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Winter 2016


Bronze Statue Unveiled in Newark

Reflections of Dr. King Celebrating Our 16th Commemorative Issue



Where do you want your child to go? Find out why more Newark parents are choosing KIPP New Jersey— formerly TEAM Schools—for their children. More time learning Our school days are Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM and on some Saturdays, with the school year running from August through June. Free bus service We provide busing to all students in grades Kindergarten through 4th grade, with bus stops conveniently located throughout the city of Newark. Technology Classrooms incorporate the latest technology in innovative ways to personalize the instruction for students. Targeted learning equals better results. To college 92% of our high school graduates have matriculated to college. And, in 2014 our high school sent more African-American students to college than any other school in Newark.

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The Positive Community Winter 2016



Verizon Salutes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.�

Visit Verizon New Jersey on the web at:

Winter 2016


Features Mobility Is the Thing!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Leecia Eve Delivers Verizon Address . . . . . . . . . . 14 WHGA Awarded Nonprofit of the Year . . . . . . . . . 17 Newark Receives Funding for Storefront Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Carver Bank Donates to Schomburg Center . . . 21 NYC Mayor & First Lady Take on Mental Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


The Color Purple Revived on Broadway. . . . . . . . 28 Brooklyn Anticipates Cultural Museum . . . . . . . . 29


Retirement Banquet Held for Rev. Howard. . . . . 34

HEALTH ................................................24

Newark Interfaith Conference. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

CULTURE ..............................................28 EDUCATION ..........................................46


also inside

Publisher’s Desk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 My View. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

All Stars Celebrate Bridgeport Youth . . . . . . . . . . 37 Youngblood Brings MAAFA to Mt. Pisgah . . . . . . 38 CBC Englewood Celebrates Christmas for Kids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Greater Abyssinian Christmas Dinner . . . . . . . . . 44 Columbia University Community Breakfast . . . . 46

Wealth Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Eagle Academy Receives Chad Foundation Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Fitness Doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Elevation Celebration: Rev. Daryl Bloodsaw . . . . 50

Gospel Train. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Omega Psi Phi Achievement Week . . . . . . . . . . . 52

The Way Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

New Initiative at Rutgers Newark . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 FBSO Celebrates with CeCe Winans!. . . . . . . . . . 56

The Last Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

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Photo Credit: Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY

The 36th Annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series

LONG TIME HERE: P r i s o n s a n d Po l i c i n g i n African-American History S a t u r d a y , F e b r u a r y 2 0 , 2 016 MARION THOMPSON WRIGHT SPEAKERS: Ruth Wilson Gilmore - Marion Thompson Wright Lecturer

The Marion Thompson Wright Lecture is made possible by funds and support from Prudential, New Jersey Historical Commission, Department of State, New Jersey Council for the Humanities, Newark Museum, and the Rutgers Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes.

City University of New York, The Graduate Center New Jersey CouNCil For The humaNiTies

Heather Ann Thompson - The University of Michigan Khalil Gibran Muhammad - Schomburg Center for Research

Presented by the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience; the Federated Department of History, Rutgers University-Newark/New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the Department of African American and African Studies.

in Black Culture

POLICE REFORM IN NEWARK: A PANEL DISCUSSION: Mayor Ras Baraka Lawrence Hamm Deborah Jacobs

Junius Williams Marcia Brown, moderator

The Paul Robeson Campus Center Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102


The Positive Community Winter 2016

PHOTO: Jacob Lawrence, (1917-2000) © ARS, NY. Another of the social causes of the migrants’ leaving was that at times they did not feel safe, or it was not the best thing to be found on the streets late at night. They were arrested on the slightest provocation. 1940-41. Panel 22 from The Migration Series. Tempera on gesso on composition board, 12 x 18” (30.5 x 45.7cm). Gift of Mrs. David M. Levy. Credit: © 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

For more information, visit or call 973-353-3891




Ad space donated by The Positive Community Design: Diane Cuddy Design, LLC, Bloomfield, NJ / Printing: Hanover Printing of NJ, Inc.







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


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

Ebenezer B.C., Englewood, NJ Rev. Jovan Troy Davis, M.Div.

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

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

Abyssinian B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evening Star B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Washington Lundy, Pastor

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

St. Paul Baptist, Red Bank, NJ Rev. Alexander Brown, Pastor

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

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

St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ Rev. Dr. Lanel D. Guyton, Pastor

Aenon Baptist Church, Vauxhall NJ Rev Alphonso Williams, Sr Pastor Agape Christian Ministries Worship Ctr. Rev. Craig R. Jackson. Pastor Antioch Baptist Church., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Robert M. Waterman, Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black Ministers Council of NJ Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Exec. Director

Friendship Baptist Church, Harlem, NY Rev. James A. Kilgore, Pastor

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

General Baptist Convention, NJ Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, President

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canaan B.C., Paterson, NJ Rev. Dr. Gadson L. Graham

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

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

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

Greater Faith Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA Rev. Larry L. Marcus

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

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

Greater New Hope Missionary B.C., NYC Rev. Joan J. Brightharp, Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lagree Baptist Church, New York, NY Rev. Wayland Williams, Jr., Pastor

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

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

Mt. Pisgah B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Pastor Mount Olive Baptist Church, Hackensack, NJ Rev. Gregory J. Jackson, Pastor Mount Zion Baptist Church, Westwood, NJ Rev. Barry R. Miller, Pastor Mt. Olivet B.C, Newark, NJ Rev. André W. Milteer, Pastor Mt. Zion AME Church, Trenton, NJ Rev. J. Stanley Justice, Pastor New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ Rev. Dr. Ronald L. Owens, Pastor

Pilgrim B. C., Newark, NJ Rev. Dr. Glenn Wilson, Pastor Ruth Fellowship Ministries, Plainfield, NJ Rev. Tracey Brown, Pastor Shiloh AME Zion Church, Englewood, NJ Rev. John D. Givens, Pastor Shiloh B.C., Plainfield, NJ Rev. Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Pastor Shiloh B.C., Trenton, NJ Rev. Darell Armstrong, Pastor St. Albans, NY COGIC Rev. Dr. Ben Monroe St. Anthony Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Dr. Duane E. Cooper St. John Baptist Church Camden, NJ Rev. Dr. Silas M. Townsend, Pastor

St. Paul Community B.C., Brooklyn, NY Rev. David K. Brawley, Pastor The New Hope B.C., Newark, NJ Rev. Joe Carter, Senior Pastor Union Baptist Temple,, Bridgeton, NJ Rev. Albert L. Morgan, Pastor Walker Memorial B.C. Bronx, NY Rev. Dr. J. Albert Bush Sr., Pastor World Gospel Music Assoc., Newark, NJ Dr. Albert Lewis, Founder

Businesses & Organizations 125th St. BID African American Heritage Parade American Diabetes Association American Heart Association, Northern, NJ Brown Executive Realty LLC, Morristown, NJ City National Bank Essex County College, NJ Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Marion P. Thomas Charter School Medgar Evers College Mildred Crump, Newark City Council Muslim American Chamber of Commerce NAACP New Jersey* NAACP, NY State Conference* New Brunswick Theological Seminary New Jersey Performing Arts Center New York Theological Seminary New York Urban League Newark School of Theology Nubian Conservatory of Music Razac Products Co., Newark, NJ Schomburg Center The College of New Rochelle United Way of Essex and West Hudson WBGO-88.3FM West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. WKMB-1070AM


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



Pho otos

2016 Comm Calendemorative ar

by R Raassisi

Daisis an

d Bob

G Gore

The Positive Community’s

GREAT COUNTDOWN TO FREEDOM—2016 Faith, Freedom and Cultural Revival—Positive Music Matters! his year, 2016, begins a new chapter of challenge, change and opportunity in our freedom journey. We are now in the final year of President Barack Obama’s 2nd term in the nation’s highest office. Imagine what life must have been like one hundred and fifty years ago. In 1866, Reconstruction came to the South in the wake of the Civil War (to end slavery 1861–1865); a war that cost almost 700,000 American lives. These were also the early days of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). From those troubling times to the present, we are blessed with an enormous opportunity to measure, analyze and define our American story, our collective claim on the American Dream—to proclaim for ourselves a new language of freedom! The fate and destiny of the people—God’s people—is ultimately in the hands of the people! Only through rediscovery and revival of the African American group personality— our music, art and culture; positive values and traditions— can we save our own community and salvage a future for the children, inspiring a great American Renaissance! . . . And, yes, Positive Music Matters! Below is a cultural narrative that every child should learn. Our story—our history—a brief presentation of our deep collective experience that dates back to before this nation’s founding.


THE CULTURAL NARRATIVE: African Americans are a unique people with a peculiar history in this land. Brought to these shores in chains, from Africa in the early 1600’s, our people toiled and suffered as captives in brutal bondage for a quarter of a millennium (250 years). On January 1st 1863, two years into the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln became law, signaling an end to slavery. On that day, the African American community of the United States of America was born. One hundred years later, in August, 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial, as he led hundreds of thousands to a “ March on Washington” seeking an end to discrimination and 90 years of Jim Crow segregation in the South. It was a demand for full and equal citizenship rights for the people in what has been called “The Second Emancipation’ Forty years after Martin Luther King’s tragic assassination in 1968, America elects its first black president, Barrack Obama (2008). In the 100 years between the first and “second emancipation”, in the mist of bitter persecution, humiliation, lynching and enduring the denial of basic human rights, the resiliency of the African American spirit continued to shine ever so brightly in religion, business, education, medicine, invention, sports and in the creative arts—music, fashion, dance, language, literature and theater. Indeed, original American art forms and a popular culture which has become the envy of the world were founded upon the souls of a forlorn people! That is our story—the Truth, Beauty and Goodness of a loving and gifted race—revealed! An Extraordinary History Ours is an extraordinary history of trial, tribulation and triumph that we must never forget! This is the story that we must tell our children and be ever remembered for all generations. We the people, descendants of The Great Emancipation, must tell our story and sing our songs to each other and the entire world! We must remind ourselves, over and over again of the noble struggle, scarifies and wisdom of our torch-bearing forefathers; of our goodly heritage; our divine inheritance; our great music legacy—Positive Music Matters! This is our story, our cultural narrative, a new language of freedom—a springboard towards a great and prosperous future; a spiritually enlightened ideal. A vision of hope and progress; liberty and happiness; health and wholeness; peace and goodwill! The struggle continues, but victory is certain . . . To God be the Glory, forever and ever . . . Amen!

In Spirit and in Truth: Positive Music Matters® 8 The 40 ThePositive PositiveCommunity CommunityWinter Winter2016 2016

Q: A:

What’s the #1 Reason every family should own The Positive Community’s (Positive Music Matters) 2016 Commemorative Calendar?

The Cultural Narrative


ince 2012, The Cultural Narrative has been featured in the pages of The Positive Community magazine and on the back cover of all four commemorative calendars in observance of the 150th anniversary season of the Great Emancipation (2013—2016). The message rings clear and speaks to the soul of the people; the dignity of our humanity.

The calendar is a beautiful cultural document. The artwork, photography, words of comfort, inspiration and hope tells our story. It’s about the future: potentials, possibilities and promise—a positive community ideal. Through God’s grace and mercy and a collective will to move forward, the undeniable truth in this message will endure for many years to come! We especially thank the many churches in New York and New Jersey that have already established a tradition of having a young person read this historical narrative before the congregation at Watch Night Services! Order your calendar today! Share it with a friend or neighbor and teach The Cultural Narrative to a child. Order yours today! The calendar makes a great Black History Month gift. Order two, one for reflection and conversation; the other as decorative art for your wall.

Only $19.99; two for $29.99 Ask about special bulk/group rates. Send check or money order to: 2016 Commemorative Calendar c/o The Positive Community 133 Glenridge Ave. Montclair NJ

Call Today: 973-233-9200

Winter 2016 Positive Community Winter 2016 TheThe Positive Community 419


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.


