Urban Sentinel (September 2020 Edition)

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S E P T E M B E R 2020 E D I T I O N


MADEN American Novelist

AMIKA ADAMS I Invents from the Heart


Music Is A Cultural Institution


From The Desk of The Editor Reginald Kearney Editor

Corretta L. Doctor

Brandon J. Jolly

Business Manager

Layout Designer

Yvonne Medley

C. NaTasha Richburg



Musa Bangura

Anita Davis-DeFoe



Stacey Henry-Carr

Bridgette Alfred



The Urban Sentinel Magazine Address: 102 Discovery Ct. La Plata, Maryland 20646 Phone: 301-661-3989 Editor Reginald Kearney Advertising Inquiries Phone: 301-661-3989 E-mail: reginald.kearney@marylanddailyexaminer.com Website: www.urbansentinel.com


Where did the month of August go? It is now September and I am sure that some of you are thinking about the holidays. The country is still faced with some major issues as the Covid-19 virus continues to grip the country, along with issues such as joblessness and the economy. The staff and I continue to pray for those families and individuals who are being affected by the Covid-19 virus. The cover story for this month features Mike Maden who is an American novelist. He is well known for the Jack Ryan novels, which are part of the Tom Clancy universe, as well as for the Drone series of techno-thrillers. We are also featuring Gary Dennis Hines who is the Music Director and Producer of the 3-time, Grammy Award-Winning Sounds of Blackness. Gary shares his story with us as he discusses his journey as a career musican over the last 50 years. Finally for the ladies, we have a story on the inventor of the “Purse for Heels,” Amika Adams l. We are striving to be a favorite magazine to readers around the world. We are reaching homes across nations and sharing stories of empowerment, inspiration and entertainment from the film, music and literary industries. In keeping with our broad approach to bringing you the very best information in a highly professional manner, we are striving to be the best. We value the feedback from our readers because it helps us to grow. Please email me at reginald.kearney@marylanddailyexaminer. com with your feedback. If you would like to advertise with us, send an email with the word ‘Advertise’ in the subject line. Like us on Facebook at The Urban Sentinel, follow us on Twitter at @ UrbanSentinel and you may follow us on Instagram at www. theurbansentinel. Thank you for continuing to support Urban Sentinel magazine, tell your friends about us and enjoy this month’s edition.



Saving Your Dancing Heels

From Paris to New York with Ingrid


Racquetball Revival



Music from the Heart of A Man


House Calls


Building A Legacy Through Words


Sara - A Writing Coach With Soul


Be An Impactful Entrepreneur - Create Purposeful Profits


Mike Maden - American Novelist


Staying Together In Marriage


A True Technologist and Serial Entrepreneur


Project Faith


I Am Brown


Your Gifts Will Make Room


Spiritual Nourishment


Her Love for Handbags


Seizing Each Day


Racial Profiling and Police Brutality


Tips for Parents, Effectively Communicate with Your Children


Roderick T. Miller, CEO - Invest Puerto Rico


Wash Corona Virus Away


Lord God




by corretta l. doctor for the urban sentinel

Gary Dennis Hines is a musician that speaks to the world from his soul. He is the epitome of a career musician and for 50 years Gary has been in the business of creating a work of legendary sound: music that encompasses culture and history. Gary loves music and he makes no excuses for his undeniable ‘marriage to the music” that he focuses on with an aggressive passion. He is the Music Director and Producer of Sounds of Blackness, a vocal and instrumental ensemble from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Today, Gary Hines is the only original member of Sounds of Blackness and with 30 members the group is comprised of 20 singers and 10 musicians. Sounds of Blackness is a 3-time Grammy award winning cultural institution, they are not just a band. Gary is the youngest of six children born to Edward J. and Doris Hines, both deceased. Gary was born and raised in Yonkers, New York and lived in the Schlobohm Housing Projects, also widely referred to as “slow bomb” projects for its familiar stories of struggle and crime that riddled the community. Gary is proud of his beginnings in Yonkers, the place many call home and the place that produced some mega stars; Mary J. Blige lived in Schlobohm for 11 years. Gary grew up in a home with five siblings, he is child six. His Mother, Doris, was an international Jazz singer, performing with great acts such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Sarah Vaughan. Doris had a four-octave voice that landed her titles such as “The Satin Doll” and with her global 4

reach into regions such as Japan among her travels with the USO, she was also known as “Queen of the Eastern Supper Clubs”. Her friend, civil rights activist and award winning poet Maya Angelou, wrote of Doris in her literary works. Gary’s father Edward was from Laurinburg, North Carolina, a city in Scotland County. Laurinburg is a Tree City and is located just under 50 miles from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Doris named the first five of her children, there were three boys and three girls. Edward asked Doris if he could name the sixth baby. She said yes and Edward named Gary Dennis after two American actors by giving their son his first name from Gary Cooper and his middle name from Dennis Day.

for Recording Arts (HSRA) has released new music that educates and empowers people. The new release, ‘Sick and Tired’ is an uplifting song with a message. The video is hitting digital spaces worldwide. Jamecia Bennett, daughter of the incomparable Ann Nesby and mother of Season 5 American Idol finalist #5 Paris Bennett, is the director of the video for the song Sick and Tired. Watch here: http://www.soundsofblackness.org/

Gary credits both parents for encouraging him to learn music. He recalls his days of going to The Samuel H. Dow American Legion post 1017 in Yonkers to study music. Gary started out as a drummer. His instrument of choice, and unquestionable precision is the piano/keyboards. Gary is an amazing talent and we know his parents are proud of him. Gary lives moments away from where George Floyd’s life ended at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The moment Gary heard about Floyd’s death, what he describes as “the modern day lynching”, he felt anger, outrage, and was livid. Gary stepped to the streets where so many are losing their life unnecessarily, and without a pause, he supported the vigils and protests. Gary says, “A change is going to come, and it has already started.” Gary and the Sounds of Blackness featuring High School

Gary has a list of accomplishments and his work has landed him on many stages throughout the world. After years of singing about the Motherland, Gary declares his trip to the Pan-African Cultural Festival in Accra, Ghana as his #1 personal career highlight. “Standing where my forefathers stood and hearing the locals say welcome home was life changing.” You can hear the URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


generations of musicians that will keep the spirit of the cultural institution of The Sounds of Blackness alive, Gary continues to lead with pride. He is recognized across educational platforms, global stages, and everywhere in between as a leading force in the music industry and educational system.

pride in Gary’s voice as he reminisces on that voyage.

When I asked Gary, what is your TODAY story, he replied candidly, “my today story is the same as my yesterday story.” Gary is consistent and ever growing in his ability to teach through music. He is a firm believer in loving what you do. Gary loves his role in music and it fulfills his life.

Gary has two Honorary Doctorates, one of those from his Alma Mater, Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Gary is an American icon in a genre of music that is healing and helpful, just as much as it is entertaining. Keeping with the goal to educate and lead

Dr. Gary Dennis Hines is the foundation of the infrastructure of good, creative, soul stirring music that embodies culture. He followed his childhood endeavors to be a great musician and he arrived. He is a great person and musician and we applaud him for his love of music and his ability to share that love with the world.



TELE-HEALTH FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 by jay arrington for the urban sentinel

Much like when blacks were refused medical treatment

the age of Covid-19 poses a significant health threat

during Jim Crow, lack of broadband internet access in

to urban African American communities and people

the age of Covid-19 poses a significant health threat to

of color writ large. As Covid-19 continues its march

urban African American communities.

across the United States, access, or the lack thereof, to broadband internet is once again a key factor at the

I remember in the early sixties during the age of Jim

forefront of the debate over segregated health care.

Crow in North Carolina, when the only white doctor

Mistakenly, many see internet access as readily

in town would make house calls. And while this was

available, ubiquitous if you will. But nothing could

not at all unusual if your family were white, it was

be further from the truth. Internet access in rural and

however, somewhat out of the norm if your family was

urban areas in many instances lag far behind their

black. It was not a well-kept secret that during the age

suburban counterparts. Affordability, and digital

of Jim Crow, blacks were not welcomed in hospitals, or

competency representing two contributing factors.

the offices of white doctors.

The latter having a larger impact on older African Americans who suffer from underlying conditions

In fact, most of the time when blacks were welcomed

and are more likely to not be technologically savvy,

into medical settings during Jim Crow it involved

rendering them more hesitant to employ tele-health

blacks being used as human guinea pigs- sans the

methods, internet access notwithstanding.

U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee, 1932-1972. In addition to lunch counters, restrooms,

An analysis released February 2019 by the think

water fountains, and schools that were segregated by

tank Third Way https://www.thirdway.org/report/

race and maintained through legislation and acts of


terror, so too were hospitals, health care clinics and

for-expanding-broadband concluded that broadband

doctor’s offices.

availability tends to be lower in counties that have significant African American and Native American

Much like when blacks were refused medical treatment during Jim Crow, lack of broadband internet access in

populations: • Once a county’s white population rises above 25%, URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


broadband availability holds steady at around 82% of

(males) being welcomed into medical settings. The

the population.

horror of what transpired there notwithstanding,

• As a county’s African American population rises,

there was also an insidious psychological side effect

broadband availability falls from 83% in counties that

of those experiments. Side effects which rendered

are less than 25% African American to 60% in counties

African Americans -especially males- hesitant to even

that are at least 75% African American.

visit doctors.

Unfortunately, lack of equitable broadband access

Given the severity of [Covid-19] and the stark

effects not only the health of African Americans,

evidence of its inequitable ravishing of the African

but also causes barriers to long distance learning as

American community, we cannot afford to continue

evidenced by the above chart.

to place segregation in health care on the back burner especially during this momentous Black Lives Matter

Earlier I referenced the U.S. Public Health Service

movement. We must not forget that a healthy life

Syphilis Study at Tuskegee regarding African American

matters too.



Legacy WITH

WORDS by c. nathaniel brown for the urban sentinel What does a 5-year-old kid growing up in the inner city of Baltimore know about being a writer? When I was about that age, that’s what I told my mother I wanted to be when I grew up. “Baby, you can be and do anything you want,” she told me that day, and I believed her. During my childhood, I wrote everything from poetry (like my mother) to short stories to letters to ideas for movies and televisions. I used to scribble ideas on napkins, scraps of paper or anything I had access to and slip them into my pocket, saying, one day, I’m going to put this in a movie, or one day, I’m going to write a book about this. I had no idea how any of that would happen but something inside of me knew that it would, and I never let that dream disappear. Aside from my mother writing poetry, I didn’t know another writer, let alone a professional writer in any field. So, the only thing I knew to do was to continue writing…and reading poetry. Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar became my writing inspirations. I would read Maya Angelou’s poems and mimic them, counting the number of

words in a line, studying the flow, zoning in on the stories within the stories. Maya Angelou became my writing mentor before I knew what a mentor was. I would go on to become a journalist, spending more than 20 years as a newspaper and magazine reporter; write 17 books; write more than 50 screenplays; and become a writing mentor to thousands of writers across the world. But one of my proudest moments as a writer and mentor came when my 11-year-old grandson and I published his first children’s book, My First Best Friend. Two years ago, I visited family, friends, and colleagues in Baltimore. While there, I picked up my then 9-yearold grandson, Kyan, so we could spend time together as I dropped off books, met with potential writing clients and discussed future movie projects. Apparently, he was listening to everything. As we drove through the city, he said, “Pop Pop, I want to write a movie and be in a movie. I want to write a book with you.” I saw the younger me in him. I saw his excitement. I felt his passion.



