Charleston, South Carolina – The BEE Collective announces its curated Community Altar + Ofrenda on Friday, November 3, 2023 at Fresh Future Farm, located at 2008 Success Street, North Charleston, South Carolina, open to the public starting at 12 p.m., with a grief circle at 4:30 p.m., culminated by a celebration from 6-8 p.m.
This event precedes the BEE Collective’s inaugural Just-Us INDABA: Birthing, Education, and Healing Justice Summit on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422 building located at 1142 Morrison Drive, Downtown Charleston. Friday’s event is in honor and remembrance of lost loved ones and ancestors, offering an opportunity for grieving, processing, mediating, celebrating, and support. Food and refreshments will be provided. Both events are free of charge and all ages are welcome. Pre-registration is required.
Beginning at 12 p.m. on Friday, November 3 at Fresh Future Farm, a sound healing and remembrance garden will be available for semi-private and shared space for personal meditation, in addition to a separate area for artmaking. At 4:30 p.m. doula Raquel Washington, MA will lead a grief circle specifically for those suffering the loss of an infant.
From 6 until 8 p.m. there will be live music and spoken word poetry, accompanied by art-making and homemade tamales and atole, traditional Mexican food and rice beverage. Performers include: spoken word artists of the Free Verse poetry community, Abby Duran and Natasha Akery; musician Delia Chariker performing Native American flute and drums, as well as leading a vocal toning and healing sound bath; and musician Harlem Farr performing a solo set.
The community is invited to bring copies of photos of their loved ones, along with recycled bottles and/or any object to create a momento to leave in honor and celebration on the altar, or ofrenda (offering), in Spanish. This expression of love intertwines many indigenous traditions, including Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrated in México. During Día de Muertos, the tradition is to build private altars (ofrendas) containing the favorite foods and beverages, as well as photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the words of the living directed to them.
These altars are often placed at home or in public spaces such as schools and libraries, but it is also common for people to go to cemeteries to place these altars next to the tombs of the departed. This year’s altar/ofrenda will be centered around the goddess and orisha, Yemaya, aligned with the Just-Us INDABA’s art by Cookie Washington. Yemaya is the Goddess of Creation, Water, Moon, Motherhood, and Protection, a major water spirit from the Yoruba religion. She is the mother of all Orishas. Many transliterations of her name exist in various cultures within the African diaspora.
The Just-Us INDABA presented by BEE Collective is an all-day event on Saturday, November 4, beginning at 9 a.m. with on-site registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. All are welcome, including babies in arms. Elders, those with disabilities, birth workers in Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities, and all birthing people are especially encouraged. Free and ample parking is available.
The BEE Collective’s Just-Us INDABA: Birthing, Education, and Healing Justice Summit is a transformative gathering and full-day event dedicated to pregnant, birthing, and parenting families, along with their healthcare advocates, reproductive justice champions, and supportive healing arts practitioners. This event is a gifted opportunity to register, engage, and co-create community-driven solutions that safeguard the well-being of pregnant, birthing individuals, and young children in the beloved community.
“Together, we are committed to dismantling the alarming rates of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity among Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities in South Carolina. Let’s listen, learn, and collaborate for a brighter, healthier future,” says BEE Collective’s co-founder, Adrienne Troy-Frazier.
This program is made possible with support and partnership from the following: Kolibri Fund, Birth Justice Rapid Response Fund, Lowcountry Unity Fund, Perinatal Task Force, and Charleston Good, Inc. For specific inquiries or to schedule an interview, contact Adrienne Troy-Frazier.