Who Are We
I am pleased to announce a new concept set to debut by the end of the first quarter of 2021. It is a stand-alone Magazine named Three-Fifths. Why the name “Three-Fifths?” The inspiration for the concept of three-fifths was spurned by a series of articles in the Accord1 Blog. The articles identify the constitutional pillar of the devaluation of African Americans’ humanity and its extrapolation into a system of injustice.
The Three-Fifths Compromise written into the constitution in 1787 allowed southern slave states to enumerate the African Slave population’s bodies to bolster their representation in the federal government. Yet, this population was apportioned out of the American experiment by a mathematical equation that stated that the African slave population would require five, i.e., the Three-Fifths Compromise for every three white people. All the while, they had no vote.
Why a magazine and why now? Three-Fifths is simply the next progression on the way to the ultimate goal of Building the Bridge Together. Through a thoughtful conversation involving societal reckoning, racial equity, historical perspective, and spiritual insight, it is the hope that this magazine will become one of the many tools used to dismantle Systemic Racism. Understanding that Systemic racism involves the inequity affecting many brown, black, and indigenous people across America, Three-Fifths offers a voice of clarity in an ambiguous world of racial bias.
Three-Fifths is not just a vehicle for following the latest story of injustice, police shootings, etc. though we will remain current. We want to speak from a 50,000-foot big picture perspective to inspire the readers to empower and motivate stakeholders, fostering real change. With our launch, we want to speak from the heart with entries about tangible ways that communities of the majority can reach out in partnership with marginalized communities of color in ways that are not patronizing but collaborative.
“And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8b New King James Version
Our contributors bring varied and unique experiences, worldviews, and intellect, not only to identify the problem but to offer solutions to this continuing difficulty America faces. They represent the ethnic diversity that guarantees a multiplicity of thought equal to the comprehensive problem’s task while paving a way toward solutions.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
PUBLISHER/EDITOR AND FOUNDER
Kevin Robinson has been a pioneer in the area of diversity, having lived it being raised in Perry Township, Ohio as a young child of the first African American Family in the area and school.
With all of the negative realities of pre-nineteen-seventies suburbia serving as a focal point in his life, he chose unity over division. Many years in the making through a long career as a professional Fire Fighter, 1985-2018), bachelor degreed senior co-pastor (1993-2001), staff pastor (2004-2006), evangelist, consultant, and mentor/mediator to many in the area of multicultural ministry.
Kevin and his wife, Beverly, have established a track record of building up multi-ethnic congregations and Building Bridges in the corporate world. Kevin and Beverly are also Authors of the book entitled The Coat of Many. Colors.
Conia Almon is an activist, a native of Columbus, Ohio, actress, writer, singer, director, producer, founder of Love Works Enterprises and Power Source Productions. Conia has been performing for more than 30 years. She had a starring role in an off Broadway play, “Our young black men are dying, and nobody seems to care,”: and was also in the cast that toured nationally.
Conia has performed in the contiguous 48 states United States and as a Minister and praise and worship leader. She ministered all over the country, including London, England. As a recording artist, she has songs that had charted in Australia on the independent artist charts in the early 2000’s.
Currently, Conia is the general manager of Urban Trendsetters Radio. (an R&B Classic Soul station) and is the lead singer in the group Ruby Slippers. The New Legga-C band and The NCR project band. Currently, she is in production and co-directing with Timothy Denard a doc-u-series “Made for Each Other” that will air on Urban Trendsetters TV Network in the fall of 2021
Leroy Barber has dedicated 30 years living and working towards what Dr. King called “the beloved community.”
Leroy starts projects that shape society. In 1989, burdened by the plight of Philadelphia’s homeless, he and his wife, Donna, founded Restoration Ministries to serve homeless families and children living on the streets. In 1994 he became Director of Internship Programs at Cornerstone Christian Academy. Leroy was licensed and ordained at Mt Zion Baptist Church where he served as Youth Director with Donna, and also served as Associate Minister of Evangelism. In 1997 he joined FCS Urban Ministries in Atlanta, GA working with the Atlanta Youth Project to serve as the founding Executive Director of Atlanta Youth Academies, a private elementary school providing quality Christian education for low-income families in the inner city. Leroy also helped found DOOR Atlanta, Community Life Church, South Atlanta Marketplace, and Community Grounds Coffee shop in Atlanta, as well as Green My Hood and The Voices Project. Leroy is an innovator, entrepreneur and lover of the arts.