I had just met with a potential partner about doing a movie based on the life of Lor Scoota, a Baltimore rapper who had been tragically murdered just as his career was beginning to flourish. Kyan was familiar with Lor Scoota and his music and began brainstorming scenes and scenarios that could be a part of the movie. I was excited to be having this conversation with him, but I was also impressed by the level of detail and creativity he exhibited. The conversation soon shifted to books. “What do you want the first book to be about,” I asked. “I want to write a lot of books, but I want the first one to be about bullying,” he said. I wasn’t surprised that his vision was to correct a wrong. He has a pure heart. He loves everyone and hates the mistreatment of others. He is a special kid, so I was just as excited as he was to hear about the ideas he tucked away in his mind about the books and movies he wanted to write. We began brainstorming and he introduced the idea of a boy being bullied by other kids until another boy befriended him, bringing the bullying to an end. He also wanted to include his

love for football in the story, so we did. That day, the idea and concept for My First Best Friend was born. Two years later, my 11-year-old grandson is a published author. When I established Expected End Entertainment, a full-service media and entertainment company designed to create content for books, movies, television, and the internet, a big part of the vision was to create a legacy through words. One of my personal goals is to help 10,000 writers to become published authors, which I do through individual author coaching, webinars, seminars, workshops, and publishing consulting. I want others to experience the joy I felt when I published my first book in 1996, 20 years after that quiet kid told his mother that one day he’d be a writer. The day I walked into a bookstore and saw my book on display next to my writing hero, Maya Angelou’s books was bliss. That’s a legacy I want my family and friends to experience. Last year, on my daughter’s 30th birthday, we published her first book. My wife is a now a published author. Hundreds of my friend, associates, and colleagues have also published and have created legacies through words. And now, a new generation through my grandson. Aside from what I call distant mentors in people like Maya Angelou, I never had a professional writer cultivate my gift and passion for writing. So, I wanted to be that for others, especially those closest to me. In addition to be a reporter, I’ve authored 17 books and written more than 40 screenplays, so I can only imagine the impact my grandson can have by experiencing this part of his passion at such an early age. I am grateful to be in a position to inspire and motivate him, but he inspires and motivates me to continue to do what I’m doing. And the best part about it is we’re doing it together…we’re creating legacies and having an impact. In the words of Maya Angelou, “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” The late rapper Tupac Shakur once said, “I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” I can relate to that statement because I often say my mission is about T.I.M.E. – transformation, inspiration, motivation, and empowerment. Maybe that will be my legacy. Maybe that will be Kyan’s legacy.


www.EX3ent.com ExpectedEndEntertainment@gmail.com URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


Invention from the

Heart by stacey henry-carr for the urban sentinel Have you ever been ballroom dancing? I have not but after hearing Amika Adams the 1st (Amika Adams I) story and how ballroom dancing was a catalyst to her latest invention and her improved self-esteem, I am excited and ready to try it. There are many talented women in the world but some of us dim our shine and hide our genius because of our past experiences. Amika Adams wants to make sure that the women who cross her path step out of the shadows and be visible. She recognizes that some women’s talents will stay hidden if they do not have someone cheering them on. This spirited woman lights up the room, and commands attention with her infectious personality and is ready to cheer you on. She specializes in helping women who have been through a divorce and working on their next chapter. She believes in using creativity to heal your past since she experienced this deliverance herself. Amika is a Creative Brand Strategist and an Inventor Resource Coach. She has several projects that she is passionately


working on to bring about change and inspiration. Some of her masterful projects include Creative Thinkers Tank, The Cinderella Affect Podcast, and her Purse for Heels invention. She is known as “The Creative Ladi” and she wants to help other people learn how to patent their invention at an affordable fee by sharing the resources she found. She encourages women who have been through a divorce to learn how to date themselves and learn who they are to their core. She wants them to learn how to start the party within themselves. “What do you want to change in the world because whatever it is you can use that as your awakened purpose”? Amika encourages women not to ignore their true calling. You can find her on her Youtube channel Amika Adams the 1st Show walking through the process of her latest invention the Purse for Heels the Latrenae' Collection. She shares with her audience her fabric choices, the invention process, and the resources needed to launch her creative inventions. Amika Adams the 1st answer to the below questions summarizes her passion and purpose. What is your Purpose statement? My purpose is to support women who are struggling to become confident inventors to be financially secure. Who are you in business? The creative inventor who supports women through their invention journey What are the core passions that fulfill you and motivate you? My passion is to get low self-esteem, divorced women to be strong women inventors. I am motivated because I was going through a divorce and had to find my way on my own. I want other women to know they are not alone in the invention process and they can reach their goals at a low cost. This Ann Arbor, Michigan native grew up seeing physical and mental abuse and tried her whole life to avoid it. She lost herself during her divorce but knew there was a purpose for her to serve others and one day she acted. Amika cannot stay down for long because her energy is too strong. One day

while going through the divorce process her cousin got her out of the bed to go ballroom dancing. She said while she was ballroom dancing, she felt validated and had what she called “The Cinderella Affect” each time one of the men would ask her to dance. When she was twirled on the dance floor like Cinderella was her healing began. She said that night rejuvenated her spirit and made her feel alive and admired. It was through that ballroom experience that her podcast “The Cinderella Affect” and her newest invention of the world's only eco-friendly purse for heels were born (Latrenae' Collection). During ballroom dancing, she found her self-esteem and her invention. Who would have thought that you can empower a woman by making her a fancy bag for her heels? Amika did because she found another way to make women feel great about themselves. Her journey had its ups and downs but Amika went through processes to learn about herself, she learned that sometimes you don’t get it right the first time, but when she showed her authentic self, she went from the girl of feeling invisible to turning on the floodlights. She learned the power of networking and gathering resources. She said she enjoyed the process and have learned that “the process is like an adventure to get to know herself and that the process is exciting”. Today, this spirited kind-hearted woman is using her creativity and her inventions to help other women find themselves and keep a smile on their faces. “I don’t want anyone feeling like they are invisible” Amika has a powerful purpose and she spoke passionately about helping all the women who will cross her path. Amika encourages women to find a hobby that will bring out their God-given gift from within themselves to help them to discover their hidden passion. Whether it is through listening to her podcast, having a oneon-one coaching session, or joining her A.A.I.-Tribe, there is a dynamic shift waiting for you through Amika Adams the 1st services. You can contact Amika Adams I. at admin@amikaadamsthe1st.com



A Writing Coach

with Soul


by stacey henry-carr for the urban sentinel

So many people are walking around with an impactful story that could heal the world. It is so profound that it scares them, and they keep it suppressed. My mantra about writing is that “it is my healing power.” If I feel it deeply then I must write about it! But I was not always willing to write freely there have been times I needed a writing coach. It is because of my passion for writing that makes Sarah Jefferis so interesting. Sarah Jefferis is an author, editor, and speaker. She has a consulting business called, Write. Now., where she serves as a writing coach for educators, activists, speakers, artists, poets, storytellers who are stuck in the middle of their writing projects. Sarah is happy to work across multiple disciplines or multiple genres. Her workshops are designed to appeal to the writer’s creative process which allows them to be vulnerable and connects to the creative heart deep within. “I help my clients tap into their true selves and connect to the creativity that lives within and it appears as poems, stories, or essays on a paper” That is why I call Sarah a “therapeutic writing coach” because she encourages her clients to have an emotional connection to their ideas, sentences, and final writing projects. She uses her intuitive connection with her clients to help them to produce writing from the soul. Sarah stated that she “connects with her clients’ deeper, not just their words”. As a mother of two daughters, she understands the importance of raising them to have a confident voice. Her subject-specific writing workshops empower mothers to honor their artistic spirit and to develop confident voices for themselves and their children. It is through this process that Sarah Jefferis

can help her clients to create a positive shift in the legacy they want to leave for their children. They can change the narrative by writing out their story and create the ending they desire. Sarah is no stranger to overcoming adversities and as a writing coach, she encourages healing through written and spoken words. She offers poetry readings on surviving sexual assault and facilitates trusting the writing process as a tool to speak out and effect change. This permeates through her most recent poetry collection, What Enters the Mouth, that was published in February 2017 by Standing Stone Books. This collection is brave and written from a badass approach wrapped with plenty of healing. She is no stranger to poetry since she won the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Prize for her poem “Motherhood” from her first book of poetry Forgetting the Salt, that was published by Foothills Press in 2008. Sarah holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Literature from Hollins University, a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from SUNY Binghamton. Currently, she is a parttime lecturer at Cornell University and is passionate about her speaking engagements that show her audiences how to use writing practices to move from post-traumatic stress to posttraumatic growth. Sarah believes everyone can write and welcomes clients at various stages in their writing. Beginning, middle, or stuck she has a coaching framework that fits. Sarah has been awarded many prizes and accolades for her poetry and writing. But the most rewarding comes

from her clients. One of Sarah’s clients raved about her service by stating that: Sarah Jefferis is my writing doula! She is a joyful spirit who truly celebrates the writing process. Sarah inspires us with recitations from the talented voices of poets among us, all the while coaxing and guiding our own creative force along. In the end, a new piece of writing inevitably emerges from within our sacred writing space. I would highly recommend Sarah's workshops. As a result of coaching with Sarah Jefferis, her clients will move from their ideas about a book project to a final product, they will transform their sentences into paragraphs and those paragraphs into pages, and they will find their courageous voices. She is looking for artists, speakers, pastors, educators, writers, change agents who want to launch their career with a first book, or up-level their career with a second memoir. Who do you know? You can find her at https://www. facebook.com/Write.Now.withSarah Sarah Jefferis stated that “writing saved my life” and so she writes with passion from a deep place. “Everything feels aligned when I am helping someone write with passion and purpose and they realize that they are capable and that their narrative matters to the community. Narratives build bridges of compassion across differences.” If you need writing /editing services you should contact Sarah Jefferis at www.instagram.com/sarah_b_jefferis https://sarahjefferis.com/ write.now.sjefferis2@gmail.com



BE AN IMPACTFUL ENTREPRENEUR CREATE PURPOSEFUL PROFITS! by dr. anita davis-defoe for the urban sentinel Whether fostered by the passion of an idea, a need to be of service; a desire to create a new product; in search of more life balance; or a hunger for personal freedom, the number of entrepreneurs, especially women is growing by leaps and bounds. What is a purposeful business? A purposeful business is one that combines selling a product/service with tackling a problem or challenge in the world. Product and service sales become a vehicle for this positive change, these revenues support the impact you aspire to achieve. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2020, reports that women still lag behind male entrepreneurs worldwide except in three economies, which are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Madagascar. The average level of both entrepreneurial activity and established business ownership in the United States has trended upwards for the past 19 years, according to this report. Even still, there are enterprise trails for women and minorities to blaze/ With fifty economies and over 150,000 individuals participating in the GEM 2019 Adult Population Survey (APS), more than 40% of entrepreneurs agreed that their motivation to start a business was to make a difference in the world…purposeful profits. While creating financial wealth is a typical entrepreneurial aim, this goal has ceased to be enough. Inspirational motivations and purpose weigh in heavily for entrepreneurs in all sectors globally, with this mindset being more prevalent amongst women than men.