Keeping the Light Burning Brightly

Rev. Arnold Kuykendall and co-pastor Kathy Kuykendall of Agape Christian Ministries Inc., Paterson, NJ


hristmas came early for the Agape Christian Ministries, Inc. church family on Ward Street in the City of Paterson. Under the tutelage of the Rev. Arnold Kuykendall and co-pastor Kathy Kuykendall, the church burned its $450,000 mortgage recently with all the pomp and pageantry that goes with such a celebratory event. March, 1987 marked the inception of the non-denominational ministry, and the church and its leaders have been a beacon of light since moving to the edifice that formerly housed a Presbyterian congregation. The church was packed for the symbolic burning and the service animated. Rev. Kuykendall mounted the pulpit and recalled the journey he, his wife, and congregants took moving from holding service in the basement of a friend, or various and sundry storefronts before finally obtaining permanent housing on Ward Street.

10 The Positive Community

Winter 2016

Wells Fargo sent a representative, a number of clerics attended, and the congregants themselves were bursting with pride because of what they had accomplished while giving God the credit at the same time. The celebrant that day was the Rev. Dr. Albert Prince Rowe, pastor-emeritus of the Calvary Baptist Church, also in Paterson, who posed a question for those in attendance: “Does Your Church Make a Difference?” Kuykendall jokingly said that Rev. Rowe had invited himself to preach at this event after Kuykendall rushed into a Pastors Workshop meeting years ago, excitedly talking about the church they had just rented. Rowe, Kuykendall recalled, spoke up saying, “When you buy it, then come back and talk to me.” So, one assumes that is exactly what the celebrating pastor did and he preached a powerful sermon reminding the body of Christ that a church has to make a difference in the place where it has been planted. Now that the mortgage is paid, Kuykendall said they are in the process of renovating and modifying the building, which has a number of classrooms and a large fellowship hall. This writer recalls when the church was housed in an area storefront. The members had painstakingly taken the time to make the site lovely, only to be told by the landlord after the modifications had been done that they had to move. . Kuykendall comes out of the Church of God In Christ and sat at the feet of the late Rev. Dr. Allene Gilmore, pastor of the Gilmore Memorial Tabernacle Church, Paterson. Since they've been worshiping at Agape, the pastor noted that his wife, Kathy, was able to secure a $600,000 loan, which is to be used to house a women's and children's shelter. The project is yet in the planning stages. The journey for the Kuykendalls and their church family has been fraught with many ups, downs, disappointments, betrayals, and rejections. However, like the character in Langston Hughes' classic poem, Life for Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair, they keep climbin' and climbin'. And now, one hopes, they've made it safely through.




entertain educate

what’s new





2015 Holiday Shopping Statistics



ometime in the near future, 2015 may go down as the year that Black Friday changed forever. And not just because of efforts like #OptOutside from outdoor retailer REI, which announced that it would close all of its stores on the busiest shopping day of the year so that employees and customers could instead spend the day outside. In addition, 2015 marked the first year that more online Black Friday shopping traffic came from mobile devices than from desktops: 57.2% according to IBM’s annual Black Friday benchmark report, compared to 49.6% in 2014. Customers using mobile devices accounted for 36.2% of all Black Friday online sales, up from 27.9% in 2014. On Cyber Monday, when many more shoppers were back at work, mobile devices still accounted for 47.9% of all online traffic, with mobile sales clocking in at 27.6%. But what do these numbers mean for the average small to medium-sized business and its employees? An April 2015 Pew Research Internet Project study found that 64% of North American adults own a smartphone, up from 59% just a few months earlier. Even more interesting is that 10% of North Americans rely on their smartphone for all Internet access — meaning they don’t have any other options for getting online. Meanwhile, 88% of surveyed smartphone users accessed email on their phone at least once a week, making it more popular than social media, video, and maps apps. As the way we use our phones changes, so does the way that businesses address mobility issues. CompTIA’s 2014 Trends in Enterprise Mobility study discovered that 70% of companies surveyed had invested some resources in mobility solutions, 76% of those organizations handed out smartphones, and 61% handed out tablets. Such saturation makes smart management of mobile devices a necessary part of any


The Positive Community Winter 2016

“Customers using mobile devices accounted for 36.2% of all Black Friday online sales, up from 27.9% in 2014.” company’s IT strategy, especially as employees demand access to all of their data right now. Of course, balancing mobility management and security isn’t easy — especially with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) still popular (55% of companies employ this approach, according to CompTIA). Only 30% of those companies had any kind of formal mobility use policy in place, though — and barely 8% could report significant workflow changes as a result of mobile device use. At CMIT Solutions, we specialize in understanding new mobility advances so that we can put them into action for your company. Whether it’s a Dropbox-like solution that allows for 24/7 file access, managed email services that keep your employees safe, secure, and connected, or Mobile Device Acceptable Use Policies that set a high standard in regards to data security settings, usage boundaries, and privacy requirements we can help. We’ve even begun shifting our focus so that we cover all of the devices used by a business’ employees, not just the computers in an office. Mobility is far more than just a flashy trend. If you want to avoid the inherent difficulties of mobile device use while deploying its cost benefits and productivity enhancements to your advantage, contact us today. We’re here to understand your needs and help keep your business technology running smoothly.


The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership Helps Small Businesses Get to the Next Level If you are ready to grow your business, we are here to help.

For nearly 15 years, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL), a not-for-profit organization, has worked with “every day� entrepreneurs to help them access the knowledge, networks and capital required for entrepreneurial success. We have a special outreach effort targeting women and minority business owners. The IFEL staff is supported by a team of volunteers and partnering resource providers, all of whom are dedicated to fulfillment of the IFEL mission. If you are a highly motivated entrepreneur interested in taking your business to the next level, we invite you to apply for membership with the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. We look for entrepreneurs who have what it takes to get to the next level and who are willing to do the hard work necessary to make their dreams a reality. If you are ready for success, we are here to support you. Learn more at

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Winter 2016 The Positive Community


Leecia Eve

L-R: John Carno, VP Centenary College; Dr. Anne Prisco, president of Felician University; Leecia Eve, VP, State Government Affairs, Verizon; Ruthi Byrne, former first lady of NJ and wife of Governor Brendan Byrne; and Samuel Delgado, VP External Affairs, Verizon-NJ

Leecia Eve Delivers Verizon State of the Company Address

Leecia Eve, Verizon Vice President, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut


Photos: Vincent Bryant

n November 16, 2015, Felician University in Rutherford, New Jersey was host to the Verizon State of the Company address, presented by Leecia Eve, vice president of State Government Affairs. This forum was tailored for business leaders, local officials, educators, and even students, to present some

L-R: Leecia Eve and Leah Dade, Executive Director of the Paterson Alliance, Paterson, NJ

L-R: Student, Obaba Boulad and Mark Bocchieri, director, External Affairs, Verizon NJ North


The Positive Community Winter 2016

of the past, present and future changes in the wireline and wireless telecommunications market. It exemplified how Verizon invests in its people, technology and most advanced networks to prepare for the “internet of things,” “smart technologies,” and other advancements in technology.

Moneywise 2015 Empowerment Tour


oneywise TV host Kelvin Boston brought his 2015 National Empowerment Tour to Newark’s Symphony Hall on November 21.The theme – Your Success Matters! – highlighted economic justice and the goal was to connect attendees with financial recovery tools needed to achieve personal, financial, and business success.

Photos: Karen Waters

L-R: Alfred Bundy, host of Meet the Leaders; Pastor Michael Carr, Symphony Hall Ministerial Alliance and Kelvin Boston

Kelvin Boston, host of TV series Moneywise at the podium and L-R: “Making Business Success Happen” panel: Willie Blalock III, director of Business Banking, City National Bank; Steven M. Gomez, executive director of Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation, and Luis Dela Hoz, VP of Lending Team, Intersect Fund.

“The Great Recession decimated the wealth of many Americans, but it disproportionately reduced the wealth in minorities’ households. Now we must help those who lost so much to regain their economic success,” said Boston. The experts providing valuable information at the conference were Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple AME Church; Gospel Artist Brian Courtney Wilson; CablevisionTV Host Alfred Bundy; Authors Dr. Dennis Kimbro,Think and Grow Rich; and Fitness Expert Robert Fergusen, Diet Free for Life, Lynnette Khalfani, Zero Debt, The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom; and Connie Evans, CEO, Assoc. for Enterprise Development. —JNW

African American Chamber of Commerce Corporate Awards Dinner


Reverend, Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr

he African American Chamber of Commerce held their annual Corporate Awards on October 21, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, NJ. Keynote speaker The Reverend Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) in Somerset, New Jersey since November 1990. His pastoral ministry focuses on spiritual growth, educational excellence, economic empowerment, and faithbased community development. From 1999 to 2002, Dr. Soaries served as New Jersey’s Secretary of State, the first African American to serve in that position. Corporations honored at the event were: • United Airlines • FedCap • JCPL • W.R. Burnett & Sons • Thomas Hospitality L-R: Michael Taylor, VP Operations Thompson Hospitality; Blenda Riddick, director Corporate and Government Affairs, United Airlines; John E. Harmon, Jr., founder/CEO AACCNJ and Hosea Johnson, AACCNJ Chairman


The Positive Community Winter 2016

West Harlem Group Assistance NONPROFIT OF THE YEAR


he New York Housing Conference & National Housing Conference celebrated their 42nd Annual Award Luncheon at the Hilton New York. It was a superb success with over 1,100 attendees and exceptional fundraising results. The theme of the awards luncheon was “Uplifting Communities: Reimagine, Revitalize, Renew” as it celebrated the achievements of affordable housing preservation and development initiatives that work to make a difference in communities throughout New York. Honorees of the awards program were more than deserving for the work they do to uplift the affordable housing community. The accolades presented at this year’s awards were “Private Developer of the Year” to Artimus; “Public Service Award” to Richard Froehlich from New York City Housing Development

Corporation; “Clara Fox Award for Outstanding Achievement” to Carl Weisbrod, director of the New York City Department of City Planning; and last but not least “Nonprofit of the Year Award” to West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA) and Community League of The Heights (CLOTH). West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA), a community based development corporation led by Executive Director Donald Notice, has been uplifting the West and Central Harlem communities for more than 44 years and was more than humbled to have received the award.WHGA has developed 1,690 housing units for low-to-moderate income families while acquiring $300 million dollars in construction finance and equity. Their Multi-Service Center, Oberia Dempsey, is Harlem’s hub for 25 innovative social service programs serving over 80,000 New York City residents with compre-

Donald Notice

hensive services each month. WHGA opened a Healthy Food Hub and Pantry in October 2014 and has since served 6,062 residents. The Hub provides access to farmers’ market subsidies, nutrition classes, and cooking demonstrations. It is also a Harlem pick up location for Corbin Hill Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) food products. The WHGA philosophy, “Continuing the Journey,” embodies an honest commitment to continue to make West Harlem a strong neighborhood. The organization is committed to ensuring a safe, decent and affordable neighborhood for all its residents, including low- and moderate-income community stakeholders.

Winter 2016 The Positive Community


City of Newark and Newark CEDC Receive $75,000 US Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo Provide Funding for Community Storefront Program


Otis Rolley, CEO of Newark CEDC

“We also see the need to offer participants mentorship to ensure long-term success, so we will connect local businesses with professional, field-specific mentors and help support the existing business community associations,” said Otis Rolley, CEO of Newark CEDC. Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (Newark CEDC) is the primary economic development catalyst for Newark —New Jersey’s largest city. It is organized to retain, attract and grow businesses, enhance business capacity, and spur

real estate development throughout the city’s 20 diverse neighborhoods. As a business development company which has as its sole client the City of Newark, Newark CEDC collaborates with the Newark Department of Economic & Housing Development to initiate and execute economic development activities that produce and sustain economic growth, generate jobs, and create wealth for the citizens of Newark. Photos: Newark Press Office

t a press conference on December 9, 2015 in the Rotunda at City Hall, the City of Newark and the Newark Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) received a $75,000 grant from the US Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo. The grant is being used to develop the Community Storefront Program and its retail incubator located at 790 Clinton Avenue. Plans include housing 5-10 entrepreneurs on a shared, revolving basis, providing the participants with the skills to run a business, as well as a physical venue in which to launch it. The rotating schedule allows each program participant a number of times to pilot their business idea and sell their goods and services. Additionally, a marketing campaign will solicit businesses for the project. The rotation ensures that participants are able to troubleshoot problems in their storefront appearances, maximize the market potential of their business, and limit their risk. Newark CEDC provides technical assistance to businesses seeking expansion to ensure a smooth transition into their new locations.

