WHEW is unapologetic, unconventional, and uncompromised when it comes to addressing these complicated issues by using spiritual beliefs that go against the grain of the mainstream and macro culture of the west. We chose to focus on the “Community Service” since most communities of Melanin dominant and Indigenous communities have people who are usually facing the problems that the organization addresses.
WHEW has operated from a premise that we must begin to heal womyn their families and communities wholistically, mind, body, spirit, soul, emotional, physical, and economical. WHEW has used various genres of the arts as tools to heal, educate, communicate, process, and transform the challenges of intersecting issues for womyn and their families who have directly been impacted stemming from initially the fall out of the Middle Passage. Yesterday’s horrid past of this country's 500 years of chattel kidnapped bodies in captivity and forced them to work on plantations. Today, it has evolved into the Prison Industrial Complex in which actual prisons are currently on land that was once a plantation. It continues the ways of the past by exploiting the descendants of Melanin/Indigenous people for free or very little monetary compensation for their labor. Upon being released most formerly incarcerated come out without the necessary education, skills, or counseling support for the intersecting issues that led to their incarceration i.e., unhealthy relationships and domestic violence, homelessness, self-medicating that led to legal/illegal drug dependency, sex work, and so much more.
WHEW IS: currently promoting our most recent projects Extraordinary Elders Film Project (EEFP) and launching this August 2021 BEAH Ripple:Sexual Healing Grief Ritual
EXTRAORDINARY ELDERS Film Project (EEFP)
Many Melanin dominant and Indigenous /BIPOC senior citizens in the Houston area have focused their lives on helping and sharing their wisdom with others. Unfortunately, only those who have encountered these individuals in person have benefited from their influence, most of these elders have no online presence and are relatively unknown. The Extraordinary Elders Film Project (EEFP) seeks to address this problem by sharing their amazing life stories through the medium of short form documentary before they fade into ubiquity undocumented. This in turn will allow their presence to continue to be influential to future generations beyond the scope of their immediate presences and life spans. More importantly, this project promotes intergenerational relationships. Younger folks ranging in age were selected to conduct interviews with the elders.
Intergenerational bonds are needed today like in the past, it’s what sustained African Americans despite the challenges that were faced before or ongoing. Presently, gentrification and efforts to rebrand these neighborhoods by outside influences like developers, etc., (i.e Third Ward referred to as Museum District or Midtown) with no community ties, nor concern for elders contributions that span for decades is concerns that must be addressed. EEFP is a vital collaborative project platforming elders sharing with youths, their truths, and narratives while recording historical achievements of native Houstonians for future generations unaware of the richness that exist in their home town.
BEAH Ripple: Sexual Healing Grief Ritual - The “Relationship Building Women Only” project is a continuum of WHEW’S previous work to address gatekeepers, the ideals of being saved or manipulated by men, and the process of working with agency. Not competing to occupy space, each being encouraged to be their full self. For a labor-intensive analysis of self. Sixteen (16) artists i.e. dancers, poets, singers, drummers, etc., (8 Melanin dominant, 8 Caucasian) to be emotionally naked and uncomfortable, like a pregnant woman willing to go through the various stages of labor to give birth to a new day starting with divine and genuine relationships amongst women.
The project begins with viewing Beah Richard recite her poem, “Thus A Black Woman Speaks: of White Womanhood, White Supremacy, and Peace,” a tool for arts healing addressing sexism, racism, sexual abuse, mistrust and the monstrous relationships between women of different ethnicities. Moreover, it connects the dots between European descent women, male patriarchy, and other issues rooted in oppression, colonization, and the captivity of Melanin dominant bodies.
1) participants collectively view poem
2) two separate groups are formed:
a) Identified Melanin dominant/Indigenous (BIPOC)
b) Identified European descent for 8 workshops total, 1 per month over a span of 9 months,
3) dissect/analyze/process both poem/workshops
4) create their own interpretation using the artistic expression, of any medium of their choice to be performed
5) culminate into a two-day event that includes
a) Sexual Healing Grief Ritual, community workshops including sharing their journey and
b) finale performance of the participants’ interpretations of the poem and workshops.
The finale 2-day event takes place in Houston, TX.
For years focused on the Community Service work because most communities of Melanin dominant people aka BIPOC are overwhelmed with the aforementioned issues. Past Works that are ongoing- The Second Chance Conference, Where is the LOVE Town Hall, Connect the DOTS Workshop - while the etymology and semantics to describe the methods of our advocacy and healing work have changed over the years, the essence of WHEW’s work has not. Our work is grounded in rituals embodying spiritual practices that include IFA & Dagara, Indigenous Dance, drumming, story telling, film series, panel discussions, and other affirming ancestral expressions that are rooted in spiritual healing.
