An evening with Cornel West and POP in Newark

The People’s Organization for Progress and the Bethany Baptist Church Board of Deacons presents a special Black History Month event: An Evening with Cornel West!

This special event will take place at Bethany Baptist Church, 275 West Market Street, Newark on Wednesday, April 2 at 6:30pm (rescheduled due to ice storm).

Cornel WestDr. West will discuss ‘The Importance of Organization Building in the Struggle for Racial, Social and Economic Justice.’

Cornel West has written 19 books, including his best seller Democracy Matters. He appears regularly on the Bill Maher Show, The Colbert Report, CNN and CSpan. He can be heard on a weekly basis on the popular public radio show, Smiley and West, co-hosted by the critically acclaimed Tavis Smiley. The show airs locally on WBGO-FM/Jazz 88 (88.3FM) on Saturday mornings at 6am. read more

Free prom dress programs across NJ and US

Prom couple

Prom coupleApril is prom month. If you’re a young lady of modest means you can be the belle of the ball with a free or low-cost designer dress ($10 is low, right?) in beautiful condition from one of the prom dress giveaway programs in New Jersey and around the country. Act soon though. Giveaways are going on right now all over the New York/New Jersey area and in many cities across the country! Some programs provide accessories and shoes to match gowns … and they may share tasty treats and other gifts with “shoppers” and their moms, as well. The idea is, that every young person should have the chance to attend prom dressed fabulously and fashionably, whether they have lots of money or don’t. read more

Online Learning, Free Classes and MOOCs


  • Coursera offers free online courses and certificate courses you pay a fee to get
  • Distance Ed Archive Collection curated by George Brett
    Topics related to distance eLearning in academia and other organizations.
  • EdX
    EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities. Online courses from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many other universities. EdX is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.
  • Harvard offers a variety of free online courses.
  • MIT OpenCourseware. Basically, MIT gives you last year’s course lectures totally for free. If you want this year’s courses and access to professors, you need to attend the school.
  • Udemy has a variety of free and low cost courses. Offers change so check in once in a while to see if you can catch what you want at a good price or for free.
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    Self learning beats a “degrading” educational system

    TED features a MOOC project this week

    Shimon Schocken and Noam Nisan developed a curriculum for their students to build a computer, piece by piece. When they put the course online — giving away the tools, simulators, chip specifications and other building blocks — they were surprised that thousands jumped at the opportunity to learn, working independently as well as organizing their own classes in the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). A call to forget about grades and tap into the self-motivation to learn. read more

    Resources to overcome depression and mental illness

    If you need a place to spend social time, a volunteer opportunity, psychotherapy, housing or vocational training, here are some resources for people challenged by depression or another form of mental illness. Please feel free to post resources you know of which aren’t listed in a comment and I’ll add them to the list after checking them out.

    For US By US Self Help Center 40 North Van Brunt Street, 2nd Floor, Englewood, NJ 07631 201-541-1221 Hours: Monday-Friday 1-5pm What it is: This program is a place where people dealing with a mental health issue of any type can spend time to socialize or spend quiet time in a place away from home. Activities take place that you can join if you like. The center is pretty much run by peers with professional oversight in the background. Who can participate: You may self-qualify to participate. Admission requirements: Drop-ins welcome – just show up. Feel free to ask a friend to bring you by. Work/volunteer opportunities:
    • Volunteering: can help out immediately and after a few weeks, can sign up to be on the scheduled volunteer rotation.
    • Paid positions: after volunteering for a while, people can qualify for a paid position when one opens up.
    Crossroads to Wellness at Care Plus NJ 610 Valley Health Plaza, Paramus, NJ 07652 201-265-1233 What it is: A program which provides rapid access to comprehensive and intensive mental health services, integrated with self-directed wellness and recovery tools. Who can participate: All Bergen County Residents Admission requirements: Must be in acute need of mental health services or transitioning out of a long-term facility. Friendship House 125 Atlantic Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601 201-488-2121 What it is: Support and training for mentally ill or behaviorally challenged individuals in need of vocational rehabilitation, group therapy, workplace reintegration skills and assistance, job coaching. Work/volunteer opportunities:
    • Supportive in-house workplace environment available on site. Pay commensurate with an individuals’ productivity level
    • Friendship House programs include
      Computer training, culinary classes, maintenance work and clerical training. Social groups, therapy groups, beauty classes, diet classes, diabetes management, groups for young people diagnosed with Asperbergers or on autism spectrum

    Admission requirements: By referral. Call to speak with a program counsellor who can help you understand the steps needed to be referred into one of the organization’s programs.

  • Volunteer Center of Bergen County
    64 Passaic Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601
    What it is: A service that matches volunteers with non-profit organizations in need of help.
    Work/volunteer opportunities: read more

  • Racist Romney & GOP move to block the Latino & Black vote

    If you think the Romney/GOP election tactics seem like a racist ploy to intentionally block Latino and Black people from voting, you’re not crazy. Spend 4 minute watching this video from Van Jones’ Rebuild the American Dream team to see the dots neatly connected. It proves that this sad fact is true. God help America.

