The Collective Empowerment Group

The Collective Empowerment Group (CEG) made its way to Temple Hills, Md. to host a multi-tiered conference on finance, credit, and corporation between law enforcement and the youth. The conference was hosted at the Evangel Assembly of God church in Temple Hills from June 5-6.

Dr. DeForest B. “Buster” Soaries Jr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey opened up the first session, discussing financial freedom through his “dfree” movement, which promotes financial freedom through values-based principles and practical approaches to financial management.

He said his vision is to have an economic and cultural shift that increases consumer participation in savings, insurance, and investments with the ultimate goal of “dfree” is for everyone to live without debt, deficits, and delinquencies.

“There is a new kind of slavery and its one that has not been imposed on us forcefully by another group of people. It is one that we are signing up for and that is economic slavery,” the Rev. Dr. St. Clair Mitchell, senior pastor at the church, told the {AFRO}. “We have to accept the fact that this is the most prosperous nation in the world, and if we plan properly, then we can survive this.  Not only survive this, but we can thrive in this environment that is known as America.”

The next session was for the youth, entitled “Real Talk with Law Enforcement.” This session featured Prince George’s County Chief of Police Mark Magaw, Assistant Chief of Police Craig Howard, and four other police officers. They talked to youth and adults who had concerns about law enforcement in the county.

The session started off very slow as the chief explained the reason for the session, emphasizing that there were no questions that were off limits. After his explanation, things got going with the topic of cops treating African Americans wrong.

“What we are leaving with, and which was in fact my hope, is that the police don’t work against us,” Mitchell said.  “They are not our enemies.  It is going to take a collaborative effort between the police and the community to have a safe community.”

Additional workshops given during the conference included “Credit Repair,” “Retirement Planning” and “Home Buying/Home Retention.”

“If we don’t live our lives in constant modes of preparation, then we will have to live our lives in constant modes of reparation,” Mitchell told the {AFRO}. “We will either be preparing or repairing.”