(More Info link.).WHEW upon its inception has addressed and “connected the dots” between a plethora of challenges at the root of our advocacy work. Systemic and institutionalized racism, historical prejudices, that has caused pervasive economic hardship, limited resources, physical, emotional, and mental health issues that lead all too often to making unhealthy choices. The miseducation of a biased and broken school system riddled with untruths, causing a lack of knowledge and celebration of people and their cultures that are NOT descendants of Europe. More importantly, descendants of melanin dominant and Indigenous people’s ancient spiritual belief systems, rituals, and practices have been globally demonized since the time of their ancestors being forced to provide hundreds of years of free labor due to captivity and colonization.
The Second Chance Conference - (link will share this information) conducted in October to honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we use the art form of showcasing a themed series of films followed by a panel discussion of professionals, activists, educators, and others who are versed with the knowledge of the topic that is the focal point for that year’s conference. All films, topics, and panel discussions relate to and connect the dots to the varying intersecting issues that pertain to the challenges of being formerly incarcerated, and how it relates to domestic violence, and homelessness.
WHERE is the LOVE Town Hall - ( link will share this information) conducted in April to honor Sexual Hue Being Trafficking Awareness Month, we use a range of art forms including films, drumming, dance, poetry, movement, puppetry and masks workshops, Theater of the Oppressed, Interplay, and Embodied Equity.
More importantly, it is coupled with the simultaneous workshops addressing relationships between self and others, in which groups of people from different ethnicities, sexual orientations, and social & economic backgrounds are brought together, then separated according to the way societal norms have visually deemed what group a person should be based on the hues of their melanin content. The groups are put into (2) groups a) Melanin dominant aka BIPOC b) European descent, for the purpose of providing a safe safe for these groups to have candid conversations about power structure, the historical construct of race birth to racism & privilege, hierarchical social structures that include land grabbing, exploitation & displacement, financial dominance and greed.
WOMYN/MEN ONLY DISCUSSION GROUPS
The initial creation for these discussion groups was for the purpose of providing a safe space for womyn and men to have a separate space to discuss issues that examines what it means to be a womy/man, conversations about sexuality and the historical factors that have affected the relationship between womyn and men, called the 5 S’s
to determine the root causes and solutions to stop sexual deviant behavior and begin the work to eradicate sexual abuse. These groups vary to have a broad scope to incorporate intergenerational, multiethnical, socio economic, and spiritual/religious backgrounds to allow for different voices to be represented and heard.
Past conversations have ranged in topics from what it truly means to be a man and the importance of redefining that term, and the true power of what it means to be a womyn, how she can reshape the world once she moves in her power.
Connect the Dots Workshops -connects the dots between the relationship w/self, stereotypical ideas promoted in media, lack of self-awareness, and cultural pride, Domestic Violence, Hip Hop and Prison Culture, and Reentry Workshops
WHEW’s primary “products” are dissecting and building relationship workshops on the local-global for the purpose of connecting multiple components at the root of prison and hip-hop culture.
The workshops showcase not only the negative aspects of the two cultures’ relationships, but also the negative impacts that symbiosis has on Indigenous/Melanin dominant women, men, and families resulting in domestic violence problems that persist before, during, and after becoming part of the criminal justice system. Workshops consist of dialog about the way prison culture glorifies:
• domestic violence;
• thug/gangster mentality; and
• physical & verbal abuse to people in their society via Hip Hop Artist persona and videos.
• relationship of self and others
These workshops creatively and distinctly connect the dots to the cause and effect of the destructive behaviors that result in large numbers of domestic violence cases and other abusive attitudes. Since 2001 these workshops have been conducted in state prisons and jails in Wakill, New York, Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Illinois, Dallas, Texas, and Houston, Texas.
