Black Spirituality Religion : *************************

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by queentswana, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. queentswana

    queentswana Well-Known Member MEMBER

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  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    A Dream Realized In Newark

    By Corey Muhammad

    NEWARK - The grand opening of the African American Education and Resource Center here marked the end of one organization’s year-long struggle to overcome historical injustices. Women in Support of the Million Man March (WISOMMM), led by executive director Fredrica Bey, welcomed the city to tour the newly purchased 65,000-square-foot building that features a full-court gymnasium with bleacher seats on the top floor, a banquet hall, a school that will be opened in the fall of 2005, a full-sized commercial kitchen and cafeteria and a rooftop boasting scenic views of nearby New York City skyline.

    Flanked on stage by Newark Mayor Sharpe James, community activists, lawyers and well-wishers, WISOMMM reveled in the limelight after a long fight that was almost lost. “We can’t be ashamed to help our own,” the mayor said, as he urged the audience to show support for the center. The mayor has already placed the money where his mouth is, by initially giving WISOMMM $435,000 in an effort to secure a bank loan. “It’s up to us to make it work, not those who dreamed the dream and took the risk of the mortgage,” he added.

    Many hope their effort will be a role model for economic development in Black communities throughout the country. Those attending the opening ceremonies said the center represented a historic achievement, not just for the Black community in Newark, but they hoped it would serve as a model to be studied. “I am happy for the sisters here for having a plan to put our government in place and a structure for Black people here in America, right here in Newark,” said Minister Khadir Muhammad, the East Coast Regional Minister of the Nation of Islam. Although now in Washington, Min. Khadir once served as the minister heading Newark’s Muhammad’s Mosque No. 25.

    Part of that plan included placing economic pressure on financial institutions that refused to live up to their agreements to invest in the development of Newark’s Black community. According to Newark Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins, banks were placed on notice after the city withdrew $20 million from one bank that failed to fulfill its contract for economic development in the city’s Black areas. After WISOMMM’s bid for a loan was rejected by nearly every bank in the city, Ms. Bey turned to Independence Community Bank, where she received a loan in record time for not only the cultural center, but for two other properties the group owns.

    When asked what made Independence decide to give the loan, Vice President of Commercial Lending, David Metzler, said the loan simply worked. Some believe the bank’s willingness to lend will produce an even greater return for the institution. “I think you will find that the people around Newark will come to this bank that came to their aid,” said Dr. James McIntosh, M.D.

    The doctor, who was part of a group of men who started their own community organization in Queens, NY, just prior to the Million Man March, CEMETAP, believes the level of awareness in the Black community will be raised because of the center. “We had that consciousness. Even before the Million Man March, we wanted to do it. These sisters actually did it,” he said. “They leveraged our community’s financial ability into a loan to purchase this institution.”

    The center is not only an indication of the power of unity for Blacks but, to Ms. Bey, it’s a symbol of reparations. Just across the river from Newark lies New York City, where the unemployment rate hovers around 50% for Black males. From its inception, WISOMMM has made an effort to secure contracts for Blacks to work on projects for the organization. Everyone who worked on the acquisition of the former Presbyterian church, from lawyers to the plumber, has been Black, she pointed out.

    World-renowned historian and lecturer Dr. Leonard Jeffries, who participated in the ceremonies, called it a “stroke of genius” on the part of WISOMMM to secure the center in the heart of a downtown area serving Black people. The 67-year-old professor, who was born in Newark, said he waited all his life for this moment. “This is an enormous statement on what must be done when the mind, heart and spirit come together. It has to happen, because we have to save our youth; we have to prepare a way for the thousands of men in the jails to come back into the community.”

    The professor said he was inspired, while watching the ceremonies, to call for One Hundred African Men in Support of the Women in Support of the Million Man March. Like the mayor, he said the women should not have to shoulder the burden for paying and maintaining the center, and donated the first five of what will be the first 1,000 books to the center’s library.

    WISOMMM is a community-based organization, dedicated to the development of educational, civic and cultural programs “to enhance and empower the quality of life for the people in the greater Newark community.”

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    Were you a part of this great accomplishment in your city, Keita? Are you familiar with the eminent Dr. Jeffries?
     
  3. Keita Kenyatta

    Keita Kenyatta going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yes...Prof. Jeffries and I attend Waset Communiversity where anybody who is about black people and our historic, spiritual and cultural restoration come to speak.