We’ve Come this Far by Faith: God Bless the Children


Welcome to The Positive Community’s (TPC) 13th Annual Newark Issue! We are proud to share with you the story of Newark’s Ascension: The Rise of a Great American City under the leadership of Mayor Ras J. Baraka. The idea of an annual Newark edition was inspired by two of the city’s iconic leaders in business and community service: The late Al Koeppe, president of Newark Alliance (of corporations, businesses, and public and private institutions) and the late Gus Heninnberg activist, labor organizer and former host of NBC-TV’s popular weekly talk show Positively Black.

In October 2007, construction of the Prudential Arena was completed. With all the press surrounding the arena’s grand opening, they realized a need to directly address and interpret just what this all means to the Black community of Newark and the region. They connected with Jean Wells and me, and the rest is history!

Al and Gus instinctively understood and valued the role of black-owned media, an American institution, to speak to the people and tell the story. TPC remains ever committed to the ideals of these visionary Torchbearers.

Celebrating American Freedom
As new social and political realities arise resulting from the election of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President- Elect Kamala Harris, how is TPC to interpret the true meaning of all this to our community of readers? 1), African Americans voted overwhelmingly for these candidates; as US citizens we have the inalienable right to exercise our franchise. 2), a Black woman will ascend to the second highest office in America, the most powerful nation on earth. This is a great cultural achievement, a historic victory for the people, a blessing!

And now let us turn our thoughts to the future— about potentials and possibilities. As a unique people with a peculiar history in this land, what now must we do to insure lasting progress on the cultural and economic fronts? How do we measure real success in our American freedom journey; and on whose terms? Answer: Through the progress of our children and an unwavering commitment to advance the integrity and dignity of our culture, values and traditions—our collective soul!

The Great Watch Night Initiative
“God Bless the Children” is the theme for TPC’s Second Annual Great American Emancipation Day Awards Celebration. This virtual event will take place online January 1, 2021, 2pm–6pm. On that day we will honor three individuals and three organizations that positively impact the lives of young people. We join together to remember our people’s sacrifices and enormous contributions to America and world popular culture!

Many churches will host virtual Watch Night services on December 31, New Year’s Eve. In the Black Church the Watch Night tradition dates back to 1862. On the next day, January 1st, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln’s executive order, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect ending slavery for over 4.5 million of our people in the Confederate states during the Civil War, a war that cost over 600,000 American lives!

Together, let us end 2020 and begin the New Year, 2021 affirming the truth, beauty and goodness of who we really are: liberated sons and daughters of the Most High; mighty descendants of The Great Emancipation—1863! TPC appeals to all of our Roll Call member congregations to invite clergy leaders, denominations, associations, conferences, districts, jurisdictions and conventions to include a five minute video presentation into their Watch Night worship service—We’ve Come this Far by Faith; The African American Cultural Narrative.

Visit our website thepositivecommunity.com or PositiveMusicHub.com to download the free video link and poster. In the spirit of positive community change; for the love of our children, our families; in loving, unselfish service to our neighbors—the beloved community—and for the glory of God. Let us do this—together!