Clergy Poised to Helm Economic Empowerment Effort in the Community

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By Jessica Medina (Lyric Marie)
Tax return, Census Return and Financial future were the key points of discussion at the press conference held yesterday on the steps of Antioch Baptist Church of Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood.
The soul purpose of the conference was to announce Empowerment Sunday, a  movement put together by CIBS – The Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant which comprises 25 local nonprofits working together to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood.
CIBS strives towards the maintenance of a healthy and sustainable community by focusing on preserving neighborhood wealth and providing individuals and families with information and services that include foreclosure prevention, tax assistance, financial education and more.
 Empowerment Sunday will be this Sunday, April 18 at 41 churches in Central Brooklyn.  The list of churches includes:  Antioch Baptist church,826 Greene Avenue, Bridge Street Development Corporation, 277 Stuyvesant Avenue, Cornerstone Baptist Church, 576 Madison Avenue; and First AME Zion Church, 54 MacDonough Street.

For more church locations,contact the Bridge Street Development Corporation (BSDC) at 718-399-0146.  BSDC will have counselors on hand during and after service providing information on foreclosures, mortgages, loans, and affordable housing.
They also can explain President Obama’s new plan to aid homeowners in foreclosure.
“In these economic times it is essential that people take control of their financial future,” said Rev. Doctor Robert M. Waterman, Senior Pastor, Antioch Baptist Church. “Through participation in Empowerment Sunday we will encourage the members of our congregation to take advantage of the services offered by BSDC and CIBS to assist them with their financial literacy.”
While speaking with him,  I  began to understand and feel the importance of knowledge and power in numbers.
It’s the simple things that we take for granted or don’t understand that paralyzes our communities.  The Census count is an example. A lot of us don’t see the importance in it. Consequently, Central Brooklyn is currently at the lowest count in the state.
Another point brought up at the conference:  how are these organizations going to continue to get funding if no one knows how many of us are in need. We need to step up and help them help us.
Rev. Waterman also believes that standing behind the pulpit isn’t enough and visits the “streets” to get the word out and about. He believes in getting to know his neighbors in the community starting with young adults to the elderly.  He is aware that many community members will not attend church and seek out the help they need because most people are unaware that the help is even available to them. So be a part of the movement, get information and share information. Get empowered to empower.