Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
It’s vital that Detroit’s youth have a solid foundation in core curriculum skills including language arts, math, science and social studies, as well as technology, in order to compete in the global marketplace. According to experts, students with a strong foundation in these critical skill areas are better prepared for advanced studies and future success. -Editor
Mark Twain School for Literary Scholars, a prekindergarten through eighth-grade school, has new leadership, a new name and a renewed focus on providing a rigorous college-preparatory education to help all students become academic and creative scholars.
Under veteran principal Linda Whitaker’s first-year leadership here in the city’s far, far southwestern tip (sometimes viewed as the “Toe” on a Detroit map and owned by longtime residents and leaders as “The 48217”), the school is well underway on its process toward recommitting that its students will learn to apply their skills across a broad range of subjects: the language arts (reading, English and writing/ publishing), introduction to foreign language, math, science, social studies, fine arts, physical education/health and technology.
Whitaker and her team are working tirelessly to ensure that Mark Twain’s emphasis will help students become future experts as published authors, exhibited museum artists, dancers, and more — all within the traditional curriculum, which is aligned to the rigorous Common Core Standards.
Whitaker, who was herself a parent in this school at one time, is now employing strategies that are wide ranging with one common goal: to make Mark Twain the school of choice that is community-centered and family friendly, with a child-centered curriculum. She says, “We are creating. We are doing this with purpose. We want others to tell us what they think of our work. We’re instilling pride.”
She’s focused on attendance with individual student perfect attendance and school-wide daily attendance— never lower than 92%, and at 98% on the recent Count Day Wednesday—on displays and posters surrounding the main office entry doors.
She’s focused on attendance with individual student perfect attendance and school-wide daily attendance— never lower than 92%, and at 98% on the recent Count Day Wednesday—on displays and posters surrounding the main office entry doors.
She reorganized and created a new model of instruction when she moved teachers in third-to-firth grades from self-contained classrooms to teaching within their specialty areas of math, language arts and science.
So, “write, write, write”
This truly is a school for literary scholars. The principal and teachers’ focus on writing is evident everywhere, start- Strong Scholars ing with early childhood education and including an art/writing program, and a character building book publishing program. Participation in the book publishing experience assists students in developing characters, telling a story, editing, using proper grammar and sentence structure, as well as conveying and describing what it is they want the reader to see.
Community and families across the generations
Dayal also states what many teachers, volunteers and parents at the school have observed: that the school’s teaching staff is excited and becoming ever more community oriented. “It’s like the door just opened and we realized that this is our family here,” she says.
Staff have also brought their children to be educated at Twain. For the newest, youngest members of the Mark Twain School for Literary Scholars, it’s all about family. Fourth grader Anadetola, whose mother— a Twain teacher— transferred her from a Dearborn public school, says she felt welcomed and accepted as soon as she arrived. She quickly became involved in Academic Games and is looking forward to joining a new Dance Team.
The school’s enrollment increased 16%
his fall, and among the 39 new students recent transfers have come from Caesar Chavez Academy, other local charters and nearby suburban schools.
Volunteering, serving, and…getting the cupcakes
Whitaker says the staff never stop finding new ways to assist the students in their care and many volunteer for after-school and enrichment programs. “They do whatever is needed for the children.”
In a school with increasing academic rigor and writing scholars, that help often includes things that are not solely academic. When asked how new leadership and new community members meet and establish and build mutual trust, she tells the story of personally providing a ride to Krogers for a parent lacking transportation to get her child’s birthday cupcakes. Whitaker says, somewhat metaphorically, she received not only a cupcake but a slice of pizza in return. When you say full service in the community, “it means everything,” she states.
Editor’s Note: Mark Twain School for Literary Scholars is located at 12800 Visger Street, Detroit MI, 48217. For additional information call: (313) 386-5530
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 16:11
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
The Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 Award identifies and awards young leaders making decisions that will ultimately equip Detroit to compete and thrive in the global market. We received over 100 nominations. Our esteemed selection committee checked references and debated merits before identifying a new cadre of emerging leaders who deserved to be recognized.
