“A woman who is willing to be herself and pursue her own potential runs not so much the risk of loneliness as the challenge of exposure to more interesting men — and people in general.” Lorraine Hansberry

I met this “Phenomenal Women” many years ago and like so many Phenomenal Women, you won’t find her name in the history books. As the years passed, I realized just how phenomenal she was. At sixteen, she graduated valedictorian of her class and attended Bowie State College on a full scholarship. After leaving Bowie her vocations included the health field, federal government, private industry, and then she entered divinity school. During this time, she was a wife and a mother raising four daughters that she encouraged and supported in achieving their dreams. As a United Methodist minister, she pastored several historic churches throughout Maryland and DC, including making history as the female director of The Morgan Christian Center.

“Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there’s no one else above you? You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my trouble that’s what you do.” Rod Stewart

The day she retired from Northwood Appold United Methodist Church, this Phenomenal Woman surprised me when she sang, “I know who holds tomorrow” to a teary congregation. In all the years I’ve known her, I never heard her sing.

“Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand”

“In my solitude” She never hesitated to drive cross-country alone to visit her children or grandchildren, stopping along the way to enjoy the country. This woman, loved by many and cherished by all, broke the glass ceiling. This phenomenal woman is the one I lovingly call Mommy, my mother the Rev. Pauline Ridgley Wilkins, the mother of Cheryl, Karen, Clarissa and me. Living for the Weekend honors her during Women’s History Month.

“When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right … Make sure you done take into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got wherever he is.” Lorraine Hansberry

We honor glass ceiling breakers, First Lady Michele Obama, Poet Audra Lorde, actress Nicole Ari Parker- Kodjoe, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Judge Shirley Watts, Dr. Thelma Daley, Lisa Lee Packer, Joyce Ward, Councilwoman Sharon Green-Middleton, Maia Estes, Lucinda Ware, Edi Greene, Landa McLaurin, Joy Bramble, Murnell Cooper, Priscilla Blackwell, Sen. Delores Kelly, the Hon. Agnes Welch, Sade, Mary Demory, the Rev. Dr. Vashti McKenzie, Marlaa Reid, Patricia G. Thomas, Dr. Patricia Schmoke, Angela Gibson, Lola March, Dottie Hector, Councilwoman Rikki Spector, Cindy Wolfe, Judge Marcella Holland, Delegate Adrienne Jones, Diane Hocker, Beverly Carter, Mildred Harris, Mildred Taylor, Jacqueline Washington, Bresha Webb, Dorothy “Queen” Williams, Robin Wood, Dr. Greta Burnett, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clark, Councilwoman Helen Holton, Lydia Mussenden, Ellen Howard, Keirston Wood, Van Nguyen, Zoe Washington, Libby Harris, Chili Washington, Veronica “Ronnie” Jackson, the Hon. Joan Pratt and Renita Mingo.

In honor of Women’s History Month “Phenomenal Women,” remember: “Everyday a Lion wakes up knowing it has to chase down the fastest gazelle and if it doesn’t it will not survive and everyday a gazelle wakes up knowing it has to outrun the fastest lion in order to survive … which are you the lion or the Gazelle? Either way you should wake up knowing you must live life to the fullest.” Zack Lemelle

‘I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.” Mary Wollstonecraft

Our congratulations to Ossie Clay on your induction into the Howard County Woman’s Hall of Fame; an organization she founded in 1996.

“No matter where you’re from your dreams are valid” Lupita Nyong’o
You can get a seat in the New Teachers Lounge written and produced by Baltimore native Ursula Battle on March 22-23. Email battlestageplays@gmail.com .

“Rah, rah, rumble seats and running boards them was the good old days, knee pants and dime a dance girls, oh, lord them was the good old days.” Roger Miller
Join me at the signing of my colleague Rosa “Rambling Rose” Pryor-Trusty’s book African-American Community History & Entertainment (Remembering the Yesterday’s 1940-1980) from 3 to 6 p.m. March 23 at Colin’s Seafood. This book has pictures of folks that helped make Baltimore the Mecca city for entertainment.

“If no tourists came, we’d still have Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a state of mind.” Ed Muniz

The Mardi Gras celebration hosted by Jacqueline Richardson at her festive Woodlawn home was bedazzled with beads. It was just what I needed to help me get my joy back. The menu was reminiscent of a Nawlin’s buffet with Cajun catfish, shrimp creole, dirty rice, chicken gumbo, red beans and rice, creole black beans, Big Easy jambalaya, pork roast, greens, banana and pineapple pudding, and strawberry pie. Guests enjoying the evening were Brenda Sykes, Rita and Elvard Cooper, Sara Smalley, Rosemary Atkinson, Laura Byrd, Ann Branch, Jacqueline and James Massey, Dr. Thelma Daley, Dr. Charlene Cooper-Boston, Maggie Wiggins, Leah Hasty, Laura Knight, Beverly Boston, Linda Farrah, Debbie Parker, Margaret Johnson, Marina Solovey, Deborah Carter and Ronald Allen.

“When I discovered you, I discovered a peace within, joy like no other, you’re my closest friend, if you were a number you’d be a perfect 10, right out of the skies you were heaven sent” R Kelly

Happy anniversary to Sheryl and Wesley Wood, Albert and Elsie Maddox, and Rose and Leonard Hamm. Happy birthday to Warren Jenifer, Michele Emery, Debbie Taylor, Rosemary “Duchess” Atkinson, Myron Bundy and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Sending get-well wishes to Donna Boone–Galmore, we’re wishing you nothing but blue skies.

Valerie & the Friday Night Bunch