Mayor Ras Baraka Mary Mafinsky SVP Business Banking Manager Wells Fargo


The Positive Community Winter 2016

How We Can Help Your Business Grow Newark CEDC is Newark’s economic development corporation Enhance small to midsize Newark business capacity Technical Assistance and Support for Women and Minority Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. Assistance with site selection and business expansion Loan Programs and Tax Incentive Programs Available


Newark Department of Economic & Housing Development

For more information: E: T: 973-273-1040 F: 973-273-1070

@NewarkCEDC #NewarkOpenForBusiness Winter 2016 The Positive Community



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

Wealth and the Good Samaritan


ecently, there have been an alarming number of terrorist attacks and random acts of violence plaguing our communities. These attacks have claimed the lives of many innocent people around the world. Most of the victims were not involved directly in any personal dispute. They were caught up in the depraved madness of a few very sick individuals bent on inflicting as much physical pain, anguish, and destruction as possible. Their entire purpose appears to be to wreak havoc on everyone who does not support their philosophical or political ideologies. So the question that must be asked is who exactly are our neighbors? In Luke 10:25-37, we see Jesus responding to a question put to Him by an expert of the law, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded by asking him, “What does the law say?” The expert said, “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” Then the expert in an attempt to justify his actions asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus then shares a parable about a lone traveler who was attacked, robbed and beaten by a group of bandits. The traveler was left helpless on the ground. A priest and a Levite came by and saw the man lying on the ground badly wounded, but both of them passed by without so much as lifting a finger to help him. Later, a Samaritan came by and saw the man lying on the ground. He had compassion for him and bandaged his wounds, placed him on his own donkey and escorted him to a nearby inn. The Samaritan went even further by paying the food and lodging expenses for the wounded man and instructed the innkeeper to put whatever other expenses the man should incur on his bill. The Samaritan was able to help a complete stranger because it was just the right thing to do. My brothers and sisters, spiritual wealth building can take many different forms. In this example, the Samaritan, although despised and looked down upon by the Jews, demonstrated his love for God though this selfless action. He did this by going out of his way to take care of the needs of a complete stranger. He showed

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more humanity than either the priest or the Levite. The Samaritan was not looking for any accolades; he was just being obedient to God’s Holy word. Hebrews 13:2 states, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Let us never get weary of doing a good deed and lending a helping hand to provide assistance to those in need. As we wrap up this holiday season, let us keep in mind that in God’s kingdom everyone is equally important. If we remember and embrace this one principle as the Good Samaritan did, we can truly make the world a better place for everyone. Remember, the night that our Lord Jesus was born the angels made an announcement to the shepherds in the field saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to and good will to all men,” Luke 2:14. We are all our brothers’ keeper. We must all learn to live together peacefully regardless of our differences. It does not matter of your age, sex, race, religion, educational background, or economic status. After all we are all God’s children and should strive to live together in peace, love and harmony.

CARVER Donates $50,000 to Schomberg Center

L-R: Richard T. Greene, Jr.; Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Schomburg Center; Michael T. Pugh; and Takisia Whites from Carver Bank.


arver Federal Savings Bank is a long-standing supporter of arts and culture in the community and has a long history of working with local cultural institutions. On November 19, 2015, Carver made a $50,000 donation to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black History in honor of the late Richard T. Green, Sr. Greene, the bank’s longest serving chief executive, had an illustrious career at Carver for more than 35 years and founded the Carver Scholarship Fund in 1983. Carver’sPresident and CEO Michael T. Pugh presented the check during the Schomburg Center’s annual Fall Open House, where audiences and patrons access and engage with its collections, exhibitions, and programmatic offerings in an evening of talks, performances, films, and art. “We are pleased to join our partners in financing activities that will preserve and enhance the Schomburg Center for future generations of scholars and researchers,” he said. The Schomburg Center, a research unit of The New York Public Library system, is recognized as a leading national research library devoted to collecting, preserving, and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of people of African descent throughout the world. Carver’s gift will be designated for the Schomburg’s Junior Scholars Endowment to support enrichment activities for young students, including a Richard T. Greene, Sr. Leadership Talk. The contribution will also provide essential, ongoing support enabling the 125 Junior Scholars to benefit from exposure to African American role models that will help to motivate and empower them in their academic and professional careers. Carver Bancorp, Inc. is the holding company for Carver Federal Savings Bank, a federally chartered stock savings

bank. Carver was founded in 1948 to serve African-American communities whose residents, businesses, and institutions had limited access to mainstream financial services. Carver is among the largest African- and Caribbean-American managed banks in the United States, with nine full-service branches in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. —JNW

OOPS!!! Correction!! On the cover of the 2016 commemorative calendar, the iconic photo (below) by Risasi Dais featuring artist and poet Amiri Baraka and drummer, Max Roach was cropped incorrectly and did not show bassist Wilbur Morris, a very important participant in that musical tour de force.

L-R: Wilbur Morris, bassist; Max Roach, drummer; and Poet Amiri Baraka

Winter 2016 The Positive Community



“Art Wall” Project to . . .

Beautify New PSE&G Building



he first-ever "Art Wall" in the region will decorate PSE&G's Fairmount Heights Switching Station on Central Avenue in Newark. The project will provide jobs for Newark construction workers and allow PSE&G to connect with the community by both creating exciting public art and a new community center at the switching station. So far, the project has put $1.6 million into the local community through the hiring of Newark residents, vendors, and firms. Fourteen local and international artists, six from Newark and eight from as far as Jamaica and Venezuela, will display their talents on the walls of the building's 30foot-high, 48,000-square-foot wall. Glass, mosaic, aluminum, and solar-powered metallic sculptures interpreting themes of youth, education, history, and community

(L–R) Rick Thigpen, PSEG; Jill Johnson, IFEL; NJ State Senator Hon. Ronald Rice


(L–R) Newark Council Member-at-Large Eddie Osborne; Vivian Cox Fraser, CEO, Urban League of Essex; Hon. Mayor Ras J. Baraka

culture will decorate the upper third of the structure. Newark Deputy Mayor for Economic and Housing Development Baye Adofo-Wilson gave credit to architect Dave Adjaye, who helped with the vision for the project. Adjaye also worked on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. “We are happy to announce that once the station is complete, the Urban League of Essex County will lead the development of a new community center and the revitalization of Liberty Park so that residents can enjoy more green space and meaningful recreation while enjoying the station's Art Walls," said Vivian Cox Fraser, president/CEO of the Urban League of Essex County. “This wall is a tourist attraction for this entire city," said Baraka. "People from all over the world will be coming to see international, national, and local artists who’ve collaborated to make beautiful artwork, right here in the Fairmount community, in the West Ward, in Newark. "We are very pleased to work with PSE&G and its contractors to bring jobs and opportunity to Newark's neighborhoods. But, we are especially pleased to do it in

(L–R) Artist Victor Davson, Algira Art Gallery with Richard Cammarieri, NCC

a way that complements the artistic aesthetic of our community," Mayor Baraka continued. "Superstorm Sandy made it clear that we needed a backup facility in the area, and building one that respected the personality and spirit of the neighborhood was critically important to us. There were lots of voices to be heard in developing this agreement and the collaborative partnership that exists around this project was only possible through the concerted efforts of everyone at City Hall, PSE&G, Councilman McCallum, Vivian Cox Fraser, and of course the community." “Today, we are launching a project that reflects PSE&G’s commitment to Newark for more than 100 years,” said Rick Thigpen, PSEG vice president of State Governmental Affairs. “PSE&G’s mission is to provide safe, reliable service to our customers. We also strive to strengthen the communities in which we do business. We’re pleased that we can build this critical facility for reliability while investing in the local economy and creating much-needed local jobs.” Mayor Baraka says the wall will stand out in Newark like nothing else does in the city. —TPC Staff

(L–R) Baye Wilson, City of Newark; Norma Jean Darden, Spoonbread Caterers; guest

(L–R) Dana Murray, KIPP Schools; Eddie Osborne

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

Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray Take on Mental Health in NYC ThriveNYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All


n January 2015, New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray announced the city’s commitment to creating a mental health system that would work for all New Yorkers. After much study, and collaboration with experts, providers and communities, on November 23, 2015, she and Mayor Bill de Blasio released ThriveNYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All, a plan of action to guide the city toward a more effective and holistic system. The plan outlines 54 initiatives, 23 of them new, to support the mental well-being of New Yorkers. Additionally, ThriveNYC creates a model that can be applied nationally and a framework for advocacy. “We want New York City to be a place where people can live their lives to the fullest,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “ThriveNYC is about more services, better services, and easier access to services. It’s a plan of action that shows us how to treat mental illness – and also promote mental health.” McCray was spokesperson for Maimonides Medical Center before her husband became mayor and has been actively promoting mental health awareness. The De Blasios have been open about their family’s mental health issues. She has spoken about her parents’ depression and their own daughter’s past substance abuse. ThriveNYC is a bold response to the challenging reality that one in five adult New Yorkers face a mental health disorder each year. Eight percent of high school students in New York City report attempting suicide, and more than one in four report


The Positive Community Winter 2016

feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Deaths because of unintentional drug overdose now outnumber both homicide and motor vehicle fatalities. Many New Yorkers are suffering, even though mental health problems are treatable. In addition to the human toll, failure to adequately address mental illness and substance misuse costs New York City’s economy an estimated $14 billion annually in productivity losses. ThriveNYC sets forth a plan to make sure that New Yorkers can get the treatment that they need – and lays out an approach that will improve the mental wellbeing of all New Yorkers. The plan sets forth six principles for achieving long-term change: • Change the culture by making mental health everybody’s business and having an open conversation about mental health. • Act early to prevent, intervene more quickly, and give New Yorkers more tools to weather challenges. • Close treatment gaps by providing equal access to care for New Yorkers in every neighborhood. • Partner with communities to embrace their wisdom and strength and to collaborate for culturally competent solutions. • Use data better to address gaps and improve programs. • Strengthen government’s ability to lead by coordinating an unprecedented effort to support the mental health of all New Yorkers. Continued on next page


Continued from previous page Taken together, these principles outline a public health approach to mental wellness that charts a path toward a healthier and happier future for all New Yorkers. ThriveNYC focuses on promoting mental health, preventing illness, and detecting problems early, in addition to treating mental illness. Similar approaches have dramatically improved public health issues. For example, through a combination of policy bans on smoking, broad public communications, increased federal, state and local excise taxes and increased access to treatment tools, New York City cut the adult smoking rate by 35 percent in about a decade. The youth rate fell even more – by 52 percent. “If you look at how mental illness has been addressed over the years, you see a lot of broken promises,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “You don’t see a concerted, holistic effort to help people be well and stay well. The people of NYC needed something different, something like ThriveNYC. It will take years to address the problem the way it should be addressed. But we need to start now, we need to start aggressively. The people of NYC deserve nothing less.” —Compiled by TPC Staff


Bradford Washington DMD, MS Licensed Orthodontist Harvard School of Dental Medicine


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1851 Seventh Ave. • New York, NY 10026

L-R: Cedric The Entertainer with Didier Demesmin, Christian Cultural Center.

