WHAT’S GOING ON

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Mellody Hobson

I know that I disappeared without a trace.   No column, no explanation for three weeks! On March 16, I visited Mt. Sinai Hospital’s emergency room after a nagging eating disorder. I could not eat, could not sleep. Had this feeling of malaise which would not recede, even after a visit to one of those city MD outlets and a prescription which offered minimal relief. My internist, an erstwhile competent gastroenterologist, was the last person that I wanted to see. Mt. Sinai admitted me and then I lost my bearings. Doctors had me under observation for 4 days, wanting to avoid surgery but my body was saying otherwise.   I had a gastroenterology problem and couldn’t give the doctors what was needed to avoid surgery. I went under on March 19 and have been recovering since.   My post-surgery dreams were the stuff that super(Th)? movies are made of. Cannot believe that street drugs compare with the hallucinatory power of that stuff that doctors use as anesthesia.

Concurrent with my gastro problems, my oxygen supply was low and I was diagnosed with asthma and emphysema, probably related to my smoking habit, which I abandoned in 1980.   I was unable to eat solid food for almost two weeks following surgery. I was at the mercy of the Mt. Sinai nutrition staff and its man-made intravenous goodies in accordance with my doctors’ orders.   Again, my post-surgical body was not responding to the doctors’ intended outcomes with dispatch.   If you thought that I was wizened before hospitalization, wait until you see me now.   Finally gave the doctors what they needed after I had a tube inserted through my nose to my stomach. Discharged from the hospital to a nursing home for rehab where I am writing WHAT’S GOING ON typed on a laptop, a first for me…. Sent to a nursing home because I live alone!!!

The March issue was supposed to highlight stories about remarkable women.   I will play catch-up in forthcoming weeks.

2018 MIDTERMS

Hardly a day goes by without myriad references to the role that American women will play in the 2018 elections from city councils to statehouses, to the US Congress and the Senate. If anything was learned last year from special elections, it is that the distaff vote matters, especially the distaff African-American voter.

Wonders never cease. Last week, the NYS Democrats, the group led by Andrea Stewart -Cousins and the rogue group of 8 Democratic Senators led by Jeff Klein who voted with the GOP for seven years, decided to put aside the animus and literally and figuratively kissed and made up. They work in concert with Stewart-Cousins as head of the Democratic Conference and Klein as her deputy. Politics is the art of the impossible. Will wait and see how this détente unfolds. Governor Cuomo, who is running for reelection, also has his fingers on the pulse of the Black female voter.

New York Transit Authority plans closures and upgrades of three stations at 72nd, 86th and 110th Streets on the B/C line.   Closures were scheduled without consultation or dialogue with affected communities like passengers and community boards. No alternative transportation has been articulated. These upgrades begin soon as early as April 9 and will continue for 6 months. Senator Brian Benjamin, Councilman Mark Levine, Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, transit advocates and disability advocates are working towards solutions for the Upper West Side straphangers. Senator Benjamin will announce legislation to ensure that New Yorkers are not blindsided by station closings in the future. The Transit move was not a good one during 2018. There will be consequences at the polls.

Harlem-based real estate developer and philanthropist Bea Sibbles will host an “100 Women for Andrea Spring Reception” for Stewart-Cousins on Sunday, April 22nd at her town house at 140 West 121st Street, between Lenox and Seventh Avenues. [Call 917-841-2275] Reception is two days before an historic special election in Westchester County where Shelley Mayers is poised to win, hence a majority for the Democratic Conference

NEWSMAKERS

JPMorgan Chase Bank elected Mellody Hobson, 48, to its Board of Directors. She will also join the boards of JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA; Chase Bank, USA, NA; and JPMorgan Chase Holdings, LLC. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services company with assets of $2.5 trillion. Hobson is a household name in business and finance. She served as president of Ariel Investments, LLC, a Chicago-based investment management firm since 2000.

Zodiac News: Aries Birthday greetings to Ambassador Shirley Barnes, who celebrates a landmark anniversary; Michelle Alexander; Nellie Bailey; James Brooks; Brenda Mary Clark, who spent her birthday in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Aretha Franklin; Karen Horsford; Rocky Horsford, Jr.; Bob Law; Martin Lawrence; Eddie Murphy; Laura Poteat; Diana Ross; Ruby Ryles-Martin; Dedra Tate; Maxine Sidberry; Maxwell Sidberry, who begins his last year as a tween; Gloria Dulan-Wilson and UNCF (United Negro College Fund) money man David Walker.

Winnie Mandela

RIP: Larger-than-life figure Winnie Mandela, “Mother of a Nation,” former wife of President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, antiapartheid warriors, passed last week in Johannesburg.   NY memorials for Winnie Mandela were co-hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, Karen S. Daughtry and Sisters Against South African Apartheid on April 10 at the House of the Lord Church in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn and at Harlem’s historic Abyssinian Baptist Church on West 138th Street on Thursday, April 12 at 7 pm.

Gertrude Hadley Jeannette

RIP: Gertrude Hadley Jeannette, playwright, producer-director, actress, activist, the muse of the Harlem theatre experience and beyond, died on April 4. She was 103 years young. Gertrude Jeannette founded The H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players in 1979, which was housed at the Harlem School of the Arts, which became a clearinghouse for training in theater crafts, production and direction. H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players continued to produce a few plays each year. Funeral arrangements for this Grande Dame of NY theater will be on Friday, April 13; the viewing begins at 4 pm followed by the funeral service at the Metropolitan AME Church, located at 58 West 135th Street, Harlem.

RIP: Longtime Harlem resident Shellie Williams, 68, passed on March 27. A devout SGI Nichiren Buddhist, she devoted her professional life to public service. She worked for the NYC City Council with Council members Robert Jackson and Wendall Foster, at the UN in Political Affairs and at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.

Jackie Robinson Way
Visit historic street co-naming of Jackie Robinson Way on MacDonough Street between Ralph and Patchen Avenues on Saturday, April 14 from 11 am, which includes parade and ceremony, street sign unveiling and a festival. Jackie Robinson is the legendary African-American, a Brooklyn Dodger player who integrated Major League  Baseball.