2023 Healing Collective

Heal With Us

Meet the Collective


Lyla June Johnston

Lyla June Johnston is an Indigenous public speaker, artist, scholar and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages from Taos, New Mexico. Her messages focus on Indigenous rights, supporting youth, traditional land stewardship practices and healing inter-generational and inter-cultural trauma. She blends undergraduate studies in human ecology at Stanford University, graduate work in Native American Pedagogy at the University of New Mexico, and the indigenous worldview she grew up with to inform her perspectives and solutions. Her internationally acclaimed presentations are conveyed through the medium of poetry, music and/or speech. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in Indigenous Studies with a focus on Indigenous Food Systems Revitalization.

Learn more: www.lylajune.com


Tobirus M. Newby

Tobirus M. Newby is a licensed clinical social worker and the manager of the UHS’ Social Services department. Over the past 17 years, Tobirus has worked in the field of violence prevention and intervention by supporting the healing journeys of survivors and by educating and fostering change with those who have caused harm in their relationships and communities. In addition, he is an educator at UC Berkeley Extension and the University of San Francisco and has a private consulting practice through which he provides organizational equity and inclusion services. A quote that guides his life and his practice comes from James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”


Vercila Chacon

Since 1996, Vercila Chacon has held licenses in California (currently), New Mexico and Colorado as an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker).  She holds an LTRT Minister license, (Licensed Transition and Ritual Therapist) with AIWP – Association of the Integration of the Whole Person. As a spiritual activist and minister, an emotional healing coach, dreamer, storyteller, ceremonial guide, creator of rituals, and mental health professional, Vercila Chacon, has dedicated over 35 years to the service of numerous individuals, families, groups, communities, organizations and companies in the matters of the heart.  Her wise guidance helps one explore places of trauma, identity, race and belonging, loss and separation, self-expression, vulnerability and authenticity.  She guides others to see and embrace their highest potential by raising their antennas out to receive energies and to remember their birth wholeness.  She believes the universe is holding its breath for us to take our place in it.


Dr. Luella Toni Lewis

Dr. Luella Toni Lewis pursued a career in social justice through medicine and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in sociology and a Medical Doctorate from Georgetown University. In 2004, Dr. Lewis became a family medicine resident and a member of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU)–the largest physician’s union in the Service Employees International Union. Dr. Lewis became very active with CIR/SEIU, working with unions and allies to advocate for the community served by the failing system. Dr. Lewis has worked with SEIU in many areas — including ACA implementation and health system transformation, global health, youth engagement, racial justice, disaster response, and political strategy. Currently, she serves on various boards and leadership committees of health and social justice organizations, including as President of the Public Policy and Education Fund of New York, a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leadership Program, and a member of Equity Advisory Group for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. In addition to founding Liberation Health Strategies- which focuses on community, national, and global holistic strategies for health justice- she is also licensed Family Physician and Geriatrician and is internationally credentialed in Kemetic Yoga — an inclusive and afrocentric practice inspired by ancestral and ancient Egyptian culture.

Learn more: www.healthequitycypher.com


Charly Lowry

Charly Lowry, a musical powerhouse from Pembroke, NC, is proud to be an Indigenous woman belonging to the Lumbee/Tuscarora People.  As an Artivist, she is compassionate as it pertains to raising awareness around issues that plague underdeveloped and underserved communities.  Since her teenage years of studying the sounds of Motown, Pura Fé, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and southern gospel, Charly has established a career as a professional singer-songwriter (acoustic/electric guitar and Native American hand drum) who is known for her strong, passionate voice and versatility.  Over the past decade Lowry has received 2 kidney transplants, toured extensively and internationally (US, Europe, Canada) as lead singer and recording artist of the multi award-winning band, Dark Water Rising; collaborated with numerous artists, bands, and organizations including (UlalÍ, Rhiannon Giddens, New Mastersounds, Decolonizing Wealth and more); founder and executive-director of “Peace in the Park”, a non-profit that seeks to use the performance arts as a means of combatting violence; founder and co-owner of Credentials Social Club (private club and performance venue for members and guests) in Pembroke, NC .  Currently spearheading her most recent project, “CHARLY”, Lowry’s life experiences are guiding her in a music career that is focused upon increasing Indigenous visibility on a global scale; revitalizing and preserving culture, whilst exploring genres of world, soul, country, folk, blues, rock, and roots music.  