    Fight by helping everyone you know that plans to vote for a fair America and President Obama to get their identification documents ready so they can’t be turned away at the polls. Inform yourself about your rights as a voter. Write to your elected officials and urge them to fight for American justice, fairness and the upholding of the one person, one vote system. Ask them to work hard to get big money out of general elections once and for all. And vote! Remember, New Jersey and some other states allow early voting and vote by mail. read more

    Nave de esperanza ~ Ship of hope

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea”
    ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    “Si quieres construir un barco, no empieces por buscar madera, ni por cortar tablas o distribuir el trabajo… primero has de evocar en los hombres el anhelo de mar libre y ancho”
    ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Supreme Court gives unlimited political spending to corporations but not unions

    A few years back, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling gave corporations permission to spend unlimited amounts of money, “to buy elections.” The corporations don’t need to obtain stockholder’s permission to spend corporate money on political campaigns. But the Supreme Court ruled on June 21 that unions must obtain members’ permission in order to spend union money on the same campaigns.

    The Supreme Court’s ruling regarding corporate spending was based on the premise that United States citizens have the right to information from all sources under the 1st Amendment. If it was found right for corporations to be able to spend without limits to make sure their points of view are heard, why is the same right being denied to unions? read more

    We must keep the internet open

    Vincent Cerf, one of the recognized fathers of the internet, writes in this New York Times op-ed piece:

    Several authoritarian regimes reportedly would ban anonymity from the Web, which would make it easier to find and arrest dissidents. Others have suggested moving the privately run system that manages domain names and Internet addresses to the United Nations. …

    When I helped to develop the open standards that computers use to communicate with one another across the Net, I hoped for but could not predict how it would blossom and how much human ingenuity it would unleash. What secret sauce powered its success? The Net prospered precisely because governments — for the most part — allowed the Internet to grow organically, with civil society, academia, private sector and voluntary standards bodies collaborating on development, operation and governance. read more

    Fight for internet freedom and the open web

    These organizations are fighting for your freedom and privacy (and mine) online and in all digital/electronic media. Learn about them – and from them, get involved with their campaigns, support them and publicize their efforts. We’re all in this together.

  • Free Press
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center
  • Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law Professor, who’s spending his life educating America about how disconnected American politicians have become from the American people and why we should take big money out of public elections: 28 Oct 2011 lecture
  • and book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It
  • read more

    AAA Free Tipsy Tow Service NOT A Nationwide Program

    2014 Update for New Jersey drivers: Sober Sam is available but

    News about AAA offering free towing service nationwide to get inebriated drivers home safely on New Year’s Eve is circulating virally on Facebook but according to Snopes, less than a dozen states offer this program.

    When you see this posted on Facebook, tell people not to rely on the service. There’s only a limited chance it will be in effect where they live:

    No Excuses!!! Don’t drink and drive — and don’t ride with anybody who does. Tipsy Tow offered by AAA: You don’t have to be a AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Year’s Eve/Day they will take your drunk self and your car home for FREE. Save this number … 1-800-222-4357. read more

    Free University Education Programs

    MITx: Online Teaching Model Beta Launching in 2012

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) takes its online teaching program to the next level with the new MITx initiative, which will be introduced this spring as a beta-testing model. Forbes magazine says, “MITx . . . will offer the online teaching of MIT courses free of charge to anyone in the world. The program will not allow students to earn an MIT degree. Instead, those who are able to exhibit a mastery of the subjects taught on the platform will receive an official certificate of completion.” read more

    How does Starbucks free wifi work?

    Background: Starbucks offers Starbucks cardholders two hours of free wifi every day through the AT&T network. A friend has a Starbuck’s card and registered it on the Starbucks site, but she can’t log in.

    I checked with an AT&T support rep who said there are a couple of ways to register a Starbucks card on their website and not all of them will get you signed up for the free AT&T wifi service. Next I spoke with Starbucks wifi support. The information they gave me (along with a couple of things I know from experience that they didn’t) should hopefully get my friend connected. read more

    Swing and more at CMDE studio in Hackensack

    My favorite Bergen County dance studio offers all kinds of fantastic dance classes for teens and adults (my own family’s make up) and is now offering a swing workshop. Looks fun! Swing is a one-time workshop but my boys and I have taken CMDE’s (free) family Latin dance classes and love them and I took African dance, another completely free class, alone.

    Saturday, August 15, 2009
    Swing Fundamentals with Lisa Skates 4:00-6:00 PM
    Ages 16 to Adult
    $20.00 Per Person
    Sign up by contacting Lisa Skates by phone at 201-694-7087
    or email lbskates at optonline dot net
    read more