Cedric the Entertainer Gets Serious about Diabetic Nerve Pain Visits to local churches for “I Decide to Stop Diabetes Day”


edric the Entertainer became personally connected to diabetic nerve pain because his father, who has diabetes began experiencing the shooting and burning pain in his feet and hands. So with a passion to help others, Cedric became spokesperson letting everyone know that people living with diabetes can develop nerve damage, which can cause diabetic nerve pain. He is encouraging people with diabetes and this kind of pain to Step On Up and start a conversation with their doctors. Cedric, collaborating with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Pfizer, has been spreading the message throughout the country. During November, American Diabetes Month, on Sunday, November 8, 2015 Cedric headlined an “I Decide to Stop Diabetes Day” (ID Day) and spoke with the congregations of Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn and Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem about the seriousness of the problem. Didier Demesmin, M.D., an interventional pain medicine specialis, who is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and founder of University Pain Medicine Center in Somerset, NJ accompanied him and also spoke providing an expert medical viewpoint regarding how to avoid the condition or handle the symptoms.

(212) 866-9800

Winter 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.

Healthy Lives Matter


’ve been watching and listening to the Black Lives Matter movement. I support and pray for the Black Lives Matter Movement. As an African American man with two sons, I truly believe and hope that black lives do, indeed, matter. Even the theme for the 2016 The Positive Community calendar is “Positive Music Matters.” With all this talk about what matters, I began to think about how I could not only support these two important movements, but also start a movement that speaks to our mission at The Fitness Doctor and It Is Well Living Church. So as I began to meditate on what else mattered to me, I was blessed from above with the slogan, “Healthy Lives Matter.” I often say, health is the new wealth. If you are blessed with good health, you have everything. You are rich, and your healthy life matters. Your healthy life matters to your family. I can not tell you the stress that families endure when a loved one’s health is failing and they must take on the additional role of caregiver and also advocate on behalf of their loved one’s health decisions and protocol. Of course, I’m not talking about debilitating illnesses that we can not control. But I am speaking of obesity-related illnesses that can be prevented or reversed through consistent exercise and healthy eating. Diseases such as diabetes and hypertension wreak havoc on families. Dads are often too tired to play outdoors with their children. Moms are limited due to diabetic peripheral neuropathy diabetes —nerve pain caused by diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar through healthy eating and regular exercise can make a difference. Your healthy life matters to your church and your community. An unhealthy person impacts the church. I have seen people with special gifts, talents, and callings sit idle in the pews because they are overweight and too unhealthy to serve. They are often physically unable to utilize their gifts, and mentally they are consumed with fear, anxiety, and worry regarding their illnesses. I have known great preachers, “Super Deacons,” and church mothers alike, whose prayers have set the captives free, only to leave here much too early due to poor health. Your healthy life matters to your pocket. Unhealthy people feel the crunch in their wallets. Meds for hyper-

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tension and diabetes are expensive, to say the least. The report below, speaks to the financial implications of diabetes: Current Medication Use by Diabetic Patients. A recent survey of the medication use and cost of 128 patients (75 women, 53 men) seen in a clinical program reported these results: The average patient took between 4 and 5 medications per day. Of these, 3–4 of the medications were for the treatment of diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia (high lipid or fats found in the blood). The monthly cost of these drugs ranged from $80 to $115. These estimates did not include the cost of syringes or home glucose monitoring supplies. These two items increased monthly drug costs by at least $55. Thus, the total estimated monthly drug cost for these patients ranged between $115 and $170. One hundred and fifteen dollars per month for one year is $1,380.00 per year. That is a lot of money. Especially for individuals who are borderline diabetic and have an opportunity to avoid these astronomical medicine costs by making a decision to exercise and eat healthier. Another way that your health impacts your bottom line is in obtaining life insurance and in some cases medical insurance. Insurance companies are charging premium prices for individuals who through extensive physical exams have been found to be unhealthy. Exercise consistently, eat healthy, and live well.

Winter 2016 The Positive Community


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



he history of Broadway revivals reveals a trail of unsuccessful productions that resulted in millions of dollars in losses. However, hopefully, the current production of ‘The Color Purple’ running at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre will not be one of them. Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Color Purple, was transformed into Steven Spielberg’s award- winning film in 1985 with Oprah Winfrey and Whoppi Goldberg as the leading roles. It then arrived on Broadway in 2005 as a musical starring LaChanze and closed after 905 performances. Ten years later, the current revival of The Color Purple is a magnificently staged musical production featuring an ensemble of amazing, talented actors and most significant, incredible singers; including the Grammy Award winning Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery and Cynthia Erico as Celie. Erico, a native of the United Kingdom, is making her debut on Broadway. However, after seeing and hearing her amazing singing talents in this play, it is only a matter of time before she becomes a superstar recording artist. Her high-octave vocalizing will blow you away! The stage design of this production is not as grand as its 2005 set; it has been pared down. Designer John Doyle vision features many wooden chairs hanging from a bare battered wall. With the book by Marsha Norman and the music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, issues of low self-esteem, sacrifice, domestic abuse, incest, rape, love & self-empowerment are distilled in the two hours and 35 minutes of this powerful play.


The Positive Community Winter 2016

When the play begins, the audience sees that Celie is the mother of new-born baby. It’s also revealed that Celie was impregnated twice by her father (played by Kevyn Morrow), who forcibly takes the babies from her, without Celie knowing where and what happens to them. Ironically, many women of various nationalities can really relate to Celie’s character because they have had a similar experience. Maybe, it is the reason that Ms. Winfrey has been so intimately attached to the book, the film and both Broadway productions of The Color Purple. So, despite initially seeing Celie possessing low-selfesteem and subjugation to the harsh demands of her forced marriage to Mister (played by Isaiah Johnson), the audience also witnesses her powerful transformation to a liberated self- empowered woman. Jennifer Hudson, though she was not an “American Idol”winner, she did garner Academy and Golden Globe Awards for her role in “Dreamgirls. ” She plays Shug Avery a sexy saloon singer. Shug displays her toughness as a mature independent woman, yet she is tender and loving towards Celie. Shrug befriends Celie and tells her how beautiful she is as she sings “You’re Too Beautiful For Words” expressed convincingly with her velvet voice. As a duet, Shrug and Celie give an emotional,electrifying performance singing “What About Love?,” their voices soaring to the heavens. The character of Sofia, a powerful warrior Black woman who takes no mess from anybody, is played by Danielle Brooks. She belts out, the song “Hell No” and had the women in the audience standing, hollering, stomping their feet and raising their fists in the air as liberated feminists. The current revival of The Color Purple is a wonderfully staged Broadway play that must be seen especially by, young women. A gem of a play, it is inspiring and uplifting for women of all ages and nationalities and has been highly endorsed and supported by Oprah Winfrey for its important message of transformation and empowerment. This is definitely an important Broadway production not to be missed.

L-R: Hon. Patrica Galling, Human Rights Commission and United Nations NGO Judy Kuriansky

Ambassador Tete Antonia, honoree

Eric Edwards Honored by African UN Ambassadors Cultural Museum of African Arts and Artifacts to be built in Brooklyn


Others in attendance were: representatives of the United Nations Ambassadorial delegations of Ethiopia and Equatorial Guinea; the Permanent Observer of the Caribbean Community to the United Nations A. Missouri Shermen-Peter; Dr. Djibril Diallo, Joint United National Program on HIV/AIDS( UNAIDS); Dr. Edmund Burke, distinguished professor emeritus of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Gary Schulze, board member, US National Peace Corp and trustee, United African Congress; Richard Lue, director Business Development, VP Records Group; Milton Alimadi, publisher and editor of Black Star News; and Cheryl Wills, anchor New York 1. The Eric Edwards Cultural Museum of African Arts and Artifacts promotes African culture and its value systems, as it strengthens its ties between Africa and the United States. The museum will not only bridge the great divide between Americans of African ancestry and their culture, but also serve as a pivotal point for accepting and embracing self-pride, while dispelling the myths. “No instruction can take effect if there is dislike” —African Proverb

Dr Mohammed Nurhussein, United African Congress

Photos: Lem Peterkin

ric Edwards, executive director/founder of the Cultural Museum of African Arts was honored by United Nations Ambassadors from several African countries on December 16, 2015. The event, at the iconic Friars Club in Manhattan, was hosted by the African Union, United African Congress, and Judy Kuriansky, chair of Psychology Coalition of NGOs at the United Nations. Sponsors and conveners were: Dr. Mohammed Nurhussein, National Chairman, United African Congress; Gordon Tapper, founder/chairman, Give Them a Hand Foundation; and Hon. Sidique Wai, president and national spokesperson, United African Congress. Through the goodwill and advocacy of His Excellency Tekeda Alemu ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador of the Republic of Ethiopia, the newly founded Cultural Museum of African Art is on track to build a state-of-the-art center in Brooklyn. Ambassador Alemu facilitated the initial funding, which subsequently gained the financial support of the New York City Council. Edwards has accumulated among the largest individual collections of African arts and artifacts –-over 3,000 pieces. His collection has been featured by CNN, NBC, WABC, NY Times and other broadcast and print media. Dr. Mohammed A. Nurhussein, national chairman of the United African Congress said that, “our organizations have been aware for some time of the value and immense potential of Mr. Edwards’ vast collection of African art. As Pan-African organizations, we have been collaborating with him to make his dream of disseminating and educating the culture and proud history of Africa, not only to African Americans, but the public at large.” In addressing the gathering, Edwards highlighted the museum’s mission statement, which states in part, “…to educate and inform all people of the world through its artifacts collection, within a cultural context of Africa’s importance.”

Honoree Eric Edwards

Hon. Sidique Wai, president and national spokesperson United African Congress

Winter 2016 The Positive Community


“In October 2015, we dedicated the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza and Statue in front of our Essex County Hall of Records. The statues and plaques have made our government complex a place to learn about Essex and the people who helped shape its history. Creating a statue in Dr. King’s honor was long overdue. His message of peace and equality influenced a generation and continues to ring true today.” Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.

Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Essex County Executive And The Board of Chosen Freeholders Invite you to Visit the

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue

Essex County Hall of Records 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Newark, NJ


The Positive Community Winter 2016

Essex County Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Dedicates Bronze Statue Courtesy Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo

Winter 2016 The Positive Community


ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE JOSEPH N. DIVINCENZO, JR. dedicated an eight-foot bronze statue honoring Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, the date 51 years ago that Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize. “It has been almost a half century since Dr. King’s death (1968), but his message of equality, fairness, and forgiveness continues to impact and influence us today. As the leader of the Civil Rights movement, he brought attention to racial discrimination and helped change our nation for the better,” explained DiVincenzo. “Streets and a school are named in his honor and his bust is in Newark City Hall, but until now there has not been a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Essex County. Having his statue in front of the Hall of Records, overlooking the street that bears his name, will be a constant reminder of Dr. King’s sacrifice and contributions, keeping his dream alive,” he added. “To have known him was a privilege,” commented Edith Savage Jennings, a Civil Rights icon and close advisor to the King family. “Dr. King would have been happy to know that a statue was being unveiled in New Jersey. On behalf of his family, we are all delighted you are giving him this honor.” Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff William Payne shared stories of several meetings he had with Dr. King when Payne was a student at Rutgers University and national chair of the NAACP Youth Work Committee. He also talked about his last encounter with Dr. King when the Civil Rights leader visited Newark shortly before he was assassinated. “Dr. King invited me to accompany him to an event in New York, but I declined. I told him I would see him next time, but the next time was at his funeral,” Payne recalled. The eight-foot bronze statue stands on a three-foot tall granite pedestal and depicts Dr. King with outstretched arms. His head is tilted slightly downward so visitors to the statue can see his face. The granite pedestal is engraved with the words, “I have a dream,” referencing his famous speech at the March on Washington, notes his Nobel Peace Prize, and includes a series of words that describe Dr. King: Hope, Equality, Peace, Courage, Love and Respect. The newly named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, in which the statue is located, is adjacent to the Essex County Hall of Records and looks out onto Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