Leroy is currently Director of Innovation for an Engaged Church serving the Greater NW area of the United Methodist Church. Leroy is the Co-Founder of the Voices Project and Adjunct professor at Kilns College and Multnomah University. Rev. Barber has served on the boards of The Simple Way, Missio Alliance, The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), and the Former Board Chair of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).
He is the author of four books:
New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community (2008, Mission Year)
Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World (2012, Intervarsity Press)
Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White: Who’s More Precious In His Sight? with Velma Maia Thomas, 2014, Faith Words/Hachette Book Group)
Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom For A Divided World (2016, Intervarsity Press)
He was a contributing author to Tending to Eden, by Scott Sabin (2010, Judson Press), and the groundbreaking book UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons (2007, Baker Books).
Leroy currently lives in Portland Oregon and has been married to Donna for the past 35 years. Together
they have six children.
Joel A. Bowman, Sr. is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He received his Bachelor of Social Work degree, in 1991, and his Master of Social Work degree, in 1992, from Wayne State University. Joel also graduated from Moody Theological Seminary- Michigan Campus, in 1999. That same year, Joel began his pastoral ministry in Louisville, Kentucky. Since 2001, he has served as founder and senior pastor of the Temple of Faith Baptist Church, in South Louisville.
Joel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), with many years of experience. He has practiced as a clinician in the states of Michigan, Kentucky, and Indiana. Currently, he is a therapist with the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), providing mental health treatment to America’s military Veterans. His experience also includes clinical work within the Department of Defense (DoD), public school systems, child welfare agencies, community mental health centers, and a private practice setting.
Because of his unique bivocational identity, Joel is in high demand as a presenter. He has guest lectured at the Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University, Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville, and Campbellsville University, for its Marriage & Family Therapy Program. Joel has traveled internationally, preaching, teaching, and lecturing. He presented at the Baptist Seminary of Zimbabwe on the topic of The Church’s Response to HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Joel formerly served as a board member of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW). He is a thought leader, free-lance writer, blogger, poet, and voiceover artist.
Joel and his beloved wife, Nannette Mitchell Bowman, are the proud parents of 2 daughters, Kayla Michelle and Katie Malia, as well as 1 son, Joel, Jr.
Doc Courage! (also known officially as Dr. Angela Courage-Mellott) is the CEO of Courage! Communication 4 Change, author, speaker, and university teaching faculty member.
She holds a Master of Arts in communication with focus in interracial and intercultural communication. Her Doctorate in Higher Education with emphasis in College Teaching and Faculty Leadership equip her to empower student, pastors, church leaders, and employers to build bridges of communication in the classroom, organizations, community, and across cultural groups.
Her intentionally multiethnic and multicultural life experiences and lifestyle led her to focus on the science of interracial and intercultural communication, which together uniquely qualify her to lead healthy conversations that empower people to better communicate with diverse others.
Dr. Courage creates, facilitates, and speaks at events as a dynamic educator on interracial & intercultural communication, conflict & faith’s role in personal and organizational inclusion, diversity, and creating equity by amplifying the voices of marginalized people groups, and educating audiences to connect history with modernity.
Dr. Courage has co-authored “5 Blinders to Seeing Colorr” with her friend and colleague Dr. LaTonya Jackson, and has written a study guide to accompany the “Loving Our Neighbors” workshop which she designed and facilitates at faith based organizations. Her “Loving Our Neighbors” workshop, is a resource to help faith-based organizations become more representative of the Kingdom of God in behavior towards diverse people groups and diversity within local church bodies and the larger community.
Dr. Courage’s mantra is, “The quality of your communication dictates the quality of your relationships.”
Amanda Flowers, Ph.D., received her degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on the health outcomes of diverse populations. With a focus on the African-American community, Dr. Flowers has worked with children and adults from all walks of life through clinical, research, and community settings. She has received over 30 scholarly rewards and collaborated on federally-funded grants awarded by the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Centers for Substance Abuse and Prevention, Ohio Department of Mental Health, and AdoptOhio. Her research findings have been published in articles through the Journal of National Medical Association, Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, Journal of Child and Family Studies, and School Mental Health.