I am honored to introduce the 2013 Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 honorees. These hardworking individuals are committed to the city of Detroit and stand in opposition to the often talked about "brain drain." They come from varying professional backgrounds including the arts, engineering, medicine, education, business and politics. They demonstrate having sound values and strong moral character.
At the Michigan Chronicle, we are committed to engaging a diverse community and highlighting the outstanding members of our readership. Please join us Friday, October 25, at the Charles H. Wright Museum as we celebrate the success of the 2013 class. For tickets or mre information, please visit michiganchronicle.com.
Advertising and marketing are in her blood. At the age of 17 Marlita Blackman owned and operated Just Communications, a very successful paging and cellular phone store located in Detroit. As evidenced by her ability to successfully nurture the company, Blackman's creative and strategic marketing and advertising ideas grew and sustained the business for six years. Imaginative and innovative concepts began to flow even more as she completed a communication program at Wayne State University, graduating with a degree in Mass Media Communications.
A short time later at the age of 20, she was hired as the marketing director for Mammoth Video Stores in two locations in the Michigan and Ohio markets. She competed with Blockbuster, the largest video store in the U.S. at the time, and improved membership sales and increased the overall profits. Later, she was employed by Visteon as a marketing analyst, and eventually ventured into radio advertising sales. After an extended, successful career in radio advertising sales with national radio broadcasting affiliates, she launched Direct Media Connection, known today as DMC Worldwide.
DMC Worldwide is a full-service multicultural marketing and advertising agency created out of Blackman's desire to offer clients a complete campaign package that could include print, radio, Web design, social media, events, and television, and based on the client's multicultural goals. Her goal has never been to sell the client, but to make every client a spirit of influence within their target consumers.
"This Pisces is an aspiring businesswoman who loves to help her dad operate their stores." Those were the words written at age five in her dance studio's program. Now a Wayne State University graduate, she has worked for The Parade Company for over seven years as Special Events director. She produces multiple marketing and branding events and is the lead event director on event consulting projects for Cornerstone Schools, Detroit Grand Prix and Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.
DeForrest is program manager for the Skillman Design contest. In 2010, she launched the organization's first youth arts summer camp. In 2013, three of her programs won Gold IFEA Pinnacle Awards.
In 2007, she launched WordPlay Inc. an online novelty T-shirt company with positive messaging. She also believes in "family first" and enjoys mentoring younger family members with a strong yet loving support system. She also proudly accepts "The Best Sister in the Universe" title given by her younger brother.
Tara Edwards joined WXYZ in June 2011. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri but spent her middle school and high school years in metro Detroit. She graduated from West Bloomfield High School and University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.
After school, she got her start in Flint, Michigan. She worked behind the scenes at WJRT and went on to report and anchor at WSMH and WNEM. In 2007, she moved to Pittsburgh where she worked as a reporter/fill-in anchor at WTAE.
While at WTAE, Edwards got a chance to meet many remarkable people and cover stories of a lifetime. In 2009, she reported on the Steelers Super Bowl win as fans celebrated in the streets and just a few months later she did it again as the Penguins won the Stanley Cup. Edwards points out that she was rooting for the Red Wings. That same year, she found herself surrounded by riot police on live TV covering a protest during the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.
Though Tara Edwards made many friends in Pennsylvania, she is ecstatic to be back home and thrilled to be part of the WXYZ family. When she is not working, she enjoys kickboxing, pilates and reading. She spends a lot of time with her family.
Adam Hollier was born in Detroit and raised on the North End, where he and his wife, Krystle, are restoring a formerly vacant home. He is the son of Carl (retired Detroit firefigher) and Jacquelene Hollier (retired social worker). He is a graduate of Renaissance High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations, where he played varsity football and was a decathlete. His commitment to service includes volunteer firefighting and disaster response. While working in Biloxi, Miss. post-Katrina, he was inspired to pursue a master's in Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After graduating in 2009, he returned home with creative ways to fight blight and promote economic development.
