Community-Partner-Updates

Community Partner Updates

See what our Community Advisory Board (CAB) members and partners have been up to recently! Click on the photo for a gallery of pictures, and read below for related updates. To find out more about our partners, click here to visit our Community Partners page.

Photos 1-5: Women With A Vision Inc.
Women with a Vision Inc. has been busy developing a garden with a spirit that transcends the physical space. As a part of their reproductive justice program spearheaded by Lakeesha Harris, WWAV has created a Survivors’ Peace Garden. The garden is a space for survivors, for someone who needs a break, a place to just be in peace, to come. As Harris puts it, "Healing Justice is Reproductive Justice." This new garden is an outward expression of the mission they carry out inside their office and out in their community for nearly 30 years.
Here Harris reflects on what their new space means to her and her community:
"What does it mean to survive? I don't quite remember the time and place of every trauma, there's been so many. As a queer Black woman, I don't remember when I began fighting against a world full of oppression. However, through watching and listening at the feet of my mother, I was taught a kind of survival. Though it didn't address the issues that each of us faced, at the time the objective seemed simple, "be strong and make it through". I could cuss my way through, work my way through, drink my way through, and pray my way through. What was most important is that I did not break, because strong women, don't break.
Fast forward and what I remember clearly about the years of using those generational, strong Black woman survival tactics, is that they never provided space for my healing in anyway. There wasn't anyone to talk to about my trauma or how I endured, everyone was too busy surviving. No one would help me plan how to view love for myself in a different way, the only way they knew was this way. I would have to search out peace, sanity, and security for myself. As Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, "If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it.
What I want to express most about healing is that it is a process, a journey, one that can be successfully traveled with care and support. Survival is a space created for those in need of healing, crafted by those who are in the process of healing. It is a planting of a garden, with herbs for steeping a tea, to relieve anxiety. It's a knowing eye and a kind word greeting you at the door to usher you inside. It is a sitting in a space with a sister friend who looks like you, has endured similar obstacles as you, pointing you in the direction of resources. Survival space is a sacred place to cry and speak about your pain. It is a space for grieving and release."
The Survivors' Peace Garden's official dedication was on April 9, 2018. For more information, visit their website at wwav-no.org.

Photos 6-9: Sisters Together Woodmere
"Sisters Together: Move, More, Eat Better" Sisters Together Woodmere is a health awareness program that encourages black women 18 years and older to maintain a healthy weight by being more physically active and eating healthy food. It is a project of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institute of Health, through the Weight-control Information Network (WIN).
Sisters Together programs are run locally by dedicated individuals or groups. Picture 6 shows of some of the members of Sisters Together Woodmere: (pictured left to right) Rena Walker, Stephanie Wilson, Catherine Haywood, Ms. Augusta, Pat Mitchell, Linda Johnson. For more information, click here to visit their Facebook page.

Topics:   community advisory board , community health

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