The Dark & Light of Black Joy: The Role African-American History Plays
To help bring in and celebrate Black History Month we’ve asked NCMC board director Les Arthur, a former teacher of African-American history, to give us some of his reflections. Please join us in any of our programs this month to inspire your own reflections.
The Dark & Light of Black Joy
The Role African-American History Plays
By Leslie Arthur
“The struggle continues!” This is a statement(1) that our Black Elders during the Civil Rights/Black Power movement used as an important mantra all the time. But why is there a need for constant struggle? And what is the significance of protest and social movements?
When we look to nature we try to understand and study Harmony and Struggle. Both forces are opposites and yet are one in nature. For example, cold as opposed to heat, rest as opposed to movement, dark as opposed to light. We see these actions in our outdoor activities like hiking, forest bathing, cycling, etc.
If we apply the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang to ourselves, we too reflect these forces. Often time with family and friends we give our time, our energy, our ideas, and our efforts, but then there are other times that we receive many positive actions and opportunities. Both reciprocal forces occur in our lives daily.
The efforts to attain human rights for Black and Brown People has been a struggle for hundreds of years. And with opposing forces, conflict must always be met with solutions. A People’s culture and history is just such a solution.
African-American history teaches us how our elders survived the hardships of the transatlantic slave trade. How we fought and emerged from being enslaved and cultivated our own farm land. How we built schools and businesses during the Reconstruction Era. How the Black People organized protests and fought back against structural racism, Jim Crow laws, and segregation. How our constant social movements of the 20th century provided us the energy and wherewithal to pursue the vote, economic opportunities, and avenues for full citizenship.
We are presently, though, facing another backlash as extreme conservative forces fear their conception of “democracy” is fading. If there was ever a time to continue and increase our knowledge of African-American history, it is now. Self-esteem through black aesthetics, beauty inventions, achievements, education, and access to knowledge of how the world works — those solutions to the opposing forces of conflict are rooted in African-American history.
Black history teaches us how we are the change agents that we need to be right now and right here. African-American history gives us Black Joy. It gives us the positive affirmations of culture and shows us that no matter how difficult a situation is, it is possible — as the elders teach us — to “see things, rearrange things, and make some new things for the future.”(2)
1 A luta continua (in English: the struggle continues) was originally the rallying cry of the FRELIMO movement during Mozambique’s war for independence.
2 Quote by the late Cliff Carter one of the founders of the Chad School in Newark and a community activist.
Leslie Arthur worked in the NJ Public School System for 30 years teaching African American History, U.S. History, Latin American Culture, and Economics and is a Ph.D. candidate in African American History from Rutgers University. He is also an avid hiker and a certified hiking leader with the Appalachian Mountain Club, which promotes diversity in hiking and outdoor activities.
Nov 23 NEW MOON CEREMONY: Raising the vibration of love and healing in Newark
An experience of empowerment, meditation, and art making. Scheduled every new moon with different themes and emotional tropes worked through.
Join us for these Monthly Ceremonies Downtown at The House at 2 Park Place, Newark NJ on the 2nd Floor.
Facilitator Kayla 11 Muldrow | Ages 16 years and older. Under 18 must be accompanied by adult. | Suggested Donation Per Session Adults $15, Students $10, Youth (age 16-18) $5.
Participants will have an opportunity to exercise and explore a variety of meditation techniques to combat anxiety and depression. Ceremonies will include workshops revolving around healing and self-love cultivation while engaging in a safe community network. There is also a creative aspect of these sessions with participants given tools to write or draw how they feel.
Registration Required. Please register in the Age Category you fall under.
About Donations The amounts given are suggested but give what is within your budget. As these are donations, we cannot give a refund if you need to cancel. However, if we are notified no less than 24 hours before the event we can give you a credit for another program.
Access There is no elevator to the 2nd Floor.
Covid Concerns We leave it up to each participant to wear or not wear a face covering. Please respect each other’s choice and sensitivity to distancing.
A donation-based program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture, a New Jersey 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization delivering transformative programs to the Greater Newark community and beyond.