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An accompanying bronze plaque begins with a quote from Mahatma Ghandi: “A small body of determined spirits, fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission, can alter the course of history.” It continues: At a time in American history, when the need for change was evident, Martin Luther King, Jr., a young Georgia minister, rose to lead a nationwide civil rights movement. He guided a bus boycott that ended segregated seating, supported integrated groups of Mahatma Ghandi ‘Freedom Riders’ who shattered old, southern Jim Crow laws, assisted young people conducting sit-ins at segregated lunch counters, and led hundreds of peaceful protest marches. Brilliant, dignified, persuasive and eloquent, he always stressed non-violence, even in the face of adversity. He inspired thousands of people, of all colors, races and religions, to join hands, and more than 200,000 supporters gathered in Washington, DC, for his iconic ‘I have a dream…’ oration. As president of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, he brought attention to sources of national discrimination, helping to gain passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, forever changing the course of American history. Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, on this very day, 50 years ago. Assassinated in 1968, he is one of the most respected and revered of all Human Rights activists

“When I think of Dr. King’s legacy, I think of all these students and the future leaders being developed in our schools. Life’s most persistent question is what are we doing for others,” said NJ State Senator and Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz. Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver reflected, “We are sitting at the feet of a man who was the most transformative figure in the world. As we all celebrate this monument to Dr. King, look inward and ask yourself what you are doing to fulfill his dream.” The statue was created by Jay Warren, an artist from Oregon who also has created the Rosa Park Statue, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Statue, Governor

Brendan Byrne Statue and Congressman Donald M. Payne Statue at the Essex County Government Complex and the Althea Gibson Statue in Essex County Branch Brook Park. The project was funded with donations from Education and Health Centers of America, Inc.; Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey; Barnabas Health; Ten Park Place Associates; 765 Management LLC; PSEG Foundation; and New Jersey Shares, Inc./Verizon. Assemblywoman Grace Spencer said that last January she was lamenting the fact that there was nowhere she could take her newborn daughter to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King. “Little did I know that what I was thinking would come to fruition because the county executive was watching the same documentary about Dr. King.” Dr. King was born in 1929 in Georgia. His grandfather and father were both ministers and pastors of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He studied at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and earned a doctorate from Boston University’s School of Theology. He met Coretta Scott while working on his doctorate in

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo (white shirt right), Deputy Chief of Staff William Payne (left), Civil Rights activist Edith Savage Jennings and others reach out to touch the new Martin Luther King, Jr. statue.

Boston; they married and had four children. In 1955, he was recruited to be the spokesperson for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. The boycott lasted 381 days and resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that racial segregation in transportation was unconstitutional. Two years later, Dr. King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He would hold this leadership position until his death. “I can’t help but look at this program and see all the women speaking today. We owe some of that to Dr. King,” said Deborah Prinz, whose father, Rabbi Joaquim Prinz of Temple B’nai Abraham, was a close friend of Dr. Kings’. “This statue will remind people of the example set by Dr. King and others who fought injustice with passion, persistence and the spoken word.” “The best way we can honor Dr. King is to continue his work,” Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake noted. Sheriff Armando Fontoura remarked “Our appreciation of Dr. King’s work and his legacy have grown and grown over time.” In 1963, Dr. King led a non-violent civil rights campaign in Birmingham, AL. Later that same year, he was one of the driving forces behind the March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The following year, at the age of 35, he became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act making discrimination illegal in hiring, public accommodations, education and transportation in 1964. The next year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, eliminating racial voting barriers. Between 1965 and 1968, Dr. King broadened his focus to economic justice and international peace. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, TN. “Today is an historic day as we unveil the likeness of someone who has been a hero to generations. Today is an opportunity to have Dr. King’s vision carried on by future generations,” said Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones, who described Dr. King as the “Prince of Peace” and the “Drum Major for Justice.” “I don’t know if we understand how spiritual and important this day is,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka stated. “This is a time to celebrate Dr. King as he lived and how we all should live.” “Dr. King was an ordinary person who did extraordinary things,” pronounced Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Jr. of Bethany Baptist Church, who attended Morehouse College with Dr. King. “This statue is a reminder, an inspiration and a source of encouragement for those who walk by and see it,” he declared. Winter 2016 The Positive Community


Rev. Cornell Williams Brooks

Mary Sue Sweeney; Junius Williams, Esq.; MarianBolden; Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams; Gloria Buck

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman

The Beloved Pastor Retirement Banquet for Rev. Dr. M. William Howard and Ms. Barbara

T Newark Council President Mildred Crump

he day, Sunday, October 25th, began with morning worship at Newark’s historic Bethany Baptist Church. Rev. Cornell Brooks, national president of NAACP, was the guest preacher. The Golden Dome at Rutgers University-Newark teemed with friends and well-wishers eager to pay tribute to their friend and leader, a beloved pastor, Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, a humble man who prefers to simply be called, “Bill.” A diverse group of friends and associates lined up to share remarks of friendship and goodwill, affirming this man’s impact on their personal lives and the lives of many others.

Lawrence Hamm, chairman, People’s Organization for Progress

The Honorees: Rev. Dr. M. William and Mrs. Barbara Howard


Linda and Mark Epps

Richard Roper, Ph.D.


The Positive Community Winter 2016


n December 9, 2015 Grammy Award–winning singer Donnie McClurkin, exuberant vocalist Kim Burrell, and an all-star ensemble led by acclaimed musical director Ray Chew led a joyous gospel sing-along at Carnegie Hall. Songs included “Every Praise,” “Stand,” and the classic “Walking Up the King’s Highway.” Along with special guest Cissy

Photos: Karen Waters and Vincent Bryant

Sing-along at Carnegie Hall!

Cissy Houston joins Donny McClurkin to make a joyful noise together


Ray Chew (center) conducts while Kim Burrell and Donny McClurkin sing

Houston, the audience in the packed house joined voices with the artists onstage in a joyous celebration. Pastor Lester Taylor of Community Baptist Church of Englewood, NJ and the 100-voice mass choir thrilled concert-goers and the glorious sounds soared to the rafters of the iconic venue.

Happy BIRTHDAY CHARLIE! Popular Harlem Congressman Celebrates 85 years


Photos: Bruce Moore

verybody loves Charlie” could have very well been the theme for this wonderful celebration! U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel dean, of the New York congressional delegation, joined dozens of devoted family, friends, and constituents at the popular Sofritos restaurant in Harlem’s Riverside Park.

Members of Harlem’s Martin Luther King Democratic Club including NYC Council member Inez Dickens (seated) celebrate with Congressman Rangel

Rangel, Mary Wilson and former NYC Mayor David N. Dinkins.

Sensational R&B legend Mary Wilson, formerly of the Supremes, was on hand to lead in singing “Happy Birthday” and all the great classic Motown hits! Rangel is currently serving his 23rd consecutive term in Congress and represents New York’s 13th Congressional District. —AAC Winter 2016 The Positive Community


Newark Interfaith Conference

L-R: Minister Jeffery Brown and Rev. Patrick Council L-R: Sis. Jo An Couser, Dr. Ballard, and Rev. Rudy Carlton.


Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) shared new ideas and opportunities in the expanding city’s economy. Adrian Council, Sr. presented The Positive Community’s Positive Music Matters Commemorative Calendar and introduced Rev. Pauline E. Ballard, whose biblically and culturally grounded quotes are featured in the calendar.

Photos: Vincent Bryant

ach month clergy leaders of all faiths gather at Newark’s Municipal Council Chambers to discuss issues and share ideas on how make life better in the region. On this occasion, the organization welcomed Donna Walker-Kuhne of NJPAC to discuss upcoming events at the performing arts center and plans for the upcoming 350th Anniversary celebration of Newark. Alexandra Demirali of Newark’s Community

Rev. Pauline Ballard delivering a talk about Positive Music Matters, Adrian A. Council, Sr. shows the calendar while Mayoral Aide for Clergy Affairs Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree looks on.


The Positive Community Winter 2016


All Stars Project of Bridgeport CT Celebrates Its Supporters and Youth

Pam Lewis taking in the spontaneous auction by Bobby Valentine, executive director of Athletics at Sacred Heart University, to raise funds for the All Stars Project of Bridgeport.

Director of the All Stars Project of Bridgeport Pamela A. Lewis with Peter Hurst, president/CEO, Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council


n Monday, November 16, 2015, supporters and youth of the All Stars Project of Bridgeport (ASPB) celebrated another great year of progress and fundraising at the Norwalk Dolce Center. Pam Lewis, director of the ASP of Bridgeport; Charlie Adams, program chair; Pastor James and Lady Virginia Logan, Messiah Baptist Church, Bridgeport; and Lamond Daniels of the Bridgeport Mayor’s Office were among the many supporters in attendance. The All Stars Project of Bridgeport and the greater Bridgeport community are looking forward to kicking off 2016 with “Have You Ever Seen a Dream Rapping?” show featuring young performers from all over Bridgeport. Visit for additional information.

L-R: Kendra Green, ASPB youth host; Pastor Logan, Virginia Logan; and Nangy Martinez, ASPB

Hon. Dana Redd

L-R: Pastor James and Lady Virginia Logan; Lamond Daniels, Bridgeport Mayor’s Office; with Pam Lewis, director of the All Stars Project of Bridgeport CT.

Winter 2016 The Positive Community


Youngblood Brings MAAFA to Mt. Pisgah BY GLENDA CADOGAN


ith his creation of intentional ministries focused on Black men, youth, culture and empowerment, Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood is distinguished as a servant/leader in the black community. In 1995 he created history at the St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church when he launched the MAAFA Suite ... A Healing Journey, which is described as a spiritual movement aimed at healing this nation around the scars of slavery. This year he mounts another historical first with the staging of a MAAFA Suite at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, where he has been senior pastor for the past 15 years. Since its inception at St. Paul’s, the MAAFA — held every September and appropriately described as transformative theatre — quickly emerged as the centerpiece of the church’s annual commemorative program. For the Mount Pisgah offering, The MAAFA Suite will be presented in February and Dr. Youngblood is “excited” about the possibilities. “I am now a firm believer that this [The MAAFA Suite] is part of my “bring,” he told me. “It is what I bring to the black community, to the Christian community, and all those in need of healing from the wounds of the past. So technically, it is my 32nd MAAFA effort, but it is Mount Pisgah’s first. It all started with this “bring” at St. Paul’s and now continues at Mount Pisgah. I am guessing that if I live to be 200 years-old I will have the opportunity to bring it to other places as well,” he said According to Dr. Youngblood, there is a psychological advantage to presenting the MAAFA in the month of February. “It is Black History Month and so there is an already existing consciousness around our story,” he explained. So with the theme: ‘For the Millions?’ the 2016 MAAFA will begin at midnight on Monday February 1 and continue with weekly events throughout the month. On the evening of January 31, Youngblood will lead a special team of elders/leaders to the seaside for a launch to the

and some want to sweep it under the rug as if it did not exist. Even to the point that there are black folks who are in denial about what really happened to us. However, we have learned from others that those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. Therefore we have to keep our atrocities before our eyes, those of our children, as well as those who were our victimizers.” Expected guests during the month-long commemoration will include Sounds of Blackness, Dick Gregory, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, and Creative Outlet Dance and Cultural Arts who will present their annual rendition of “Remembering.” As part of “The Remembering,” Fred Powell of Barbara’s Flowers—one of the oldest flower shops in Brooklyn — has designed a special MAAFA arrangement called Ancestral Wreath…The Unbroken Circle of Life. Mount Airy Baptist Church of Bridgeport, CT. will come to Brooklyn to participate. They will make a pre-

Since its inception...the MAAFA...described as transformative theatre — quickly emerged as the centerpiece of the church’s annual commemorative program. month. In fact, the entire production is bookended with a journey to the ocean, as another seaside commemoration open to all who are interested, is planned for the end of the month. With his customary candid approach, Youngblood addressed those who may be “uncomfortable” with his efforts to lead the charge of another MAAFA production in Brooklyn by saying: “Whatever it takes for my people to heal I will do it. And competition is not even on my small mind; healing is. Nobody is addressing our catastrophe


The Positive Community Winter 2016

sentation of their 2015 MAAFA called: The Shaking Tree. The premier MAAFA Suite, which will consist of dramatic presentations of stories written by people in the community, will take place on February 25th and 27th. In response to the concerns about the weather and the seaside visits, Dr. Youngblood deferred to what he called: “going unapologetically religious: The scripture says that if you want good weather you pray for it and it will be so. “My faith is in action, therefore snow or shine, we will be at the seaside doing whatever is necessary for the healing of black people.”

