Harlem Lighthouse

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.

Key Steps

  • 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
  • Outreach
  • 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.


Amani A. Peace First Staff
6 June 2018 17:04
Dear Fatima,

Congratulations to you and your team on finishing your peacemaking project, well done!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your work during the project implementation and what you have learned so far! I am on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share your work.

I would like to provide you with some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future: I really appreciate that you used the participatory learning during the workshops. Also, it was great to learn that you gave a space for the participants during and after the workshops to designing and carrying out the workshops with you and even helping in improving the curriculum that you have used during these workshops.
Would you be able to share some insights or feedback from the participants on these workshops? We would love to learn more and get a better sense of the impact of the project!

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!

Kelsey T.
17 April 2018 17:23
Hi Fatima! Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

I am so impressed by your incredible work! You are working on an incredibly complex and important injustice and have clearly done a lot of thinking about the resources and support needed for women/femmes of color as a result of misogynoir. You've done a great job of coming up with a concrete plan. You've done an excellent job articulating the three 3's of courage, compassion, and collaboration, and I am particularly struck by your expression of how you will be courageous by sharing your own journey, practicing what you preach and being "soft and vulnerable" -- that is such a beautiful expression of courage! You have also come up with a clear list of steps -- inclusive of a survey to better track your impact and improve going forward.

Things to Consider:
Although I absolutely understand your thinking and it strong the way it is, I think your compassionate insight could be a little bit clearer -- It strikes me that misogynoir may be the injustice (as opposed to the root cause) and that the other things you have listed in the "injustice" section are interrelated symptoms of that injustice.
You may want to continue to refine it to create a concise "theory of change" that everyone can follow immediately. (See this tool to see what I mean: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-4-compassionate-insight)
I wonder if your project is actually directly addressing a different root cause of the many injustices and negative consequences folks experience due to misogynoir? I think continuing to return to exploring the many interconnected root causes and mapping out the system is always helpful as you continue to grow and evolve your work and would offer up the problems & solution tree tool as an interesting exercise to continue to return to as you continue your work and discover additional insights along the way! https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-2-problem-and-solution-trees

If you haven't already, I think it would be powerful to think of additional ways to capture a sense of your impact in addition to the surveys -- how can you incorporate a creative evaluation element into the event itself or and include check-ins throughout so attendees can co-create their experience together. How can you lean into the incredible resources you've sourced (including photography and videography) as part of this plan of capturing a sense of your impact and the experience (interviews, etc. on the day).

Congratulations and best of luck with your project! Excited to see photos and hear how it goes!

Adrian B.
5 April 2018 15:37
Hi Fatima,

We wanted to let you know that we are extending the deadline for active projects to apply for a Mini-Grant during this Peace First Challenge to April 15th. You can apply for a mini-grant anytime, but meeting the Challenge deadlines will make you eligible for additional opportunities.

If you do not require a mini-grant to complete your project, you can remain eligible by completing your project and Reflection before the May 31st deadline! If you submit your project plan by April 15th, we'll be sure to provide you with feedback by April 21st to support you with carrying out the plan.

If you are still in early stages of planning, you are also welcome to apply for a mini-grant at a later date -- although you may not be eligible for some of our larger opportunities, the opportunity for funding and support is always there.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and if we can help in any way!

Adrian B.
29 March 2018 20:40
Hi Fatima,

Just checking in about your project and the next steps. I wanted to make sure you are aware of the upcoming Mini-Grant Deadline - there is still time to remain eligible to attend a Peace First Challenge Accelerator if you complete your Compassionate Insight, Project Plan, and Mini-Grant application by March 31st.

We're excited about your work, and would love to be able to support it with a mini-grant of up to $250.

These tools can help you craft your insight, plan, and budget for your mini-grant:

Through your dashboard you can submit your "compassionate insight," record your plan in "Make a plan" and then "Apply for a mini-grant" for the materials you need.

Let me know how I can help!

RaulPF C.
6 March 2018 8:38
Hi Fatima!
Thanks so much for posting this project. Thanks for sharing the video as well to learn more about how you decided to work to address the injustice you identified. I think that creating safe spaces for healing and empowerment are so key to address some of the issues you are working on.

As a next step, I invite you to submit your insight so that you can receive additional support including access to up to $250 mini-grants.

You can do that at: https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/harlem-lighthouse/dashboard/compassionate-insight

I look forward to learning more and to see how we can support your amazing work.

Have a great day!