Nov 19 FALL INNER CITY HIKE — Hoboken to Liberty State Park
The Static Sidewalks of Hoboken meet the Dynamic Nature of Liberty State Park
Start in Newark 10AM.
Hike Leader: Kazi | Distance: Choice of 3 mi or 6 mi | Difficulty: Beginners | Fee: FREE | Age: Adults and Youths able to walk the distance (Youths 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult)
Walk, meet new friends, talk, listen, smell, look, touch. Upon reaching the park, we will practice nature therapy, mindful movement, and walking meditation. We’ll also enjoy a bag lunch while there.
We will meet at Newark Penn Station between 9:30-9:50am at the ground-level entrance to Track 1-Path Train. We will depart at 10:00am riding the Path to Hoboken. Our Hike will then begin at Hoboken Station and take us to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, where we will turn around for the return leg of the hike.
This Beginner’s Hike is 3 miles in each direction for a total of 6 miles. For the shorter journey, those who wish can take the Light Rail back to Hoboken Terminal to connect to the PATH.
Registration Required. We ask that you kindly cancel if your schedule changes.
Wearing Masks/Face Coverings is optional.
If you have any questions, contact us at email@example.com.
A free program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture, a New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organization delivering transformative programs to the Greater Newark Area and beyond.
Newark Center for Meditative Culture Awarded a $70,000 Grant from the Kataly Foundation
The funds will go toward the general operations of NCMC’s downtown Newark space and for freelance staff
NEWARK, NJ (July 27, 2022) – The Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC), a nonprofit that offers diverse, mindfulness programs to the greater Newark area, announced today that it was awarded a $70,000 grant from the Kataly Foundation, an organization that moves resources to support the economic, political, and cultural power of Black, Indigenous, and all communities of color. Specifically, the grant was disbursed by The Kataly Mindfulness and Healing Justice Program (MHJP), which supports community-based mindfulness programs, teacher trainings, and restorative practice retreats led by and for BIPOC communities. The grant will be distributed in two parts with NCMC having already received $30,000 this year and $40,000 to be disbursed in the next grant cycle in 2023.
NCMC’s mission is to provide a safe space for local area residents to gather to learn and practice methods of meditation, mindfulness, self-care, and self-healing. This grant will permit NCMC to increase the capacity for its meditation classes, healing workshops, mindful movement sessions, and other programs it offers. The funding will be used to operate NCMC’s brick-and-mortar space located in downtown Newark and to hire freelance contractors to support volunteer staff. This is the second grant that NCMC receives from MHJP. The first grant awarded in 2021 was to fund NCMC’s BIPOC Mindfulness Retreat in Nature that was held successfully in June of 2022 with 28 participants attending the three-day program.
“We are very grateful for the generous support of the Kataly Foundation,” said Ib’nallah S. Kazi, Spiritual Director of the Newark Center for Meditative Culture. “The Kataly Mindfulness and Healing Justice grant will directly impact local residents and will help us educate them about mindfulness and meditation techniques that will positively impact their lives.”
For more information about NCMC’s programs please visit https://newarkmeditation.org and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates and information on upcoming events.
About Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC)
Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) is a New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides transformative programs to the Greater Newark Area and beyond. NCMC aims to be an inclusive community center that provides connection, empowerment, and resources for all people who seek a purposeful, conscientious lifestyle within a spiritual context. NCMC’s mission is to provide a safe space where like-minded people can gather to learn and practice methods of meditation, mindfulness, self-care, and self-healing and to become intentionally engaged together as changemakers within our multicultural and diverse population.
For more information about NCMC, please visit https://newarkmeditation.org/.
Thrive at Five Party for NCMC’s 5th Anniversary to be held on Saturday, July 16th
Join us for a body, mind, spirit celebration!
Creative expressive fun for adults and kids!
Newark Center for Meditative Culture invites you, your family, and friends to attend our 5th Anniversary Celebration THRIVE PARTY and OPEN HOUSE on Saturday, July 16th from 12pm to 4pm. It will be held both OUTSIDE in our Rector St. Parking Lot and INSIDE in The Medicine Room at our center on the 2nd floor at 2 Park Place.