Winter 2016 The Positive Community


Community Baptist Church of Englewood Celebrates Children at Christmas Children receive gifts through Angel Tree Ministry and Toys on the Altar BY ANDREA MASON


wo programs at Community Baptist Church of Englewood (CBC) make certain that children in need are not left out at Christmas. CBC marked its 19th year of participation in Angel Tree. Founded in 1982 by an ex-prisoner who witnessed firsthand the strained relationship between prisoners and their children, Angel Tree has grown to become the largest national outreach specifically for the children of prisoners. Through CBC’s Prison Ministry, over 400 children received gifts of toys and clothing this year. A total of over 1200 children have been helped over the course of our participation. Another program, Toys on the Altar, was started by CBC’s pastor. “Toys on the Altar was a vision that God gave me many years ago to have children come into the church for toys at Christmas,” said Reverend Dr. Lester W. Taylor, Jr.

Congregation members and local community organizations donate toys and gifts that are given to children in need in the local community during Christmas week. The Missionary Ministry coordinates the program, collaborating with the associate ministers, deacons, and deaconess ministries. Toys on the Altar has had tremendous growth since its inception in 2013. Seventy-five children received toys during the first year; this year, over 400 children were blessed with toys and clothing items. Pastor Taylor also made a special appeal for bicycles. Thirty bicycles donated by congregation members were joyously received by children of all ages at the annual Christmas Eve worship service. “The blessing we receive is seeing the absolute delight on the children’s faces when picking out their favorite toy or receiving a bicycle,” said Pastor Taylor.

Photos: Karen Waters

Photos: Karen Waters

L-R: Back row: Christa Miller (black sweater), Betty Jiles, Min. Angela Hargraves, Min. Joanne Clemons, Rev. Caffie Risher, Rev. Dr. Olivia Stanard, Renee Brown; Middle row: Dawn Bennett (red top), Betty Banton, Mother Leona Bragg, Helen Gaillard, Min. Mae Daffin; Seated: Deacon Franel Milligan, Minnie Lane, Andrea Mason (Pres. Missionary Ministry), Francella Hartman


The Positive Community Winter 2016

Babyface with special guest After 7 2/12


Dance Theatre of Harlem

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds

Experience poetry in motion when the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem headlines this year’s MLK Celebration at NJPAC.

This musical production, featuring a hit score by Bob Marley tells of Ziggy, who is so terrified of hurricanes, mongooses and other things in his native Jamaica that he’s afraid to leave the house!

Friday, January 15 at 8pm

This one-man fusion of theater and stand-up is a theatrical comedy based on the No. 1 best-selling book by John Gray. Saturday, February 13 at 2pm & 8pm Sunday, February 14 at 2pm & 7pm

Disney FANTASIA Live in Concert A combination of classical music with two beloved Disney movies: Fantasia and Fantasia 2000! Friday, February 19 at 8pm


Russian National Ballet Theatre A company of 50 dancers perform the enchanting tale of everlasting love, featuring a sprightly score by Prokofiev, lush scenery and colorful costumes. Thursday, March 10 at 8pm

Rachael McLaren. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Saturday, January 23 at 2pm

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus Live!

Mike Epps

Johnny Mathis

The 60th Anniversary Tour

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat

The comedian and actor of Survivor’s Remorse on STARZ, Hangover 3 and Next Friday slings his sharp observations about life at large.

The legendary singer returns to NJPAC to perform his greatest hits and personal favorites.

A family production based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved book is full of non-stop antics from the minute Sally and her brother open the door to the most mischievous cat they will ever meet.

with Gary Owen and Cocoa Brown

Friday, March 11 at 8pm

Friday, March 18 at 8pm

Saturday, March 19 at 2pm

Dancing in the Streets A non-stop celebration of Motown’s greatest songs performed by an electrifying cast of singers, dancers and an onstage band. Wednesday, April 6 at 8pm

For tickets and a full schedule visit or call 1.888.GO.NJPAC • Groups: 973.297.5804 NEW JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER • One Center Street, Newark, NJ

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater This always dazzling company returns with programs that include some of its newest works as well as company classics like Alvin Ailey’s masterwork, Revelations. Friday, May 6 at 8pm Saturday, May 7 at 8pm Sunday, May 8 at 1pm


PositiveCommunity_jan_7x9.5.indd 1

12/17/15 1:27 PM Winter 2016 The Positive Community 41


Deitrick Haddon— Masterpiece Grace & Peace


know I usually start off with a scripture and I promise to include it somewhere in this session, but we’ve got to jump right into it, because Deitrick Haddon has done it again! For those who are already fans (or “Fams” as Deitrick would say) of this musical genius, you can say that this CD is classic-futuristic throwback Deitrick, and I guarantee that there is nothing else out there like it. However, if you’ve never committed to Loving Him Like I Do, this CD will grab your attention and keep it. What’s amazing is that this Detroit native, California resident is not only letting the world hear his song ”Masterpiece,” but he’s living the life of a man who finally accepts himself as God’s masterpiece, flaws and all. The CD is more than just songs, its Deitrick Haddon’s “How I Got Over” story. The prolific three-time Grammy®-nominated, multiple Stellar and Dove Award-winning musician continues to bring a unique interpretation of his love for all genres of music. Oh, it has everything from the influences of Hard Rock to the ballads of soft R&B and nothing is less than great! As I listened to this amazing project, I heard a man redeemed and rescued by grace; and then the scripture (I told you it was coming) “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…” (John 8:7) came to me. Had it not been for God’s grace and mercy along with His son Jesus The Christ, we’d all be counted out. But only one who knows how to turn one person’s trash into treasure or a person’s misfortune into a masterpiece could understand. The eOne Music recording artist is back on his 14th album with a new found perspective on the real Love of God, the true meaning of forgiveness and at all times, keeping it 100! So I met with Mr. Masterpiece himself in NYC at Club XXI for a standing room only listening party. First on the agenda were throwbacks of his classics “If It Had Not Been” and “I’m Alive.” When Haddon appeared, the

42 The Positive Community

Winter 2016

party was already a go. It was time to take a listen to what God gave and what Mother Haddon prophesied to her baby boy—and it left us all head nodding, hand waving, and agreeing that this is Haddon’s best work yet. Masterpiece is self-explanatory; the title track is a mellow groove that speaks of one being looked at through the eyes of God. “Sinners” (Saved By Grace) is a hard core, pulsing, clap-track with a beat dropping, humbling message that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. The truth that is often shared by Christians winning souls is reminded in this song—God knows you for who you are and loves you no matter who you are, and His love will find you where you are because that’s what grace does. “Be Like Jesus” is another hip-hop, head bouncing groove that tells a story about a person who is always criticizing folks for being human and making mistakes, yet asking for forgiveness and trying to start over. It’s a reminder that we all should strive to be better, do better and be more like Jesus and see people through the eyes of love instead of judgement. Yeah, can you repeat that? Strive to be like Jesus. Walk like Him; pray like Him; live like Him. Just more like Him! Another favorite is “Running,” the story of Haddon running from his calling. He was at war with God and the rejection he was experiencing. The failures in his life left him running from what God had called him to do. Haddon summed up this project perfectly, saying: “Our lives are a work of art. God has a way of making the good, the bad, and the ugly all make sense. Every season we’ve lived through is a small piece of a carefully orchestrated puzzle designed by God himself! I believe when it’s all said and done we will understand the journey better, see the big picture and declare it is a beautiful masterpiece!”





Fe w e n t e r t a iner a s M A UR IC s t o d a y c a n w o r k a n a udie EH man is a livin INE S. This vibrant so nce as well ng a nd da nc g link to Ella e Fitz gerald, Len a Hor ne S ammy Davis a n d Fr a n k S inatra.” Jr., –THE HOLL YWOO D REPO RTER




Wed at 11 & 2, Fri at 7, Sat at 11, 2 & 4:30, Sun at 12 & 3 For groups & birthday parties visit our website or call 1-866-6-GAZTIX

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Winter 2016 The Positive Community 11/16/10 10:01 AM


Greater Abyssiniann Hosts Christmas Dinner


ewark’s Greater Abyssinian Baptist Church recently hosted the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Newark and Vicinity’s (BMCNV) annual Christmas celebration and dinner. Rev. Calvin McKinney, general secretary of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and senior pastor of Calvary B.C., Garfield, NJ, delivered the keynote sermon. Also in attendance was New Jersey gubernatorial candidate, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Phillip B. Murphy. L-R: Ambassador Murphy with conference President Rev. George B. Martinez

L-R: Roy Jones, president-elect Baptist Ministry Conference of Newark & Vicinity; President Rev. George B. Martinez; Pastor James Bailey of Vineyard Baptist Church, Newark, NJ; and Pastor Bennett Johnson Jr., St. Peter's Missionary Baptist Church, Newark, NJ

Members of the clergy

Photos: Karen Waters

Host Pastor Rev. Dr. Charles Potts

L-R: Rev. Morrast, Rev. McKinney, and Rev. Martinez


The Positive Community Winter 2016

Former president of BMCN&V Rev. Robert Morrast delivers remarks about TPC’s 2016 Commemorative Calendar

live at the Hall

featuring Gospel choirs from worship centers throughout the City of Newark Gospel Workshops and Lectures to be announced

Register your choir!

$10 for one performance ($15 for both) free admission for workshops and lectures


Walking & Standing in Victory is done in partnership with the Newark Symphony Hall Ministers Council and Newark Celebrate 350. To purchase tickets please visit the Newark Symphony Hall Box Office located at 1030 Broad Street in Newark, NJ 07102 or to order by telephone please call (973) 643-8014.

Winter 2016 The Positive Community



Columbia University Annual Community Breakfast

L-R: Jean Bollinger, Maxine Griffith, and Lee Bollinger Lee Bollinger with NYS Assemblyman Keith Wright


olumbia University President Lee Bollinger, in partnership with the Executive Vice President for Government and Community Affairs Maxine Griffith, convened an informal breakfast gathering of members of the Columbia community, local elected representatives, community, and business leaders The highly anticipated annual breakfast is simply an opportunity to meet and greet and network to strengthen community bonds. The festive event, which has been held for a decade, always features a local caterer, this year Melba Wilson, who is also the owner of popular Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem.

Maxine Griffith, EVP for Government and Community Affairs

Photos: Bruce Moore

Adrian Council, publisher, TPC; Atty. Stacy R. Lynch, City of New York; and William Burgess III, The Burgess Group Corporate Recruiters


The Positive Community Winter 2016

President Lee Bollinger and Derek Broome, president/CEO HCCI

Black History 2016.qxp_PosComm 2016 1/11/16 2:00 PM Page 1

Pride of New York

Hunter College New York City Council Member; Chair, Higher Education Committee; Former NYS Assembly Member

Lowell Hawthorne

‰ ‰

Bronx Community College President and CEO Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill

Letitia James

Lehman College Public Advocate for the City of New York

Colin Powell

Iyanla Vanzant

Medgar Evers College, CUNY Law School Best-Selling Author, Inspirational Speaker

Walter Mosley

City College of New York Award-Winning Author Founder, City College Publishing Certificate Program

Baruch College Founder, Chairman Emeritus Mitchell & Titus LLP

Kenneth Thompson

John Jay College of Criminal Justice District Attorney, Kings County

Bert Mitchell

Ruby Dee

Hunter College Award-Winning Stage, Film Actress and Screenwriter In Memoriam

Inez Barron

Brooklyn College Former Congresswoman and Candidate for Democratic Presidential Nomination In Memoriam

Eric Adams

John Jay College of Criminal Justice Brooklyn Borough President Former NY State Senator

Shirley Chisholm

Philip Berry

Borough of Manhattan Community College Queens College Vice Chairperson, CUNY Board of Trustees President, Philip Berry Associates LLC.

