EAST ORANGE, NJ - Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James was the keynote speaker this past Saturday at Calvary-Roseville United Methodist Church in East Orange for the Men Make A Difference Spring Brunch.
The West Orange based Men Make A Difference held their annual brunch in East Orange to help launch Civic Cares Community Foundation, a newly formed group of active and conscious-minded men that are seeking to make systemic changes in the community.
Civic Cares Community Foundation (CCCF), is a public charity that will assist community organizations to more effectively engage in social service initiatives in distressed urban communities.
The highlight of the afternoon was the keynote speech by Mayor James. He didn’t shy away from the obvious question of his imprisonment but instead highlighted the experience leading to his past indictment and his stint in prison. “I’m proud to call myself a ‘convicted felon. “It gives you time to think, focus and reflect.” All details of his take on the experience are detailed in his book, “Political Prisoner,” which he promoted at the event.
He maintained throughout his public and political career he was always trying to help people, and in doing so, was swiftly vilified for his actions which led to his indictment and punished for his social responsibility. In a fiery speech delivered with his usual charisma, based on that experience James challenged those in attendance to go out and charge others within our society to return “to a time when we as Black people used to help and assist one another.” “We had our own banks, insurance companies and other businesses that we patronized. We need to return to those times when we supported our own.” He went on to reassert if African-Americans had more participation in that sense, “we would not have to endure watching young men walking down the street showing their underwear while others suffer in fear as simple disagreements turn into violent encounters.”
CCCF will host several upcoming programs as they continue to expand and develop. One such program will take place in September, entitled ”100 Guys in Bow Ties,” aimed at celebrating the accomplishments of successful men in the community. Anyone interested in getting involved with CCCF may contact the organization through www.civicares.com or by calling 973-818-4376 or 973-418-0715.