We’d like this to be a giving event, so we will be holding a Food Drive as part of the party to help those in need to nurture the BODY! You are welcome to bring non-perishable canned or dry foods (a 5 count for our 5 years if you like!). We’ll build a Food Pyramid on site during the party with the goods before they go to the designated charity to help the hungry.
In harmony with the MIND we will be offering mini sessions in reiki, kids mindful movement, yoga, taichi and meditation. Free self-care self-aware handouts included.
In the SPIRIT of our ancestors we will make circles of drums and peace chalk art in the parking lot.
If you would like to help make this event a success, please contact us about volunteering your time and talents! We also have space for a few vendors. Inquire with Keyana Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) is a New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax deductible donations make it possible for us to continue delivering transfor programs to the Greater Newark community.
Current and Upcoming Programs
Sign up for:
-Tuesday Mindfulness Class on Eventbrite at https://bit.ly/3wRmE4b
-5 Jive Hike will be available June 24.
-Power Tools for BIPOC Strategists, Activists, and Supporters available August 7.
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH
Natural, Spiritual, and Social Success in the New Un-Normal
A BIPOC Mindfulness Retreat
Now Open to all Non-Local Attendees as well as Greater Newark People!
(Friday evening thru Sunday lunchtime)
Register by June 10th
Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center
1184 County Route 11, Craryville, NY 12521.
Climate shifts, viral mutations, and social upheaval are proving to be a constant in our world.
Business and life as usual have become a test in adaptation, innovation, and relaxed uncertainty.
The setting of this retreat is a retired farm with beautifully groomed grounds including a waterfall, nature trails, labyrinth, peace prayer pole and organic garden. The weekend will be an introduction to the protocols, practices, mental maps, spiritual compass, and kindred relationships we will all need to survive and thrive during this ‘in-between time.’ Enjoy mindful movement, grounding, energy medicine, medicine walking, wilderness bathing, fire talk, sky gazing, silent nights, free time for meditation, personal rest, and more. No prior retreat experience necessary.
Ib’nallah Kazi, Leslie, Shaka Georges, Victoria Guevara-Lovgren, Kamilah Crawley, Ihsaan Muhammad, Andrea Lee, Travis Spencer, Javier Cruz
(See bios below.)
Accommodations: Cabins, dorms, campsites.
Fee for lodging attendees: $300/person (Includes room, meals, and retreat activities.
Fee for campsite attendees: $220/person (Includes camping ground, meals, and retreat activites. Must supply own camping gear.)
Scholarships are available: For those who cannot afford the fee, request a scholarship during Registration.
Whether attending the retreat in its entirety or not, the fee is the same. See Cancellation and Refund Policies below. Space is limited, so register soon. An attendee waiting list will be available.
You can choose to travel on your own by car or we will also be providing limited bus/van transportation for a fee of $20 per person (non-refundable), including for those with scholarships. Ride shares also may be available to split fuel and toll expenses.
Three simple vegetarian meals a day will be provided from dinner the first day through lunch of the last. If you want a snack between meals, or supplemental protein, you can bring a small quantity of packaged nonperishable food.
• Must be Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color.
• Must be 18 Years of age or older.
• Cabins are Not Handicap Accessible.
POLICIES AND GUIDELINES PAYMENT POLICY: Registration fee of $100 is due upon registration. Full amount can be paid upon registration as well. Full amount is required if registering on June 3, 2022, or later. Payment in full is due by June 10, 2022.
CANCELLATION POLICY: If you cancel your retreat at any time, the $100 registration fee is not refunded. If you cancel within 30 days of the retreat no refund will be given, but in an emergency, we may grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
COVID GUIDELINES: We will require proof of vaccination or negative test within 3 days of the retreat. It will be up to each individual to choose whether they want to wear a mask or not. Many activities will be outdoors, but attendees will be sharing spaces so we will need to respect each other’s choices.
Space is limited, so register soon.
