Meet the fellows: Elizabeth and Phanie

Elizabeth and Phanie Elizabeth and Phanie

Kelly Elizabeth Ortega (Elizabeth), 24

Stephanie Maldonado (Phanie), 25

We are from the womb of Mother Earth, were raised in Los Angeles, California and moved to the Bay Area in pursuit of a higher education at San Francisco State University. Elizabeth graduated in May 2015 with a BS in Dietetics and Phanie will be graduating in May 2016 with a BA in Liberal Studies. Elizabeth is now becoming a Yoga Teacher through Niroga Institute and Phanie is continuing her studies in Western Herbalism and Permaculture. Along the way we have built strong community ties with many local organizations in the Bay Area that are focused on reclaiming land for the purpose of affordable housing and urban agriculture. Specifically, we work mainly with PODER (People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights) in San Francisco and Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project in Oakland. You can see the work our communities is working on here: http://movementgeneration.org/ and http://www.podersf.org/

WOKE Collective Enterprises’ is a Reclamation Project on a mission to create safe spaces that restore labor and power to underserved communities by providing access to art, food and philosophies of spirituality as healing modalities. We want to catalyze the liberation of oppressed peoples by creating systematic destruction and reconstruction of health on a local basis. How can we support artisans, artist, healers and wisdom holders in our local community? How can we facilitate health in our communities that lack resources? How can we find harmony with the natural and developed environment? And finally, how can we free ourselves from financial instability? Through our vision we see sovereign and resilient communities operating cooperatively in a holistically restored system that balances the needs and health of the people and planet.

We are inspired by our ancestors, family and community who taught us that life and all the elements are sacred. Especially, our family and community at PODER and Movement Generation who continue to teach us about the need to take care of ourselves, our communities and the land. In America, there is a systematic oppression that targets communities of color and lower socioeconomic standing in order to disenfranchise our ability to care for ourselves, our communities and the land. This has created unhealthy living environments that keep us divided and unable to break these cycles of oppression. Because we come from these communities it is imperative for us as young women of color and indigenous heritage to end these cycles and restore the lost connections to the sacredness of our life and the land.

There are a series of phases to achieve the change we want to create in our communities.

The first phase will be to restore the labor and power of local Oakland craft makers, artist, healers and wisdom holders that use art, food and philosophies of spirituality as healing modalities. The second phase will be to restore the health and resiliency of individuals of underserved communities in the Bay Area. We plan to exhibit our four guiding principles of self-care, people-care, earth-care and fair-share in all phases. Future development of our social enterprise involves an expansion of this concept into a physical community space that can further support local economies to restore labor and power in oppressed communities.

The greatest form of support for us is having your presence! We would also like to openly invite local Oakland crafts makers, artist, healers and wisdom holders to participate in our first phase of the enterprise. Crafts and skills-shares are open to artisans who create cultural and healthy meals, makers who create their own body, home or medicinal products, healers who practice holistic and ancestral healing modalities, people who create visual arts such as sculptures, paintings, or music, and people who teach movement practices like dance, meditation, yoga or Tai-chi. Our events will be coming soon and we would love to network with others who are interested in supporting local economies through the four core principles of self-care, people-care, earth-care and fair share.

Peace, love, and liberation for all-

Elizabeth and Phanie.

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