Learn more: www.charlylowry.com


Tammy Chang

Tammy Chang, NC is a nutrition and movement coach based in Oakland, CA.  She focuses on digestion and holistic health habits with individual clients, as well as teaching movement classes online and in person.  She is the author of The Nourished Belly Diet and The Gastroparesis Healing Diet published by Ulysses Press.  Find more about her at www.thenourishedbelly.com or follow her on instagram @thenourishedbelly for cooking tips and videos.  She is also founder of Capoeira Brasil East Bay and co-leads with other amazing women. 

Learn more: www.eastbaycapoeiracenter.com + www.thenourishedbelly.com


Sage Hayes

Sage Hayes (she/he/they) is a white bodied practitioner of somatic alchemy and working towards collective healing / liberation.  Grew up and currently living on unceded territories of the Wampanoag / Narragansett native peoples. Is supported by Italian / Swedish / German / Scottish lineages of birth and adopted families. Perpetual explorer of justice in the body. Sage is a lead teaching assistant with the Somatic Experiencing Institute and integrates biodynamic craniosacral therapy, systemic constellations, dance, intuitive practices and somatics. An educator, a community organizer, a healing arts practitioner – Sage is inspired to midwife nervous system supremacy into evolutionary and collective embodied practices of nourishment, connectivity, rest and liberation which serve the all / we. 

Learn more: https://www.sagehayes.com



I was given the name M’kali-Hashiki by a Priest of Oshun in the Ifá tradition (I added the hyphen & apostrophe to help with pronunciation). It means “fierce passion” in Swahili. I believe that we are all entitled to have passion in our lives, and to understand how being connected to our passion & creativity enhances our lives & the lives of those around us. It is my fierce passion for a happy, healthy, world that motivates everything I do. I’m a Certified Sexological Bodyworker; a Certified Sound, Voice, & Music Healer; and a Certified Tantric Sacred Intimate. I’m also a Gynecological Teaching Associate (teaching medical students how to perform painless, patient-centered pelvic & breast exams using my body as the demo model), a published essayist; a former professional social justice organizer; and an Ifa devoteé. I’m a fat, Black, queer, womanist, polyamorous, kinky, first generation Northern-born, middle-aged dyke Burn Survivor with moderate to severe PTSD. My cultural upbringing & lived experiences of struggling to love myself in a world that hates all of my identities (some more than others) informs every aspect of my work.

Learn more: www.fiercepassions.com


Odessa Perez

Odessa Perez is a trauma-informed somatic psychotherapist, embodiment and social justice educator who helps individuals and groups heal from fragmentation and remember agency, magic, and belonging. She is a cis gender, able-bodied, biracial white-presenting latina. She grew up in a working-class family on the native Lenape land of New Jersey and is the first of her family lineage to complete college-level education.   She holds an MA in Somatic Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies and triple bachelor’s degrees in dance, Theater Arts, and Sociology from Rutgers University. She is a ThetaHealing practitioner and instructor, a massage and bodywork practitioner, and has over 2 decades of dance experience in contemporary performance and contact improvisation. She also has a background in community and grassroots organizing in central New Jersey around education rights and diverse local representation. Odessa is deeply curious about the intersection of personal and collective trauma, collective nervous system states and expression, and how we can use somatics to integrate our trauma for better relationship, community and planet.  She has facilitated workshops at dozens of retreats and festivals up and down the west coast using somatics and movement as the platform through which to explore safety, relationship, building capacity for discomfort, interdependence and inclusion.