While serving as Senator Johnson's chief of staff (2009-2012), Hollier was instrumental in major pieces of legislation: Regional Transit Authority, Utility Shut-Off Protections for seniors and the partial repeal of the Drivers Responsibility Fee. As the mayor's liaison to the City Council, he shepherded the creation of the Public Lighting Authority, a $180 million investment in neighborhoods. He recently won the primary election for City Council in District 5. In his free time the enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu and coaching youth football.
Evette Hollins is Urban Initiatives manager at the Detroit Regional Chamber where she is responsible for managing the Chamber's urban strategy. In this role she fosters relationships with Detroit-based organizations and programs with an emphasis on small business and entrepreneurship. She works closely with Detroit government officials on economic development advocacy issues and manages programming for the annual Detroit Policy Conference.
Before joining the Chamber, Hollins was a senior financial analyst at Comerica Bank where she performed analysis on a $50 billion portfolio and took on a range of projects dealing with profit enhancement, risk profiling and strategic planning.
Hollins is also very committed to her involvement in the community. A few of the organizations she works with are the United Way for Southeast Michigan, the Belle Isle Conservancy, and Boys Hope Girls Hope.
In 2013, she was named one of Crain's Detroit Business "20 in their 20's." She earned bachelor's in Business Administration in finance and corporate strategy from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. She resides in downtown Detroit and looks forward to being a change agent in the resurgence of Detroit
Dr. Curtis Lewis is founding principal of Henry Ford Academy: Elementary School, a public charter school serving students in grades K-5 in Detroit's greater Boston-Edison area. An accomplished urban educator, Dr. Lewis came to HFA: Elementary School from Teach for America – Detroit, where he was a manager of Teacher Leadership Development. During that time, he was also a visiting instructor at the University of Michigan and a contracted Student Services Specialist with the Lansing School District.
Dr. Lewis earned his bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan State University. He was a 5th grade teacher, middle school math teacher, and an alternative education teacher at the secondary level. After seven years of teaching, he returned to school to obtain his PhD from Michigan State University. During his time as a graduate student, Dr. Lewis taught classes at Michigan State University, coordinated an intervention program for first-time youth offenders, and was director of a mentoring program for young males of color.
"Expect the best from yourself, and you will meet your expectations." Shanika A. Owens is quite familiar with this quote. As a native Detroiter who attended Detroit Public Schools, she continuously challenges herself and often exceeds the expectations of others.
A sharp, astute public policy professional with a passion for the city of Detroit, Owens has made great strides in her career. Her tireless work ethic took her from being an intern with Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh to his director of Policy & Legislative Affairs within two years. To her colleagues, she exudes the skill set of a seasoned veteran.
Remaining civically engaged outside of the confines of city hall, Owens is a staple in her community. She serves on the West Village Association Board and is an active member of Central Baptist Church in Detroit. She earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from Michigan State University in 2010. She enjoys public service and has cultivated a keen interest in law. She currently assists Councilman James Tate as a policy analyst and will begin the pursuit of her juris doctor in the fall of 2014.
Shani J. Penn accepted the number two decision- making position in Detroit in April 2013. She brings dynamic leadership and over 12 years of corporate experience to her position of chief of staff to emergency manager Kevyn Orr. Some of the key initiatives she is leading in this role are blight removal and the city's solid waste restructuring.
Previously, Penn served as dealer relations manager at Chrysler Financial Corporation (CFC) where she was the liaison between the dealership owners and Chrysler. Working for CFC gave her the opportunity to work in both New York and Chicago in various management positions which helped her build the skills to begin serving in her prior role as chief of staff to Detroit City Councilman James Tate at the age of 32.
Shani Penn is a graduate of Western Michigan University, active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., a 2010 Congressional Black Caucus Boot Camp alumnae, and 2011 Michigan Political Leadership alumnae. She is a member of the Southwest Solutions Housing Board and the Detroit Institute of Arts Authority Board.
A Detroit native, Annis Stubbs was inspired by her experience in the Detroit Public Schools to become a teacher.
After earning her degree at Michigan State, she joined Teach For America as a corps member in New York. Later, she returned to Michigan State to obtain her PhD in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy.
