More Good News from the Streets of West Oakland

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We are currently celebrating the work of two contemporary mystic-prophets who have been working in West Oakland to make their community a better place for more than thirty years. 

Aeesha and Kokomon Clottey. Photo from the AHC website.

Aeesha and Kokomon Clottey, along with their daughter Amana Harris, who now directs the Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC) educational programs, are currently offering events for the community at large.

A few examples are these from their Center: “Racial Healing Circle”; “West Oakland Roots”; and “Mindful Drumming Classes”. 

Kokomon, who grew up in Ghana, was a drummer from an early age and brings his skills and heart to that work in Oakland.  Indeed, he has published an excellent book on drumming as a spiritual practice, Mindful Drumming

Mindful Drumming by Kokomon Clottey. Order here.

 Art as Meditation indeed!  Art as the “way of the prophet” indeed.  Every Friday he calls together people to share drumming in his home.  On countless occasions he and Aeesha have sponsored drumming experiences in their home for young kids who might otherwise find themselves on some pretty mean streets.

Kokomon has also achieved a BA followed by an MA in business and has put his organization’s structure on a firm basis with solid fund raising and structure.  

AHC has reached thousands with their educational work in the classrooms of Oakland, using art in particular to build confidence and hope among the young. 

A student and her self-portrait, created in the AHC ArtEsteem popup art program. Photo from the AHC Pimerang feed, HERE.

For many years, under the leadership of Dorsey Blake, our vice president at the University of Creation Spirituality and pastor at Howard Thurman’s “Church of the Fellowship of All Peoples” in San Francisco, we held a special gathering in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day called “Making the Dream Real.”  Taylor United Memorial Methodist Church on 12th Street hosted the event each year on the West side of Oakland: their pastor, Rev. Ron Swisher was a protege of Rev. Cecil William, the prophetic pastor of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. 

Always the church was full for the occasion and always our hearts were full afterwards as the celebration invariably honored young people who frequently shared and performed and were honored—along with one adult–for their leadership.  A community meal would follow, sponsored by the church. 

A poster from the 16th “Make the Dream Real” event. From IndyBay News Items.

Wonderful and memorable events always! 

Aeesha and Kokomon were accomplished hunter-gatherers in discovering local talent among the young and the adults.  When I left UCS and it no longer co-sponsored the MLK Jr event, they picked up the slack and continued to chair the celebration at McClymonds High School in West Oakland. 

Given all this gifting to the larger community by Aeesha and Kokomon over the years, it was a very special occasion to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of AHC at a recent event in Oakland. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, pp. 332f., 352-358.

Banner image: Kokomon Clottey leads a Mindful Drumming class. Photo from the AHC website.

Queries for Contemplation

Notice how important the honoring of people is, both young people and adults, in the AHC approach to community building.  This very much parallels the lessons learned from the International Sufi Association’s honoring of Rabbi Lerner that we discussed in previous DM’s. Once again we can ask: How can we honor those who are doing good work among us?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.

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