Womxn of color learn healing techniques


Dyanna Calvario

Empowerment through poetry workshop, where womxn wrote poems following the “I got…inside of my bones” prompt. (Dyanna Calvario / Golden Gate Xpress).

 Aromatherapy scents wisped through the air as womxn of color would participate in workshops as part of the Healing Symposium. Students and other attendants were given goodie bags containing notepads and pens and were able to eat food between the breaks of the event.

 Hosted by the Associated Students’ Richard Oakes Multicultural Center in the terrace level of Cesar Chavez, the celebration of their 5th annual Womxn* of Color Healing Symposium brought students together for womxn of color to learn how to heal through different methods. Leading to a day of workshops that include a meditation room, herb bundle making, candle decorating, healing through crystals, and other activities that consist of healing. Helping women unwind and take action towards their mental growth through these small practices that are taught.

SF State student and host of the healing symposium, Ashura Mujawashema said that it was an all-day event consisting of practices focused on womxn of color. “Dedicated to bringing healers to the community, bringing resources and tools and strategies in order to help each other grow and education doesn’t provide that for us,” Mujawashema said.

Spread between two rooms. The joining hallway contained the check-in table, where Ivan García sat to welcome people to the symposium. is an SF State student majoring in Latino Studies. 

“The Womxn of Color Healing Symposium is an annual event to provide an empowering and validating space for people who identify as women and femes and intersex,” García said.  “The day consists of workshops that… center on ideas of self-love, which is really important within the campus community space, where we’re constantly confined… and there’s no time to really gratify yourself.” 

The   Starting off with an opening prayer, with a crystal healing workshop right after.  Lily Ayer, who owns the first black-owned crystal botanica in Oakland, led the crystal healing workshop. She provided crystals for the guests and proceeded to teach what each crystal chakra does in terms of healing. Ayer started off with a pop quiz, having guests align the crystals from the base to the top. After she went through explanations of where the crystals originated and individually talked about each chakra. 

In another room, folding tables were covered with various arts and crafts objects. One table displayed an assortment of dried teas on paper plates. Each tea was partnered with a description card that explained the medicinal and health benefits of the fragrant herbs. Decorative pieces of cloth with twine sat at the end of the table, allowing guests to make their own tea bags. On another table were art supplies for guests to decorate glass bottles. A stack of yellow-tinged newspapers lye on the table with no datelines, but featured stories that mentioned happenings in the early 90s. 

Quetzalli Jimenez, or ‘Vela’, sat at a table between the two rooms with her partner, ‘Vale’. Vela attends California College of the Arts and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Illustration. The duo creates work inspired by the Latinx community and pop culture. Their table displayed art pieces created on different canvases, ranging from postal service stickers to mini discs. The artists also displayed prints that were created digitally, including one piece that showed the interior of a BART train with “Looney Tunes” characters edited into each seat. The art duo shares how their personal relationship started with their art: 

“I’ve had mentors that do murals in Oakland that have been teaching me what they do, so I’ve kind of veered off to that. We started working together on a summer mural and then from there we’ve just been collaborating and doing art together because our styles intermixed already,” Vale said. 

Another workshop focused on empowerment through poetry. Womxn sat around a table and shared poems that they wrote following a prompt. One such poem was titled “In My Bones,” with which the participants had to finish the phrase with different aspects that make up who they are. This ranged from the struggles they have faced, their family life, or their personal identities. 

The symposium ended at 6 p.m.. Richard Oakes Multicultural Center shared that they will be holding more events like this in the future, including an event on March 19 that will showcase the farmworker art on the outside of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.