Ib’nallah S. Kazi is a New York-based spiritual wilderness guide, born in Panama and raised in New York. He graduated from Adelphi University, in 1981 with a BA in Psychology. Following careers in human services, public education and public health in the New York City area, he then placed an emphasis on wellness and spiritual cultivation through his own program, presently known as Our Shaman Song. Along with his friend and hiking partner Sala Nolan, Kazi founded the Harriet Tubman Hiking Society in 1988 to expose the African-American community to the strengthening, healing and spiritually grounding benefits of immersion in nature. Kazi lived in Newark, NJ from 2004-2017. He is the Spiritual Director and Lead Meditation Medicine Teacher with Newark Center for Meditative Culture.
Leslie is the founder/lead instructor at I’m So Yoga in Newark NJ. She started her journey because she had been in and out of depression. At 13 she was diagnosed with scoliosis and after years of suffering from back pain she found yoga at the Newark YMCA. She went to classes about three times a week and after a month felt amazing as her back pain level went down. She created I’m So Yoga after she realized everyone should feel as good as herself with yoga.
Shaka Georges began his martial arts practice at the age of 9 years old. He immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti in 1975, and ever since then has studied various forms of martial arts including Wing Chun, White Crane Kung Fu Capoeira, and Tai Chi Long and Short Forms. He is a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner from the Mahamudra Lineage and has been meditating for over 10 years. He has also been a fitness coach and instructor in Newark. Shaka is a certified tai chi and qi gong teacher practicing in Montclair and Harrison NJ (Discovering The Healer Within on Facebook) and is a mathematics high school teacher in West Orange.
Veronica Guevara-Lovgren is a Jivamukti yoga instructor and Level II Reiki practitioner. She has also received training in Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra through Ohana Rising Yoga School. Although Veronica always had an interest in yoga and Reiki, she did not always have the means to access the practice. This led Veronica to create Tres Ositos Yoga as a way to share healing modalities with those interested at no cost or by donation to fundraise for local nonprofits and organizations supporting human and non-human communities. Veronica is also the Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities at Ocean County College.
Kamilah Crawley, MPH is a public health professional, mindfulness facilitator, and intrinsic health & well-being coach. She has over a decade of experience in planning and implementing evidence-based interventions, health education workshops, and trainings. Kamilah is an adjunct professor at Kean University and the founder of The MindfulWoman, LLC. The Mindful Woman, LLC centers on sharing mindfulness practices that support the cultivation of self-care, inner peace, and healing. Kamilah merges her professional knowledge in public health, her mindfulness practice, and training with her passion for cultural healing. Kamilah served as a founding board member of the Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC), in Newark, NJ and she is a visiting mindfulness presenter with the organization. Kamilah is currently a student in the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP) by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.
Ihsaan R. Muhammad graduated from Rutgers Law School and has been until recently a practicing lawyer. Still retaining his law certification, he is now a branding and marketing communications consultant at his own company IHSAAN Designs. Born and raised in the Vailsburg section of Newark, New Jersey, Ihsaan is a founding board member of Newark Center for Meditative Culture, which is a non-profit diverse urban meditation community serving The Greater Newark Area. He also happens to be a proud graduate of The Rutgers School of Law, Class of 2013. Ihsaan has practiced mantra meditation for over six years under the guidance of Reverend Jaganath Carrera of The Yoga Life Society, a practice that aids health and wellness.
Andrea Lee is a Preschool Assistant Teacher at Montclair Cooperative School in her hometown of Montclair, NJ. She is an intern organic farmer at Rabbit Hole Farm in Newark where she resides. She is a senior disciple of Reverend Jaganath Carrera, Spiritual Head and Founder of Yoga Life Society. She recently completed seminary training and was ordained a Yoga Life Minister. She performs Kirtan with Mirabai Catherine Moon and is a certified Yoga instructor.
