A Peacemaking Project by Fatima D.
What is the injustice we are solving?
Harlem Lighthouse is a project that provides collaborative workshops and spaces centered around the healing and empowerment of women, trans, gender non-conforming, and queer people of color in the uptown area. The project focuses on addressing, combating and healing from social injustices like misogynoir, poverty and self-hate. The goal is to provide the community room to share their tools, resources and love, in order for folks to have access to knowledge related to self-care, activism, ancestry and much more! Harlem lighthouse seeks to encourage folks to be fully in love with their truest selves and maintain a healthy balance within their well-being.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of Within the women of color, trans/GNC people of color, and queer people of color community, folks are experiencing misogynoir, poverty, lack of access to resources/knowledge/networks, and experiencing physical and mental crises.
we will address Misogynoir (The hatred of Black and Brown women/femmes.)
by The goal is to give folks space to be themselves, provide the tools, resources and motivation for folks to create personalized healing methods and access to knowledge related to self-care, activism, ancestry, etc...
Our Project Plan:
- Building stability and unity within the women, trans, gender non-conforming and queer people of color community
- Participants can take away personalized self-care methods
- Participants can analyze and understand the intersections between themselves and political systems
We will increase my / our compassion by...
I will increase my/our compassion by validating and humanizing our inner emotions and thoughts. I will provide workshops for the community that will help us tap into and build our awareness skills and creativity. We will use our awareness and creativity to express and release the emotions and thoughts that we carry but no longer need to hold onto. Letting go of this energy will provide us with more space within ourselves to be present and accept where we are in our lives. It will also give us emotional space to create the ideas and goals to increase our sustainability and fulfillment.
How will you show courage?
I will show courage by being transparent and honest about my own emotions and thoughts. I will share where I'm at in my healing journey and what I had to do/endure in order to reach the point I am in now. I will be courageous by being soft and vulnerable. I will admit how hard it is and also the fact that we are not alone. I will practice what I preach and make sure I regularly indulge in self-care; so I can show up to the community as my best self. And if I do not feel like my best self, I will share that and allow that honesty to build heart bridges with my participants.
How will you collaborate with others?
I will collaborate with folks who share the same values as me. Honesty, love, loyalty, justice, accessibility, knowledge, flexibility, inclusion, self-care, community-care, sharing, healthy boundaries, motivation, self-expression, and so much more! When I am able to bond with someone over our similar values, it is easier to build trust with each other and have a better understanding of our visions. Which is an important part of collaborating with folks.
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
I will send out virtual surveys to folks who are able to fill them out. I will also make it my priority to reach out to participants and personally ask them about their experience. As I gain a better understanding of my participant's experiences and what they need/desire, I will be able to incorporate it into future workshops.
- Ask folks on social media what they need/desire in a healing workshop
- Organize a workshop and ask folks if they would want to collaborate
- Create flyer and buy materials/food/water
- Have a workshop!
- Send out survey/ask folks about their experience
- Use that feedback to curate better future workshops
How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?
Harlem Lighthouse provides free healing workshops for people of color within New York City. I used the mini-grant to pay folks that I collaborated with. I paid Antonia Perez, an amazing environmental activist and herbalist. We co-created a workshop called "Simple Intro to Herbal Healing". I also paid a photographer and videographer, Shaira Chaer and Sumayyah Steele, both are experienced with working in activist communities. Harlem Lighthouse launched a Spring series of workshops focused on building community within the Uptown area through discussions and activities rooted in vulnerability and our innate creativity. I believe our ability to share and express ourselves through words and imagery is extremely powerful and has the potential to confront and heal the deeply rooted traumas that may have been caused by misogynoir, capitalism, transphobia, etc. In each one of my workshops, the participants and I spent most of our time talking about our life experiences, our dreams, our fears, and everything in between. Collaborating with Antonia, Shaira, and Sumayyah, has helped build the togetherness of Harlem Lighthouse. The team engaged in the discussions, shared their own personal stories, and related with the other participants in ways that go beyond me. I believe my team and I witnessed and experienced the importance of having a space that is dedicated to sharing our stories and elevating each other. Trauma can make us believe that there is no one out there that we can trust or talk to about our feelings. This can lead towards bottling everything up and isolating ourselves from our communities as a way to protect our physical and emotional bodies. My team and I saw the magic that goes into releasing those stories we carry in our bodies and trusting one another with them. These spaces serve as one of the many steps towards unraveling the trauma caused by the oppressive systems we live under.
How did your community change as a result of your project?
My project has provided my community with space to build friendships and a deeper relationship with themselves. These type of intentional relationship building can shift the way people take care of themselves and react to the outside world. I provided my community with the space to create genuine connections based off of love, unity, and honesty. Having a supportive group of people around you, listening to your story, giving you advice, crying with you, can change your entire outlook on what "community" is and what "self-care" is. My project gave folks the space to redefine what it means to love themselves and love each other. My project encouraged folks to take care of themselves outside of the space. This can lead to wondrous discoveries and actions.
How many people were impacted by your project?
In addition to those directly impacted, are there additional people you feel were indirectly indirectly impacted or reached? If so, how many? (This might include people who read about your project, families of people that attended your workshops or received services, etc.)
20 is the total number of folks who attended the workshops: "Simple Intro to Herbal Healing" and "Celebrate Yourself!"
How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?
My team and I learned more about the folks impacted by misogynoir by talking with them. Engaging in dialogue and learning about their personal life experiences. The participants also learned about how misogynoir impacts my team and I. We learned through sharing and listening.
What did your team learn?
We learned about how money and capitalism impact the way we see the world and the way we treat ourselves. We learned about the struggles that come with navigating through life while pregnant. We learned about the injustices that occur in the school system. We learned about how plants can make us feel and how to use them for our betterment. We learned about the challenges that are experienced as a Black femme freelance artist. We learned that our personal joys and sufferings are very similar and connected with those around us. We learned that we can affirm each other and remind each other of our power when we are feeling scared or angry or annoyed. We learned that we don't have to experience our feelings in silence.
What challenges did your team overcome?
We had a little challenge with the rainy weather, so we had to act quickly and find out what the best next steps are. We found another space to hold the workshop and rescheduled it for another day. Thankfully, my team was still able to show up! :)
How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?
I collaborate with my participants during and after the workshops. I allow my participants to help me lead instead of it being one-sided. I also ask my participants to complete a survey about their experiences with the Harlem Lighthouse workshops, so I can reflect on their responses and make the appropriate changes towards the curriculum and the way I facilitate. I also ask folks on social media about the workshops and spaces they would like to experience in the future. This has been tremendously helpful in curating a project that is meaningful. I want to provide my community with what they desire and continue improving and changing alongside them.
What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?
Believe in yourself, trust yourself, and your community. Imagine with all of your heart and leave behind the concept of barriers when it comes to fulfilling your dreams. Ask yourself questions, ask your community questions, ask your elders questions. Make sure to rest and love on yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed or powerless. You are NOT alone in this, you can depend on others to show up and help you. Your emotions can lead you to miraculous places. Being yourself is power.