First Central Baptist Church on Staten Island just celebrated Black History Month with their 12th Annual Town Hall Meeting and Community Breakfast Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at the Central Family Life Center. The focus of the breakfast was “Mind, Body and Soul,” and how people can make healthier choices that can help us all live longer. Attendees and speakers discussed diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes and the importance of taking your medicine, making changes in your diet and always going to medical appointments. Speakers stated that if these diseases run in your family, it is also very important that you get tested so you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and live longer. They also talked about mental health and the importance of finding somebody to talk to if you are facing issues.

After breakfast, folks went to the church for the town hall meeting. It started with the Wagner College Chorus and a drum presentation by Al Peters. The First Lady of New York City, Charlene McCray, spoke about mental health and her program called Thrive, which she started to help people and families who are experiencing issues with mental health. She said that she started the program after her daughter was diagnosed with anxiety and clinical depression and she didn’t know where to turn for help. After a lot of searching they found the answers, and her daughter is better now and is a college graduate. McCray encouraged people to contact Thrive if they or someone they know needs help with mental health issues.

The keynote speaker for the day was Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu from Chicago, who spoke on a number of issues within African-American society and how to maintain a healthy mind, body and soul. One important thing he emphasized is that education is essential because it is something that no one can take away from you.