Learn more: www.odysseyhealing.com


Winter Jendayi

Born and raised in Northern California, Winter Jendayi is a ceremonialist, musician, mentor and guide who holds sacred spaces to support others in healing, transformation and awakening. Winter’s path is firmly rooted in the Red Road teachings of the Seven Directions and the wisdom ways of her ancestral lineages. She carries African and Cherokee blood from her father’s side and Celtic and Italian ancestry from her maternal line. Winter is a Moon Dancer, Sahumadora and Pipe Carrier of the Metztliyoliliztli Danza in Costa Rica where she has been dancing since 2014 and continues to deepen in her prayers and studies with her teacher and Abuela, Nanatzin Itzpapalotl. In 2019, as Winter completed the first cycle of this work, she received the Nahuatl name, ‘Koskatlan,’ to symbolize her initiation. This name, meaning, ‘the woman who weaves her life,’ guides Winter’s work as she weaves the wisdom of different traditions together, in the same way her ancestry is woven from different parts of the world. Music is the heartbeat of Winter’s life and sacred song is woven into many of her offerings as she allows the sounds and vibrations to inspire and facilitate healing. She has just released her debut album, Hilos Sagrados.

Learn more: www.altardekoskatlan.com


Like Water

Like Water is a genuine human. A queer black woman who is enjoying the journey of life through deep love, self-discovery and healing. She creates soundscapes with her voice, instruments, found sounds and other incredible humans to facilitate connection to self and the world around us all. Like Water seamlessly blends electronic and acoustic instruments with transcendent vocals and soundscapes leaving listeners in a state of euphoria! This Baltimore native is changing the way people experience music and connect with the world around them. She invites the audience to watch as she masterfully layers unique sounds while looping them on the spot and leaving the crowd wanting more!

Learn more: https://thelikewaterexperience.com


Erin Sweeney

My name is Erin Sweeney and I’m a politicized healer, educator & group facilitator. I’m a white person whose people come from what’s now called Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany. I humbly reside on the unceded lands of the Susquehannock and Lenni Lenape peoples in what’s currently known as Lancaster, PA. I love to dance, tend to my plant friends, and tell stories. I offer 1:1 ancestral healing & remembrance work for white folks with an antiracist & decolonial lens. I’m a group facilitator & educator.

Learn more: www.erincaitlinsweeney.com


Dr. Salome Raheim

Dr. Salome Raheim is Dean Emeritus at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and Professor Emeritus at the University at Albany—SUNY School of Social Welfare. Her areas of focus include integrative body-mind-spirit social work, implicit bias, racial equity, and macro social work practice. During her 40+ year career, she has provided direct services as a psychiatric social worker, led two schools of social work (University of Connecticut and University of Iowa), and made presentations to thousands of practitioners and students across four continents. She is a family constellations facilitator, reiki practitioner, and certified mindfulness instructor.


Tawna Little

My name is Tawna Little and I am from the skunk clan and kialagee tribal town. I am currently situated at Ekvn Yefolecv with my partner Marcus and our two children. Our vision of living as a full time mvskoke persons, in our mother tongue, is what occupies everything. Which also encompasses our passions to learning how to live in direct relation with the space we are in. It is because of this understanding that I am inspired to be a participant in unlearning what should not be carried forward into the next process of our journey and to remember how to live outside the boundaries of a world imagined by other people to co-imagine a world in which all living beings can thrive.


Bushmama Africa

Bushmama Africa is an Oakland Native, Mother, Healer, Spirit Worker, Artist, Writer, Poet and workshop facilitator are just a few titles that have been given to this dynamic black woman. She has been the lead ceremonial opener for The African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco, Pan African Festival Oakland, Healing Clinic Collective, and the Museum of the African Diaspora. Exhibitor and Curator for the esteemed “The Black Woman is God ” Movement. She is the most requested healer in the first ever “Black Joy Parade ”, Life Force Conference, Self Care for Black Women in Leadership Cohort with Compasspoint and The Healing for Black Lives Event.  She has been the sacred space creator for Red Bay Coffee, The Matatu Festival, MoAD and The Saint Regis Hotel SF. As an artist, her work has been published in two books by Pochino Press; ”Stop Hurting and Dance by Aquelia Lewis and “Reflections 2” by James Gayles. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Flight Deck, Lakeview Oakland Library, The Living Room Project, Yoga Love Oakland, and SomArts Ramp Gallery.

