MOTHERS OF THE EGUNGUN
Mama Sharon Bailey | Mother of kareem johnson
Mama Myra Jones | Mother of diante jones
Mama Gwen Woods | Mother of Mario Woods
These phenomenal women are mothers who have survived losing their sons to gun violence, some intercommunal, one by SF police. These mothers are so powerful. In the midst of losing someone they carried for 9 months, birthed, watched turn into a toddler, a young child, a teenager and then an adult -- and then be taken away from them by the most devastating circumstances -- they still reaming hopeful. They still keep pushing. They have converted their pain into passion in a way that not only benefits them and allows them to find hope in the smallest of synchronicities, but in a way that allows them to use their passion as a driving force to uphold their families, their communities and this entire world. "Mothers of the Egungun" can be translated into "Mothers of the Ancestors".
MOTHERS OF THE EGUNGUN HEALING RETREAT | SACRAMENTO, CA
Our very first Mothers of the Egungun healing retreat took place in Sacramento, CA in August 2017 at the Sacramento Urban League. This retreat was created to give sacred space to tell, document and share the stories of our people, the stories of survival. Our goal is to create a safe space that cultivates a tight knit community of mothers, healers, artists and activists who can be there for one another, share healing methods and come together to strengthen each other in the best ways that we know how to.
Our outcomes were to:
- BUILD COMMUNITY BETWEEN MOTHERS, STAFF, ARTISTS OF BE-IMAGINATIVE IN ORDER TO HELP FACILITATE AUTHENTIC HEALING EXPERIENCES FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS.
- DOCUMENT AND SHARE STORIES OF SURVIVAL WHILE CREATING THE COUNTER NARRATIVE THROUGH ARTISTS INTERPRETATIONS.
- PROVIDE SACRED/SAFE SPACE FOR MOTHERS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF.
- SHARE COPING/HEALING METHODS BOTH INDIGENOUS AND FROM MOTHERS.
- (RE)INTRODUCE HEARTFULNESS/MINDFULNESS AS A TOOL.
- BUILD/REBUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO HAVE TRANSITIONED.
Reflections by Gwen Woods
God is merciful and he’s graceful. That’s where I see God. It was amazing how y'all connected the dots in a beautifully mastered plan he had through you all. Nothing can affect that. The greatest thing that we witnessed was that you cannot be in the midst of this pain and not tap into your own. That’s how God shows you. He says, I’m going to start your healing process and you think it was about these Mothers. You thought it was about Myra and Sharon but it was about all of us. It was about how God put us all in a healing process together. Letting us know this is how much I love you, how much I have your back and how much I care. You can never come out of something that’s been powerful, miraculous and not be affected and that’s what happened for you in that moment. We live our lives being able to process and make sense of things. You can’t make sense of that because you are not on that plane. All you can say is when you call on the ancestors, they show up. They showed up on us, baby. They showed up and they showed out.
We have to be one another's soldiers and that’s what we did. We all become those avenues so that we can get to where we were going to get. It was already predestined. It was a success. It was just powerful. It was powerful. No thanks required. I just did my part. Everybody did their part to better our society. When you got my back, I got your back. That was me and my Mar and my oldest and middle son. This is what it is. This is what we do. Love requires no apologies, no thank you's. Love is considerate. I get to say the things I said to Mar to you. I got your back. In that moment, we saw God connecting all those dots for all of us. With all that pain, it was so beautiful. I’m just amazed. When you’re sitting there going in the process, i thought the moment was all about myra and Sharon’s connection we knew their sons showed up for them. Sometimes that’s all God needs. But then you get to see how Debra’s layers began to shed itself. Then it was for Ayesha to do this for these three. Then you sit back and realize, your ancestors began to show up subtle. You were trying to be the moderator and be this great hostess and carry yourself in this great hostess manner and then your ancestors began to show up. Then we came to when you finally expressed about your babies. They got tired of it. And then you began to pay homage. You were so in that space because they were there. My Mar is always there. I always think of Mar as that one that will always tell me to ride through this and i said today i’m not breaking and i’m not crying. Then when Karega come into the room. Mine is always so i always have my defense up. I’m always in defense mode. And now my ancestors was like you gotta let that go. And my ancestors showed up for me. I could have got in the way of my own blessing. But when Karega showed up, he was the connection. I know this woman because she prays for me. He told me that his grandmother and his mother prays for me. This woman is so honest, so loving and so pure. You see how god connects those dots. You see he just brings this beautiful connection and you see what we had yesterday. It’s really pure. Its nothing but god and the ancestors where there. It was each of our ancestors there because they know what we deal with, what we struggle with to proceed to the next level. Karega had to show up. And when Karega, it was something. He said he hadn’t cried about his brother. You see the whole process? It was all so pure and spiritual and now I can begin to heal. But all y'all need to be healed.
REFLECTIONS FROM MYRA JONES
It was amazing. It was spiritual. It was warm. There was no negative energy. It was the way that it was supposed to be. It was needed and I think everybody walked away feeling energized, refreshed, able to push on and know that we got support in one another. It was just great. I have to commend Ayesha, BJ, Monifa and Salina. You guys are awesome. And this is your calling. This is what God wanted you to do. God is taking me on a journey to prepare me for something. This is what I needed. Helping me with my healing and my grief. This is affirmation. I am blessed, honored, grateful and thankful to be part of it. It is going to help me get a grip and a handle on dealing with my emotions and my feelings a whole lot better. Your energy and your spirit and your aura is so warm and welcoming and it’s should be more of you out here. The world would be a much more beautiful place. It's a blessing that needed to come our way and it needed to come from you guys. Nobody could have did it the way you did. From the time I entered the room, the warmth was there and it never left. It doesn’t bring my son back but it gives me something to keep striving for and to just have that group and you guys and what you bring to the table. I’ve never been in an environment like that. It was warm, so comfortable and it made everybody relax and make everybody open up and just release without any shame, without any holding back and it was just needed. It was really needed. I need it. I needed it really bad. I am so excited for the continued growth in us. There is no limits. The ignition switch has been hit, the car won't stop and we gon keep driving this force. Anybody in their right mind would want to grab hold of this. Everybody there was supposed to be there. I am looking forward to the next go round. Use me as a speaker. The world needs to know about us dealing with this.
I’ve never been a clicky girl but I can click with this. We are all one.