Events


3-Days, 4 Events:
Celebrating 10 Years of an
Indigenous Path to Racial Healing
March 12—14, 2021

Join us in our 3-day CELEBRATION featuring…. Inspiring Speakers, Q&A, Music, Stories and a chance to hear and share Your Stories in breakout rooms.

March 12 6:30-8:30—Celebration to include….

Nothing But the Medicine with Meta Commerse

Meta Commerse, founder and CEO of Story Medicine Worldwide, will share the story of how she prepared and launched this indigenous modality in WNC, and how the work and modality grew and evolved into present form. When Meta began to apply it to the racial healing needs in our community in 2015, the teaching pot began to boil. As part of our celebration, she will also sing us into community.

Meta Commerse is a Blues Doula as well as the founder and CEO of Story Medicine Worldwide, a community-based healing movement. A former professor of History and English, she’s an award-winning author. She earned her MFA degree at Goddard College in Vermont. She is a performing artist, singing jazz, blues, and gospel music. Her published works include: The Mending Time (novel), Blues Doula (poetry) and her upcoming Memoir, Womaning: My Secret Stories.

March 13 9:30-noon—Celebration to include….

I Had No Me Left: Sexual Trauma and the Healing Paradox of Oral History Performance with Dean E. Patrick Johnson, Northwestern University

Drawing on narratives from his recent books on black southern women who love women, Johnson will engage the power of storytelling and performance as methods of healing, particularly for women who have experienced sexual trauma.

E. Patrick Johnson is Dean of the School of Communication and Annenberg University Professor at Northwestern University. A member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Johnson’s work has had a significant impact on African American Studies, Performance Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. He is the author of several books, including Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (2003); Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History (2008); Black. Queer. Southern. Women—An Oral History (2018); Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women (2019), in addition to a number of edited and co-edited collections, essays, and plays.

March 13 2:00-4:30—Celebration to include….

Alternatives to State-Sanctioned Violence with Dawn Blagrove, Executive Director, Emancipate NC

The American Health Foundation found that physical and psychological violence that is structurally mediated by the system of law enforcement results in deaths, injuries, trauma, and stress that disproportionately affect marginalized populations. Emancipate NC Executive Director, Dawn Blagrove will present on alternatives to our current state-sanctioned violence.

Dawn Blagrove is an attorney and a graduate the North Carolina Central School of Law. After graduating, Blagrove worked for eight years as a post-conviction staff attorney with North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, where she co-managed the jail credit team of five paralegals dedicated to jail credit issues. During this time, Blagrove evaluated and prioritized requests for criminal post-conviction representation from people incarcerated in North Carolina’s Department of Correction. On their behalf, she litigated motions for appropriate relief and petitions for writs of habeas corpus in N.C. trial and appellate courts. Blagrove also litigated federal habeas actions in U.S. District Courts in N.C, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

March 14 2:00-4:30—Celebration to include….

Time Travel: The Journey That My Spirit Took To Heal My Soul with Robert Thomas, Jr., Community Liaison, Asheville’s Racial Justice Coalition

Rob Thomas will speak about his traumatic experiences and how they continuously manifested in his life until he learned how to understand them and heal them. Thomas will give a short timeline from his youth up until he was introduced to the medicine that saved—and ultimately changed—his life.

Rob Thomas is an experienced Community Leader with a knack for innovation, who centers his work around advocating for those most impacted by the inequities of the Criminal Justice System. As a former Justice involved individual himself, he understands the negative impacts and disparities faced by people of color in the carceral system. With over 10 years of direct experience, Robert has now narrowed his focus to racial justice, decarceration, and activism around police accountability. In addition, to his work as Community Liaison for the Racial Justice Coalition of Asheville, he is a partner of a minority-owned Equity Consulting Firm. 

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