City College of New York Former U.S. Secretary of State, Former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff

The City University of New York Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday


Winter 2016 The Positive Community


New York Theological Seminary Day at the Conference November 16, 2015

Rev. Booker T. Morgan, First Lady Karen Morgan with President James Morrison. Rev. Morgan is an associate pastor at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem

Baptist Ministers’ Conference of NY


ev. James Morrison, president of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Greater NY and Vicin-ity (BMCGNYV) welcomed publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr. to their weekly meeting to share the news of The Positive Community’s 2016 Commemorative Calen-dar. The Conference passed a unanimous resolution to purchase The Positive Community in bulk and encouraged their member churches to do the same. The Ministers’ Conference meets every Monday at Convent Ave. Baptist Church in Harlem where Rev. Jessie Williams is pastor. —AAC

Leadership of Baptist Ministers Conference proudly display calendars


he General Baptist Convention of New Jersey, under the leadership of its president, Rev. Dr. Guy Campbell, Jr., was welcomed to Newark’s Metropolitan BC, where Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Sr. is pastor ,for their Annual Session. Greetings were extended by Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Municipal Council President Mildred C. Crump. Just weeks before, the conference experienced an unpresented tragedy with the sudden loss of one of its distinguished members Reverend F. McGinis, as he was introducing President Campbell at Zion Baptist Church in Elizabeth NJ. This is the first meeting since that unfortunate day. —AAC

Photos: Vincent Bryant

General Baptist Convention of NJ

Photos: Wali Amin Muhammad

L-R: Dr. Dale T. Irvin, President of NYTS and Rev. James Morrison

Mayor Ras J. Baraka

General Baptist Convention of New Jersey


The Positive Community Winter 2016

Chad Foundation Awards $10,000 Grant to Eagle Academy-Newark


L-R Front row: From the Eagle Academy: students Corey Johnson and Malik Stewart; Principal Semone Morant; students kneeling Ernest Bell and John Tejada; Richmond Rabinowitz, acting CEO, Newark Trust for Education; from The Chad School Foundation: Reginald Lewis, executive director; William D. Payne, vice-chair; and Joyce Eldridge-Howard, chair, Scholarship Committee Back Row: Joshua Gyimah, project manager; students Kenneth Haynes and Mekhi Fields, Lawrence Munroe, senior administrator; Natalie Brathwaite, director, Programs and Community Engagement, Newark Trust for Education; William Parrish, chair, Foundation Real Estate Committee, and Altarik White, executive director, Leaders for Life.

n Friday, December 18, 2015, The Chad School Foundation presented a $10,000 check to the all-male Eagle Academy for Young Men of Newark. This check was the Foundation’s third contribution in as many years, and builds on Chad’s recent Black and Latino Male Achievement Policy Roundtable held in June, 2015. Established in 1991 to initially fundraise for the former Chad Schools, the foundation now champions promising efforts to create high-quality public schools and expand college access. The Chad Foundation’s staff and trustees, along with representatives from the Newark Trust for Education, were on hand to present the check to Eagle Academy.


SATURDAY FEB 6TH 11AM—1PM 24 MAIDEN LANE NEWARK, NJ 07102 973.565.9170 ———-



Winter 2016 The Positive Community


Elevation Celebration: Rev Daryl G. Bloodsaw First Baptist Church of Crown Heights BY DEACON MAURICE REID

L-R: Rev. Bloodsaw with guest speaker Rev. Dr. Winfred M. Hope, Deacon Bobby Burch, Rev. Christine Caton, and Rev. Iana Ryan

L-R: Deacon Bobby Burch, Rev. Daryl Bloodsaw, First Lady Brenda Bloodsaw, and Robert Lewis, board of trustees chair.


or the first time in its 63-year history, the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights held a glorious revival in celebration of the elevation of the Rev. Daryl G. Bloodsaw to pastor. He is the second pastor of this great and respected congregation. The late Rev. Dr. Clarence Norman, the founder and pastor of the First Baptist Church for over 62 years, had prepared the church for the probability of his passing and clearly identified Rev. Bloodsaw, the gem within their midst, as his successor. With Deacon Ron Newman, Sister Denise Hinton, and Brother Robert Lewis, chair of the trustee board presiding, the weekday celebration was provocative and profound. A demonstrative sermon by Rev. Dr. Winfred M. Hope, “Empowering God’s People to Transform Society,” began the proceedings, followed by the contemplative sermon of Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr., “Preaching with Authority.” Closing out the week, Rev. Shannon O’Neil Smith, Sr., delivered an encouraging message, “Prayer Still Works.” The celebration continued on Sunday with a strong personal message to Rev. Bloodsaw and the First Baptist Church congregation from the Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, “Something That Is Greater Than the Love of God.” Presided over by the Rev. Dan J. Craig, the celebration came to a resounding conclusion on Sunday evening with a loving message to Rev. Bloodsaw and the congregation by the Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, in which he urged a strong partnership and “fellowship in the gospel.”


The Positive Community Winter 2016

Photos: Lem Peterkin

The Dance Ministry

Rev. Bloodsaw being robed by his wife, Brenda

Among those who extended greetings and words of encouragement to Rev. Bloodsaw and the church were: US Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Public Advocate Letitia James, Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth Thompson, Assemblyman Walter Mosley, Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick Cohall, Rev. Dr. C. Vernon Mason, and Rev. Shannon O. Smith. Rev. Dr. Edward L. Hunt presided the acts of investiture, which concluded the service. Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson gave the charge to the new pastor and urged Rev. Bloodsaw to “love the people and preach the Gospel.” Rev. McMickle issued a charge to the church to hold up his [Rev. Bloodsaw’s]hand on both sides, followed by the presentation of the hymnal by Rev. Craig B. Gaddy, Sr.; the presentation of the Holy Bible by Rev. Dr. Adolphus C. Lacey; and the prayer of installation by the Rev. E. Lawrence Aker, III. After the presentation of the robe by First Lady Brenda Bloodsaw, Brother Robert Lewis and Deacon Bobby Burch, chairman of the deacon board, the church erupted in praise as Rev. Daryl G. Bloodsaw rose to accept the new role that he described as the extension of a “love affair” designated by the Lord. The festivities were enhanced by the Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir, the Music and Dance Ministry, and the Mass Choir of the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights. “To God be the glory.”










Winter 2016 The Positive Community


Upsilon Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Achievement Week


he Upsilon Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. hosted its Annual Achievement Week Breakfast on November 8, 2015 at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, BF Johnson Community Center, Newark, NJ. Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, received the Outstanding Public Service Award. Reflecting on the fraternity’s 2015 theme Omega At The Forefront: Fulfilling Its Legacy, Morial remarked, “Our legacy, indeed our duty, is to continue the work of men and women who created instiMarc Morial tutions in the early 20th Century that fought for economic opportunity, equal justice under the law and educational enrichment.” Rev. Bro. H. Grady James III, pastor of First Bethel Baptist Church, Irvington, N.J. received the chapter’s highest honor Omega Man of the Year; Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss, Elected Official of the Year; Tracy Munford, former VP for Public Relations and Community Affairs, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, Corporate Citizen Award; Student Leadership Award went to Marquis Kendal a senior at East Orange Campus High; Shawn Dove, CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Citizen of the Year; Altorik White, executive director of Leaders of Life, Community Service Award; Bro. Leonard Moore, Manhood Award; Bro. Henry Hamilton, Scholarship Award; Bro. Curtis Livingston, Perseverance Award; Bro. Frankie Lucas, Uplift LR: Ronald Tuff; Basileus J. Garfield Jackson, Jr.; Sean Dove; Marc Morial; Award; and Bro. Michael W. Johnson, The Basileus/Founders Frankie Lucus; Rev. H. Grady James, III; Altarik White; Leonard Moore; —JNW Henry Hamilton; Curtis Livingston; Michael W. Johnson; and Louis Childress Award. (blocked in rear).


WWW.NYACK.EDU 877.626.2236


The Positive Community Winter 2016



The inaugural class of the Rutgers University – Newark Honors Living-Learning Community, Fall 2015

RU-N to the TOP New financial aid initiative at Rutgers University-Newark


hancellor Nancy Cantor of Rutgers University-Newark ( RU-N) has 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. RU-N to the TOP provides the following specific guarantees for (RU-N) undergraduate applicants, effective fall 2016:

• All Newark residents who gain admission and whose household adjusted gross income (AGI) is $60,000 or less

will be offered scholarships covering 100% 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% 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% residential scholarships covering the full cost of room and board.

“With RU-N to the TOP we are firmly planting a stake in the ground for college affordability for Newarkers and New Jerseyans,” she said, explaining: “We are saying to the young people of the city of Newark and our great state: We see your talent. We honor your talent. We want you to learn with us—and we want to learn from you—and together with our communities of experts across Newark, the state, the nation, and the world, we are going to make a difference. “When we look at the young people of Newark, we see a vast talent pool. We see the same thing when we look at the thousands of students attending Essex, Hudson, and other county colleges. And we know that for some of them—perhaps for many of them—their true talent may not jump right out at you if you rely only on traditional ways of identifying it. That’s why we’re making this investment and why we’re partnering with more than 60 public, private, and nonprofit entities in Newark through the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) to strengthen and expand pathways to college,” she continued. 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

Winter 2016 The Positive Community


form, the HLLC team engages them in in-person activities as part of the application process, through which a range of talents and characteristics associated with academic success may be evaluated. “We look at—and well beyond—the typical application form,” says Executive Vice Chancellor and CEO Shirley Collado, who is leading the development of the HLLC. “We engage applicants through in-person activities to see how they employ multiple intelligences in collaborative problem solving. This kind of engagement is invaluable in revealing who students really are, what their talents are, and what they can bring to an incredibly diverse and challenging learning environment like Rutgers University – Newark. We don’t ask students to check their identities at the door, but to build on them by growing intellectually and developmentally in a community.” The HLLC, currently in its first year, has enrolled a cohort of 30 students, but plans are for it to grow to a steady state with cohorts of 125 new students per year, with many coming from Greater Newark. Strongly focused on retention, persistence, and college success, HLLC programming aims to foster academic, social, and personal development of talented students from diverse backgrounds with a desire to make a difference in their communities and beyond. With an innovative curriculum centered on themes of “Local Citizenship in a Global World,” HLLC students will live and learn at RU-N with students from all backgrounds and all walks of life. Ultimately, the HLLC will have its own home in a state-of-the-art facility now in the planning phase, with dining, recreational, and academic spaces. Student cohorts will include those who enroll in post-secondary education immediately following high school graduation, as well as students in other stages of their lives. RU-N’s new financial aid initiative and the HLLC are part of the university’s broader commitment to increase educational attainment through the NCLC. This citywide initiative aims to increase post-secondary attainment among Newark residents from 17% to 25% 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. Further information about admission and financial aid at RU-N may be found at http://admissions.newark. Further information about the Honors Living-Learning Community may be found at http://hllc. Further information about the Newark City of Learning Collaborative may be found at

Wondrous Worlds


feb. 12 – May 15, 2016

Contact for information regarding images.

Wondrous Worlds showcases the long history, vast geographic expanse and amazing diversity of works of arts in the Islamic world. From carpets to dress to jewelry, ceramics, painting, calligraphy and more, works span more than 1,400 years of artistry, including modern and contemporary objects. 49 washington street, newark, nj 973.596.6550 711 tty On-site parking available for a fee.

This exhibition is supported in part by: Special thanks to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation for support of curatorial and conservation activities related to the exhibition. This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, fi ndings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.