Stubbs' investment in the city of Detroit also led her to become invested in numerous initiatives since her return. She has participated in the Future Teachers for Social Justice program and currently serves as a board member for the Public School Academies of Detroit and the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. As executive director, she is poised to live out her passion and comittment to Detroit's kids.
Dr. Nutrena Tate received her Bachelor's and Masters of Science degrees from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate of Philosophy degree from Wayne State University. As a Post Doctoral Research fellow, her research interests include factors affecting obesity in adolescents of color. She has co-authored journal articles and more. She has presented her research on local, national and international levels.
Dr. Tate has teaching experience as an assistant professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. Among her awards are the Ellen H. Toporek Award for Excellence in Pediatric Nursing, Nurse Educator of the Year from National Black Nurses Association, and Children's Hospital of Michigan Nurse of the Month.
She currently serves as president of Lambda Chi Chapter of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., a professional nursing organization, and chairman of the board for Teen H.Y.P.E, a teen empowerment organization as well as serving on other various community based advisory boards. She is a proud member of Detroit Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Triumph Church. She is happily married to Councilman James Tate.
Chrystal Wilson, account executive, joined Berg Muirhead in 2010 and provides extensive communications expertise in media and public relations, crisis communications, community outreach, event planning and social media marketing.
She has worked on numerous campaigns including the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, The Knight Foundation's BMe Community, Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Sodexo Detroit, HAP, Detroit Public Schools and many more.
Prior to joining Berg Muirhead, Wilson provided communications consulting services to various clients, including the Motown Museum, Real Times Media, Handprint Entertainment, Daimler Financial Services and the Wayne County Chapter of the Links, Inc. She has a background in journalism and worked at several newspaper outlets including the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Automotive News and the Observer and Eccentric's Mirror newspapers and as a city manager for the nationally-distributed Rolling Out Urban Style Weekly magazine, Detroit edition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Wayne State University and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.
Monique Vann-Brown is a native of Detroit. She attended Cranbrook Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills. She earned a BS in Industrial Engineering with a concentration in Manufacturing Engineering from Purdue University as well as an MBA with concentrations in Operations and Manufacturing Technology Management from the Krannert Graduate School of Management at Purdue University.
Her career evolved from various summer internships at Intel Corporation, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation to manufacturing engineering and production supervision at General Motors. She held positions of increasing responsibility in purchasing management for various commodities at Visteon Corporation. At the time of her departure from Visteon, she managed over $175 million spend for metal commodities. She negotiated multi-year agreements with suppliers that resulted in 3% year-over-year cost reductions on value-added content.
Since her smooth transition from her successful career in the automotive industry to McDonald's franchise ownership, Monique has demonstrated the ability to operate a profitable portfolio of restaurants, which have achieved year-over-year sales growth. She also volunteers her time as a panelist to many organizations including the NAACP and is a mentor to many aspiring entrepreneurs.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 16:31
Category: Community Written by C. E. Huggins/Reuters
Caring for a disabled family member can be overwhelmingly hard. But caregivers may live longer than those who don't bear such responsibilities, new research suggests.
In a nationwide study, adults who provided care for a chronically ill or disabled family member had a lower death rate than a similar group of non-caregivers.
The finding is something of a surprise.
In the past, researchers have found just the opposite - an increased risk of death as well as poorer mental and physical health among caregivers. Such detrimental health effects have been found among people caring for a disabled spouse or a person with dementia, for example.
"(We want to) emphasize the positive message that caregiving is a healthy thing that we should be doing in our families," lead study author Dr. David L. Roth, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging and Health, told Reuters Health.
Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, who directs the Geriatric Education Center at Stanford University School of Medicine in California told Reuters Health the current study's findings are "surprising... because prior studies did find an association between caregiver stress and mortality."
Gallagher-Thompson pointed out that the caregivers included in Roth's study were not heavily stressed, however. They didn't all have their ill family member living with them full time. Some caregivers may have just visited their charges, the report indicates.
The study also did not distinguish between caregivers of people with dementia and those with other conditions.