The purpose of these unique, interactive media and cultural literacy seminars and workshops are to:
• Prevent self-hatred and domestic violence;
• Build self-esteem and self-respect;
• Help the participant develop tools to shape a more positive self-identity, financial empowerment (self-sufficiency principle), and using spiritual practices grounded in empathy, compassion, and ideas rooted in historical cultural mores for the growth of individual participants, their communities, and families
WHEW’s Founder and Contributing Partners
Busi L. Peters-Maughan- an activist, educator, world traveler, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and Reentry/Criminal Justice/Hip Hop Artivist. She began her teaching career in the fall of 91’. Since that time she taught for years in various places; such as Nairobi, Kenya, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Brooklyn, New York, and Houston, Texas. Her travels encompass thirty-one (31) countries and thirty-one (31) US states across which she runs her own import/export company Sikawaida Imports and the Founder of WHEW Women Healing and Empowering Women, a 501(c) (3) social purpose venture confronting the intersection issues of Melanin dominant and Indigenous women in prison, and how it relates to sexual abuse, family violence, homelessness, negative impacts of misogynistic lyrics, objectification of women, and the glorification of prison culture in Hip Hop.
She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems University of Houston-Downtown, and a Masters in Multicultural Studies from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is a wife, mother of two , and she endeavors to share her own unique perspective on the world as she has come to know it as a native from the birthplace of Hip Hop the Boogie Down Bronx, Melanin Dominant citizen of the Universe born in Amerikkka, and as a child of the African Diaspora.
Lisandra Ramos, https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisandra-ramos-762979 creator of Creative Playhouse is built of dreams, wondrous imaginations and creative inspiration. The joy that is manifested from this experience awakens the artist dormant within each of us. Creative Playhouse uses the art of theatrical performance, masks and puppetry to stimulate creativity cultivating the development of a diverse, dynamic and vibrant community. Theatre is a social art form that originates out of ritual, music, story and cultural expression. Creative Playhouse creates the space for the exploration of various traditional and modern popular performance styles. Popular expressions, elements, techniques and styles of acting, movement, story structure are fused to develop original performances that awaken the artist within everyone!
Marc (Furi) Newsome - Local Filmmaker from the historical community of Third Ward. www.Marcfuri.com
Masankho Kamsis Banda- http://ucandanc.org/masankho_biography Mission using education workshops. Performing Arts and Storytelling to motivate and inspire diverse people of all ages to work together to bring about Peace, Social Justice and Cultural/Spiritual Healing & Understanding.
Mya B filmmaker/ educator www.shootfilmsnotpeople.com
Dr. Nancy Arvold, PhD,MFT- Marriage & Family Therapist, educator, prison reform activist www.eastbaysaturdaydialogues.org, Noah Rattler, a native of Houston, TX, has been working to make the world a better place since obtaining his Bachelors of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics at Prairie View A & M University. began his 18 hundred mile journey in March to raise awareness about homelessness. "I took it upon myself to take this walk, and speak out,....Walking for the Homeless | KNAU Arizona Public Radio, https://www.knau.org
Dr. Stephanie Jupiter Podiatrist/Relationship counselor/Founder of Building Relationship Power and Sol University. http://www.solschool.com/about.html
FYI (for those not familiar with these techniques)
What is InterPlay? InterPlay is an active, creative way to unlock the wisdom of the body. https://interplay.org/index.cfm/go/about:interplay/
What is Theater of the Oppressed? This is a term created by Augusto Boal to describe those engaged in Forum theatre. It refers to the dual role of those involved in the process as both spectator and actor, as they both observe and create dramatic meaning and action in any performance.https://www.definitions.net/definition/theatre+of+the+oppressed
What does Embodied Equity mean? https://jech.bmj.com/content/59/5/350LISTEN TO OUR BODIES & BREATHE & MOVE & MEDITATE CHANT & GET UN-STUCK & CHANGE OUR WORLD & WE ARE ONE & RACE IS A CONSTRUCT & NOT REAL & GROUNDED IN NATURE & RITUALS & SPIRIT & ERADICATE ALL ISMS
BEAH Ripple Global Curriculum Tool Kit
An electronic format will be designed for future downloads containing detailed information of the copyrights guidelines and the steps regulation to conduct the BEAH Ripple: Sexual Healing Grief Ritual. So it can be purchased and downloaded for educational programs, social programs, and communities around the world to partner with WHEW to join the movement and stop sexual abuse, molestation, rape, and incest, while building strong relationships amongst womyn within themselves and cross culturally & ethnically to create genuine bonds & allyship for all people in their families and communities.
The Ways of our Ancestors THE REMIX
The term alternative housing or alternative medicine is a term that is misleading and doesn’t give respect to ancient cultures and customs that connected people to nature in a respectful and wholistic way. And still do all over the world. Melanin dominant and Indigenous people’s ancestors have lived for thousands of years in circular dwellings made of materials from the earth like clay, water, sand. and soil called Mud Houses. Today, it is referred to as Cobb houses. They healed themselves using natural herbs, plants, sea plants, meditation, acupuncture, yoga, and eating a more plant based diet.
