Posts in Social Change Reflections
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By: Mama Kay

My aunt Alma Roberts, Senior Program Manager for Kaiser Permanente, shared that StoryCorps was looking for stories dealing with families and mental health. She thought that Ola and I would be a perfect match. She sent me her boss' information, and we said that we were definitely interested. We filled out the proper forms, StoryCorps producers got in touch with us for this project, and they called us from LA. They sent us questions, possible questions, because the whole process is for one family member who deals with mental issues to interview the other family member who also deals with mental health issues.

On Saturday morning of December 9th, we made our way in the snow to Baltimore Studios (231 Holiday Street), near downtown Baltimore. We were met at the door by some of the producers, and we chatted because the interview before us was still going on. They took us through and turned on the mics and just had us go for it. We talked for 30 minutes and you know he would tell us how much time we had left. In that interview, we laughed, we cried, and I thank God for the virtues, because we gave each other acknowledgement. I really listened to Ola, and talking to the radio audience who might hear her story. I really listened and learning more about that process. I acknowledged her, Kaiser Permanente, StoryCorps; we were so fucking grateful to have that time and how rich it was.

I guess since we’ve been dealing with mental health all these years, we believed that it would be an easy task for us to discuss it. It was very poignant, emotional, funny, clear, and hopeful that we can help others who have struggled with suicide attempts, hypersexuality, alcoholism, drug addictions, as they climbed through the web of mental health challenges. I’m so proud of Ola and her openness in her fight to heal. The fact that she works as an employment specialist for those who have mental health challenges. She finds that so rewarding to work for that community that she belongs to. It makes her stop hiding and it made me proud to come from a family that struggles to combat mental health issues but are triumphant.

Then afterwards we walked to Ida B’s Table (235 Holliday Street) and shared brunch together in a perfect little spot as the snow fell.

The Village that Vanished
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By: Cheryl Hinton

The Village that Vanished: Remember, Rekindle, Reclaim, Restore...

The Baltimore Cease Fire 365 is a citywide movement calling for all citizens to refrain from the act of homicide. November 3rd to November 5th was the second Cease Fire weekend this year filled with life affirming events asking Baltimore residents to celebrate life. The movement offered resources to families, make commitments to be non-violent in thought, word and deed and ultimately, honor the sacredness of life every day.

On November 5, 2017, The National Great Blacks In Wax held a Cease Fire event entitled The Village That Vanished- Remember, Rekindle, Reclaim, Restore.  The museum applauded the work of Rashida Forman-Bey and Kay L. Muhammad, Directors of WombWork Productions, Inc. along with thirteen others. The Honorees were applauded as Unsung Sheroes and Heroes who have worked tirelessly in the Baltimore community with our children, youth and adults who face the atrocities of inequities, marginalization, health disparities and more. For over twenty years, WombWork Productions, Inc. has saved lives through the arts and as a result, a standing ovation of acknowledgement was given. Others like Sallah Jenkins, Sheila Gaskins, Leon Purnell, Umar Marvin McDowell, Menes Yahudah, Navasha Daya, Stephanie Sayfiatou Edwards, Phyllis Smith, Eric March, Samuel Brice, Janet Jones and Barbara Redmond had their unique work and validating stories to share.

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Our own Dr. David Fakunle was the keynote speaker. Dr. Fakunle referenced the African folktale, The Village That Vanished which stressed the virtues of courage, faith, wisdom and leadership.  He shared the importance of each honoree’s life work and impact on our Baltimore community.

The National Great Blacks In Wax also provided a 365 Legacy Time Capsule adorned by Visual Artist Sallah Jenkins. The Capsule, intended for the legacy we will leave our children, highlights the value of life and identify virtues, morals and behaviors needed to survive in a world where many people have no beliefs greater than themselves.   Guests and Honorees were offered the opportunity to place items in the Capsule i.e. virtue cards, Bible, Koran, 42 Principles of Maat and “365” Commitment Certificates indicating the “work” they will personally do in restoring the Village That Vanished.  The Legacy Time Capsule will be housed in the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum.  

What work will you commit to do to rekindle, reclaim and restore the village? Join WombWork Productions, Inc. today, to commit to this life affirming mission to save our youth, our city, your city, our future. Congratulations, Mama Kay and Mama Rashida!

...Restoring the Village of Baltimore
Art of Transformation: Reworking Baltimore's Stories

by: Marvin Roxas

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"On March 3, 2016 people came together at WombWork Productions in Baltimore, with a hope of finding a way to access and share their experiences with race."

WombWork Productions, Inc. partnered with the University of Maryland Baltimore County in order to expand our work in Creating Sacred Space to discuss race through a theatrical experience. The Imaging Research Center at UMBC in collaboration with the Baltimore Imagining Group, a coalition of individuals from Baltimore's arts and social justice organizations, filmed and documented the project "Race and Art".

During this film, Baltimoreans shared their own stories to counteract misleading narratives about life in our city. Scholars share stories about the background of the city's history and policy, activists organized and engaged, and artists provided the means for the community to express what people felt about living in Baltimore. There is potential for the arts and media to transform culture and impact policy.

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