In a recent GEM press release, Niels Bosma, Professor at Utrecht University School of Economics and Chair of the GEM’s Board of Directors shared, “The desire to get rich and create wealth will clearly not go away, nor should it. These findings do demonstrate that individual wealth creation is by no means the only driver for entrepreneurs. The new generation of entrepreneurs increasingly tend to be aspirational in other ways,” In this time of COVID-19, many companies have demonstrated a heightened consciousness about allocating their profits more purposefully, some as a result of shame and others because of authentic sensitivity. The GEM report noted that India, South Africa and Guatemala had the highest percentage of entrepreneurs whose motivations are to make a difference. With staggering job losses and job insecurity globally, the report noted that entrepreneurial motivations may also be indicative of this unsettling reality. In 35 of the 50 economies, some 50% of adults starting a new business stated that their motivation was to earn a living because jobs were scarce, and this sentiment was particularly high among women. “This is important evidence of the potential and current contribution of entrepreneurship to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Aileen Ionescu-Somers, GEM Executive Director. “It is also encouraging to see the substantive evidence of ‘purposedriven’ entrepreneurship taking hold at the grassroots level, demonstrating the collective will for future

business sustainability. With low per capita incomes prevailing in the Caribbean region, it was found that the motivation driving women to become entrepreneurs was prompted more by necessity, rather than merely capitalizing on an opportunity. The most early state entrepreneurial activity was found in Latin America and the Caribbean. A good indicator of sustained health of entrepreneurship in an economy is the level of Established Business Ownership (EBO). Less than 2% of adults are running mature businesses in Puerto Rico, Egypt, Mexico and Oman, compared to 20% in Madagascar, 16% in Brazil, 15% in Guatemala and Ecuador and 14% in Greece. Interested in creating purposeful profits, start with passion-driven purpose, then consider people, the planet, and profits. Begin by taking your heartfelt purpose and then create something practical, you have now gone from purpose to concept to strategy. You have brainstormed your why, identified the how and moved on to the what. Try these steps: Step 1: Define the inspiring purpose ‌ the WHY

2. What do we do for them? 3. How does this enable them to achieve more, or be more? Step 2: Design the strategic concept ‌ the HOW What is the big idea which will enable your business to deliver this purpose in a unique or better way? What is the strategic concept that will manifest your intent? Your concept is the core activity that enables you to deliver the purpose. Step 3: Develop your purpose-driven strategy‌ the WHAT How you will execute your strategy so that your product or service is considered to be value-added, your branded is memorable and you achieve results? Remember, the mission is what a business does, vision is a description of the future state when success is achieved, and goals are the specific things to achieve on the way, while purpose is about how your business engages with the world to make it better. Be an impactful entrepreneur and mind your business on purpose!!

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Mike MADEN American Novelist by c. natasha richburg for the urban sentinel Mike Maden, an extraordinarily energetic visionary novelist of the critically acclaimed Drone series, has been invited to the campus of Tom Clancy , #1 New York Times bestseller, to write the Jack Ryan Jr. summer series. A trained researcher, Maden holds both a Master’s and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California-Davis, specializing in international relations and comparative politics. As a political consultant, Maden has lectured and consulted on the topics of war and the Middle East, among others. Maden’s optimistic enthusiasm is a reflection of what is possible if we work hard, stay focused, and dare to dream. His insightful commentary regarding how hard work is necessary to position ourselves for “luck” to find us; Maden made a life-changing encouraging impression on this interviewer. The reader will be left with several Maden quotes to ponder on for those who need a quick note to motivate them to write. “I didn’t know I was a fiction writer until I was 40 years old,” Maden said. He started as a screenwriter and producer for TV shows and films in Hollywood. Maden’s written work included the web TV series Pink (2007-2009), which won a Streamy Award, Continuum (2012), and the movie Sunny in the Dark (2015). “My friends gave me the challenge to write,” said Maden, whose college friends wrote a combined 30 novels within a 17-year period. His friends helped him understand that the goal of novel-writing is to complete at least 80,000 words. “My screenwriting experience put me in contact with a friend who is also an agent. The agent took my first book to New York City. I got a two-book deal.” Maden’s book deal kicked off the Drone thriller series, described on www.

mikemaden.com/drone.shtml as “exploring the inescapable consequences of drone warfare”, published by Troy Pearce, including Drone (2013), Blue Warrior (2014), Drone Command (2015), and Drone Threat (2016). When did you get the opportunity to move to the Tom Clancy campus? “After completion of the fourth book in the Drone series, Tom Clancy’s editor, who was also my paperback editor, asked me to join the Tom Clancy campus. That was the most exciting day of my life, and the most terrifying day as the same time. I was selected to write the Jack Ryan Jr. series, which is the summer series for the Tom Clancy books.” From his East Tennessee residence with a view of the Smokey Mountains, Maden diligently writes the Jack Ryan Jr. series, including Point of Contact (2017), Line of Sight (2018), Enemy Contact (2019), and Firing Point (2020). The 2020 Firing Point novel summarized on www.mikemaden.com/firingpoint.shtml says that “Jack Ryan, Jr. is out to avenge the murder of an old friend, but the vein of evil he's tapped into may run too deep for him to handle.” The story brings the reader into Jack Ryan Jr.’s Barcelona location to experience the world of the Spanish Intelligence Service. There is an “unrelenting search to find out the reason behind the death…” of his friend Reneé. In describing the writing process, Maden explains with the passion of a committed novelist, “I am committed to research. There is a sacred responsibility to the reader. The purpose of fiction is to tell the truth with an understanding of the political, historical and cultural context of the story location. Most URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


importantly, the writer has to convey ‘why’ the characters want what they want, since in every story the bad guy thinks they are right. Thus the story has to explore that truth. As long as the story is told in the political and historical context of the cultural truth, the fictional story will be authentic. Ultimately, the story is to do what it can do for the reader.” Noteworthy quotes from Maden include: “You have to learn how to write but nobody can teach you.” “I have learned how to write by writing.” “All writing is rewriting.” “Learn how storytelling works.” “Your first novel will be the worst book you will ever write. Get the second book done. It will be better.” “If you want to be a writer, just get over yourself.” “It is better to be lucky than good. It is also true that the harder you work, the luckier you get.” “The purpose of writing is to bless other people.” The fear of failure is not what drives Maden, as he makes it very clear that if you want to become a writer, “get over yourself.” Maden emphatically explains that knowing and telling the truth about culture and history in the context of the story location is necessary to become a great novelist. Maden’s greatest is evidenced by the work put into his novels. Follow Mike Maden at: www.mikemaden.com






IN MARRIAGE by bridgette alfred for the urban sentinel

A. Introduction: Marriage is still the cultural norm within the United States, and four out of every five adults will get married at some point in their life. On the opposite side, divorce has become a cultural norm within the Baby Boomer generation and generations since. Sometimes people think that marriage will solve all their problems. For the first few years being married is great. But during the marriage, the euphoria of being in love may start to fade. Many people are not willing to work at staying married. Life is miserable so the easiest thing to do is to get divorced. Couples who are miserable tend to blame each another for their unhappiness especially if there are trust issues. People can change over the years but that does not mean that they have to allow their marriage to fail. You may say that you just don't have anything in common anymore. Well, find something or create something that will bring the two of you together. If there are children then this is a big thing to have in common. B. Top Reasons For Divorce: 1. Physical: What are the primary causes for divorce that most couples overlook? To know the cause is to know what to do and to hopefully reduce the chances of a divorce occurring. Some of the reasons or causes for divorce today are: - Ongoing adultery/pornography - Lack of communication - Drug or alcohol addictions/abuse - Physical/emotional abuse - Sexual problems - Financial problems 2. Spiritual: Ephesians 5:25-33 (NIV): Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they 22

feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. C. Addressing The Causes: 1. Physical: By acknowledging the causes of divorce as a real and present danger to your marriage, you can address these serious issues ahead of time. If you have problems in one or more of the areas listed, this does not mean that you are headed for divorce, but if you have several of these issues residing in your present marriage, it could be time for counseling. 2. Spiritual: Matthew 19:4-6 (NIV): “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” D. Conclusion: 1. Physical: Marriage takes work. By reducing the risk, you reduce the chances that you and your spouse will divorce. And if you have children, these are the most precious, innocent victims of all. The family is the basic building block of nations and of society in general. As the family goes, so goes society. Sit down daily to talk with your spouse and just sit and listen. 2. Spiritual: Marriage is a God-ordained institution that is worth fighting for. I pray that this article will remind you just how precious your spouse is to God. See them through His eyes. God loves them more than you do. I pray this will help alleviate many of the causes of divorce for your marriage. You need to be praying daily for your spouse and to be aware of the potential dangers to a marriage. Satan would love nothing more than to destroy marriages. I also pray you make Jesus Christ and His teachings the foundation of your marriage.




Ingrid Jean-Baptiste The Urban Sentinel recently had the

of time in London growing up as

experiencing "acting" was at 5

opportunity to have a conversation

my dad lives out there. My mother

years old, my mother Sonia took



is from Martinique (a French region

me to an audition and they asked

is the founder of the Chelsea

in the Caribbean islands) and father

me to call out the name of my best

Film Festival. The Chelsea Film

from Pakista n. In 2012, my mother

friend "Norah" as if I was searching

Festival, a non-profit organization,

and I were involved in a terrible

for her. I still have the tape, it's

is an international film festival,

car accident in Chelsea, New York

pretty funny!

enlightening the work of emerging

where I was living. It was a very

Urban Sentinel: Who or what was

filmmakers, producers and actors.

challenging time for both of us, as I

most influential to you as a young

The festival offers a wide range of

had just moved to New York City 2


films, such as documentaries and

years prior to study acting at the Lee

feature-lengths, focusing on the

Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute

Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: I realize

theme of “Global Issues.�

(which changed my life profoundly).

the biggest gift that my mother

During my recovery, I had this

offered me as a young artist was

Urban Sentinel: You are an actress

epiphany moment, that it was time

the opportunity to travel the

and also the Founder & Director

to create a platform to support

world at a very young age. First

of the Chelsea Film Festival in

emerging filmmakers from around

with my grandmother took me

New York City, that was selected in

the world. This is how everything

to Martinique (where my mother

the "Top 10 Best Film Festivals in

started, from an idea... I admit a

was born, a French region in the

North America to travel to by USA

crazy idea! (laughs).

