Hubert Williams Brian Branch Price Karen Waters Art Direction & Layout Penguin Design Group Peter Gillo The Positive Community Corp. 133 Glenridge Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042 973-233-9200 Fax: 973-233-9201 Email: Website: All contents © The Positve Community Corporation. All Rights Reserved. This publication, in whole or in part, may not be reproduced, stored in a computerized or other retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means whatsoever without the prior written permission of The Positive Community Corporation. Any opinions expressed herein are solely the opinions of the writer(s) and not necessarily those of The Positive CommunityTM, its management or staff. The Positive CommunityTM reserves the right to retain all materials and does not assume reponsibility for unsolicited materials.

78 The Positive Community

September 2016

s much as I hated to see the summer go, I’m thrilled that school is back in session. I love seeing the first day of school photos with all of my nieces and nephews looking bright-eyed, ready for a new academic year. I see they have fresh haircuts, new clothes, and state-of-theart backpacks that roll, have built-in speakers, and might even transform into hoverboards. I can predict that the clothes will be stained and the backpacks lost by the first week of October. However, what I can neither see nor predict is the moment when one of these bright, beautiful, brown kids will become painfully aware of a measure of privilege they don’t have. It might be on the first day when a teacher gives up on pronouncing a name and decides to call one of them by a nickname “to make things easier.” It might happen later when the teacher has had enough of my niece questioning why the history book doesn’t mention Nat Turner, or the science book omits Henrietta Lacks. I’m not sure whether it is fortunate or unfortunate that one nephew in fourth grade has already had one of those moments. His mother posted on Facebook, “My son's teacher told the class that it was disgraceful that [football] players were refusing to stand. My son and another little boy informed her that our family supported these peaceful protests. Proud mommy moment!!” But it didn’t end there. “She held firm to her belief. Then my son told her that the only people who were required to stand during the national anthem were those in the military . . . Yes. That's my boy!” My heart swelled with pride. He had learned a valuable lesson while our family shouted at the television, spilled potato chips, and rooted for favorite teams—one of those organic moments when parents might not

realize that their kids are listening and forming ideas and opinions about the world around them. It reminded me of a conversation I recently had regarding Colin Kaepernick’s protesting by kneeling rather than standing during the national anthem. The other person insisted it was disgusting and disrespectful to our military personnel and especially our veterans. No matter what I said, no matter what court rulings I cited, he wouldn’t budge. He ranted about honor, freedom, service to our country, and the necessity of saluting the American flag and proudly standing for and singing the national anthem with hand over heart. And then it happened. My husband asked a simple question, “When did you serve and in what branch?” The other person stammered, “I didn’t— but that’s not the point!” “But it is,” my husband responded as he opened his wallet to show his status as a veteran on his driver’s license. “I served. I fought for your rights, as well as every other American’s. And you know what?” he said. “I commend these athletes for doing what they see fit to do to bring attention to the plight of black people in America. I support them. You don’t mandate patriotism; it is earned. And maybe, to people of color, promises haven’t been kept and our patriotism has not been earned yet.” As I think about my husband’s words and my nephew’s brave stance in his classroom, I am reminded that no public or parochial school education taught them these things. They learned them from their parents, relatives, and other role models who may or may not have known in those moments that school was in session. Well, it most definitely is. So let’s make sure we’re teaching our children the things school will not.

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5/9/16 5:20 PM

DREAMS DO COME TRUE Orubba Almansouri


City College of New York Salutatorian 2016 B.A., English and History

HER STORY Almansouri, in a graduation speech that moved Michelle Obama to invite her to a White House summit on women, told how she broke barriers that kept traditional Yemeni girls out of school.

AWARDS Winner, Mellon Mays Fellowship Winner, Colin Powell Fellowship

GOAL Master’s in Near Eastern Studies, then a Ph.D.



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