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Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation Refuses to Let You Go Silent: 5th Annual Women’s Wellness Conference

By Angela M. Coggs

On Saturday, September 9, Young Women Empowerment Foundation (YWE) hosted their fifth Annual Women’s Wellness Conference at San Bernardino Community Hospital Henderson Auditorium. YWE invited family, friends, faith-based organizations, students and community supporters to their augural event that focused on emotional and physical health and wellness. It was a free event for women in the Inland Empire, although there were several men in attendance.

This year’s theme was Silence No More. It refers to not keeping silent regarding heart disease and domestic violence. Both areas of concern plague all people but especially minority women. The conference placed an emphasis on the prevention of heart disease as well as learning to live with and maintain if diagnosed by a physician. Additionally, domestic violence was addressed in a unique and compelling way.

Vickie Lee, Madeline Freeman and Arlington Rodgers II performed an emotional and riveting skit that centered on a real-to-life situation that happens every day behind closed doors. Lee’s performance brought many of the attendees to tears. It took the engaged audience into a deep and personal look inside a potential volatile situation. “She was so good. It seemed so real,” exclaimed Dr. Romeo Brooks, one of the keynote speaker of the conference. Brooks stated that he was so moved and impressed with the entire performance.

Brooks and YWE Board

Brooks and YWE Board

It was an eventful and interactive conference. The women in attendance had the opportunity to participate in interactive demonstrations and hear life changing testimonials from other women on heart disease and domestic violence. 

Originally, there were three keynote speakers for the wellness conference who focus would be based on issues that are important and relevant to heart disease and domestic violence. The keynote and guest testimonial speakers were Dr. Romeo Brooks, Ph.D. (Keynote) Herbalist, Iridologist, Natural Hygienist and Naturopathic Medicine, Roots Nutrition and Melinda Cuellar, Representative Divine Connections, H.O.P.E.

Gwen and Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes

Gwen and Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes

The other scheduled keynote speaker was supposed to be Joyce Fairman CEO/Founder of Hearts of Color. Regrettable, she passed prior the conference. However, as they continue to mourn the loss of the beloved friend and heart health advocate Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation honored her legacy with her mentee, Deborah Smith, acknowledging her “never stop” attitude and how she continued to encourage to reach her potential and to find her passion. After her noteworthy peek into their personal relationship, YWE introduced Fairman to the captivated audience via slide show and they watched a montage of pictures that revealed her caring and positive spirit. Testimony from her close friend, Sharon Smith- Knight, shown Fairman’s humorous side. Everyone in attendance participated in and observed a moment of silence during Fairman’s original scheduled speaking time. 

Cuellar spoke about domestic violence and how Divine Connections, H.O.P.E.’s mission is to offer guidance, empowerment, education and resources for building healthy relationships. The attendees were introduced to Option House by Deborah Smith, which provides information, resources and services about domestic violence. A question and answer segment was held at the end of the presentations.

Vickie Lee and Dr. Brooks

Vickie Lee and Dr. Brooks

Dr. Brooks discussed how to prevent and live with heart disease. He communicated how the physical body is not only the expressed image of the invisible mind but is also the visible barometer of what occurs in our mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. He connected physical wellness to our mental health. He emphasized that we need to eliminate all the bad things our bodies accumulate.

In addition to providing useful health and wellness information at the conference, the attendees was also invited to get physical during the live line dance demonstrations by Heart and Soul’s Harriette Coggs- Stuckey. The line dance demonstrations has been a huge success for the past three years and this year was no different. Coggs- Stuckey energetic personality match her energetic performance. Everyone participated in the dancing segment and enjoyed the heart pumping activity.

Heart and Soul 2017

Heart and Soul 2017

YWE serves to strengthen the character of young women of high school age in the San Bernardino City region of the Inland Empire in Southern California. Young Women’s Empowerment was founded by CEO Gwendolyn Dowdy- Rodgers. The mission of our program is to empower these young women to achieve at their highest potential, particularly in education, and to instill in them a commitment to return to their community as leaders and mentors.

Vickie Lee and Madeline Freeman

Vickie Lee and Madeline Freeman

The Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation (YWE) is dedicated to strengthening the self-esteem, character, integrity and capacity of young women ages 12-21 so that they may achieve their highest potential. YWE accomplishes its purpose through strategic partnerships with other organizations. YWE is guided by ethics and principles which exhibit respect for cultural diversity.

“No Corners-Cut, No Pacifying and No Round-about Way!”

Lou Coleman-Yeboah

Lou Coleman-Yeboah

By Lou Coleman-Yeboah

That’s right! No ifs, ands, or buts. It means what it says and says what it means. I want you to know that the Ministry that God has entrusted to me is just that, “No Corners-Cut, No Pacifying and No Round-about Way… Period!  So if you’re looking for a people pleaser or someone to condone your wrong, you might as well STOP READING RIGHT NOW! Put it down, because I am not the one. I am not a people pleaser, neither do I condone wrong and I don’t scratch itching ears, and I don’t care who you are. I am sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. [Galatians 1: 10-12]. When it comes to God’s Word there is no tolerance. There is no variation in God; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. You got that! Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, [Acts 7:51]. Ye serpents, generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? [Matthew 23:33]. As [Jeremiah 2:19] says, “Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you.