Caribbean islands) at the age of



2 years old up to the age of 12

TODAY". Can you tell us where you are from and why you decided to

Urban Sentinel: You started acting

years old. Then, I started to travel

create a film festival back in October

when you were quite young. How

on my own and visiting my pen


old were you? Can you share an

pals around the world: Germany,

anecdote from that time?

England and America. I loved communicating with them, they

Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: I was born and raised in Paris, France - spent a lot


Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: My first time

had a completely different culture



and I was just so mesmerized by

think you know and step into their

France. I am always fascinated

knowing more about them. These

own truth. What a beautiful journey

by people who are not afraid to

experiences shaped the woman and

it can be!

express their own truth. I'm sure he would make a great narrative

artist I am today and no doubt as a Urban Sentinel: Is there anything you


filmmaker as well.

believe is crucial to being an actor? Urban





challenges growing up, can you tell

You practice yoga, do you think it

Urban Sentinel: What is the

can help your acting performance?

accomplishment in your life that you are most proud of?

us what those were for you? Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: I would say to Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: Indeed, but

keep an open mind, so the actor can

Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: I am quite

I want to add that challenges are

embrace the character's truth and

proud of creating the Chelsea Film

amazing opportunities for amazing

be fair in his or her performance/

Festival with my mother Sonia.

growth! The challenge I faced as a kid


It's such a beautiful journey to collaborate with my mom for the

was my many differences, I was very shy, tall and skinny. It didn't appeal

Yes to yoga all the way! I have been

past 8 years. This platform has

to the other children at school. I

practicing yoga for 12 years and

made us grow as human beings and

had only one or two friends I would

recently started teaching Kundalini

helped up step out of our comfort

spend my time with. I had to learn

Yoga, also called the Yoga of

zones repeatedly. I am grateful for

to open up more, acting, singing

Awareness, we tap into our intuition

all the mistakes we've made and

and sports were really helpful in my

and creativity with breath work,

where it brought us today.

growth process.

chanting, meditation and physical movement. It's very grounding. I

Urban Sentinel: Is there any advice


strongly recommend it, especially

you would give to people who hope

you the most in working in the

now as we are living in tumultuous

to work in film?

Entertainment industry?





Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: No advice, if Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: As a film

Urban Sentinel: Do you have

you are called to do it, JUST DO

festival producer what I love the

any dreams of collaborating with

IT! (smiles)

most is meeting new artists, they

someone in the film industry?

have a different vision of the world and that's very inspiring to me. As

Ingrid Jean-Baptiste: There are many

an actress, I love the experience of

people I would love to collaborate

getting into someone else's skin/

with, one of them is Michael Moore,

character, it's quite an emotional

I discovered his work "Bowling for

adventure if you let go of all that you

Columbine" in Sociology class in




A TRUE TECHNOLOGIST AND SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR by c. natasha richburg for the urban sentinel Fred Deese is the youngest of five children of a single mother that joined the Navy to escape poverty and to create a better life. He later successfully became an owner of multiple multimillion dollar companies. To include his federal contracting company Visual Connections (VC). VC is a multi-million dollar federal contractor that specializes in artificial intelligence and medical record reviews. Behind every great company though, is a story of resilience with a laser-sharp focus on its mission. Fred Deese is a true technologist and serial entrepreneur who continuously seek new opportunities to take on innovative technologies coupled with strategic approaches to better serve society. As a serial entrepreneur, Fred’s expertise extends across multiple technologies such as artificial neural networks, facial recognition, big data cloud computing and more to allow for the deliverance of dynamic products that support his clients’ expectations. Fred also embraces family life. He met his wife in 1998 when he was in the Navy. As the story goes... Fred met Tina in Washington state after returning to the naval base to change for an evening outing. He noticed her coming from the gym and it was love at first site. Fred can recall saying to himself “that woman is going to be my wife”. This meeting sparked a conversation that lasted long into the night. The love connection happened while Tina was also in the Navy, assigned to his sister ship while both ships were docked in Everett, Washington. The couple ultimately married in 2001 and had two sons, who are both following their father’s footsteps with careers in information technology. When not working long hours on the never-ending tasks associated with entrepreneurship, Fred enjoys binge watching medieval and Vikings shows. Most importantly, his wife is a great home chef who mastered gluten-free cuisine in their gourmet kitchen. Tina not only prepares Fred’s favorite restaurant quality meals, she also bakes the best oatmeal raisin walnut cookies known to mankind, according to Fred. This interview affords the reader a chance to get to know the CEO of Visual Connections and understand his path 28

to entrepreneurial success starting with the basic question: Who is Frederick Deese? Fred is a person who takes a lot of pride in his work. “I am a shark”, Fred says. “I am someone who aggressively goes after opportunities and knows what I want and never swims backwards.” I am someone who believes you don’t have to have it all figured out to launch a successful business. You can “build the plane in flight.” If you have a cockpit, basic structure and you‘ve wings, you can fly. Fred is also passionate about helping to create opportunities for black people across all his organizations. Specifically, increasing IT and entrepreneurial opportunities within the black community. Describe what it looked like over a decade ago when you founded Visual Connections. My first experience with federal contractors was as a cryptologist in the Navy. I worked in a department with military, contractors, and civilians. My initial interest in contracting was monetary. As an enlisted military person, I was only making around $35,000 with two young kids and my wife who worked as well but daycare was killing us. I was able to leave the military and almost immediately doubled my income which removed some of the financial pressure. My first contracting job was for a computer science corporation. From there, I went on to work on several programs with different contracting companies. After expanding my skills, I found myself working on a large government contract. There, I was able to work at being an indispensable member of the team and started more leadership roles. I excelled there and continued to take on more tasks and assist the prime in exceeding contract standards. After several years, one of the senior managers suggested that I start my own contracting company and do subwork for them. They specifically wanted to use more small business/contractors but had difficulty finding ones that already had the required skill set. After talking it over with my wife that night, VC was born and incorporated within a week. That’s when the real work started because the work required to own your own company pales in comparison. What turned you on to the road of success? The biggest

turning point was probably the military but before then, even the desire to do better, it was my mother that ensured I had a good work ethic. She worked harder than any other person I knew. Whether she was picking cucumbers, washing laundry for neighbors or selling prepared meals, there was nothing she wouldn’t do to make ends meet. My first entrepreneur venture was as a 9-year-old dragging a lawn mower behind my bike to mow the neighbor’s lawns. By the time I was 15, I had two jobs while going to school. I wish I could say I had similar success in the classroom but instead I often found myself struggling to understand concepts without first doing them and reading was painstakingly slow. Math was the only place I excelled and felt comfortable. People, especially teachers, assumed I was stupid and I found myself being the class clown or trying to be more popular to avoid the stigma of “dumb”. After graduating by the skin of my teeth, I took the asvab, which I didn’t do great on, but well enough to go in the service. In the military, I was able to excel because doing tasks rather than reading about it, made it easy. It was later in my service, that I found out I was dyslexic rather than “dumb” and that I needed to employ other ways to learn and be successful. Once I understood how I learned, I was able to employ those methods, I started to excel and even started taking formal classes. What turned you on to the path of becoming an Information Technology professional? I left the military in 2001 because as a torpedo man in the navy, the career progression was limited and slow. My wife, a cryptologist at the time, was transferring and we had two kids under 2. At that time, my wife suggested I try my hand at computers, but with little experience and little extra time with small boys, I assumed it was too complicated. Shortly thereafter, I started working with Comcast learning how to do fiber splicing and installing cable. I ended up being recruited to a team doing installs in Potomac because of my military bearing and being clean cut. It was on one of those installs where I was given an opportunity to work on computers. The lead on that job noticed I was a quick learner and after that, I had opportunities on installs to expand my skills and be confident in those skills. Within months, I became a lead Internet developer for the team. I

was doing 30 installs a day and felt great about continuing to master new skills. At that time, my wife suggested that we purchase an older computer for me to play around with. This sounded great but with two small boys in daycare and eating us out of house and home, money to play with just seemed a waste. Through the penny saver, I was able to find a computer shell and parts cheap. With some library books for assistance, it was then I started tinkering and putting together computers. Shortly thereafter, I decided to go back in the military with the goal of becoming a cryptologist focusing on cyber. As I noted before, being dyslexic, testing is a big hurdle, but to get the position, I had to improve my score. Back to the library for study guides and study sessions with my wife, who would read questions to me to better understand concepts. I went from being in the lower quartile to the top 10%. I was accepted to the program and graduated in the top 5% of my training class. It was there, with all the smart kids, that I felt energized and like I found my calling. Within 6-months I had taught myself to build web applications and networking. Over the next few years, with resources from the local library and internet, I was able to master several programming languages. It was in this area, I found my dyslexic difficulties were actually helping me learn faster. I’ll also note throughout my journey how instrumental the library was in my progression and the irony of the place full of things that tormented me as a kid becoming an indispensable resource in my early 20’s. Information technology is an area of study that has many different points of entry. How would you suggest a young person proceed if they want an IT career? Yeah, that’s a good question. There are two ways I would say for most. First, for the individuals that feel like college is not an overwhelming challenge, I would say a computer science degree is the best entry into the tech space. After the first year, you can try to get some type of paid or unpaid internship along with a LinkedIn account, that will add dividends as a computer science major. For individuals who find it challenging to attend college, I recommend e-learning specific to the field of study you are interested in to achieve industry certifications. If you’re creative, you definitely want to try to lean closer to being a web designer, application designer, graphics designer URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