Dr. Flowers is passionate about cultural competency and has utilized assessment instruments, diagnostic approaches, prevention tools, and intervention programs that eliminate bias for positive outcomes in underserved populations. She has blended her clinical and research interests through her endeavors in hospitals, community mental health centers, substance use treatment centers, correctional facilities, veteran’s organizations, research institutes, academic settings, business agencies, and churches. Dr. Flowers has presented her work across the United States during professional conventions, workshops, and trainings. She has consulted on grassroots initiatives as an Advisory Board member, Motivational Speaker, Radio Show Host, and featured guest on media programs that reach global listeners. Dr. Flowers has brought forth a wealth of knowledge regarding systemic bias that impacts the physical, emotional, social, financial, and spiritual well-being of African-Americans.
As her pastime, Dr. Flowers “plays” with dogs and holds a special place in her heart for mixed breeds and breeds stereotyped as “dangerous.” She has been devoted to building healthy relationships with her performance companions through positive training approaches and holistic models of care. With an investment in the healing power of human and canine interactions, her dogs have participated in community outreach through therapeutic and disaster stress relief programs. Dr. Flowers has also participated in sporting events with her dogs through the American Kennel Club.
Rev. Tobias K. Houpe is a licensed and ordained minister and a native of Columbus, OH. He is the current VP of the International Fellowship of Faith Ministries (IFFM), and recently appointed as the Director of Operations for Tel International based out of Dallas, TX. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from, The Ohio State University in 1983 and studied extensively in the department of Black Studies holding memberships in several Black Student organizations and represented the college of Fine Arts on the Student Government during his senior year. In 2003, Rev. Houpe was requested by then Ohio Senator Ray Miller to work as his Legislative Assistant, where he served at the State House.
Upon graduating from OSU, Rev. Houpe joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ (currently Cru) and functioned as Campus Director for Clark Atlanta University at the Atlanta University Center (AUC), and expanded his ministry to include Tuskegee University. After leaving the ministry of CCC, Rev. Houpe started his own 501c3 international ministry, called the African American Christian Connection (AACC) and began a ministry to incarcerated youths and mentoring gang members.
In 1989, as a staff member of CCC, Rev. Houpe made his first international missions trip to South Africa while the nation was under Apartheid and in a state of emergency. He relocated to Cape Town, South Africa in 1994 during the nation’s first all-race election. Upon his return to the United States and in the latter part of 1994, Rev. Houpe became an investigative journalist and columnist for the Call & Post and Columbus Post newspapers and has been the guest on several radio broadcasts, and a local TV talk show.
As a missionary, Rev. Houpe has had an extensive national and international travel schedule including Turkey, India, Italy, England, Dominican Republic, and several nations throughout the continent of Africa. He also partnered with a Christian Native American missions team in 1995 and took part in 14 summer mission projects in Arizona and New Mexico on Navajo Reservations.
In 2007, Rev. Houpe took on a life partner and married Kingston, Jamaican native, Althea Bernardette Leslie. He is currently working on writing 3 books: an auto-biography focusing on his experiences as an African American Missionary; a book and lecture series on the topic of racism, entitled “Hoodwinked,” addressing the origins of American racism/white supremacy and its’ current day ripple effects; and racism/white supremacy in the hijacking of Christianity and its’ role in colonization, American slavery, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, and beyond.
Carl McRoy is an ordained minister, a frequent feature writer for Message magazine, author of Yell at God and Live, R U TUFF ENUFF?, and Impediments to Power: What’s Blocking Your Blessings?, and founder of the “Your Liberation Library” video/podcast series.
Tiffany Reid is the newest member of The Arc of Tampa Bay family, serving as an Associate Executive Director ensuring a continuity of business services related to the Adult Day Programming offered at any one of our service footprint locations. A native of Ashtabula, Ohio, Tiffany spent the last five years in Northeastern Ohio working as the Director of Workforce Development with Goodwill Industries of Northeast Ohio as well as the Program Coordinator for the Ashtabula County Community Action Agency before relocating in 2019 to the Tampa Bay area.
