To be jolly! Well, not if you’re a 27-year-old African-American single mom in NYC. Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRXAjd2UUOAvideo which has gone viral. See what happened to Jazmine Headley, whose only crime was being a single mom and poor whose HRA benefits were cut off for her baby. She visited the Boerum Hill SNAP Office, a NYC Human Resources site at 35 4thAvenue, Brooklyn, with her baby. After waiting four hours in the office, she takes a seat on the floor. The Peace Officers, employed by FJC Security, a vendor used for many NYC shelters, tell her to leave. She does not. Peace Officers call the police. Together, they assault the woman, take her baby from her and the NYPD arrests her. She was on Rikers Island. It’s like a scene from the US southern border where babies are extricated from their Latino parents. Can this be NYC 2018? What is wrong Mayor de Blasio? Two more city departments are out of control this week – the NYPD and Human Resources Administration. De Blasio is reticent about this Headley tragedy. Why does FJC Security, which is being investigated for prior allegations of abuse at city facilities, continue to get contracts?
There was a chorus of protests coming from power precincts in the city, from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, soon-to-be NYS Attorney General Tish James and Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The December 12th Movement, a Black human rights organization, mobilized demonstrators in front of the Boerum Hill Office on 12/11, in response to this indignity countenanced by Ms. Headley.
There was a similar incident in February 2018 in the Bronx with a 40-week pregnant Black woman, “Jane Doe,” who went into labor at a police-holding station. Police took her to Montefiore Hospital, where she gave birth while her wrists and ankles were shackled and handcuffed at the policemen’s insistence. The doctors protested, advising police that it was dangerous for the mother and fetus and it was illegal. Police responded, the NYPD Patrol Guide required them to restrain her and it supersedes NYS law. Huh? Who’s in charge?
Jane Doe filed a lawsuit against the NYPD for violation of her civil rights. Hizzoner has some explaining to do to Black women in NYC.
NEW YORK POLITICS
Now the fun and circuses begin downstate. As Tish James begins her exit as NYC Public Advocate, there are so many politicos waiting to fill those shoes. They include former NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; NY State Assemblymen Michael Blake and Danny O’Donnell; City Councilmen Jumaane Williams, Ydanis Rodriguez, Rafael Espinal, Eric Ulrich; and outsider Ifeoma Ike, a Nigerian-American lawyer/artist. This is a truncated list of hopefuls.
NEW YORK, NY
Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Director who overseas New Jersey/New York, has opted to experience a slice of NYCHA life when she moves in with a family residing at the Grant Houses on West 125th Street in Harlem next month to protest heating outages. Patton moves from her Trump Tower digs to sample life in a 1,940-unit NYCHA complex. What happens next with NYCHA? Will the mayor have local developers manage the buildings? Will NYCHA go into receivership? Will NYC and the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 11th-hour talks evolve into some sustainability NYCHA miracle?
Disliked for being boastful, but WGO scooped the entire NYC mainstream media last week with the story about Rev. A.R. Bernard and his affordable housing complex in Brooklyn. Read the 12/11 NY Times story, BROOKLYN PASTOR IS PLANNING 2,100 APARTMENTS ON CHURCH LOT.
For seven months, 1800 cable technicians who work for SPECTRUM/CHARTER have been on strike seeking fair wages and benefits, not the plan the employer wants them to embrace, which downsizes long-held union-related benefits package. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Congressman Adriano Espaillat and other politicos have expressed their sympathy with the workers.
Ade Williams just reminded me that the Apollo Theater’s Annual Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland is set for Saturday, December 15 from 2-6 pm at the Apollo with all of the bells and whistles including a Black Santa Claus, caroling performances, picture-taking with Santa, a snow-cone machine and other fun activities. It’s a community event for children of all ages intended to bring the magic of the holiday season uptown. It is also the start of the Apollo Holiday Toy and Book Drive for low-income families in the neighborhood. It’s a date with Santa at the Apollo, located at 275 West 125thStreet.
NYC Councilman Bill Perkins hosts an Open House on Tuesday, December 18 at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, located at 163 West 125th Street, 2nd Floor Art Gallery, Harlem. Councilman Perkins and the Sojourner Truth Democratic Club will co-host the Annual Community Kwanzaa, a family-friendly event at the New York Public Library Harlem branch, located at 9 West 124th Street on December 27, 12-5 pm, celebrating Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) with food, music and Kwanzaa teachings. Bring unwrapped toy
ARTS & CULTURE
FINE ART: The International Art Exposition at the GALERIE OUROUSS in Dakar, Senegal on December 7 to March 7 is all the chatter among fine arts cognoscenti. Curated by Senegalese-born fine artist Bara Diokhane, the expo is a mix of fine art, Modern Senegalese, Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora and film. Works on exhibit are by the following roster of 26 artists including Romare Bearden, Kehinde Wiley, Tesfaye Tessema, Lorenzo Pace, Ming Smith, Tafa, Amadou Ba, Mor Faye, Mamadou Seck, Issa Samb, Souleymane Keita, Bryant McNeil and Thierry Alet. The show’s video component will unspool documentaries about Randy Weston, Issa Samb and Joe Ouakam. [E-mail: email@example.com]
The Gelato Arts Salon hosts Holiday Arts & Crafts Vendors Market is on Saturday, December 15 from 1-6 pm at the Stuyvesant Mansion located at 375 Stuyvesant Avenue, Brooklyn. Gourmet Caribbean food, Chai tea, art, music and much more will be at this family-friendly market. [E-mail: welovecommunitymarkets.com]
HARLEM FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2018 is a salon series featuring collectables, wearables, a gift-able artistry at the Gadson Gallery located at 225 West 134th Street on December 8, 9, 15, 16 from 12 noon to 6 pm. Participating artists include Laura Gadson, Shimoda, Sweet Octavia, Sara Bunn, Pat Mabry and Hats by Lips to name a few. [Visit theharlemaesthetic.com]
The Third Annual Kwanzaa Crawl, presented by creators Kerry Coddett and Krystal Stark, will be at the Cove Lounge on December 26 from 4-10 pm. Event attracts the African Diasporans to bolster and support Black-owned businesses in the community. Crawl is in response to the precipitous decline of Black-owned businesses in New York City.
A Harlem-based management consultant, Victoria is reachable at Victoria.firstname.lastname@example.org.