Good News from the Streets of Oakland, continued

We are celebrating the work of the Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC) led for over thirty years in West Oakland by Aeesha and Kokomon Clottey, mystic-prophets in our midst.

The 12 principles of attitudinal healing. Photo from the AHC website.

AHC builds healthy communities by breaking the cycle of violence and offering transformative intervention strategies based on the principles of attitudinal healing, a non-traditional approach to mental health that develops resiliency by promoting self-awareness, mindfulness, creativity, compassion and academic engagement. 

AHC provides platforms for creative expression and communication for children, youth, adults, and families cultivating skills in personal development, community leadership, and the arts.

Community children collaborate on an artwork at an ArtEsteem ArtMobile event. Photo from the AHC website.

AHC sponsors ArtEsteem, a children and youth art and social justice program that serves annually 3500 students in Oakland and Berkeley. AHC’s initiatives are duplicable and its programs are inclusive of ALL children, youth and adults.

AHC has successfully incubated projects that promote youth leadership such as Restorative Justice, a program that teaches how to make amends and heal; Mini Grant Committee giving small grants to community members to improve their neighborhood and decrease isolation; Good Neighbor Program and Leadership Institute for Oakland Housing Authority’s residents to build neighborhood leaders and learn conflict mediation, civic engagement and service learning.

West Oakland Legacy Project (WOLP) students speak to passersby about the environment’s pressing issues at an AHC Earth Day event. Photo from the AHC website.

AHC hosts racial healing circles and weekly support groups for the community and offers training sessions for hundreds of low income individuals every month in community building techniques; civic engagement; and how to identify personal assets and strengths. 

Aeesha demonstrates an open and inviting heart and she brings all peoples, races and classes to the table to participate in her many important projects for community uplifting.  Kokomon does the same through his drumming and teaching.

Self as Super Hero, by Amana Harris. Order HERE.

Amana Harris is an artist and art instructor who is the daughter of Aeesha and Kokomon Clottey.  She has overseen the “artist as superhero” project which encourages students to imagine and paint their own “superheroes.” 

Each year AHC sponsors an exhibit of the children’s work and sells many items—money that the kids earn and can use.  One year we combined their high school program with our Yellawe program. 

Amana has published a lively book, Self As Super Hero: Handbook on Creating the Life-Size Self-Portrait

(L-R) Lead Mural Artist Andre Jones is joined by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and AHC Executive Director Amana Harris at the MBK Rising Mural Launch. Photo from the AHC website.

As she points out in the Preface to the book, ArtEsteem is “a unique art and social justice program” that uses the arts “as a tool to build community, enhance self-esteem, and encourage academic and emotional literacy.”  

Another project from Amana Harris and AHC has been to sponsor mural paintings under several viaducts in Oakland.  The murals not only beautify the neighborhoods but adult and young artists work together designing and executing the murals.  Of course raising money is part of the challenge, as it is with most non-profits, and they excel at that also, still going strong after all these years.

See Kokomon Klottey, Mindful Drumming: Ancient Wisdom for Unleashing the Human Spirit and Building Community; and Amana Harris, Self as Super Hero.

See also: Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, pp. 353-359.

Banner image: San Francisco students hand-craft books honoring the LGBTQ and Black communities in an ArtEsteem project. Photo from the AHC website.

Queries for Contemplation

How does this three day discussion of the work of AHC and Aeesha and Kokomon and Amana inspire you and your community?  What lessons can you take to your own work and citizenship and parenting and educating?

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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3 thoughts on “Good News from the Streets of Oakland, continued”

  1. Avatar

    I was helped greatly within an Attitudinal Healing group near San Jose, CA, as I was going through a divorce in the late 90s. The skills (and love) I learned have stayed with me, but I’d forgotten the actual principles, which I used to carry in my purse. Maybe I’ll do that again. I find #7 and #12 especially helpful; and looking back, I think #3 changed my life.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Michelle,
      This is an impressive program and I am glad you were able to take part in it through an Attitudinal Healing group. The 12 principles might be assumed among many enlightened people in a conceptual way, but seeing them stated so simply and clearly, they become new and numinous again. I think I am going to do what you did = copy them and carry them around with me.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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