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“HELP SUPPORT – Brother’s Keeper Mission Project!”

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By Lou Coleman

As much as we may resist the idea that we are our brother’s keeper, in God’s eyes we are more than we aren’t. Am I my brother’s keeper questions our degree of responsibility for anyone other than ourselves.  As we read through the pages of Scripture we begin to discover that there is a responsibility that we are entrusted with. Jesus used examples that said if we clothed anyone who was naked, visited anyone in prison, even just give a cup of cool water in His name then it would be as if we had done it directly to Him. When it comes to God’s perspective on your life, you are your brother’s keeper. Acts 11: 12-30.

 

However, many of us Christians believe that as one person we can’t make a difference. I want you to know that that’s not true! Let me ask you, did Christ? Yes! One person can make a difference. We are told to “bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” In Galatians 6:2, we are commanded to bear the burdens of our brother. The whole idea here is one of self-denial and self-sacrifice. When Jesus went to the cross, He laid aside His rights for us. He denied Himself, suffered in our place and bore our infirmities on the cross. He set the standard that we are all called upon to follow. This verse is a call for us to get our eyes off ourselves and to get them onto those around us so that we can reach out to them in the love of God and make a difference in their lives!

 

After seeing firsthand what poverty looks like, I am now more dedicated than ever to be a part of their lives. “I have come to the realization that in the grand scheme of things, it’s not about me! How can we complain when others are in much worst conditions than we find ourselves in? We can no longer walk past those in need, because we are called to make a difference. To be effective servants for God, we must put things into perspective and be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of another. We must have a burning desire to help others to the fullest extent of our being. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But what good is salt that no longer seasons, preserves, or purifies? What good is light that no longer emanates, illuminates, and reveals? God does not extend his generosity to us with the intent that we would hoard blessings for our sole benefit. As we are conduits and not repositories for God’s blessings, we must be determined to direct God’s blessings bestowed on us to others. Let us no longer be perceived as Christians by name only. We must not compromise God’s Word. We must strive to be men and women of integrity. And we must allow real, demonstrative truths to emit from our lives, being mindful that God is making His appeal to the world through us.

 

USA for Africa, “We Are the World,” written by Lionel Richie and the great late Michael Jackson says, “There comes a time when we must heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one, there are people dying, and it’s time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all. We can’t go on pretending day by day, that someone, will soon make a change, we are all a part of God’s great big family, and the truth, you know, love is all we need.”

Perhaps one of the more thought-provoking questions in the Bible is that one asked by Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9) This is a question we would do well to ask ourselves today…. Are we our brother’s keeper? Do we have a responsibility to watch out for and care for one another? {When one turns to the New Testament, it becomes clear that the answer is in the affirmative}. In fact, there are many passages which emphasize…Our responsibilities to one another. We are to “Love One Another” As commanded by Jesus –As taught by Paul – As instructed by Peter – and as stressed by John. But how are we to express such love? We are to “receive one another”; we are to “edify another”; we are to “serve one another”; we are to “bear one another’s burdens”; we are to be “forgiving one another”; we are to be “submitting to one another”; we are to “exhort one another”; we are to “consider one another”; we are to be “hospitable to one another.” {In light of such “one another” passages, is there any doubt that we are to be our brother’s keeper?} But how well are we doing? Do we even consider them? Are we even aware of whom they are? Are we ignorant of their problems? Are we willing to bear their burdens? So as to help them overcome and become stronger; or do we rather not be bothered?

What is involved in being our Brother’s Keeper? Teaching him the gospel (Mark 16:15, 16) Loving him as we love self (Matt 22:39; 1 John 3:17) Restoring him when he falls. (Gal 6:1; James 5:19-20) Sharing his burdens and joys, (Gal. 6:2; Romans 12:15) Doing good to him. (gal. 6:10) Helping him when he is in need (Ephesians 4:28) Treating him the way we want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12). Does one person make a difference? Yes! You can help by donating any amount to the cause. What may seem small to you might just change everything for them.

To donate visit www.gofundme.com/99b30w.

 

Through Medi‐Cal, More Than 1 Million Black Californians Sign Up for Health Insurance

4By McKenzie Jackson/California Black Media

As far as Ronail “Stretch” Shelton knows, his health is great. Strong, athletic and fit, the Los Angeles‐based personal trainer, is one of hundreds of thousands of Californians of all races who renewed or began Medi‐Cal coverage this year.

Despite having a clean bill of health, Shelton, 31, who is African American, says he understands why he needs reliable health coverage.

“If something were to happen suddenly, I might not be able to afford to pay for it,” said Shelton, who is self‐employed.

According to the most recent numbers, 779,000 Californians either enrolled or re‐enrolled in Medi‐Cal, the Golden State’s safety‐net health insurance program, during its second open enrollment period. This statistic includes numbers from November 15, 2014, to January 31, 2015.