-- try to swing towards your sweet spots, things that you can be successful in. If you see things as ones and zeros, you want to try to lead more towards security and networking and look for certifications in those fields. Find tech college you can do a three-month study that will throw you right into that field, and then put yourself out there and let people understand your certifications. Then practice, practice, practice. I always give people that advice if sitting in a classroom and/or trying to continue with education isn’t for them. Remember, I barely graduated from high school and still do not have a college degree, so it can be done. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs? The main advice is to surround yourself with individuals who will complement your weaknesses. If you're the type of person who is not well-organized, like me, or if you’re not a good writer and your job requires an extensive amount of writing, surround yourself with great writers. That is the number one thing to do. I would say that the second thing I would do is whatever your field of study is, strive, strive, strive to be the best at it. Whether it takes practicing, continuing education, reading up on the subject matter, whatever it takes to be able to do that, because honestly, especially as a minority, you have to claim the respect that you deserve. Most people don't recognize your skillset until whatever the work you do is working better than anything they ever seen. What about money in terms of investing in your business when you do not have a lot? Access to capital is the one of the most difficult roadblocks to growth and it’s one that you have little control over. Without a prior relationship or prior company, many banks don’t want to take the risk or approve a line of credit which is necessary in contracting given the contracting pay lag will you need to meet payroll. My advice is to selffinance as much as you can while starting a relationship with a local bank or credit union to build your business credit worthiness. I was my first employee and even when I had several, I still worked my own contract and took on additional projects so that I could plow back that money into growing my business. With low overhead and debt load, I was able to grow my banking relationship as well. Being able to later access a line of credit was game changing. Do not listen to people that say as CEO you shouldn’t also do tasks or work on contracts. You’re financing your business future with those earnings and not jeopardizing the company or your family by taking on loads of debt that could hurt you in the lean times. 30

by dr. lenore t. coleman for the urban sentinel Lavonda Murphy may appear to be an ordinary woman, but she is doing some extraordinary things. Especially when it comes to raising her five girls and being the “Daughters of Mothers Advocate”. Lavonda Murphy has been serving in the United States Army for the last 21 years and is working toward her retirement in 2021. She has served her country and gained many rewarding experiences along the way. But it is her anticipation of the next chapter of her life that brings her the most joy. She has always had the desire to serve in the community and she proclaimed her work with Daughters of Mothers as a vital part of her journey and next chapter. When we talked about her next chapter her love and connection to her family and her Daughters of Mothers group permeated through the conversation. There is no doubt about the passion she has around her awakened purpose. She is ready to go out in the world and show daughters and mothers how they connect and what they mean to each other. She said, “I am truly an advocate of women and helping them to understand who they are so that they can put that knowledge into their girls”

Lavonda wants to reach uninformed women to teach them about self-love; what it is and how it should look and feel. As she counts down to the next chapter of her life, she has a vivid blueprint of the service she will provide as a coach to women, daughters, and mothers. Her Facebook group Daughters of Mothers- May We Raise Them is a safe place for support. Lavonda describes her group as a village that “will provide counsel and comfort necessary to raise our little world changers” The mission of her mothers and daughter is a loving helping community where women can come for nonjudgmental support. Where they can continuously learn about themselves from others' mistakes and triumphs. She wants women to learn to share. She said, “sharing is so important, nobody wants to be alone, in this group you can ditch the pride, competition, and the jealousy and just share”. Lavonda’s reason for her passion for her group is her five beautiful daughters, her mom, and her “bonus mom”. She is motivated by the lessons she learned from both mother-figures in her life. She used these gems and nuggets to continue to shape her girls. She remembers not being the best daughter and decided to do her best job as a mom. She wants her girls to know they have a



tribe! She has surrounded them with good people with great energy. I asked Lavonda what she was looking forward to most about her retirement from the military, and she answered peace of mind to do what she loves which is spending more time with her family. With humility, she stated that her husband had been so supportive for all the years of her being in the military and she was looking forward to giving back that support to make his business Steady Growth Fitness thrive. Her face lit up as she spoke about continuing to help her five daughters with their bath bomb business Murphy’s Love. Her passion around this was a testament to her commitment to her family. I could not end my interview without asking Lavonda how the recent events have affected her multi-racial family; she took a deep breath before she responded. She explained that living with a biracial family is the reality that she faced with her white husband before they had children. They talked about systemic racism, generational wealth, slavery, and all the intricacies of race. There was no hiding from these realities especially when they planned on having children. And now they talk to their children about who they are as people, not their color. Although she explained to her girls that they are viewed by society as black women, she still struggles with checking the boxes on the application. Her children are in the other category on a form, but at home, they are her daughters born to an Irish descendent white father and a Black mother. She recognizes the importance of raising her girls to be strong women. She plans to help them to create phenomenal lives by teaching them self-love and surround them 32

with a positive community. Lavonda Murphy does not want her children to believe that being black is a “strike against them” this is a phrase that is said to many children. She knows that when you are shaping young minds, you must set them up for success. She wants her daughters to know they can have what they desire and not to limit themselves. It is her lessons learned as a daughter and a mother of five girls that she wants to share with other women. Why did God give me five girls?” then she answered by saying, “to show the world five different ways to love”. Contact Lavonda Murphy: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=daughters%20 of%20mothers-may%20we%20raise%20them https://www.facebook.com/murphyslove5

I Am Brown by reginald kearney for the urban sentinel Recently the Urban Sentinel had the opportunity to have a conversation with LaToya Lewis who is the author of a kids book ‘I Am Brown.’ LaToya Lewis is an educator who lives in Abu Dhabi, UAE and she has lived there for the last six years. Living and working in the UAE has been a very rewarding experience for LaToya. She stated that the support system is strong in the area because of the shared interest among many of the American citizens who reside in Abu Dhabi. In writing this book LaToya wants to give a message to kids of all races and skin colors that regardless of your

received her degree from a Historically Black College

skin color you are still a great person.

and University. In this day and time can you imagine being criticized for getting your degree from a HBCU

The book that was written for the kids, is a book that

school and not a predominately white university? The

is needed at this time given the amount of racism that

parents were also pushing the racism that took place,

is taking place in our country. Her desire to write this

and this ugly action by the white parents pushed her

book was rooted in her experiences that took place at

to write this book. LaToya felt that the presidency

the school she was teaching at in Lakeland, Florida.

of Barak Obama was the fuel for the parents feeling.

The school was a charter school which had a board

There were times in the classroom where the white kids

whose members were parents who had children

made comments that could have been attributed to the

attending the school. One of the experiences that took

attitudes of their parents. LaToya wrote the book and

place happen because the residents of her community

the reception of this book has been overwhelming.

where the school was didn’t want her to teach their kids (white kids in particular) because she had

‘I Am Brown’ is a book about a young girl with brown URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


skin named Brailey. Brailey loved to color, and coloring

distract anything at all. LaToya’s mother is black and

people with different shades was her favorite thing to

has caramel colored brown skin. LaToya’s stepfather

do. She learned through her classmates that everyone

is Korean and Black, and his skin color is golden tan.

does not see the world in color the way she does. LaToya

LaToya’s younger sister, Akeevia had skin color of a

stated that “Brown kids are identifying with the cover

peach when she was a baby. LaToya, just like Brailey,

of the book.” The book has a golden rod yellow cover

has brown skin.

that features a brown skin, young girl with cornrows and an afro-puff hairstyle, wearing a smile.

Latoya has many other books that she has written and these books can be purchased at www.

LaToya grew up in a household where skin color

LaToyalewisbooks.com and you can also follow her on

varies significantly from person to person, but the love

her Instagram account @LaToya_lewis_books.

was balanced and equal; skin color did not dictate or




Gwyniss Mosby

Your Gift

Will Make Room! by olympia kent for the urban sentinel

charting personalities. She has touched the faces of the members of TLC, Usher, Toni Braxton, Faith Evans, Monica, Tupac Shakur, and Jill Scott, to name a few. She has many accomplishments under her belt and received numerous awards such as The Reggie Wells Legendary Award, The Black Girl Magic Award, The Education Icon Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2020 BB Award, to name a few.

God has put a gift or talent in every person that the world will make room for. It is this gift that will enable you to fulfill your vision. It will make a way for you in life. "A man's gift makes room for him." Proverbs 18:16 (NKJV) My name is Olympia Kent. I am a professionally trained and certified makeup artist who is very passionate about art and beauty. I am a native of Atlanta, Georgia and a Graduate of Gwyniss Mosby Makeup Academy. Who is Gwyniss Mosby and what is the Makeup Academy? Gwyniss is a legendary professional makeup artist from Atlanta, Georgia. She is a graduate from Arnold School of Cosmetology with a certification in Aesthetics. Gwyniss has been a professional celebrity makeup artist for 34 years and is responsible for a list of Grammy & Billboard 36

Gwyniss opened her first school, ‘Gwyniss’ Innovative Looks and Face Designs’ in 1993. Many can relate to the frustrations that can come with personal services, and Gwyniss shares her story of how a bad experience prompted her to learn how to do makeup and she focused on creating polished looks for everyday women. She had a struggle getting work, and although she considered her client base to be diverse, she was told that in order to get more work in the Atlanta area she would need to increase the Caucasian faces in her portfolio. Gwyniss took advise and leaned into mentors for advice, but in this instant, Gwyniss chose to follow her own rules and insisted on keeping her portfolio multi-cultural, racially diverse and a true reflection of her work. As a result, she gained more opportunities. This is a lesson in belief. You must believe in your skill, your craft and be intentional about the efforts you will take to reach your goals. Nothing works better than knowing your road is paved with your own plans of success. Following your instinct can lead you to a place of pride when you accomplish what you set out to do, and in the manner of which you choose. Sure, we have to rely on systems and processes and education of those that have walked before us, but giving in to your ideas is an abandonment of your will power. Stay focused, learn what you can, but never abandon your dreams. In 2011 Gwyniss acquired an existing makeup school that was once owned by the late, legend Charles Gregory. Mr. Gregory was a decorated, celebrity hair stylist and makeup artist. He sought out Gwyniss because he knew she had the expertise, commitment, passion, and professionalism to take the school to new heights. He was correct.

The ‘Gwyniss Mosby Makeup Artist Training Center’ is located in Tucker, Georgia. The school offers professional makeup courses in many areas of the entertainment industry, including Basic Principles in Makeup Artistry, High Fashion/Runway, Special Effects, and TV & Film. Many of the students have gone on to become seasoned, professional makeup artists, working in film, TV, theater, and high fashion photography and print. Some of the students include eight-time Emmy winner Nyssa Green, Cheryl Thomas, who is head of the makeup and hair department at Disney, and celebrity makeup artist D’Andre Michael. Gwyniss also created the Professional Makeup Artist Conference, or PMAC. The PMAC Expo is an industry tradeshow for those who specialize in the makeup profession. It features experts from the beauty, fantasy, body art, special effects, fashion, and bridal industries, and encompasses all facets of the trade. The conference showcases multiple vendors who supply a wide variety of products, giving the conference attendees the opportunity to purchase cutting edge, exclusive makeup supplies, and products. Gwyniss is definitely a force to be reckoned with, because she knows how to bring out the God-given talent in all who come through her doors. If you would like more information about the school, you may find them at http://gwynnismosby.com/ My career is exciting, rewarding, and filled with many opportunities. My work is featured in a variety of publications and the benefits of being able to showcase my skills as a professional makeup artist are astounding. The advice I offer to emerging professionals in the industry is to gain mentorship, skill and professional certification and training from a professional institute that recognizes your passion and teaches you a wide array of the craft. The industry is diverse and offers a multitude of opportunities. Some examples are: Celebrity Makeup Artist (MUA) Theatrical/Performance MUA Special FX MUA Freelance MUA Beauty Writer/Editor Makeup Product Developer A day in the life of a makeup professional can vary based on the specialty area your career is in. You need to prepare for long hours, last minute changes, and be equipped with high quality tools and cosmetics. With COVID-19, many professionals are using disposable or single use brushes and applicators to ensure safety beyond the standard cleaning and sanitizing.