The Positive Community Winter 2016


In Newark, of Newark

Rutgers University-Newark: accessible, affordable, cutting-edge education preparing you to succeed in our rapidly diversifying world. Collaborating locally and globally, innovating to make a difference in New Jersey’s largest city, across the state and nation, and around the world. Bring your talents and join us as we take on the eternal questions and great challenges of our time. Newark College of Arts & Sciences | School of Criminal Justice | Rutgers Law School, Newark | Rutgers Business School Graduate School-Newark | School of Public Affairs and Administration | University College


The Positive Community October 2015

First Baptist of South Orange Celebrates 120th Anniversary Cece Winans Performs

Robert Photography, LLC.


L-R: Clarence Drakes, Lady Palessa Beckles, Pastor Beckles, Judy Robinson, Don Robinson, Natassia Thomas, Yana Handwerk, Zelina Williams (Yana's Daughter), Lady Tina Norton, Pastor Curtis Norton, and Maya Handwerk (Yana's Sister)


irst Baptist Church of South Orange, built in 1895 on the cornerstone of serving the needs of the community, is rooted in a lineage of progressive activism. It is the first African American church in South Orange, New Jersey. As part of a capital campaign to raise funds for a much needed expansion of the church building, FBCSO celebrated its 120th anniversary at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel on November 28, 2015. It was, indeed, a glorious affair. A joyful noise of song and praise permeated the room with vocals by the magnificent Cece Winans and performances by the choirs of FBCSO. Liz Black, the host of the morning Gospel Hour on WBLS-FM and the voice of Gospel 360, served as mistress of ceremonies. Delighted by the evening’s outcome, FBCSO Pastor Terry Richardson remarked, “We were all very excited to have Cece as our featured psalmist at such a significant turning point in our church history. The crowd was moved by her songs of praise and love, plus it was a lot of fun!” Rev. Richardson, a disciple of Rev. Leon Sullivan, the dynamic Civil Rights activist and former pastor of First Baptist, honored the church’s legacy. Like Sullivan, Richardson has increased and mobilized a spirited congregation. He explained that it was after he returned from a pilgrimage to South Africa with Rev. Sullivan that


The Positive Community Winter 2016

L-R: Left to right: Pastor Terry Richardson, First Lady NaDeen Richardson, CeCe Winans, Rev. Dr. Mamie Bridgeforth, First Lady Lawren Monroe, Pastor Darrin Monroe, Liz Black. Back row; Kayla Richardson, Jeremiah Richardson, Deven Richardson.

he envisioned how the church needed to be invested in the community. “Sullivan invited me to visit Ghana, to his fourth African Summit to learn how nations, organizations, communities, and the church work together to improve lives,” he said. “That was a pivotal point for me as a pastor here in South Orange.” With an increasing congregation, outreach for First Baptist means involving people in their own destinies, solving problems together, and collectively creating solutions to meet the community’s needs. The church has responded to the needs of its members by organizing a growing number of ministries that focus on providing specific services to various groups, such as the women’s, men’s, and youth ministries. The Circle of Faith Ministry includes nearby Seton Hall University students and provides Watch Care programs – a partnership with their home-based church in caring and communicating based on the needs of the students. Now in his 18th year as pastor of First Baptist Church of South Orange, Rev. Richardson’s vision for the church’s future is clear. “Our goal is not to maintain. On the contrary, our goal is to build upon the accomplishments of those upon whose shoulders we stand,” said Rev. Richardson. “Our biggest accomplishment will be the number of lives saved, touched, empowered, and transformed by our obedience in sharing and demonstrating the saving grace of God in Christ. We look forward to remaining spiritually and socially relevant in our impact for Christ.”



38th Annual Workers Conference THEME: VISION TO VICTORY Working Together in Unity: Perservering in the Lord (I CORINTHIANS 15:35)

February 5–6, 2016 (Friday and Saturday) First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens 771 Somerset Street, Somerset, NJ 08873 Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., Senior Pastor

GUEST PREACHER: REVEREND DR. CULLIAN HILL Pastor, The Greater Concord Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit, MI President, Wolverine State Congress of Christian Education

• Choice of 17 Ministry Modules • Worship Experience on Friday Evening • Dinner on Friday • Breakfast & Lunch on Saturday • Multiple Opportunities for Reflection and Fellowship Minister Leatha G. Williams, Congress President Rev. Dr. Evans L. Spagner, State Director Deaconess Edith R. Long, State Dean For further information and registration forms, contact Rev. Spagner via or call 908.656.2325.

On October 1st, more than 200 colleagues, friends and family, gathered at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark to wish him well.

Known as the “Supreme Connector,� Viapree welcomed a contingent of young men and women whom he mentored over the years and were on hand to honor him.

Metropolitan Room at the Newark Club offers an elegant atmosphere, overlooking the New York skyline from the 22nd floor, with second-to-none dining by our world-class chef. Discover our panoramic views for your corporate or social event by contacting (973) 242-0658 or or visit

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The Positive Community November 2015 “Winter in Essex County offers many special ways for people of all ages to celebrate the season. Come out and join us at the Zoo, at the Castle and at the Environmental Center.”


Fight Terrorists, Not Muslims “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” —Matthew 5:9 (NASB) “…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”—Matthew 25:40 (NIV) “…Love your neighbor as yourself.”—Mark 12:31 (NIV) “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” —Matthew 7:12 (NASB) “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” —Matthew 5:17 (NASB) “Do not oppress an alien…” −Exodus 23:9 (NIV)

Jesus Christ stated the first five Bible verses quoted above. The sixth verse, probably less familiar than the first five, was spoken by God to Moses, as one of the laws God instructed Moses to set before the ancient Israelites. In the news these days is American Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigration to the United States. I think such a ban would violate the Divine commands listed above. If immigration is allowed for virtually all otherwise legal aliens except Muslims, then a ban on Muslim immigration would constitute discrimination. Discrimination is a form of oppression. God commands us to not oppress aliens. Moreover, many of the Muslims presently seeking to emigrate to Europe or the United States are victims of war and oppression, and are, in this regard, some of the least of God’s created people. Therefore we should help them. We should distinguish between Muslims in general and Muslim terrorists. Not all Muslims are terrorists. In fact, many Muslims, probably including many considering emigrating to the U.S., are victims of Muslim terrorism. I perceive that Muslims are far more often victims of Muslim terrorism than are Americans or Europeans. The mainstream press in America provides extensive coverage of Americans and Europeans (white folks) victimized by Islamic terrorists, but limited coverage of Africans and Near Easterners (darker folks) victimized by Islamic terrorists. Reliable non-mainstream news sources also reveal that “Muslim” and “terrorist” are not synonymous.

For example, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Daily Nation (published in Kenya), Newsweek, and Our Time Press (published in Brooklyn) have reported that when Al-Shabaab, a violent extremist Islamic group based in Somalia, attacked a bus containing 62 passengers in the town of Mandera, Kenya, Muslim passengers protected Christian passengers. Al-Shabaab had shot at the bus, forced it to stop, and boarded it. Once aboard, Al-Shabaab tried to separate the Christians and Muslims, intending to kill the Christians. But Muslim passengers had given some Christian passengers Islamic clothing so that Al-Shabaab could not easily identify who was Christian. Even when Al-Shabaab threatened to shoot the Muslim passengers as well, the Muslims stood by the Christian passengers. Ultimately, the Al-Shabaab terrorists left the bus. The Koran identifies Christians and Jews as “People of the Book,” and recognizes that Judaism and Christianity are monotheistic religions that predate Islam. Reportedly, in the Koran Muhammad instructs Muslims not only to tolerate Christians, but also to protect Christians from harm. Jews believe in the Old Testament of the Bible, Christians believe in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and Muslims believe in the Old Testament, the New Testament (generally excluding Paul’s writings), and the Koran. Muslims identify the three greatest prophets as Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. As a Christian, I recognize that Muslims err in demoting Jesus to a prophet. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and, at a deeper level, God-in-the-flesh. Nonetheless, it is significant that Muslims recognize that Jesus is highly important. It is also significant that, as Muhammad spread the Islamic faith in Arabia during the 7th century, when the polytheistic authorities that controlled Arabia at that time violently opposed him, Muhammad fled to Ethiopia (i.e. Abyssinia), which was predominantly Christian. The fact that this hiatus worked is part of the refutation of the somewhat typical American assumption that Islam is essentially anti-Christian. I have repeatedly encountered Muslims who have converted to Christianity. This is not surprising, given their prior familiarity with the Gospels and the Old Testament. So let’s focus on opposing terrorism, not on banning and fighting all Muslims. Winter 2016 The Positive Community



Vol. 16, No. 1



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 Doris Young Boyer Rev. Theresa Nance Rev. Reginald T. Jackson Glenda Cadogan Helene Fox Rev. Dr. Joanne Noel Photographers Bob Gore Wali A. Muhammad Seitu Oronde Rev. Dr. William L. Watkins, Jr. Darryl Hall Vincent Bryant Hubert Williams Brian Branch Price Karen Waters Art Direction & Layout Penguin Design Group Martin Maishman The Positive Community Corp. 133 Glenridge Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042 973-233-9200 Fax: 973-233-9201 Email: Website: All contents © The Positve Community Corporation. All Rights Reserved. This publication, in whole or in part, winter 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.

62 The Positive Community

The Last Word

Winter 2016

nother January, another new year. The greetings and well wishes seemed to have died down a bit as folks are settling into 2016. Valentine’s Day cards and gifts are already on display at many stores. Can I get through the MLK Day sale before being bombarded with hearts, chocolates, and jewelry commercials, please? Speaking of commercials, I’ve noticed a certain black female media mogul doing advertisements for a major weight-loss company. I guess that means that most people are still attempting to keep their new year’s resolutions and the gym is still crowded . . . give it a couple of weeks. I’ve given up on making resolutions for January, only to either forget them or fail within a few weeks. I’ve finally realized that for me, resolutions simply do not work. There, I said it. And the truth shall set me free! It’s been said and I’ve observed that as people age, they tend to filter less and be more honest and vocal about their beliefs. Call me an old soul, I guess, because I’m finding myself in that place where I just don’t have the tolerance for phoniness and fakery. Folks can talk all day about what they’re “going to do,” but I’ll believe it when I see it. You might say that my attitude for 2016 and likely well beyond is “Don’t talk about it; be about it.” Instead of posturing and prophesizing about what will eventually take place in my life, I’m just going to keep my mouth shut and do what needs to be done. I’ve also come to the conclusions that things will get done in their own time and not always when we’d like or expect them to be done. Knowing this allows me to be more realistic about timelines and expectations in general. With that said, I don’t have to wait for Black History Month to express pride in the struggles and

accomplishments of my people. I don’t have to wait for February 14th to tell my husband how much I love him and show it with a small gift, if I choose to do so. I don’t have to wait for Easter to appreciate my Lord’s supreme sacrifice or buy that new outfit, either. Rather than wait for my birthday in April, I’ll bake myself a fabulous cake and invite my friends and family over to celebrate me simply because I feel like it and I can. And I most definitely will not wait until May to tell my mother how incredibly blessed I am to have someone as beautiful, thoughtful, wise, intelligent, funny, generous, and all around FABULOUS as she is. And typing that just made me realize I need to call my dad! For me, 2016 will be a year of gratitude and not taking things for granted. I won’t wait to be thankful for a new car or a fancy vacation. No, instead I’ll be grateful that my old car still runs just fine, that the sun shines just as brightly in my backyard as it does on a tropical island or international city, and that a croissant on the subway can make it feel like a ride on le métro. I’ll appreciate the relationships I have whether or not they look like the ones I say I want. There’s always room for improvement and honestly, God knows what He’s doing and sometimes He keeps certain people at a distance for good reason. Yes, 2016 will be a fine year simply because I am determined to make it so. But I don’t need to tell you, so I’ll just get to work.



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Winter 2016 The Positive Community


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The Winter 2016 Issue  

MLK DAY! Reflections on MLK and much, much, more!

The Winter 2016 Issue  

MLK DAY! Reflections on MLK and much, much, more!