This project has two phases:
• Phase 1 - a 3 year program will educate womyn in this program about the benefits of living off the grid, how/why WHEW builds Cobb and Yurt houses, while providing a safe transitional housing community that will include Cobbs, Yurts, solar panels, rainwater collection tanks, community gardening, bee keeping, and counseling.
• Phase 2 - Acquire more land for those who graduate from the program who qualify for permanent housing built with the same concepts in the transitional community.
SEEDS Planting seeds
The relationships between womyn and their children face multiple obstacles that stem from being formerly incarcerated, in abusive relationships, homelessness, and all the other challenges that accompany those issues. It often takes time to rebuild and repair the bond of a mother and her child.
As the saying goes, planting and having the faith of a seed can lead to moving mountains. Has been proving that working with nature is therapeutic and life changing. The name of this project is self explanatory, children are the seeds of their mothers and contain all of the hope to harvest for the future.
WHEW believes through urban farming mothers and their children will not only grow flowers and food for the community that will be used to sell at WHEW’s Three Locs Chef Cafe, it will plant the seeds of knowledge of sustainability and how that relates to the importance of knowing how to grow their own food. More importantly, it will plant the seeds of resewing the torn relationships by working on a project from start to completion, as they watch their relationships grow too.
WE MATTER, SO STOP LITTER
Since we say we matter, why do we allow so much litter in non-European descent communities on a local and global level. 2013 the Black Lives Matter Movement was sparked by three women’s expression and action of many others symbolizing disgust with the United States judicial system and acquittal of a man who killed an unarmed teenager. People of varying ethnicities are fed up with police brutality perpetrated mainly on descendants of melanoid and indigenous people, yet the same rage and frustration is not expressed or demonstrated when it comes to the disrespect of the environment in those same communities.
The creator of this project grew up in the Boogie Down Bronx, which in some areas is still a clean pristine environment. During her youth during the 70’s and early 80’s, the all over the northeast part of the Bronx community elders made sure the young people respected it, unlike the South Bronx that went by the derogatory term “Fort Apache”. Dilapidated buildings, broken glass, litter, old broken toilets and other hazardous toxic materials sprawled all over the streets while children played around and on top of the rubbish. Presently, much of the South BX has had a face lift and parts of uptown in the BX have taken on that mindset of desecrating the cosmetics of the community.
That behavior exists in the Sunnyside historical community and many other communities throughout Houston, Texas like so many other parts of this nation that are neighborhoods of non-European descent.
WHEW’s primary issues that this project seeks to address are the following:
1. Environmental racism
2. Poor city planning
3. Self-inflicted display of self-hatred
4. Shifting mindsets and behaviors
5. Cleaning and beautifying communities
6. Creating monetary opportunities to begin the process and maintain the communities’ cosmetic changes
HUE BEING RACE PROJECT
A series of workshops facilitated by professional educators and cultural bearers teaching the origins of the constructs of so-called RACE & CLASS & Gender that are at the foundation of all the isms that are institutionalized and systemic. Designed and tailored for its audience to begin to dispel myths and downright lies about who and what people are so that true true relationships will manifest within and outside of self and others cross culturally, ethnically, spiritually, soulfully, etc.
Three LOC Chefs Café
A catering & cafe service teaching womyn how to prepare different cuisines and etiquette in the food preparation and service industry with a focus on the following:
• Soul Food Dirty South Style
• International Dishes
• Authentic Carribean Dishes
• Vegan/Vegetarian Style
Pampering P & P Salon (More info link)
This direct service is for the womyn in WHEW’s program who will learn how to provide the service skills of the cosmetic field with only a focus on the following:
• for those who quality for professional massages,
• manicure & pedicures,
• natural hair & barber shop
WHEW partners with Sikawaida Imports (More info link)
The womyn will learn about the merchandise service and retail industries that include the following:
• online and in house gift shop boutique selling items made globally,
• learn the difference between imported and exported goods
• learn retail etiquette and inventory upkeep
WHEW partners with SELAH Global Media Inc. (More info link)
Selah Global Media Inc. will be another platform that is widely needed to provide space for Melanin dominant/Indigenous people to control their own narrative about what is happening in their communities and with a focus on the following:
• local & global news reported by students & people who live in the respected communities
• entertainment, i.e. films, fashion, music
• technology trends, promoting the latest gadgets made by Indigenous/Melanin dominate people and companies
• “RaggaMuffin Tours” - travel tips and information, and tours
• Finance & Investment News and Opportunities