Creative, Transformative & Catalyzing Workshops
With over 10 years of experience working with youth, Tierra Negra Arts has provided groups and organizations of all ages with a high caliber of creative, transformative and catalyzing workshops, sensitive to every group’s needs.
Workshop fees are flexible according to your organization’s budgets, and range from half-day, to full day trainings. See below for workshops currently offered. Custom workshops and trainings are also available upon request.
June 2022 Update:
Why I’m Pausing Anti-Oppression Trainings
On May 25, 2020 my world crumbled, yet again.
Flickering, on my phone was the video of a middle age Black man, taking his last breaths under the knee of a police officer, hands pulled behind his body in a submission hold.
His skin, like mine, and like my Father’s, a deep mahogany. He gasped for help, an agonized “I can’t breathe”. Like so many other kin from the diaspora that had come before him.
George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, broke me open.
And for so many others in the world, it broke them too.
Some, for the first time, becoming acutely aware of the systemic Anti-Black violence present in our institutions, for others, a reminder, once again of the reality we as African diaspora people have to contend with every day on Turtle Island.
In the weeks and months that followed George Floyd’s passing, I was flooded for requests for training. I received interview requests from radio stations, requests for sound bites from art galleries, and requests for keynotes at various gatherings and conferences. All, eager to know what it felt like to be me for a moment. All eager to know, how to “be better”.
I turned some away, and kept pushing myself to seize the opportunity to educate others, before the world’s attention turned again.
I kept pushing down my grief, I kept organizing, I swallowed my tears, and I kept doing. All without fully realizing the effect that it was having on my body. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis later that year- an autoimmune condition that under continued inflammatory responses can cause your spine to fuse- and that’s when I learned that one of the biggest contributors to my body’s inflammatory response, was stress.
And it reminded me many a times- leaving me unable to walk for days, leaving me unable to sit up without the world spinning, unable to roll my own body over in bed, leaving me unable to nourish my belly. Every time I pushed, it resisted.
The stress that I kept shoving down because I didn’t want these kinds of death to keep happening. The stress that kept me awake at night reliving George Floyd’s last moments. The stress to try to hold the world’s attention for a second longer, before forgetting just like it did with Nicholas Gibs, Olando Brown, Abdirahman Abdi, Rodney King, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Marie Angelique…
A few months after George Floyd’s murder, the calls and emails dissipated.
The world moved on. But my body remembered. And it’s not just the grief of this moment that my body remembers. Through epigenetic, it remembers the grief of kidnapping, the grief of losing so many, stolen across the Atlantic Ocean, the grief of separation, the grief of torture, the grief of missing home, and the grief of seeing it happen over and over and over again. It remembers witnessing the death of so many brilliant feminist Black leaders- bell hooks, Octavia Butler, taken much too soon, because their hearts held so much.
If I don’t stop pushing myself, the grief will take my body soon too.
And this is what has brought me to my decision to stop leading Anti-Oppression Trainings for the foreseeable future.
It’s a radical act of self-preservation.
I owe it this who didn’t make it this far.
This cycle of dehumanization and Anti-Black violence needs to stop. And it’s not up to me to take it all on. Anti-Black racism was not created by us, the people of the diaspora. And yet it is alive in every corner in the world.
Non-Black readers, it is up to you to take this battle on. And it’s not only up to me, as a trainer.
I need you to remember the rage and injustice that you felt when we lost Mr. Floyd in 2019, and to let it be your catalyst for transformation inside your being and in every you touch.
Let his death be your catalyst to go beyond photoshoots with Black faces.
Let his death be your catalyst to go beyond a yearly training checklist.
Let his death be your catalyst to defund institutions that historically and to this day continue to cause harm and kill Black communities.
Let his death be your catalyst to radically transform every aspect of society.