"Previous studies that have reported high stress and increased mortality have focused on dementia," said Gallagher-Thompson.
Roth noted that poorer health among caregivers is "undoubtedly true" in some cases, particularly among those caring for people with dementia. However, "caregiving stress has been over exaggerated," he said.
Of the 3,503 caregivers included in the study, over 80% said they were experiencing either no mental or emotional strain or only a moderate level of such strain.
Only 578 - or less than one in five - felt their caregiving caused them "high strain."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 11:13
Category: Community Written by Donald James/ Michigan Chronicle
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 was not a typical day of worship for Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams. For the first time in more than five years, she no longer stood in the pulpit as pastor of Zion Progress Baptist Church, near downtown Detroit, to preach one of her patented fiery sermons that the congregation had become accustom to hearing. Abrams officially stepped down as pastor on Friday, Oct. 18, after telling her congregation on the previous Sunday that she was married to a same-gender spouse.
In an exclusive interview with the Michigan Chronicle just two days before she resigned, Abrams told her story. "With some buzz going around about my same-sex marriage, I wanted my church to hear from me before members heard it from other sources; I had already talked with my deacons." said Abrams. "I knew that it would eventually get to my congregation. So I stood in my pulpit on Sunday, Oct. 6 and openly talked about love, Christ, and that I was married and it was a same-gender marriage."
Abrams, 43, said some members of Zion Progress supported her announcement and wanted her to stay on as pastor; other members were adamant about her stepping down and moving on. She also found similar sentiments in local Christian circles of pastors. After a nine-year stint as secretary of the Detroit Council of Baptist Pastors, Abrams decided to resign rather than be subjected to proposed meetings to discuss her same-sex marriage. She also removed Zion Progress from its membership with the Baptist Missionary and Education State Convention, as well as the Progressive National Baptist Convention.
For Abrams, it was important to be honest with her congregation, self and spouse, but more importantly, with God. Therefore, Abrams identified her new spouse as Bishop Emeritus Diana Williams of the Imani Temple of the African-American Catholic Congregation in Washington, D.C. Abrams and Williams married in March, 2013 in Iowa, one of 13 states, as well as Washington, D.C., that allow same-gender marriage. "I am a person of integrity and didn't want to be a hypocrite on this issue," said Abrams. "There are other members of the clergy that speak out on this subject in public, but do just the opposite behind closed doors. I refuse to be a hypocrite. I felt that I needed to be married because I was pastoring a church and leading people."
Abrams said that her same-gender marriage represented a first-time love experience involving another woman. Abrams, a divorced mother of three children, said about a year before she married Williams, she asked God to send love her way, and not necessarily love based on a certain gender. According to Abrams, she and Williams had been friends and worked together on several faith-based initiatives. "She is definitely my best friend, a wonderful person and is a support system to me in tremendous ways," Abrams said of Williams. "We have a lot in common. We have similar visions, missions and goals. We complement each other very well in how best to serve God."
Abrams said that she was encouraged to make her decision about same-sex marriage after attending a conference in Atlanta about a year or two before she married Williams. Abrams recalled hearing Rev. Joseph Lowery, dean of the Civil Rights Movement, social activist and preacher, answer a question about gay people in the church. "I'm a red-lettered Christian," Abrams recalled Lowery saying. "I follow what Jesus Christ said...that is the only thing I know to do. All this talk about who can have rights and who cannot have rights doesn't make sense because Christ received everybody. If we are true Christians, we will follow the red letter words (of God) that's in the bible."
Abrams said Lowery's message hit home with power as she began to look within herself about love and not necessary love based on gender. Abrams also sought counsel from Rev. Dr. Ken Samuels, who is based in Atlanta, as well as Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder of the City of Refuge UCC, located in San Francisco. Flunder, who is openly gay, is also the founder of The Fellowship, an organization of black pastors and churches that openly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members.
Others members of the clergy who gave Abrams advice was Rev. Christine Wiley, who along with her husband Rev. Dennis Wiley, serve as pastors of the Covenant Baptist Church (United Church in Christ) in Washington, D.C. In 2007, Covenant Baptist was the first Black traditional church in D.C. to marry same-sex couples. The husband and wife also co-chair the organization DC Clergy for Marriage Equality.
