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Well Wednesday Interview: Chama of Homegrown Families

Who are You?

Covers the essence of their person, and the unique way they show up in the world. Their “story.” 

Chama. I’m a farmer. I gain a lot of wisdom and wellness from tending to and growing things. I’ve been a Doula for 20 years, and a Childbirth Educator for 17. I situate myself with social justice and advocacy increasing access to care, transportation, food access, and a shared definition of health to reduce inequities that lead to health disparities. I’m an affiliate at Mayhec, a community based doula program. Community building with those under resourced and building relationships first is really important. The people closest to the pain should be closest to their own power. Opportunities to teach and influence, lend voice to shifts that happen in a clinical level. 

It’s the most current and modern day colonization that you can get. 

My soul’s work has always been activism. Doulas are disruptors in routine care. Just my presence in the room is activism. It’s a grassroots outside the system, working for the community individual patient. Souls work motivated the middle it all begins on the ground. Director of human services at UNC. 

The work that I do now is to be a good ancestor to the generations to come. Slow down and dig in for the long game. 

A Token of Wellness 

An offering of health, wellness. Tools for healing they would impart from their wisdom and experience, to yours. 

Self care 

Being easy on yourself

Practicing the art of forgiveness on yourself

Going to therapy 

Community, build relationships build relationships 

At the end of the day what gets me through is drinking fresh water

It’s the people I have gathered relationships with and have gathered around me. 

Rising 

A personal testament or reflection on rising from the dark

There’s so much and I don’t think it ever ends. The only thing I can say is I’m a prisoner of hope. One time I was sitting with a group in a racial equity training and there was an African American elder woman. White people were expressing hopelessness in our history. “As a black woman,” she said “I can’t believe we’re sitting here and you don’t have hope for everything we’ve gone through and has been down to us as a people. Because if you don’t have hope then everything is lost.” I try to find places and spaces of hope working. As long as safety is maintained we don’t try to rush too quickly from those spaces. It’s not valued in our culture to sit. Resting is producing. Being in the darkness is productive. It’s a balance between safety and community that holds space for something to be there. Don’t paint this partial picture of good is when you feel this way and good is when you feel happy, good, hopeful etc. Black and white. You can be both, instead of that either or kind of thinking.

From my Heart to Yours 

Parting words to leave you with. A personal story to tell to inspire, encourage, empower or give hope to about going from darkness to light, from broken to whole, from fear to love

I want to share value when I sit with people. Most parents want to raise their kids as generous, loving, compassionate children. Ask any parent and I’ll get a shared response. Maya Angelou says you can’t do anything unless you cultivate courage first. In a narrative where people feel parenting has been romanticized, that it has lost importance of the bravery it’s going to take in going through this process of being a parent, they will need to fail and fall flat on their face. It should be challenging, it was never supposed to be easy and you won’t know what you’re doing – it’s important we lead with bravery and courage. We need resilient children at this point, not fragile children. Nothing is ever going to change unless people take a collective risk, if we want what’s best for our child. We cannot want what’s best for ours until we want what’s best for someone’s over there. Leading with courage and daring greatly. 

Parenting moves through you like a flood through a river bed and it’s going to rearrange you at a core level. There’s no going back to where you were before.

Reach

Ways that Chama and Homegrown Families are impacting the community (where to find them / clickable links)

Homegrown Families Health and Education Center, located in Asheville NC

Homegrown Families website

Facebook

Chama personally 

Mother with Courage, New Moms Support Group

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