Up Philadelphia Inquirer UPK & UAD with Gov Whitman & Joe Piscopo The Courier Post NEW YORK TIMES UAD with Gov. Jon Corzine Philadelphia Tribune Millions More Movement Phila. DAILY NEWS FESMAN/AFRICA SENEGAL AFRICA


Robert Dickerson member of the United States Delegation takes part in the Celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Senegal's Independence and Unveiling of the African Renaissance Monument

Dr. Djibril Diallo, (3rd from the right) Chair of the U.S. Leadership Committee for the World Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN) 2010,
which organized the U.S. delegation, and Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS).

#1 Robert Dickerson with Dr. Maulana Karenga, #2 Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., #3 NAACP Ben Jealous, #4 Dr. Julius W. Garvey & Maria Nghidinwa,
#5 Hon. Darius Mans, #6 Queen Africa Dr. Delois Blakely, #7 Hilary Shelton, #8 Melvin Foote, #9 Queen Africa & Professor Leonard Jeffries

CLICK HERE: For Press Release, Photos and Information

Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble's (Robert Dickerson)- in DAKAR, SENEGAL, AFRICA, as a member of the UNITED STATES DELEGATION with a special invitation from His Excellency PRESIDENT MAITRE ABDOULAYE WADE of Senegal, Africa.  US Delegation of Dr. Djibril Diallo, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, Benjamin Todd Jealous, Dr. Julius W. Garvey, Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry Sr., Ambassador Dudley Thompson, Constance Newman, Prof. Leonard Jeffries, Queen Mother Africa Delois Blakely, Mel Foote, Hilary Shelton, Akon, Famous actor Richard Gant just to name a few and with over 80 accomplished celebrities.  Special thanks to Dr. Molefi K. Asante Chairman of US FESMAN SENEGAL WORLD ARTS FESTIVAL who wasn't able to be in attendance however contributed to its success of the US Delegation in the Celebrating of the 50th Anniversary of Senegal, Africa's Independence and the UNVEILING of the African Renaissance Monument


 Click here or on Photo for the ENGLISH Version of the African Renaissance Monument Origin, History and Significance


Click here or on Photo for the FRENCH Version of the African Renaissance Monument Origin, History and Significance

Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble - at the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, a.k.a. as FESMAN


The Philadelphia Inquirer - THE DICKERSON MEN - Pounding Home Pride - 25 years enriching Camden 6/22/2008


THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS- Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble with superstar DANNY GLOVER



THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE- Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble with superstar PATTI LABELLE



THE COURIER POST- Jamal Dickerson - National award surprised devoted and humble music
        teacher - Milken National Educator Award- THE OSCAR OF TEACHING AWARD ON 10/11/2007


The Philadelphia Inquirer- Jamal Dickerson unexpectedly received a Milken National
        Educator Award


THE COURIER POST- Unity Community plans a big show -05/14/1999 Millions Mom March


       Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble seen by millions and
      viewed Internationally on C-SPAN and other major media television - 10/15/2005


THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE- Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble perform on stage


THE NEW YORK TIMES- Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble at Brooklyn Academy of Music
 (BAM)  05/29/2006


Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble perform at Dr. Martin Luther King Celabration with
      Governor Jon Corzine


Unity Community Center's BLACK INVENTORS PARADE IN CAMDEN - 10/09/2000


Unity Community Center's BLACK INVENTORS PARADE IN CAMDEN - 10/09/2000
      The Philadelphia Inquirer


Unity Community Center's UPK Pasha Generals & Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble
      perform for former NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman & Joe Piscopo - 1999


The Philadelphia Inquirer- Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble perform at
      Father Paul Washington Street Signing Name Ceremony- 09/09/2007


The Philadelphia Inquirer- JOE PISCOPO - with founders Robert & Wanda Dickerson - 10/25/2006


The Philadelphia Inquirer- Famous Actor & Philanthropist JOE PISCOPO- FINDS HOPE IN
      CAMDEN, NJ- 01/13/1999


[New!] Unity Community Center Establishes Internet Presence
See the press release for more details.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 13, 1999