Travis Spencer, MA is a licensed mental health therapist and mindfulness teacher/facilitator. Over the years he dedicated himself to serving Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) through counseling adults, teens, children, and families. Travis is also a mental health coordinator for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (IBme) retreats in Virginia and in California which provide highly relational mindfulness programming for youth as well as the parents and professionals who support them. Travis also established several Mindful Teen Circles (MTC) programs throughout Washington, D.C that employ mindfulness to support the psychosocial development of teens. Additionally, Travis established The Institute of African American Mindfulness (IAAM). IAAM is a healing and wellness organization that supports the natural capacity of African Americans and Allies to live in an inclusive community devoted to Mindful Living. Travis is a graduate of Trinity Washington University with a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
JJavier Cruz was born in Puerto Rico but has lived in the Greater Newark area for decades. He is bilingual, speaking Spanish and English. He was introduced to meditation in 1999 and has had a committed meditation practice for over 10 years. Through his practice he became a hospice volunteer and a Buddhist practitioner with residential retreat experience. He is a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher through (MMTCP) with Jack Kornfield & Tara Brach. He continues to study with his main teacher, Dennis Maurer, of IMCNJ, under the guidance of Narayan Liebenson. His main practice is lovingkindness. He is also a bilingual mindfulness and meditation instructor with Newark Center for Meditative Culture.
A program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture made possible through a grant from the Kataly Foundation.
Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) is a New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax-deductible donations make it possible for us to continue delivering life-changing programs to the Greater Newark community and beyond.
Space is limited, so register soon.
Wednesdays 7pm EST ONLINE in April: SELF-AWARENESS SELF-CARE SELF-HEALING — Power Tools for BIPOC Strategists, Activists, and Supporters
FREE ONLINE PROGRAM:
Link to sign-up: https://ncmc-bipoc-power.eventbrite.com
Co-facilitators: Kazi & JJavier Cruz | Dates: Wednesdays, April 6, 13, 20 & 27 | Time: 7:00pm to 8:00pm EST | Cost: FREE | Age: Adults 18 years and older | Guidelines: You must be a Person of Color or identify as such to attend. You must be active in a movement. You can attend from any location in the world. | Platform: Zoom |
The ongoing grassroots movement for freedom, justice, and equality waged by peoples of color (POC; BIPOC) in the Americas has for the most part been carried forward on the shoulders of a few — fighting unselfishly and relentlessly for the rights of the many.
As rewarding as the occasional victories may be, the day-to-day struggle can be filled with stressors that often lead to compromised physical and mental health issues such as depression, misplaced anger, anxiety, burnout, addiction, domestic strife, and a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
Join us for four weeks of discussion, engagement, and sharing solutions for keeping the movers of our movements mentally healthy, physically strong, and conscientiously clear.
Link to sign-up: https://ncmc-bipoc-power.eventbrite.com
A free BIPOC program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture, a New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
New! Free Brick City Mindfulness Handbook
Free 24 page, full-color e-Handbook for all online and limited quantity paper Handbooks for qualifying Newark organizations and groups to distribute and use.
Our intent in creating this handbook was to benefit individuals and families new to the practice of meditation and mindfulness. It will introduce you to the basic concepts, practices, tools, and tips to gently guide you as you explore, experiment and evaluate the role of meditation in your life. See what works for you — what fits your situation (time, location, access, etc.) Includes Family Mindfulness practices.
Both during and after the pandemic we feel that the content especially will be supportive to Newark families and constituents who are stressed and might learn some basic practice tools from the Handbook. Even learning one simple thing from it might make all the difference to them.
The Handbook in either format can be used as content for learning at a beginner’s study group, discussion group, or workshop, but it is simple enough for self-learning as well.
Available now to anyone, anywhere.
For your convenience the handbook is downloadable and printable. (Once you’ve read the handbook, please take our survey by using the link on the last page.)
READ OR DOWNLOAD NOW.
Free Paper Handbook
For qualifying Newark organizations and groups.
We have a limited quantity of printed handbooks for you to order and share within your staff and communities. It’s a great basic learning tool — with or without guidance! Each handbook comes with a two-sided flyer that you can insert or use with your constituents as you prefer. It’s a simple Mental Health Quick Guide that lists basic contact information to city and local mental health services and NCMC practice links.