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Women of the Week: Healing Our Past and Naming Our Futures with Extraordinary Women

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

In a world where intersectional and multicultural feminist perspectives are often marginalized, it is important to celebrate the work of women who use their art, activism, and healing practices to empower and uplift marginalized communities.

This week, we honor four extraordinary Women of the Week who are using their talents and expertise to heal the wounds of colonialism, systemic violence, and trauma within the African-American and Latinx and Latin American communities.

Dalia Reyes, Amelia Duran, Violeta Donawa, and Terri Montgomery represent a diverse range of backgrounds and expertise, but they share a common commitment to using ancestral wisdom, spirituality, and art to navigate violence and create radical potentials for healing within their communities.

We are thrilled to share with you an upcoming panel discussion I will be facilitating featuring our WOW at the At the Altar of Our Abuelas, Madres y Tías: Ancestral Wisdom for Healing Our Past and Naming Our Futures! event taking place this Friday, April 21, 2023, as part of the conference Navigating Violence: Resistance and Radical Potentials for Healing Within Latinx and Latin American Communities.

Our panelists, artists, activists, healers, and theologians, will share their knowledge and experiences in exploring the role of art, ancestral veneration, and spirituality in our collective pursuit of reclamation, resistance, and liberation work. They will delve into how these modalities can help us heal our past, reconcile our present, and chart our future for a better world for all.

Let's take a deeper look at our distinguished panelists:

Dalia Reyes is an interdisciplinary artist from southwest Detroit and the Director of Contemporary Art for Galerie Camille gallery located in Midtown Detroit.  She received a BA in Fine Arts Studies from College for Creative Studies in 2010. Dalia has been in the arts sector for eighteen years; working in mostly arts and culture based non-profit organizations ranging from local galleries, arts fellowship organizations and museums. Dalia has exhibited her own work and has curated exhibitions in and around the city of Detroit and Mexico. Her work is cosmic, meditative and focuses on a metaphysical curiosity as well as surreal imagery.

Amelia Duran, Executive Director of Garaje Cultural. Born and raised in Southwest Detroit, Amelia has been active in her community for over 19 years through her professional experience in “brick & mortar” non-profit development and as a community organizer in arts/cultural work. Amelia is passionate about activism rooted in social justice movements that are founded on popular education and creative expression, working to build outlets that encourage us to collectively challenge the current political norms and structures of mis-education which keep communities disenfranchised. She will share with us the role of community organizing and murals in amplifying the voice of the community and creating spaces for collective healing.

Violeta Donawa, LMSW and Community Healer, Violeta is a fully-licensed clinical social worker inspired by personal growth, collective care, and joy. She is a longtime co-organizer of community healing spaces which also informs her approach to therapeutic care with individuals and families. She specializes in holistically treating clients whose mental health has been impacted by various forms of systemic harm or discrimination, and its relationship to patterns of addiction and other forms of trauma. She will share with us the importance of using a decolonized approach to therapy, recognizing the impact of systemic oppression, and the value of incorporating ancestral healing practices into therapy sessions.

Terri Montgomery, Thought Partner, Episcopal Priest. With a background in finance and management consulting, Terri explores both how organizations function and what makes them thrive. As an Episcopal priest, she is drawn to foundational narratives and practices that sustained faith communities before denominational traditions formed. Her studies include the Internship for Spiritual Companionship offered by Manresa Jesuit Retreat House. She will share with us her experiences of exploring ancestral wisdom through prayer, hymns, and call and response. Further, Terri will emphasize the importance of reclaiming spiritual practices that connect us to our roots and strengthen our collective resistance.

Each of the panelists will bring their unique perspective and interpretation of ancestral wisdom to the table, providing a portal to explore how connecting to our roots can provide a way to heal our past, reconcile our present, and chart our future for a better world for all. The overall event will be moderated by Dr. Carmen Otero, an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Michigan State University, who will expertly guide the conversation and keep the discussion flowing.

Can Dancing Make You More Productive?

Dance can help improve productivity in a number of ways. Here are some potential benefits:

Increases energy levels: Dancing can be a great way to get your blood flowing and increase your heart rate, which can help increase your energy levels and improve your overall mood. This can help you feel more alert and focused, and ready to tackle your tasks.

Boosts creativity: Dancing can be a great way to tap into your creativity and allow your mind to wander. This can help you come up with new ideas or approaches to problems you may be facing, which can lead to greater productivity.

Relieves stress: Dancing can also be a great way to relieve stress and tension, which can help you feel more relaxed and focused.

When you are feeling less stressed, you are better able to concentrate on your work and be more productive.

Improves focus: Dancing requires concentration and focus, which can help improve your ability to focus on other tasks as well. This can help you stay more focused and productive throughout the day.

Enhances coordination and balance: Regular dance practice can also improve your coordination and balance, which can be beneficial in other areas of your life as well. Improved coordination can help you complete tasks more efficiently and effectively, which can boost your productivity.

Overall, incorporating dance into your routine can be a fun and effective way to boost your productivity and improve your overall well-being.

Let’s get our boogie on together! Dance a Day in May!

Soulful Biz Solutions | Sponsored by You Can Dance Again!

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