Event Details

Written by admin   // August 3, 2013   // 0 Comments

You have the power to improve your health

Disparities is a disproportionate descriptive too familiar in the African American community, health disparities, educational disparities, economic disparities, housing disparities, family composition disparities, urban disparities. Sometimes the significance is numbed by the reality of functioning and thriving in an area so disproportionately affected.

Patricia O’Flynn Pattillo

The statistics, graphically demonstrated by Dr. Camara P. Jones, Epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, last year, was another wake-up call. We left that keynote address asking what more can MCJ do.

We spent ten months attempting to get non-profit service agencies, healthcare companies, and the city health department involved as honorees and advertisers. Ninety-five percent said “they cannot advertise” or “thanks for the invitation but we cannot be honored”, for multiple reasons.

Services that abound in the community, integral for sustaining health by eliminating addictions, anger management, child care, mental health and autism, retardation, women-anti-battering services, infant mortality, male health, family stability and a myriad of other respected clinical services were “neighbors in the hood that MCJ had desired to highlight in 2012.

Thanks to tenured corporate sponsors like MillerCoors, Potawatomi, WE Energies, Cream City Medical Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, Johnson Controls, Guaranty Bank, Columbia S&L, North Milwaukee State Bank, Quarles and Brady, HeartLove Place, Hope Schools, Hupy and Abraham, and other dedicated “neighbors in the community”, residents, and communitythought leaders, alike, recommitted to remaining in the community and continuing to make a difference!

We met our pledge to the students and benefitted from the health awareness that the keynote speaker brought. And MCJ decided that within our personal power was the opportunity to change some of the disparity figures, particularly in areas of eating, diet and nutrition, exercising, meditation and personal empowerment.

“HealthyStart 2013: You Have the Power” became the 37th Anniversary focus and it now comes to full fruition.

In January, we introduced our self-empowerment program to the community. We proclaimed: “we are what we eat”! And, though food deserts, meaning a local grocery store is not within a two mile radius of your home, often complicates availability, what you purchase, how you prepare it, what you encourage your children to eat, has a direct correlation to obesity, hypertension, cardiac disease, diabetes and many corresponding maladies such as strokes, heart attacks, liver disease, diabetic nephritis and resultant diabetic amputations.

Our neighborhoods know these maladies as they are exacerbated and our children become potential heirs to painfully life-threatening illnesses. Canes, crutches, prosthetics, motorized wheelchairs and oxygen tanks are far too common.

While walking clubs, jump rope competitions, neighborhood basketball teams and swimming clubs have been lost to urban safety concerns. And, television, fast-foods, electronic games and texting have eliminated family dinners, after dinner walks and home gardens for fresh veggies.

Years ago, every Milwaukee home had a few plants between the house and the sidewalk, rhubarb, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, radishes and cucumbers were annual early summer seeds that young and old planted and harvested.

Today, Fondy Market, Walnut Conservation, Growing Power and garden lots attempt to re-create these treasures.

Doctors’ Denise and Keevin Davis know our maladies! They have treated thousands of patients and now do cooking presentations to show us how to return to healthy lifestyles. We thank the Docs !

We expect them to challenge us as did Dr. Jones, last year. For, “when we know better, we do better”: Knowledge is golden, action is treasure.

Our Honorees, superb professionals, all, treat, teach, encourage, promote and service our community’s health needs daily. They are the Best of the Bests! Read about their lives, their commitments to excellence, their devotion to changing the diaspora and the ameliorating the disparities. Salute them. Applaud them. They are our community heros!

And our special honorees have been health servants for multiple decades now…they are extraordinary people who simply keep on giving! They are the Trailblazers who have paved the paths for even stronger health initiatives as the Affordable Healthcare act becomes a reality. Fewer deaths, fewer disabilities; we have much to look forward to, but it takes personal commitment. We can. We will. We must!

Each ticket holder makes possible the $32,000 that will be given to the students. They are our future, and our present exponentially striving and thriving! They thank you for your support.

Hear them during the dining period, they make us all proud, as they articulate their goals, their successes and their gratitude. We all thank you! They are the reason for this fundraising season.

It takes fortitude to meet a challenge and reach your personal goals. The Mission Makeover winners have shared their reasons for taking the plunge with Mission Makeover. Today they show their “Before and After” reveal; and now strut their physical successes to your applause. Yes, they will continue because they are “Healthy Start 2013: You Have the Power” role models. They are mobilization in person!

Thanks to Beverly Kern and the Boston Store…they show it is possible and it is worth the effort. We begin again, for YOU show us POWER! Congratulations.

We thank each of you: Honorees, sponsors, our distinguished guests, the MCJ staff and consultants, the volunteers, elected officials, keynote speakers, the students and their families, the benefactors of this year-long effort.

This is truly a community affair!! One that empowers each participant..for Healthy Start 2014 is already envisioned.

The quest to improve health in our community  continues. Join us! Indeed, We HAVE THE POWER….for it lies within each of us. Blessings all! 

Introduction of Speakers

Larry and Adrienne Waters


Larry Waters

Larry Waters is the Senior Director of Community Commerce and Partnerships for MillerCoors. He leads a team focused on community partnerships at the local, regional and national level. In this role Waters is responsible for building relationships and developing various strategies and initiatives that showcase and align with the business objectives of MillerCoors.

He is a member of leading civic and business related organizations, boards and committees. He serves as a member of the board of directors for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and 100 Black Men of Greater Milwaukee. Waters also is a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chairman’s Council, the Corporate Advisory Boards for the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation and the National United Merchants Beverage Association. He most recently served as the board chair for the Milwaukee Urban League, secretary for the National Council of Urban League Board Chairs and as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Corporate Advisory Council and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra board of directors.


Adrienne Waters

Adrienne Waters had a successful career in the investment industry for nearly twenty years serving in roles that included vice-president and portfolio manager.

Her responsibilities included the management of high net worth discretionary and non-discretionary trust and institutional portfolios.

She serves on the President’s Council of IMPACT in Milwaukee which is an organization that helps individuals achieve and maintain healthy, productive lifestyles by identifying the needs directed at resolving life crises. Adrienne also has a passion for music and is a volunteer for Applause, Inc. which supports fine arts at Brookfield Central High School. She most recently ended her long-time tenure as a member of the board of directors for the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Performing Arts in Brookfield.



Cassandra McShepard

Ever since she was a little girl Cassandra McShepard wanted to be a designer.


Cassandra McShepard

At 11 years old she started sewing clothes for herself, and by her late teens she was designing clothes for others.

A mere 20 years of age, she rented a small boutique space and opened her first atelier, and by 23 it was time to pursue a bigger dream of designing fabulous one-of-a-kind garments for entertainers.

She relocated to California, and inside 6 months she was designing exclusively for singer and actress Phyllis Hyman.

Her client list would eventually boast the likes of Nancy Wilson, The Manhattans, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Loose Ends, Abbey Lincoln, Glenn Jones, Allison Williams, Cherelle, The Whisperers, and journalist Soledad O’Brien.

However designer clothing would not be the only thing that Cassandra would create. In a life by her own design she is a writer, motivational speaker, Spokesperson for The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, jazz vocalist, personal trainer, and a radio and television personality.

She is currently co-hosting the smash hit television chat fest REAL MILWAUKEE, which airs live weekdays on FOX6 from 9-10 am.




Patricia O'Flynn Pattillo


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