Relationships are important. Much of the work comes from ‘word of mouth’ and referrals. Build a rapport with clients that builds your reputation in the industry. It is a rewarding career. Follow me on Instagram @olympia_kent_themua and you can contact me by email at olympia.mua.makeupgoddess@ gmail.com


Third Chances... S P I RI T UA L N O U RI S H M E N T B RO U GH T TO YO U B Y THE URBAN SENTINEL AND UPSHIFT GLOBAL by dr. anita davis-defoe for the urban sentinel In roughly 140 days, many of us, in some form or

personal truth is a must.

fashion, will be toasting in the New Year with family and friends, so very grateful to see another day, another

Spend a few days, even a few weeks for that matter,

year. The uncertainty that faces us in all aspects of

and earnestly make some decisions about the path you

our lives these days is unsettling to say the least. The

want your life to take. Reflect on your talents, your gifts

global pandemic, economic crisis, political corruption,

and those things that bring you pure joy. These are

governmental meltdown due to a lack of leadership,

your personal roadmaps to happiness. Once you have

racism rampant, and school systems struggling are only

identified this personal vision for your life, commit

a few of our concerns; but still……. In roughly 140 days,

seven to ten goals to paper, and do it now. Do not wait

the process of making New Year’s resolutions will begin,

for New Year’s Eve, and do not make the excuse of

and many of us will once again decide which aspects of

waiting for the New Year to start fresh. Each day that we

our lives we hope to improve during the months of the

wake is a new opportunity, each day is another chance,

New Year; this time the year will be 2021, but this time

a fresh start; each new day is yet another opportunity

vow to do things differently; sit still……. Time sure flies

for each of us to seek joy in our work and personal lives.

whether you are enjoying your life or not. With that in mind, it is much better if you exert energy passionately

Far too many of us let the past hold us back. Broken

pursuing all of your possibilities fueled with a spirit of

hearts, broken promises, past mistakes, and past failures


too often dominate our daily thoughts. Letting go and moving on is difficult but necessary if we are really going

I have decided to choose joy and gratitude, and I urge

to enjoy today, the present. Straddling the fence between

you to do the same. I have decided to reach for the

the past and the present is difficult, not to mention

chance to create the life that I want and to dig deep

draining. Vow to leave the past where it belongs, back

within my spirit and seriously seek to uncover my most

there. Learn from it, grow from it, but refuse to dwell

heartfelt desires. I sincerely urge you to please consider

in it.

doing the same thing; certainly, it is time for you to be true to yourself, for in this season, walking in your own

A chance is a likelihood that something will happen; a URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


real opportunity to make something happen. Often, we

5. Procrastination. Do not wait; do not put it off until

hear people say, “If only I had a second chance.” Well

tomorrow. You know what you want, so go for it!!! Flow

the truth of the matter, your chances to achieve your

in the NOW….no opportunity wasted!

goals are limitless; in fact, your chances only cease when you choose to give up. Herein is where the problem lies;

6. Effort. You will reap what you sow, and you are your

the majority of humankind gives up far too soon, and

own gardener. Do not let the weeds overtake your spirit

definitely too often because of some mental snapshots

and choke your dreams.

of events from the past. 7. Lack of Vision. Without a vision, some idea what you The list of common barriers that can hold us back are

want out of life, you will probably end up with whatever

many, but often the simple removal of just one of these

someone chooses to give you or nothing at all.

barriers can end up making the difference in our quest for personal progress and fulfilment.

8. Lack of Concentration. Concentrate on your life and focus on your goals daily. Refuse to sleepwalk through

1. Unclear or No Goals. Define your goals and write

life; decide instead to be an active participant in the

them down. Make a plan listing the things you need to

course of events in your life.

do to accomplish your goals, and then simply work your plan. Revise your plan as needed and add new goals as

Remember do not let these common barriers rob you of

you achieve goals already on your list.

your personal joy. Choose to take action now because whatever you desire, you are the only one that can make

2. Limited Attitude Regarding Your "Chance for

it happen. Remember chances are that whatever you


Believe that you can achieve your goals;

visualize in your mind, believe in your soul, and actively

having a can-do attitude and being persistent will bring

purse with vigor will eventually come to pass. Take that

you success every time.

third chance if you need it and use a fourth if necessary. Enjoy this journey we call life, and learn to relish the

3. Lack of Commitment. Commitment means doing everything possible to bring about success in a certain area or endeavor. Be totally committed to achieving your goals and do not let obstacles break your spirit. 4.

Lack of Accountability.

The highest form of

accountability is self-accountability.

Make yourself

accountable for pursuing your dreams, for the quality of your life.


beauty of each and every day.

Racquetball Revival Coach Leon’s labor of love by c. natasha richburg for the urban sentinel Leon Thomas is the founder and head coach for Racquetball Revival.

Coach Leon is a dedicated racquetball coach

raised in Catonsville, Maryland in a loving Christian home. The Christian principles of his home, coupled with a fundamentally ingrained work ethic, are lifelong principles learned in his family. Coach Leon’s father worked as a Sky Cap at Friendship Airport, currently known as Baltimore/ Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport. His mother taught in the same Anne Arundel County public school for 37 years. Maysirria, Coach Leon’s wife of 28 years, has been in step with him since they met when their carts bumped into each other in the bulk food section of Giant Food Supermarket. Coach Leon’s two sons Aaron and Joel were born 13 years apart, whose birth sequence mirrors Coach Leon’s gap in age with his older brother, who is 10 years older. Coach Leon ventured out on his own to find his niche in racquetball. 1979 was the year that Coach Leon played racquetball for the first time. Three years later, he took on the role of instructor to begin his coaching career in 1982, only to coach off and on since then. Currently coaching 19 youth at Merritt Clubs located in Towson, Maryland, in addition to 2 professional players and 1 elite level (step below pro) player, Coach Leon is building on Racquetball Revival’s instructional model. Coach Leon’s interview provides strong testimony as to how one man’s attitude about racquetball offers possibilities for youth who need focus and purpose. What are the positive attributes gained from playing racquetball? First, along with the cardiovascular benefits, racquetball teaches personal responsibility. For example, when playing singles, it’s your responsibility to get to the ball. No one else is going to do it for you. If you don’t get to the URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


ball, you lose the point. If you lose enough points, you will

You have a dedication to racquetball that revivals the

eventually lose the game. If you get to the ball, you have a

enthusiasm of any sports lover. What does racquetball mean

chance of winning. If you lose, it’s all on you. When you win,

to you? Racquetball is the coolest sport that many have never

it’s all you too.

heard of. You don’t see it on TV, and there are few places to play. Most courts are in private clubs with expensive monthly

Second, racquetball teaches preparation. Example: Court

memberships. One of the goals of my business venture

positioning is important in racquetball. Being in the right

Racquetball Revival is to make racquetball more accessible

place greatly increases the chances of getting to the ball.

to all people, especially our youth. It is my experience that

In life, one has to be




onto the court to try


racquetball, it opens

themselves you are in

up a new world of

position to seize them.

attainable achievement,

In racquetball, center

and they learn to LOVE












maintain center court

Racquetball Revival is

positioning, you will be

in its foundational early

ready to get to any shot

stage. Thus, there are

your opponent makes.

ample opportunities for corporate sponsors to


help in our mission of

teaches communication

“being a different way

and problem solving.

to make a difference in


the lives of youth and


When in

the communities they

open play in a pick-up

live in.” We want to


change and revive lives





through racquetball.


will disagree about the outcome of a volley

Our corporate sponsors

or the interpretation

will play a vital role

of a rule.


by donating money to

players must quickly

our facility and thus


helping us achieve our


make a decision as to how the dispute will be handled.

mission goals. For example, corporate sponsors can have

We don’t have time for lengthy debate. Sometimes players

their logos and company names on the court front wall. So

agree to a replay. Sometimes, one player simply says “Your

instead of us calling it “Court 1” we’ll call it “The [Company

point-don’t worry about it.” Sometimes, players agree to ask

Name] Court.” Sponsorship can take many different forms.

someone watching to make the call.

If you want more information, please visit http://www. racquetballrevival.com/ .





Handbags by stacey henry-carr for the urban sentinel

There are many women out there with an addiction to handbags, and I happen to be one of those women. So, it was a treat to connect with this beautiful creative soul and write about her. Linell took her addiction to handbags and created a successful business designing and selling a handbag experience. These beautiful and classy handbags are the physical representation of the feeling of completeness, luxury, and connection to yourself. Linell Ellis’ motto is “Live Completely” and each bag is designed with that mantra in mind. When women purchase a Linell Ellis bag they are joining a movement of women who are on a journey to living completely and luxuriously. Linell is a Columbia, Maryland native who is inspired by the beauty she sees in the world and through her travels. She is a self-taught designer whose purpose is to inspire women to live completely and she uses the brand and her handbags to accomplish it. She encourages women to slow down and enjoy the precious moments in life and know that true luxury is in life’s experience.

Linell is a wife and mother with a true connection to her family and expresses her love and commitment to them through the designs, the names, and the details of her handbags. Her handbags are named after the women in her family. They take on the personalities, qualities, and memories she has of these phenomenal women. Her inspiration came from the summers she spent with them in Virginia, and the vibrant colors from the picturesque scenes from her travels. One of my favorites is the Signature Novelty Florence Envelope Clutch which is a vivid representation of her spirited aunt Florence. Then there is The Theresa Tote which is “reliable like a trusted friend”. The Joyce Bucket Bag is the summer favorite, Candi Satchel and North-South Shopper are all classy and crafted with details.


