Welcome to the first installment of our Fanm Saj, Catching Communities Blog Series. The purpose of this blog is to capture the stories of powerful people working in our community to create a better world than the one that currently exists. Our vision is to uplift the work of different Black women who are “catching communities” and truly living the mission of Fanm Saj.
It was an absolute pleasure to interview Alana DaCosta alongside Ruth Jeannoel. On an early Friday morning, we found ourselves immersed in a conversation about our vision for ourselves, our community, and our future. Alana is a staple in our community, a true gem, and an inspiration to those blessed enough to hear her story or see her work in action. For this month's interview, I present Alana, Leader of the Kr8tive Uprising.
To understand the passion that lay hidden behind all that Alana does, it is essential to catch a glimpse of her background.
Alana was born in the Bronx but spent much of her childhood in South Florida. As a first-generation American, she knows acutely the feeling of being too American to be Jamaican and being too Jamaican to be American. It is at this intersection where she first explored the complexities of identity.
She received instrumental training while at Dillard High School of Performing Arts. As a Howard University student, she studied Jazz studies with a concentration in voice and then went on to get her Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. She has worked with so many different folks throughout her career, from victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse to patients with traumatic brain injuries to teens in diversion programs and HIV prevention workshops.
When Alana speaks of her background, it focuses on healing through self-expression, painting, dancing, meditation, and intentional breathing. She truly exemplifies creative self-healing. After centering herself and fortifying herself, she has worked to bring that clarity to others.
"We can, as a people, heal ourselves," says Alana.
It is a radical and profound statement, especially in a world where too many of our children are misdiagnosed and overmedicated. Alana has not only identified the problem; she has asked herself how she can help people who look like her in their moments of depression and feeling stuck.
Kr8tive Uprising uses the expressive arts as a vehicle to work with marginalized groups to reconnect with themselves and their community.
Artists accept responsibility for both their creative energy and what their lives can be. It requires a radical imagination to transform the arts to help everyone, from incarcerated persons to young teens to healing mothers. The uprising that Alana envisions is one that uplifts all in our society.
Restorative Justice and the Sacred Art of the Ori
I asked, "When you are helping women, what does that process look like, and how do you do it?"
"The element of spirit must guide the way."
Sit with that for a few seconds. Alana is a woman who embraces synchronicity and the element of randomness. Through the Sacred Ori cards, she has allowed spirit to guide the healing process while acknowledging that we are still co-creators in these spaces. What are we releasing and ushering into our life experience? How do we incorporate randomness into our personal growth? What are the signs all around us to show us abundance, affirmation, clarity, change, resiliency, fluidity, and growth as a collective? The Sacred Ori cards give way and leave room for spirit to guide us.
Pictures of Sacred Ori Affirmation Card Deck used during Breathing Womb Series from IG @Kr8tiveUprsing
A Moment of Revolutionary Change
According to DaCosta, we have been disconnected from the tools we need to connect to who we are as spiritual and communal people. In this moment of revolutionary change, what are the roles of creativity and the centering of self?
There is a level of uprising brewing, especially when we consider our nation's foundation is built on the rape and genocide of a group of people. Alana felt this bubbling since 2016. Is the energy destructive, or can we tap into that energy to focus on what we can change? Alana has tapped into that creative energy to determine the nature of the uprising and how much change we can bring about in this world. We create art, relationships, conversations, experiences, and memories that determine the uprising.
Detoxing the Mind and A Season of Growth.
We are in a moment of growing pains, and we can respond to those pains in ways that lead to growth. How do we care for ourselves? According to DaCosta, you have to take that pause and find your rhythm again. With every season of change, we are also going through changes ourselves. To align ourselves better, we must take a pause from consuming foods, news, conversations, and relationships that do not serve or benefit us.
When we are detoxing, we may experience emotional triggers. In this space, we can learn about ourselves and consciously make moves to take responsibility for our lives and needs.
The Breathing Womb Series and a Vision for the Future
Alana's wisdom didn't stop there. Divine feminine. As women, divine feminine throughout history and our lifetimes have been strangled, stomped on, and undervalued. The world lacks balance, and at this moment, Alana gives a free offering through the Breathing Womb Series to women. The goal is to tap into the creative womb and our ability to birth new projects and ideas.
Breathing Womb Series Starts - November 27th, 2020 through December 22nd, 2020
What is Alana's vision for our community? That we are healthy, connected to ourselves, and connected to each other. "We don't need anyone else to give us value. We create our own standard and our own practices." Her vision is for us to dismantle the socialized system of hierarchy, so we are allowed to live life freely with no regrets, no bounds, and no expectations.
"We are not here to persuade anyone of our value. We are not here to convince anyone that our lives matter. We're here but to stand firm in our truth and harness that creative energy and make sure that when we transition, the place is a better place than when we got here." And with this quote, I present to you a Fanm Saj in our community, Ms. Alana DaCosta. As leader of the Kr8tive Uprising, she is catching her community the best way she knows how.