Abrams also found scriptures that she believed are important to read as "scriptural references" as it relates to same-gender relationships: Luke 7: 1 -10 and Matthew 8: 5-13 (about the Centurion's servant). She also believed the Greek words "entimos duolos pais" when seen together mean beloved servant, which means male lover. This, according to Abrams, is different from the other servants in nature of the relationship. "I don't want to get into scriptural debates with folks because folks can argue on both sides based on intreptation," Abrams explained. "I just want to say where I am and what brought me to this point."
While seeking the wisdom of other theologians and reading bible scriptures were important to Abrams, ultimately, she knew the final decision was hers to make. Once she decided to marry Williams, she also knew that such a revelation would not be popular with many conservative Christians, especially in the African-American community. She is, however, thankful for a loyal circle of local pastors that did not condemn her after she revealed to them the news of her same-gender marriage. The circle included Pastor Wilma Johnson, (New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church), Pastor E.L. Branch (Third New Hope Baptist Church), Rev. Charles Christian Adams (Hartford Memorial Baptist Church), Rev. Mother (Pastor and Christian radio show host) and a few others. "Bishop Abrams is a very intelligent, conscientious and progressive minister," Adams told a local reporter last week." According to the article written, Adams, from a constitutional rights standpoint, supports gay marriage. Adam went on to say that in the African-American community, there needs to be further discussions on the issue.
Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights advocate and host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC agreed. "As Americans, it is up to each and every one of us to fight injustice and inequality when we are faced with it," Sharpton said during an interview with TheGrio.com in March of this year. "Today, we are faced with such injustices in the form of discrimination against same-sex couples, who deserve the same freedom to marry as anyone else. We cannot be part-time advocates for justice. When we fail to stand up to tyranny, we leave an opening for an attack on our own civil rights. The issue is not about being gay or straight but about the civil rights of Americans who are seeking to have the same rights and protections as their brothers and sisters across this great nation."
Interesting, on the same day that Abrams granted an exclusive interview to the Michigan Chronicle (Oct. 16), the Michigan Marriage Act was being debated before U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman. The judge ultimately set a trial date of Feb. 25, 2014, which shocked many who thought he would dismiss the case to uphold the Michigan amendment which bans same-sex marriage in the state.
Beyond Michigan, same-gender marriage has been a hot-button issue. Even President Obama and the NAACP have voiced strong support for same-gender marriage which has angered a significant segment of the African-American population. Many national polls now show that a great number of Americans support gay marriage, inclusive of great levels of support among various racial and ethnic groups: however, support among African-Americans remains under 50 percent.
Abrams hopes that the attitudes of African-Americans, especially those in the Black Church, will become more tolerant and acceptance of people regardless of sexual orientation. Yet, she knows that acceptance is a steep mountain to climb. "Some from the pulpit are making these people (gay) feel very small, making them feel that they have no love from God; that God is not going to use them or bless them," explained Abrams. "Some ministers are being hypocrites because behind the scenes they are right there doing stuff with them. I believe that there needs to be open and guided discussion. I believe that the African-American church needs to become open, welcoming and affirming to everybody."
Abrams continued: "Welcoming does not mean that you are going to tell someone what they are going to look like when they come up in to your church. If Christ said, 'come as you are.' That means if you have tattoos, a ring in your nose, you should be able to come to church. To receive young people in your church, or people in general who are unchurched than you have to welcome and affirm them in your church."
Some pastors disagree to a certain extent: "People have a hard time advocating for something that is biblically wrong," said André Sims, senior pastor of Christ the King Bible Fellowship in Federal Way, Washington, who has participated in recent rallies in favor of maintaining traditional marriages only. "Same-gender relations are wrong because of what God said about them."
