Many women, regardless of income, lack consistent, relevant support services in addressing the needs and methods to go about making healthy lifestyle decisions. Some obstacles include cultural insensitivity and irrelevance, no easy access to meaningful support services, along with racist views and attitudes in the area of mental health. These obstacles, including personal issues such as low self-esteem and lack of personal value and motivation, stand in the way of women moving beyond the collective condition of struggle to that of inner peace and success. The trust of family and community is simply no longer readily available to many people of color in Oakland. What was once a supportive, friendly environment is now very hostile and toxic. In order to lead full healthy lives there must be trust, sincerity and a sense of connection and respect.
Sacred Space Spiritual Support Group consists of women of color from a diverse range of occupations. Professional and non-professional positions are not boundaries; all are connected by issues in common. Some of the women are disabled and half are unemployed or retired. Others work part time, full time or are self-employed. Although some women bring their teenage daughters or sons, most participants are ages 25 through 65. We also invite people of every race and gender as presenters or participants to visit the group.
Sacred Space Spiritual Support Group draws upon attendees, community members and others to offer diverse areas of expertise and provide a range of speakers and presenters at monthly meetings. Some of these topics are listed in the empowerment issues section.
Violence and negative energy is rampant in our community. We recently held a Sacred Space Spiritual Support Group Healing Circle in support of a participant whose daughter was murdered. The circle consisted of spiritual leaders, mental health professionals, healers, Sacred Space community, and mothers who have suffered similar losses. This circle was uplifting and encouraging for the mother and young women friends of the deceased, Tiye Freeman,
several of whom had witnessed the murder. Some shared that they were able to release a lot of pain and actually begin a dialogue about their experience of being present at the time of the murder. Sacred Space has held two weekend healing retreats away from the city. The most recent focused on stopping violence and creating community grief healing circles.
These events were very effective in de-stressing, healing, creating community and clarifying goals. We intend to hold similar retreats twice a year.
We are clearly living in uncertain times. Truly, what the world needs now is love; and what communities of color need is a big dose of it! This is heart work and we are passionate about it. We understand the importance of being healthy ourselves in order to effectively contribute to healing others.