Linell Ellis was established in 2000, but the growth of her business took off with a relaunch in 2013 after taking a break to be present as mother and a wife. Her infectious smile lit up when she talked about the origin of the idea that led to her successful business. She shared that she would purchase many handbags and one day her husband said, “maybe there is something you are looking for in a bag that is not out there, you should make your own”. It was with that encouragement from her husband that she started her research for what would become Linell Ellis handbags. As a child, she would watch her mother match her bags with her shoes and that was an imprint that stuck with her and sparked her love for handbags. Linell recognizes that there are many changes and experiences in life that a woman


goes through, and with her is a handbag, a stable part of her journey. And so, she designed the bags with a focus on lifestyle, classic but with a dash of the trend that works with the change of seasons. The handbags are considered an investment that will last for a long time. Linell lights up when she speaks of her husband and his involvement in their business. She lovingly talked about him and referred to him as the “backbone” of the business. “Ellis is the behind the scenes partner of the business, my biggest fan, and motivator”. She stated that there would be no Linell Ellis without her husband. He encourages her not to give up and keeps the business running smoothly. “He is the operation and quality of the business”. This family-owned business has a foundation of love and partnership. The “Living Completely” motto resonated fully with Linell after she left her corporate job and focused on her business full time. This allowed her the opportunity to savor the moments with her loved ones. She said she has always known that her purpose was to help people and she uses her brand message to do so. Therefore, her messaging which includes The Turtle Logo is a vital part of her brand and the Linell Ellis’ handbag experience. “The turtle moves slowly through life as to not miss anything. Her life is long and memorable. The Shell is her safety and shield. It is where she goes when things get tough and she needs to rest” Linell Ellis has added some accessories to her line; mugs, and coasters which are a few of the items that resonate with people who are “Living Completely” and taking life slowly. If you want to join the Linell Ellis, “Live Completely” journey you can go to the website https:// linellellis.com/ Linell said “being an entrepreneur is gratifying, find your passion and don’t give up. Once you are successful remember to help someone else”.



SEIZING EACH DAY by catherine tyson, msw for the urban sentinel

Every day we have to GET UP, DRESS UP and SHOW Up to get what the world has for us. Get up out of that bed early enough to seize the hours that you are blessed with. Dress Up to make sure that you are looking your best so that you feel your best. And Show up because unless you are in the line, you cannot be counted, and lines are everywhere in this life that we will have to encounter and join to get through. Life should be approached as if there are no closed doors because with the right attitude, those doors do not exist. Some steps to consider as we get on our road to success. Close the past to open your future ALL yesterdays become the past and all tomorrows become the future; grasp the future and prepare to live it better than yesterday. Bring the good parts of the bad experiences with you and let the rest stay in the past. If your current circle refuses to allow you to forget or get on with things, then you might just need to change your circle to move forward. Anyone who is interested in you succeeding will allow you the space to grow and be better. Remember that your opinion of you is all that really matters and the rest is just


background noise. Make a decision to bounce back This sounds so simple but the truth is, deciding to bounce back is where it all starts. Everything you do next can be traced back to that fateful decision of when you decided to do something. Remember that not making a decision is a decision-- a decision to do nothing. . It is okay to acknowledge that something went wrong but it is not okay to hold onto it for dear life. Dwelling on the setback and overanalyzing it will amplify its negative effects so just make peace with it, breathe and just let it go. Put your mind on the positives in your life and dwell on those and bounce back as quickly as possible. Be positive This is an important step in getting past negative outcomes. Remember the saying "Where a door closes... a window opens." Move on. Get over it. You need to acknowledge that the door has closed and no matter how difficult that may be, you need to also look around for that window that has opened. As long as you have life, you still have hope.

Don't ever let one disappointment discourage you from moving forward. It does not brand you as a failure but backing down or quitting is a losing attitude. You might not be able to change what has already occurred but you can change how you deal with it and you can build on what you learn from the experience. Failure is not an option When you decide that come hell or highwater you will not fail, you are telling the universe what you want. But often we do have those selfdeprecating moments or thoughts where we utter words of negativity and nonsense to ourselves that only serve to bruise our inner beings and souls. Make sure to utter words that we want to believe about ourselves. Even if you do not truly believe them yet, say them enough that one day they become the truth. Because failure is not an option, always walk with the attitude of success. Until next time. Look me up on Facebook at Catherine Tyson and follow me on Instagram @realcatherinetyson Catherine Tyson, MSW

Know that you will succeed


RACIAL PROFILING POLICE BRUTALITY by dr. sharon h. porter for the urban sentinel I spent approximately the first 25 years of my life in North Carolina and about the same amount of time in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. My experiences in both states have been quite different. Most differences are due to perspective, age, and knowledge gained and lived experiences over the years. Just in the last few years though, I have become keenly aware of the injustices against people of color. I credit completing my research and earning a doctoral degree at Howard University as my eye opener to these injustices. As racial profiling and police brutality remain in the forefront of our minds with the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, I see a need for improved conversations around the topics of race, racial justice/injustice, and racism. I do believe that open and honest conversations are imperative and a necessary first step to addressing and eventually ending the senseless killings at the hand of law enforcement, the very agency that has sworn to “protect and serve” us…. All of us! Make no mistake about it, the conversation must lead to positive action. Just talking about it, simply is not enough. It is the first step. We, as a society, will first need to identify and acknowledge how we see ourselves before we even think about how others view and identify us. I acknowledge, own, and celebrate that I am a black

woman that happens to be a Christian, an educator, entrepreneur, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and member of a sorority. Each of those identifiers are attached to relationships and experiences. Many have brought me proud moments, but some have led to moments of pain. I have experienced systemic obstacles to “equal opportunity” and “equal justice” in many spaces as a black female in educational leadership. Bias, whether conscious, unconscious, or implicit, racial disparities, inequities, an injustice need to be exposed at all levels. It exists in law enforcement because it exists in our schools, workplaces, and criminal justice systems across this nation. We all have a role to play in addressing it. Sometimes equality is the answer, other times it is equity that is needed. We certainly know by now, they are not one in the same. We have witnessed and learned about injustices from all over the U.S., black men, women, boys, and girls, treated unfairly, and yes many even killed at the hand URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


of law enforcement. Not only unnecessary shootings of black people, but as we all witnessed, even kneeling

Racial injustice simply must be called out. We have

on one’s neck with hands in pocket… Something was

to seize the moment to speak truth to power. We

truly different about the George Floyd killing. It could

must hold each other accountable. There has to be a

have been that most people were sheltered-in-place at

commitment to confront those who discount the effort

home because of the pandemic and had nothing but

of inclusiveness, diversity and equality.

time. Most spent the time watching television. Or could it have been it was simply the time to say “Enough Is

It is time to participate in courageous conversations.


We must take a stand for racial injustice in the spaces where we exist. These spaces may be social circles or

As an educational leader in an urban/suburban (and

professional settings. Speak up and speak out. We have

some parts rural) school district, it is extremely

to be willing to sacrifice comfortability for the sake of

important that my message to students, parents, and

what the late John Lewis deemed as “good trouble”.

the community aligns with my core beliefs on race, diversity, and inclusiveness. Institutional racial issues

I had to press pass uncomfortable, press pass the

are not always caused internal factors. Challenges that

stereotypes of being the angry black woman, and overly

exist external to the school are oftentimes the culprit.

emotional, or even biased toward my own race. I begin

In an educational setting race can be a viable factor that

to speak up and speak out despite all of it. You have three

affects school culture which of course affects student

options when you witness racial injustice or inequities in

achievement. The school to prison pipeline is real. My

your circle; Let it go, address when it occurs, or address

elementary students become middle school students

it later. I personally favor address it when it occurs if

who then become high school students. It is important

you can. The impact is greater, and you have a better

that students see themselves in a positive light and that

chance of correcting the action or behavior.

those educators who are before them will help uplift and celebrate them where they are. I am a firm believer

We have had a black President of the United States and

that if we meet students where they are, they are more

with prayer and action (voting) we will experience our

willing to move forward.

first black and first woman as Vice-President of these United States. Even then and perhaps even more, we

In order to experience a true inclusive society the

will continue to face racial profiling, racial inequities,

systemic obstacles must be discussed. So often racial

racial injustices, and yes police brutality against people

injustice is isolated… Somehow George Floyd’s death

of color, namely African Americans. But I remain

allowed society to view this injustice through a wider

hopeful that if I do my part to address it head on racial

lens. Finally, policies and practices are finally begin

issues will be minimized and in future generations,

scrutinized with just reason… “Injustice anywhere is a

perhaps eliminated altogether.

threat to justice everywhere” ~ M. L. King , Jr.





Effectively Communicate with Your Children About COVID, Race Relations and Other Trigger Events by musu bangura for the urban sentinel Parents are facing many difficult decisions this year as the beginning of the school year approaches. Over the past several months, adjustments had to be made, in response to not only the COVID pandemic, but the racial tension that has taken over the streets and airwaves. In dealing with such challenging times, it can be difficult for some parents to communicate with their children effectively while maintaining their own mental stability. Licensed mental health counselor Demetric L. Pentelton recently offered key tips for parents who may be struggling in this area. Here are five key tips to keep in mind: UNDERSTAND WHERE THEY’RE COMING FROM: It can be difficult for a parent to approach challenging conversations without having enough insight of their child’s perspective. Pentelton emphasizes that children, especially adolescents are dealing with plenty these days, which can have adverse effects. “Many adolescents are definitely depressed.” The current climate is difficult to process for some, according to Pentelton. “Not only do they have to deal with it, a lot of them don’t have a real outlet to express themselves. This can turn into feeling of hopelessness which is key to depression.” “As a therapist, I create a platform that’s safe for them to express anything from a very non-judgmental safe platform. This is to make sense of what’s going on with them. A lot of times, they don’t know how to feel or truly express themselves about these things. Pentelton states that patience is key when it comes to having these types of conversations, which in turn can be very rewarding by providing a platform for expression and enabling teens to create and see their own perspective on things. 50

DON’T FEEL AS IF YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS: As a parent, the pressure is usually on to have the answers to everything. Now that sensitive issues are being presented, Pentelton recommends that it’s best to be honest with yourself and your children when it comes to approaching sensitive topics. “Being transparent with your child is very important,” he advises. “If they ask you a question and you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to tell them that you don’t know, but you can find out for them. In these types of conversations, it’s also important to have the child express themselves. Listen to their perspective on things. You can be there for them emotionally, but at the same time be sure to have patience for them and for yourself.” BE HONEST Critical topics such as racism and pandemics are in just about every conversation. When it comes to communicating with children, it is best to be as honest as possible. “Be truthful to your children when it comes to racism and the things that are going on. The same thing with COVID; there’s a lot of uncertainty right now and we’re living in a world where things are changing. Have that conversation with your child, being sure to use appropriate language for the appropriate age.” Pentelton also emphasizes being mindful of age differences when it comes to how you deliver information. “You’re not going to talk to your eight-year-old child the same way you would your eighteen-year old. If you can do those things, you will go far. Your child will gain more trust in you and will open up to you more. That’s where you want to be with them.”

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES While there is always room to discuss mental health, it is important to be aware of the resources that are available. Most jobs have an Employee Assistance Program that usually offer free mental health resources for employees and family members. There are also plenty of online resources, where there are many sources for virtual health care. Pentelton suggest that parents take advantage of the online resources that are also available. “We are living in an age of technology, internet and search engines that are very convenient. That is a good starting point. It’s best to take a pro-active approach. Look for it and don’t wait for something to happen. Take action and seek these resources out. We forget sometimes that we have the world at our fingertips.”