Whatever side of the issue one is on pertaining to same-sex relationships and marriages, Abrams believes that God still loves them. "I believe that God is an all-knowing God and that He predestined things to come into our lives," Abrams said. "God created us in His image. I believe that God is an inclusive God and does not discriminate against anyone. If you look at the lineage of Jesus, there were all kinds of folks. I believe that everyone should be included in God's church. It the church that excludes people; not God."
Abrams, who was born in Birmingham, Ala., feels that many people believe that because someone is in a sex-same relationship that they had problems in childhood. "I had a great childhood," said Abrams, who grew up in a two-parent home that strongly believed in God and Baptist church doctrines. "I was not fondled or molested by anybody. I had healthy relationships with my entire family."
After graduating from high school, Abrams attended Howard University where she earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. She also attended Miles Law School for two years before hearing and accepting her call as a minister. She went on to earn a master of divinity and doctor of ministry from United Theological Seminary. In 2001, Abrams founded and pastored Speak the Truth Baptist Church, before becoming the first female pastor of Zion Progress Baptist Church in its 55-year history.
While Abrams knows that the Black church must change, she doesn't think it will be anytime soon. Therefore, she is now in the process of making decisions that she hopes will return her to the pulpit. "I probably will just leave the state and be a part of another denomination," said Abrams. "I have always been a Baptist; I love being a Baptist. This (same-sex marriage), however, does not seem like it's something that they want to work with me on. I've talked with United Church of Christ and Metropolitan Community Churches. They have language (in their doctrines) that says that they accept everybody and are open and affirming. Many people who are in same-gender relationships or marriages will often go to one of those two denominations."
Abrams vows to press on while continuing to serve God as she has been called to do. In some ways, she feels as if she being forced out of the African-American church because of her same-gender marriage. "The Lord, however, has not sat me down," said Abrams, who is completing her third book entitled, 'God Can Still Use You. "God is still using me do great things. There is nothing wrong with my heart and my spirit. I will still preach and teach, but it will be somewhere else. I will not stay in a place where people won't receive me. I need to be some place where people will love me and receive and celebrate my gift. My gift is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and helping God's people."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 11:38
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Detroit, MI – October 21, 2013 – Eastern Market Corporation (EMC) is proud to celebrate the Third Annual Food Day – the nationwide celebration and grassroots movement to promote healthy, affordable, sustainably produced food and better food policies – with an event during tomorrow’s Tuesday Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The celebration will include a resource kiosk hosted by community partners Detroit Community Markets, Fair Food Network and the Charter One Foundation, focused on shedding light on the good food work happening in Detroit and beyond.
Local, EMC Food Day highlights will include:
· The release of an easy to use calendar called “Eat Fresh, Detroit” focused on informing metropolitan Detroit how to identify in-season produce and how to eat seasonally.
· Distribution of recipe cards underwritten by the Charter One Foundation on how to incorporate fruits and vegetables in everyday meals.
· Display of “Map My Market” board featuring 13 Detroit Community Markets farmers markets and farm stands located throughout Detroit.
· Raffle of locally made products from Eastern Market vendors.
“Food Day is a great opportunity to showcase the great work happening in the Detroit food movement,” shared Dan Carmody, President of the Eastern Market Corporation. “Eastern Market is happy to help connect people with farmers markets and other healthy food options in their neighborhoods via the Detroit Community Markets.”
Food Day will see thousands of events in all 50 states aimed at promoting healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food. For more information about Detroit Community Markets visit www.detroitmarkets.org and for more information about Food Day visit http://www.foodday.org/
About the Eastern Market Corporation
Eastern Market Corporation (EMC) is the nonprofit responsible for Detroit’s venerable public market. EMC’s vision is to create the most inclusive, resilient, and robust regional food hub in the United States. The Eastern Market leverages its dynamic history, manages operations, develops programs, builds facilities and provides critical infrastructure to : strengthen the Eastern Market District, improve access to healthy, green, affordable, and fair food choices in Detroit and throughout Southeast Michigan and to fortify the food sector as a pillar of regional economic growth. For more information, call (313) 833-9300, visit our website at www.DetroitEasternMarket.com or follow us Twitter: @EasternMarket and Facebook: EasternMarketDetroit
Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 23:11
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!