Learn more: www.bushmama.com


Katina Castillo

Katina Castillo is a second generation U.S. born Latina of Mexican, Central American and Greek descent. Her personal transformation began with ethnic studies of her cultural histories and travel across Latin America. She began praying and engaging in healing ceremonies with sacred plant medicine more than a decade ago and became an Evolutionary Astrologer through seeking accessible and spiritually centered mental health support and tools for deeper, generational, ancestral self-exploration of soul. Additionally, Katina has studied herbalism and curanderismo for several years, and has a lifelong commitment to physical health as revolutionary praxis. Among her many teachers are precious elders and wisdom keepers she honors from Maya, Mexica, Huichol, Zapotec, Arapaho, Paiute, Diné, O’odham, Lakota, Chumash and Shipibo tribal traditions. Cultural studies, community organizing, popular education, advocacy, holistic health, healing and the arts have defined her life and work. Katina holds a Masters of Art in Depth Psychology with specialization in Community, Liberation, Indigenous and Eco- Psychologies from Pacifica Graduate Institute and a Bachelors of Art in English with concentration in Folklore and Culture Theory from the University of California at Berkeley.

Learn more: www.modernmysticsinstitute.com/resident-astrologer


Dafina Kuficha

My name is Dafina Kuficha. Twenty five years ago, I began experimenting with aromatherapy. What I was reading and exposed to fascinated me and who better to start with than self? Slowly, I began sharing with family, friends, and, mostly, patients of my acupuncture practice. Many times, I gave patients essential oil creations individualized to their specific ailment, be it mental/emotional or physical, like ear infections, respiratory ailments, stress, and skin rashes. They raved at the results they were having and the aromatic scents that enticed their olfactory senses. As time progressed, I began carrying my essential creations with me to conferences, workshops, seminars, wellness groups. By 2012, I joined Women’s Initiative and the name of the business came to me in the form of an affirmation. I Treasure ME! And, here we are!


Hilary Giovale is a mother, writer, and community organizer who holds a Master’s Degree in Good and Sustainable Communities. She has taught improvisational women’s dance and has served on the boards of philanthropic, human rights, and environmental organizations. A ninth generation American settler, she is descended from Celtic, Germanic, Nordic, and Indigenous peoples of Ancient Europe. For most of her life these origins were obscured by the delusion of whiteness, until a series of ancestral interventions began in her early 40s. After learning more about her ancestors, Hilary found herself emerging from a fog of amnesia, denial, and fragmentation. For the first time, she saw a painful reality: her family’s occupation of this land has harmed Indigenous and African peoples, cultures, and lifeways. With this realization, her life changed. Hilary lives into this question as an act of love for the ancestors, the waters, and future generations. She is an active speaker, teacher, and reparative philanthropist. Divesting from whiteness, she bridges divides with truth, healing, apology, and forgiveness. She follows Indigenous and Black leadership in support of human rights, environmental justice, and equitable futures. She is the author of a forthcoming book.

Learn more: www.goodrelative.com


Luana Morales

Luana Morales is a Birth and Bereavement Doula, Death Midwife, Circle keeper, Officiant, Reiki Master Teacher, and Herbal Apprentice devoted to reclaiming our birth, death, and Afro-Indigenous healing practices. She creates containers that support  reflection, experimentation, healing, learning, collaboration and joy for our individual and collective liberation be it through an individual sessions, group facilitation, workshops, or  retreats. Prior to her current work as a full time healing arts practitioner and facilitator, she dedicated 18 years to working in human services with individuals in a variety of settings including residential long term treatment, outpatient, and supportive housing with individuals and families struggling with mental health issues, trauma, addiction, chronic health conditions, and homelessness. She also dedicated 11 years to community based parenting education supporting families affected by substance abuse, mental illness, and trauma. In 2017 she founded Seeds of Our Ancestors, a mobile interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and multi lineage healing squad. Luana is committed to being present and being of service at every phase of life, from it’s beginning, during pregnancy, to the end, during the dying process.

Learn more: www.handsofgaiareiki.com


Xavier Brown is the Ambassador for the Anacostia River, C2 Equity Academy Director for University of DC founder Soilful, an organization dedicated to reconnecting African-Americans to their agricultural roots. He is also the co-founder of South Eats Cooperative, an organization focused on increasing access to healthy, affordable local food for communities living in food apartheid areas in D.C. Additionally, he co-founded Black Dirt Farm Collective, an organization dedicated to supporting emerging Black farmers and growers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Brown has worked at D.C.’s Department of Parks and Recreation as the Small Parks Specialist creating and managing environmental programs across the city. Xavier is a lifelong Washingtonian with a Bachelor of Arts from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and a Master of Science from the University of Vermont.