Tiffany is excited to be a part of the team responsible for expanding the programmatic offerings of our adult day centers and sees the opportunity to strengthen our community partnerships while building a curriculum grounded in the foundational concepts of self-advocacy, human rights, self-esteem, and informed choice. When she looks to her future with The Arc Tampa Bay, Tiffany envisions herself working to create a framework for parents and families as they seek to create a safe space in which they can celebrate their loved ones living and thriving with intellectual and developmental disabilities; training educators and leaders in the facilitation of effective supportive employment approaches; and developing a transitional youth program that is person-centered and strength-based.
Before returning to Ohio in 2014, Tiffany lived in New York City engaging multiracial and multicultural communities in a discussion about concepts of race (as a social versus biological construct) and the connection between acknowledging diversity and living an authentic life. Before obtaining her Masters of Social Science Administration (MSSA) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, Tiffany worked as a race relations expert on a nationally syndicated television show based out of New York City, hosted a radio show called Mixed Race Radio and authored her first book called, A Mixed Girl’s Perspective on Biracial Life.
Naphtali Renshaw is a connector and an innovator, which means that she often finds herself setting tables with one hand and flipping tables with the other. She spent a good deal of her childhood surveying the world through a moving van window, often somewhere between Oregon and Texas. It is very possible that a childhood of shallow roots and transitional belonging prepared Naphtali to do the work that she most loves to do: identify and create spaces and opportunities for belonging where there are few. Usually, these spaces exist somewhere in the places between communities of faith and communities who have been historically marginalized.
Naphtali has a bachelor’s degree in English and Cross-Cultural Studies, and a graduate degree in Global Development and Justice, with an emphasis in Peacebuilding. She has been a newspaper columnist, a barista, and a maverick librarian. Naphtali has volunteered in various capacities in churches of various denominations, was almost a youth minister, and once ran a concession stand at a summer camp, but only once. She is a public innovator and has participated in and helped launch several grassroots initiatives related to societal justice, community development, and church engagement.
Alongside her partner of 15 years, Naphtali has been both a foster and adoptive parent, and has become an ardent advocate for the transformation of public systems. She and Jared have a total of 4 children and are at home in Eugene, Oregon where Naphtali serves as Area Community Connector and Innovator to extend relational engagement efforts of local Wesleyan congregations and to amplify voices of unheard communities.
Frank Robinson is a retired pastor from California who has a diverse and unique background in both rural and urban ministry. Frank’s life from a young age has been one of crossing barriers, of learning and dealing with diversity, race and many related issues. In 1984 Alabama, not long after a local lynching, he married his wife Sandra. Theirs is an interracial marriage, which was a scandal at the time. Their first child was born across the state line so no one would kill him. In 1992 Los Angeles, Frank was at his desk on Crenshaw when, following the Rodney King beating verdicts, the city went up in flames. He went into the riot area each day, then helped organize and work community clean up. He is a fine artist and a writer, the author of Letters To a Mixed Race Son, which began with the idea that if someone killed Frank, he could speak wisdom, love, purpose and direction to his son. Frank and his wife Sandra now live in Texas. They have four lovely, intelligent, grown children. Their home is a blessed home.
Melissa McFadden is an activist and author who’s spent 24 years as a police officer in the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police.
McFadden was born and raised by her mom in the coal country of southern West Virginia, with a strong sense of justice. She always wanted to be an officer. She entered the US Air Force right out of high school to gain the training she thought would give her a shot at realizing her dream. Even as a trained military special police officer, the Black girl from the hillbilly state had to fight her way into the Columbus Police Academy in 1996.
She immediately saw discrimination and bigotry she had never experienced before. She didn’t know it wasn’t her job to fix it. But with her belief in God, her military training, and her love of learning she set out to right decades of wrongs perpetrated by Columbus police against the Black community, which as she quickly found out, included Black officers.
Walking the Thin Black Line is the story of her journey through the bureaucracy, the trauma, and the endless confrontation with racism within the Columbus Division of Police. The culture is very practiced at retaliation against anyone who dares to tell this story. McFadden has endured that retaliation for twenty-four years. She is still standing. And now she is ready to share her truth so that other little Black girls everywhere can grow up in a safe world–and follow McFadden into policing if they dream, like she did, of helping to keep it safe.