Demetrius L. Pentelton holds a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is certified in Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling. He specializes in dealing with adolescents and has years of experience in providing individual and group interventions to treat clients with co-occurring disorders. Connect with Mr. Pentelton https://www.crossbridgewellness.com/demetricpentelton

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF Pentelton stresses that parents easily get caught up in dayto-day needs and end up neglecting themselves in the process. This makes it difficult for them to provide nurture for themselves and their children. “Make time for yourself and do things that you actually enjoy. Most of us are so busy doing task-oriented goals, but you have to take time for you. You can’t give what you have not already received. Take time for self-care because it’s definitely important.”




Rodrick T. Miller, CEO

INVEST PUERTO RICO by c. natasha richburg for the urban sentinel Rodrick T. Miller, CEO of Invest Puerto Rico, is on

I’ve always maintained the goal of my work directly

a mission to promote the Island of Puerto Rico as a

impacting people’s lives. The most rewarding aspect of

competitive investment jurisdiction that attracts new

my work is when someone comes and tells me that their

businesses and investment. Mr. Miller’s professional

child decided to stay in the community because they

journey as the eldest of Northern and Dorothy Millers’

were able to get a quality job due to a global firm that

four children carries with him the vision of past

I helped to bring to the market, or that their business

experiences regarding how economic development can

is thriving as a result of a policy that I championed.

“.... pull people out of poverty…”. Mr. Miller’s higher

Throughout my career, I’ve been proactive in gaining a

education path includes a Public Policy degree from

comprehensive understanding of the field, finding good

Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government

mentors in business and government, and never being

and a graduate diploma in International Finance from

afraid to take measured risks.

Tec de Monterrey (Mexico) as a Fulbright Fellow. This interview with Mr. Miller illustrates how under his leadership, Invest Puerto Rico has catapulted into

Describe the beauty of Puerto Rico. Much of the beauty

a position that affords individuals and companies an

of Puerto Rico is packed in its tremendous biodiversity

opportunity to participate in the economic development

in a relatively small, approximately 3,500-square mile

of Puerto Rico.


This includes 8 different microclimates

ranging from tropical to mountainous to rainforest How did you emerge as one of the foremost economic

to desert. This diversity offers those who live here the

development leaders in the United States? I began

opportunity to experience wildlife and nature in many

a career in economic development after spending

forms within a relatively short drive, no matter where

some time in the private sector. While my mind was

one lives. From exploring Cueva Ventana in Arecibo

engaged intellectually, I didn’t feel as if the work that

to soaking in the rivers at Angelito’s Trail in El Yunque,

I did mattered outside of corporate profits. So I made

one can always find new ways to engage nature. From

a conscious shift into the economic development

a cultural perspective, Puerto Rico is a melting pot in a

field. Over the last 16 years, I’ve performed numerous

stronger sense than even the mainland United States.

functions in this industry, being diligent in learning

The fusion of Latin, African, and European cultures has

all that I can. Whether structuring the financing of a

resulted in a panoply of food, music, and entertainment

major stadium project or developing strategies to boost

that parallels communities much larger in size. Whether

revenue and opportunity for local small businesses,

checking out an exhibit at the Puerto Rican Museum URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


of Contemporary Art or listening to the elders sing,

The biggest misconception about Puerto Rico is that it is

dance and beat drums to the bomba and plena music

a place that has low quality of life with limited access to

in Loiza, Puerto Rico never disappoints on the cultural

electricity, drinking water, and other amenities people

front. Puerto Rico is not without challenges, as with

enjoy on the mainland. While there was considerable

every community, but openly embraces its history and

damage as a byproduct of the natural disasters of recent

acknowledges its African roots. As a result, many black

years, most areas of the island have been rebuilt, and

Americans who have moved here in recent years say

in many areas there remains little evidence of the past

they plan to stay, as they have not faced discrimination


in the same way that they do in the mainland United

speak Spanish, but in fact most Puerto Ricans have a


working knowledge of English, and many Americans

Another misconception is that people only

get by there without learning the language. Given Puerto What are the economic advantages to living or investing

Rico’s long history with the United States, students

in Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico offers tremendous

study English in school, and business is conducted in

incentives for people from the mainland who choose to

both English and Spanish in many companies.

live and invest on the island, including a 4% corporate tax rate and 0% personal income tax rate. Invest Puerto

Any parting words for readers who may be interested

Rico is working to elevate this message to encourage

in having conversations with Invest Puerto Rico?

more people to consider relocation, remote working,

Despite the crisis, or maybe because of it, the time is

and launching entrepreneurial ventures on the island.

right to invest in Puerto Rico, as we are in the midst of a historic economic transformation. All efforts are

What investment opportunities are available to

focused on achieving this in a sustainable manner,

corporations interested in economic development?

and it is a top priority at Invest Puerto Rico and in the

There are numerous opportunities for private firms

seat of government, so the support is there. Factors

to participate in Puerto Rico’s resurgence. Following

potential investors should take into account when

the disasters of Hurricanes Maria and Irma and

considering Puerto Rico include a trained and educated

recent earthquakes, the US federal government has

workforce like no other; a business environment that

pledged billions of dollars to reinvest in updating the

supports myriad endeavors, from startups and small

island’s infrastructure, from new road construction to

businesses to large multinational operations; familiar

modernizing the electric grid. Private firms can compete

and trustworthy infrastructure, government, economy,

for these governmental opportunities as well as bring

and laws; a competitive incentive environment; and a

their technologies directly to the market. Thousands of

strategic location in the Caribbean that facilitates easy

entrepreneurs have moved to Puerto Rico in the last few

access to the US, Europe, and Latin America. All of those

years, drawn by the robust incentives and inexpensive

things add up to a compelling story for why investors

labor, but ultimately captured by the island’s welcoming

should consider Puerto Rico. For more information:

business and social environment.


What is the biggest misconception about Puerto Rico? 54


Corona Virus Away Back to School Edition

The effects of COVID-19 are fast becoming children rights crises across the world and Ghana is not an exception. According to UNESCO, more than 1.5 billion students in 188 countries were out of school due to COVID-19 as at April 8 2020, representing over 91 percent of the world’s student population. The crisis has exposed vast disparities in countries’ emergency preparedness, internet access for children, and availability of learning materials. For many children, the COVID-19 crisis will mean limited or no education or falling further behind their peers. Children affected by school closures also miss the sense of stability and normalcy that schools provide. School closures may disproportionately affect children who already experience barriers accessing education, or who are at higher risk of being excluded

for a variety of reasons. These include children with disabilities, students in remote locations, asylum seekers and refugees, children in street situations, and those whose families have lost income as a result of job cuts or precarious employment or are otherwise in a difficult situation. Many children from poor communities and homes depend on schools for meals and key health services and information. Nearly half of the world’s schoolchildren, some 310 million, have relied on their school for a daily meal. In Ghana, the current COVID-19 infection counts have stands at over 42,993, with about 40,000 recoveries and 248 deaths. With such a high recovery rate and low death rate, the government deemed it safe enough to start the gradual lifting of the ban on public gatherings including reopening of schools. URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER


Schools have since reopened with final year tertiary students reporting on the 15th of June, final year High school students on the 22nd of June and final year Junior High students on the 29th of June. With schools reopened, there is a realistic chance that we might see an increase in cases among the students at the initial stages mostly due to inadequate hygiene facilities and PPEs. Some schools have already started complaining about the lack of handwashing facilities and PPEs and as such, have requested support from the government and organizations like ours.

ups for the schools to educate their students on the virus and how to keep themselves safe and reduce the spread. To make the above goals practical, SCEF’s project officer Anthony Kojo Bosomtwe on the 8th July 2020 presented the following items to five clusters of public schools in Accra Metropolitan area : 1. 20 handwashing set: comprising veronica buckets, rising bowls, stands, and liquid soap) 2. 425 face masks 3. 60 educational stickers

It’s in view of the above reasons SCEF in collaboration with its partner, Send a Smile e.v has seen the need to step up our COVID-19 community initiatives by supplying Veronica bucket sets and some masks to the 8 schools that we work with as well as the ones that SCEF beneficiaries attend. About 14 SCEF scholarship recipients have reported back to school and, some schools that SCEF is currently working with have also reopened their doors for the first time in three months to these students. We hope that by so doing, we are contributing to the fight against COVID-19 as we have done previously and continue to do. The goals of the initiative are; 1. Supply about 680 reusable face masks to be distributed to students who don’t have it. 2. Supply 32 branded Veronica bucket sets to the schools. Including; a bucket, bucket stand, rinsing bowl and liquid soap. 3. Supply 100 COVID-19 education stickers and write-


The Items were shared according to the population of students in each school. The schools that benefit from this kind gesture are Accra Royal JHS, Bishop Girls JHS, Independence Avenue Cluster, John Wesley Methodist JHS, and Akotolante cluster of schools. Speaking to the media, Kojo stated: “This kind gesture is meant to supplement the government’s effort in protecting students, teaching and non-teaching staff against the novel COVID-19. We hope that as final year students are back to the classroom to prepare for their final exams other well-meaning Ghanaians will be motivated by our action to also set up interventions in schools to keep our children safe and learning.” The headteachers in receiving these items thanked SCEF and used the opportunity to invite more support from the general public. Education indeed cannot wait!

LORD GOD, FORGIVE OUR SINS, CHANGE OUR HEARTS AND HEAL OUR WORLD FROM COVID-19 AND FROM EVERYTHING BAD I got this idea from a story I wrote in my book; the book is called Thank You America - Book One, it was published by Page Publishing in New York in 2017, and it is worldwide online and in the stores. the story is that; in my native country the RDC, Congo, we had a severe drought in my Tribe Yombe in the early 80's. lots of people were dying each day for lack of food and water, it was so scary, we did not know what to do. One Sunday in our Church, when we all were mourning for the lost, our Pastor asked us to fast and pray for one day, to ask God to forgive us and to heal our land, and we did and God heard our prayers and touched people here in the USA who send us lots of food that stopped people for dying. Then God gave us rain and allowed food to grow all over our forest also God gave us twice the harvest that year!!! We can do the same with this COVID-19, fast and pray worldwide and God will hear our prayers and heal our world.

humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. So, let us pray and God will heal our Nation and our world. If you or your business, or your church or your family, or your Country want to be a Sponsor, know that God will bless you more. You can Sponsor these Nationwide and Worldwide Events from $5. and more, see more information in our website, thank you and stay blessed.

It is written in the Holy Bible in 2 Chronicles 7; 13-15 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will


PHOTO CREDITS Cover Mike Maden: Penguin Radom House Cover Gary Hines: Karl Demer, Atomic K Studios, Minneapolis Pages 4-6: Karl Demer, Atomic K Studios, Minneapolis Pages 18-21: Penguin Radom House Pages 36-38: Megan Dougherty



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