I want you to know that I have been charge before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his kingdom to preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [2 Timothy 4:1]. To speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! Now your ungodly friends may cheer you on towards destruction. They may bequeath the kiss of flattery. They may coddle your ego, telling you what you want to hear. Well forget about it, ain’t going to happen here! Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel [1Cor. 9:16].  I want you to know that Jesus was not afraid to wound his friends for the healing of their souls.  He rebuked followers and Pharisee alike. He would not have hestitated to say things that would offend us. He was without guile, without flattery. He called a spade a spade, and sin “sin.” Teaching this way is not optional. He said to me, “I charge thee, [Lou]. I am commanding you. I am ordering you to preach the Word and to be instant in season, out of season.” In season is when it’s popular. Out of season is when they don’t want to hear the truth. Then he said this: “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” What is reprove- To tell someone that they’re wrong. What is rebuke -To reprimand; strongly warn; restrain. Exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. What is Exhort- To advise; to warn; to caution. It says with all long-suffering and doctrine. Doctrine is teaching the Bible.

I tell you the proverbial warnings against dismissing brotherly correction are staggering. The one who rejects reproof leads others astray (Proverbs 10:17), is stupid (Proverbs 12:1) and a fool (Proverbs 15:5), and despises himself (Proverbs 15:32). “Whoever hates reproof will die” (Proverbs 15:10), and “poverty and disgrace come to him” (Proverbs 13:18). But just as astounding are the promises of blessing to those who embrace rebuke. “Whoever heeds reproof is honored” (Proverbs 13:18) and prudent (Proverbs 15:5). “He who listens to reproof gains intelligence” (Proverbs 15:32), loves knowledge (Proverbs 12:1), will dwell among the wise (Proverbs 15:31), and is on the path of life (Proverbs 10:17) — because “the rod and reproof give wisdom” (Proverbs 29:15) and “the reproofs of discipline are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).

“Whoaaaa-o-o-oooooo-ohhhhh….Do you want a revolution? Whoop Whoop! I said do you want a Revolution? “…Sick and tired of the Church, talkin’ religion….But then they talk about each other, make a decision… So don’t be caught slippin’, don’t be trippin’ brother … Even when we go they say we move too much, we do too much, if you step against us, then you lose too much ain’t no stoppin’ what we doin’ when the spirit is movin’ don’t be hatin’ what we doin’ I’m the vessel he’s usin’ everywhere I be they try to judge me, they try to shake me they try to budge me but they can’t break me ’cause I’m down with Christ…” [Revolution Lyrics – Kirk Franklin]

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. [Galatians 1:10]

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!



Music Highlight: Soul Men, Joe Tex

joe-tex-come-in-this-house-the-19551962-recordings-cdBy Linden Beckford Jr.

When people speak about Soul Singers from the past, Joe Tex is seldom mentioned. This writer is hoping to help change that. Joe Tex was born Joseph Arrington Jr in Rogers, Texas on August 8, 1935. His mother moved to Baytown, Texas after she and Joe Sr. divorced. While growing up in Baytown, Joe Tex sang in a Pentecostal Church choir. This is very interesting to note. When one listens to the various songs of Joe Tex, you can clearly hear the church influence.

Joe performed at the Apollo Theatre as a result of winning $300 from a talent show in Houston, Texas. He won four weeks in a row. This led to him being discovered by Henry Glover, who offered him a contract with King Records. However, his mother wanted him to graduate high school first. Mr. Glover agreed to wait a year before signing him at age 19.

King Records was an American leading independent record company in Cincinnati, Ohio founded in the 1940s by Syd Nathan. Artists such as Hank Ballard, James Brown, and Etta James recorded for King Records. Joe Tex first started recording music in 1955. It has been said that James Brown would borrow microphone tricks from Joe.

While Joe Tex was at the height of his career, he was invited to a Nation of Islam temple in Miami, Florida in 1966. Troy X was the Minister of that temple at that time. Joe Tex accepted the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad appoints him as Minister in the Nation of Islam in 1972. His name is changed to Yusef Hazziez. After Elijah Muhammad passed in February 1975, Joe Tex followed Warith Deen Muhammad (son of Elijah Muhammad) when he took the Nation of Islam in another direction. He went back to music with a band called 2nd Resurrection. Joe Tex had a smash hit in 1977 called, ”Aint Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman).”

Sadly, Joe Tex was in debt and very depressed. He passed away at his home in Navasta, Texas at age 47 from a heart attack. It will be important to remember this man as one of the great pioneers of Soul music! Long live the soul of Joe Tex!