Learn more: www.soilfulcitydc.wordpress.com


My name is Brenda Salgado and I am a first generation Nicaraguan-American, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am grateful to my parents and my ancestors for instilling in me the values and teachings that have led me to cultural, spiritual and social justice work. ​I am committed to the role of culture, ceremony, relationship building and community wisdom in creating a society filled with wholeness and beauty. I believe that individuals, families and groups have tremendous amounts of untapped knowledge, wisdom, and medicine within them. The best part of my work is creating space for that to be rediscovered and unleashed in the world. I am committed to helping others to create the space to explore healthy self-knowledge and identity, unleash their talents and potential, enhance their relationships, improve their quality of life, and live into their dreams and aspirations. I would be humbled and honored to be a catalyst for your evolution by helping you, your organization, or your family live more fully.

Learn more: www.nepantlaconsulting.com


Sabrina Vedete

Sabrina Vedete Elmaliah is here to bridge the ancient worlds of Mysticism & Medicine. She is a Mother, Storyteller and Sacred Activist who holds a Masters of Arts in Communications Studies. As a first generation American from Hebrew Roots in Israel, Egypt and Eastern Europe, she holds the victorious bloodlines of the survivors of mass genocide through both her maternal and paternal lineages. The Founder of Sacred Lotus Yoni Steam, she is a V Steam Therapist, Sensual Arts Guide, 200RYT Yoga Teacher and Temple Body Priestess ordained by the Mystery School of Living Tantra & Sacred Sensuality; her sacred mission is deeply rooted in a soul contract to restore the sovereign womb and rise youth nourished by healthy and aware maternal role models. She is deeply honored as an adopted member and Ambassador for Women and Children of the Choctaw Muskogee Yamassee Nation (CMYN). As the co-Founder and Director of Community Outreach of 501c-3 non-profit The Natural Leaders Foundation, she has brought free holistic programs to at-risk youth for the past 12 years to underserved communities around the world. In devout service, this is her dharma.

Learn more: www.sacredlotusyonisteam.com


Jesus Solorio

Jesus Solorio is a bilingual/bicultural Chicano who was born and raised in Southern California by migrant parents from Michoacan, Mexico. He has been living in the bay area for over 20 years. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and received his master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Community Mental Health from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Jesus’ clinical work is highly influenced by anti-racism, anti-oppression and indigenous/traditional approaches to health and balance. He approaches his work from a systems perspective that is trauma-informed, client centered, strength-based and solution focused. Currently, he is a therapist at Kaiser and previously his work focused on providing culturally congruent care to Latinx communities while integrating traditional cultural practices with western psychology. He has worked at various community mental health settings including Instituto Familiar de La Raza, City College of San Francisco, La Familia Counseling Service and at various bay area schools. Jesus is also a Lecturer/Adjunct Faculty at San Francisco State University/Department of Counseling and is a member of the Latinx Therapist Action Network. Jesus acknowledges his many mentors and teachers that have guided and supported him along the way in integrating a traditional worldview with western psychology. This includes Concha Saucedo, Sal Nuñez and Samuelin Martinez. He is a Mexica/Aztec Dancer and Drummer with Calpulli Nanahuatzin and is learning how to integrate indigenous teachings to his daily life.


Vianey Njeri

Vianey Njeri is a meditation facilitator, belly dancer and intuitive guide who was born with the ancestral wisdom of her Yucatec Mayan lineage. Her journey through ancestral womb healing has allowed her to retrieve deeper wisdom that she has been sharing as a Women’s circle facilitator and mentor. She is a teacher and student of the wisdom of the menstrual arts as a path to feminine embodiment. She uses ecstatic belly dancing as a movement practice that allows one to access deeper emotional states along with guided visualization as an alchemical journey into the body for soul retrieval. Through her years of exploring tantric yoga and sensuality as a lifestyle, she has been able to co-facilitate online break-out sessions to women around the world through the Jahsun 30-day Tantra challenge. 

Learn more: @vianeynjeri (Instagram)