While Covered California, the state’s health exchange, has not yet released statistics concerning the number of African‐American Californians who signed up for health coverage through the state program during this most recent enrollment period, Black Californians made up six percent, or 114,000, of the 1.9 million people who registered for Medi‐Cal during the initial enrollment period of October 2013 to April 2014.

Medi‐Cal provides low‐cost health coverage for children and adults with low to no incomes and resources. The program is administered by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). Under the Medi‐Cal program, qualified persons receive free or low‐cost health coverage. Eligibility for free Medi-‐Cal is determined by household income and family size, among other requirements.

Every year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sets guidelines that determine whether or not families or individuals qualify for certain federal assistance programs based on their income. In 2015, according to that measure, a family of four has to earn less than $23,550 to fall below the poverty level. For an individual, that number is $11,490, and $15,510 for a family of two.

However, the State of California has its own index for determining who qualifies for Medi-Cal. According to DHCS, a family of four has to earn less than $32,913 to fall below the poverty level. For an individual, that number is $16,105, and $21,708 for a family of two.

Toni Newman, the Development and Administration Coordinator with To Help Everyone (T.H.E.) Health and Wellness Centers in Los Angeles, one of the Southside Coalition’s community health groups, said with Medi-Cal and other low-cost plans offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), African Americans can get affordable, even no-cost, health insurance.

“Health plans offered by Medi-Cal include benefits known as ‘essential health benefits,’” Newman told California Black Media in an e-mail.

Those health benefits include dental services, emergency services, hospitalization, outpatient services, prescription drugs, laboratory services, and children’s services such as oral and vision care. Maternity and newborn care, preventive and wellness services, chronic disease management, mental health services, substance use disorder services, and other rehabilitative devices and programs such as physical and occupational therapy are also covered by Medi-Cal insurance.

According to numbers from the Southside Coalition’s website, from 2008 to 2012 T.H.E.’s six centers and one mobile clinic in the south Los Angeles area had a patient base that is 61 percent African American. Seventy -two percent of the patients earned less than 100 percent of the federal poverty line and 43 percent were uninsured, the website also reports.

Newman said T.H.E.’s doctors and nurses are accustomed to dealing with health issues associated with the communities it serves. “Sixty percent of T.H.E. patients use Medi-Cal and most of that population are minorities,” she said. “A lot of African Americans suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes .”

At each of the centers, T.H.E. offers medical services for men, women, children, and teens, as well as public health and preventive education services.

Although enrollment for the program jumped dramatically during Covered California’s open enrollment period from November 15, 2014, to February 15, 2015, enrollment or renewal for Medi-Cal is available all year long to those who qualify, as opposed to the private health insurance plans offered through Covered California as part of the ACA – commonly known as “Obamacare”.

There are a number of ways individuals or families can apply for Medi-Cal coverage. They can sign up in person at their local county’s human services agency; visit a Covered California certified enrollment counselor; or apply by mail with a Medi-Cal Single Streamlined Application found on Covered California’s website at www.coveredca.org.

Newman said T.H.E. has 10 certified enrollment counselors who have been trained and certified by Covered California to assist uninsured patients in enrolling in Medi-Cal and Covered California plans.

For most, the renewal process is simple and straightforward. It entails requesting the Medi-Cal renewal documents from your local county human services agency. Upon receiving, the applicant must fill the forms out and send them back to the human services agency.

Shelton said getting through the renewal process was smooth even though he experienced a hiccup early on. “I didn’t get the paperwork,” he said. “So they assigned me someone that helped me get it done.”

For more information about Medi-Cal visit www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/pages/applyformedi-cal.aspx or call your local county human services agency, or visit Covered California’s website at www.coveredca.com or call 800-300-1506.

AKA 2015 Debutantes Nubian Pearls Awards Luncheon

Left to right: Jordan Brown, Sabrina Cook, Cierra Gilmore, Rachel Harris, LA Kaya Hodge, Alexis Hoxie, Sydni McKinley-Parson, Makayla Marshall, and Diamond Tabron.

Left to right: Jordan Brown, Sabrina Cook, Cierra Gilmore, Rachel Harris, LA Kaya Hodge, Alexis Hoxie, Sydni McKinley-Parson, Makayla Marshall, and Diamond Tabron.

ONTARIO, CA- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Eta Nu Omega Chapter presented ten young ladies various scholarships and recognition awards on Sunday, March 29 at the Radisson Hotel in Ontario.  These young ladies have performed various community service projects, etiquette training, college preparation, mother-daughter tea leading up to their début to society.  The culmination of the debutante season will come to an end at the Debutante Ball that will be held on Saturday, April 4 at the Radisson Hotel in Ontario.  Tickets are available and may be purchased in advance for $65.00.  For more information, please contact Nancy Ross, Chairman at tntross@aol.com.