When police violence brought the community of Ferguson, Missouri, into the national spotlight, LadySpeech Sankofa was struck by the urge to act. "The verdict happened in Ferguson and I knew that there was something different about the energy -- it was a catalyst," says the poet, activist, musician and spiritual healer. "I've been in this world and been fighting for a long time; it's not that anything was new. But there was definitely something I felt that was different -- it hit something or triggered something or happened at the right time."
Motivated, LadySpeech and other members of the community group Denver Freedom Riders made the journey to Ferguson in December to lend support through compassion and education. Now she hopes to use her own calling as a healer and activist to bring people of all faiths and spiritual beliefs together in Denver and create a unifying and healing action to confront police brutality in Colorado and beyond. The first in a series of gatherings, which LadySpeech is calling Spiritual Activism 101, will be tomorrow, February 7, and she's inviting people of all faiths to take part.
The series of gatherings are meant to bring the community together for the purposes of planning a singular spiritual action, a response to the situations many communities across the country are currently facing in regards to the actions of law enforcement. "This is in response to a lot of things, but in thinking about what the police do -- there is obviously a gap between seeing people who are not police as humans, but also there is a gap between police and their own humanity," says LadySpeech. "The environment that police are in every day does not promote healing -- it only promotes violence and animalistic behavior."
Though she is an activist and protester who has been out in community participating in marches and other actions, LadySpeech says she also feels called as a healer to do something with the power of her spirituality. She hopes that by asking others to join, the energy created by a group of people from many differing faiths and backgrounds will be just as much of a force of change.
"This is to offer up healing on all sides of the spectrum and this will be the first meeting that will give an overview," says LadySpeech. "It will allow us to come together and see how many different faiths, practices and traditions will be represented and from there we can have a skeleton of what the action will look like."
She invites Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Pagans and any of the many spiritualities and faiths represented in Colorado to join in, along with dancers, drummers, singers and anyone else interested in being a part of the healing action. LadySpeech says she has been in touch with several medicine women and pastors who have committed to being a part of the gathering and is hoping more people moved by recent events will commit to act.
"I am very much into my activism, but for me, it is really a marriage of both," says LadySpeech. "We need to heal all sides -- everyone is broken right now. I don't actually believe that there can be a good cop, because the system has not allowed that to be sustained. Even if you come in with goodness, the building you are in is perpetuating violence and illness and negativity. What you see everyday perpetuates violence. There is no outlet for your healing."
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The first meeting in the series of gatherings for Spiritual Activism 101 will take place this Saturday, February 7, in Denver. The time and place have yet to be determined; interested parties should RSVP to the Facebook Event or send a message directly to LadySpeech via firstname.lastname@example.org. She is planning the meeting around services for Jessica Hernandez, which will take place at 10 a.m. February 7 at Holy Trinity Church, 3050 West 76th Avenue in Westminster. The Mass will be immediately followed by the burial service at Olinger Highland Cemetery, 10201 Grant Street in Thornton.