Actor Joe Piscopo finds hope in Camden
At Wilson High School, he watched performers and met students. Some will be on his TV show.
By Russell J. Rickford

CAMDEN -- When Maliki Durant, 18, was a grade-schooler, "causing mischief" meant lifting candy from corner stores and pelting rocks at abandoned buildings until the empty window frames gaped like eye sockets.
Five years ago, the South Camden teenager found discipline in a military-style drill team. But he has since watched many of his boyhood pals graduate from mischief to misdemeanors to the sort of hustling that earns you a "rep" in neighborhoods that are crucibles of handguns and drugs.
"Some move away. Some get arrested. Some wish they could rewind time and go back and do the right thing," the Camden High School senior said.
Yesterday, still mourning a friend slain days earlier, Durant showed actor Joe Piscopo and a lineup of city dignitaries how he does right, demonstrating drill maneuvers and formations alongside his teammates in a Woodrow Wilson High School auditorium.
Piscopo was there on a recruiting mission. The actor, of Saturday Night Live fame, was on hand to view the performance -- by the local UPK Pasha Generals -- and mingle with other active high schoolers, some of whom may wind up on a New Jersey Network show that spotlights everyday youngsters in communities where television cameras traditionally have been turned only on hoodlums.
Piscopo's Positive Impact Television series, aired twice on NJN last year, has already featured athletes and culturally conscious youths in New York City's Lower East Side and North Jersey.
In the next couple of weeks, the show's producers plan to handpick three to six teenagers from Camden High School, Woodrow Wilson High School and Dr. Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts High School. Camera operators will then become their shadows, recording their lives at school, at work, at church and at home, and documenting their struggles, triumphs and dreams.
The intertwined stories will be aired as 30-minute episodes hosted by Piscopo but narrated only by the subjects -- not prodigies, just everyday young men and women who maneuver through a slalom of chal- lenges almost every day.
But "a kid in Kansas will relate to a kid in Camden," Sol Feldman, the show's executive producer, maintained. "It's not 'the mean streets of Camden.' "
The show is unusual because the economically hobbled city has been skewered time and time again.
In January 1992, for instance, Time magazine profiled Camden as part of a series on beleaguered communities, referring to the "city of scrap."
"Many American cities have sinkholes that are just as run down, burned out, crime ridden and drug infested," the magazine reported. "The difference is that this describes all of Camden, not just a part of it."
More recently, a Newark Star-Ledger article called Camden's financial drain on state taxpayers a "gaping wound," prompting an angry buzz among city officials.
Robert H. Dickerson, founder of the city's nonprofit Unity Community Center and the UPK Pasha Generals, said even when the members of his drill team travel beyond Camden for performances, they cannot seem to leave the city behind.
"They've announced us by saying, 'Nothing good comes out of Camden,' " Dickerson said. "Even in Sicklerville and Williamstown, children are petrified if you say you're from Camden."
Piscopo, who lives in central New Jersey with his wife, Kimberly, and son Joey, said he created the show to atone for the trouble he used to get into. Although the actor grew up as a "middle-class white brat" in Bloomberg, a suburb of Newark, he said he drank frequently as a teenager and was tossed out of school eight times.
"I went through some bumps and bruises in my own life," Piscopo said. "I can't tell you why I was such a jerk."
The show's producers are planning three more episodes in as many months, including features of youngsters in Atlantic City and a rural area in South Jersey. Piscopo said he hoped that Positive Impact Television can make the leap to national television, but he admitted that the concept has been tough to sell to network executives.
"If I hear 'That's not our target audience' one more time . . .," he said.
At a school where street gangs clashed only weeks ago, a dozen or so other elected officials and civic leaders turned up for the program, including School Superintendent Roy Dawson; Police Chief Robert E. Allenbach; and Paul Donnelly, executive director of the state's Juvenile Justice Commission.
But Paul Goldenberg, who heads the Positive Impact Foundation, which produces the show, stressed that Positive Impact Television will not showcase city brass.
"The kids are the messengers," he said. "And we want the airwaves to carry that message."

(c) 1998 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.

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