ABOUT

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VISION:  

Casitas: Community Wisdom's vision is to create healing/learning spaces in casas or casa-like (home or home-like) settings that feel liberatory, creative, honest, accessible and honor both the legacy of NYC casitas and the strength of our ancestors.

WHO WE ARE:  

We are a group that identifies as people of color (POC).  We stand/flow anywhere on the gender & sexual orientation spectrums.  Our ancestral lineages are rooted throughout the world. As a collective, we value and honor the historical resilience and healing of our peoples.

OUR PLAN:  

Our collaborations will embrace and uplift community wisdom through free or low-cost skill shares, healing circles,  recipes, resources, workshops, garden walks, community field trips, performances and gatherings.   We also uplift and support the work of other healing arts collectives.

BEGINNINGS: 

Casitas,  formerly known as Casitas Skillshares,  was started by Myrna Caban Lezcano in the spring of 2014 in response to the lack of affordable, learning spaces, particularly where working class QTPOC folks could heal while feeling safe, represented and supported.  She ran a series of free skillshares out of her home with the support of other teachers and healers in her community.    In 2015,  this work shifted into being lead and envisioned by our Guiding Core.   

WHY THE TERM "CASITAS?"

The name Casitas was inspired by the little shack-style structures built by Boricuas (Puerto Ricans) throughout NYC in the 70's and 80's in vacant lots (see pic below). These small houses became cultural spaces and havens for all kinds of folks in the community.   

CASITAS WERE THE CENTER OF NEIGHBORHOOD THROUGHOUT NYC - VERY FEW EXIST TODAY

ARTICLES ON CASITAS IN NYC:

                                                                                                                                                                                 Casita Rincón Criollo at 157th Street and Brook Avenue

                                                                                                                                                                                 Casita Rincón Criollo at 157th Street and Brook Avenue




POINTS OF UNITY

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WE CELEBRATE

  • The strength, resilience, and resourcefulness of our communities.

WE KNOW

  • Our communities have all the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual knowledge we need to heal ourselves and build a thriving world.

WE HONOR

  • The  ancient and modern wisdom of our communities and share this wisdom with our families, our communities, and all beings. 

COMMUNITY AGREEMENTS: 

IN OUR COLLECTIVE SPACES WE WILL:

  • Design healing spaces as places of safety, compassion questioning, learning and critical thinking through the lense of love

  • Include folks from our communities who come from varying backgrounds and growing points of view
  • Engage in open conversation with folks in our space around topics and issues that we are still learning about and working through

  • Use accessible language and breakdown/explain  terminology 
  • Acknowledge our own complex histories, layers, and emotions

  • Embrace the honest and best intentions of each one who joins the learning journey

  • Respect the natural environment and honor Mother Earth

  • Acknowledge and fight against the environmental racism and  intersections of oppression and environmental racism that have impacted our communities by reconnecting to our ancestral practices and reclaiming space

  • Act from a space of Love & Compassion

 

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Guiding group, founding members  & supporters 

Our Guiding Group isfolks living, healing, working, and collaborating throughout different parts of New York City.  Our collaborations embrace and uplift community wisdom through skill shares, healing circles, a community blog, recipe books, workshops, garden walks, community field trips, performances and gatherings. As a collective, we value and honor the historical resilience and healing of our peoples.  We also support the work of other healer and artist collectives.

Hailing from Nigeria, Adaku Utah is a healer, liberation educator and organizer, and performance ritual artist committed to healing and liberation within oppressed communities. For over ten years, her work has centered in movements for radical social change, with a focus on gender, sexuality, race, youth and healing justice. She is the founder and director of Harriet’s Apothecary, a healing village led by Black Cis Women, Queer and Trans folks committed to living out Harriet Tubman’s legacy.


Hailing from Nigeria, Adaku Utah is a healer, liberation educator and organizer, and performance ritual artist committed to healing and liberation within oppressed communities. For over ten years, her work has centered in movements for radical social change, with a focus on gender, sexuality, race, youth and healing justice. She is the founder and director of Harriet’s Apothecary, a healing village led by Black Cis Women, Queer and Trans folks committed to living out Harriet Tubman’s legacy.

  A Crown Heights, Brooklyn  native, Dionne Lee is  an artist, budding herbalist, photographer, and creative chef.  She is currently pursing her MFA in California and enjoying all of the wild herbs she sees growing around her.   Lover of  all things nature, Dionne  dreams of building her very own home in the woods someday. 

 

A Crown Heights, Brooklyn  native, Dionne Lee is  an artist, budding herbalist, photographer, and creative chef.  She is currently pursing her MFA in California and enjoying all of the wild herbs she sees growing around her.   Lover of  all things nature, Dionne  dreams of building her very own home in the woods someday. 

Gabriela Álvarez is a chef, wellness coach, and community activist. She is the founder of Liberation Cuisine, which offers food as an essential ingredient of self-care and for resilient communities. Chef Gabriela has cooked for red carpet events, fundraisers, healing circles, community celebrations, and private parties. Her Spanglish menus infuse traditional Puerto Rican dishes and ingredients that are seasonal and local to her hometown of New York City. She infuses health-supportive cooking and mindfulness, transforming the kitchen into a space of alchemy. She integrates astrology, rituals, kitchen altars, and meditation to facilitate healing through one’s nourishment and resistance to the standard quo.


Gabriela Álvarez is a chef, wellness coach, and community activist. She is the founder of Liberation Cuisine, which offers food as an essential ingredient of self-care and for resilient communities. Chef Gabriela has cooked for red carpet events, fundraisers, healing circles, community celebrations, and private parties. Her Spanglish menus infuse traditional Puerto Rican dishes and ingredients that are seasonal and local to her hometown of New York City. She infuses health-supportive cooking and mindfulness, transforming the kitchen into a space of alchemy. She integrates astrology, rituals, kitchen altars, and meditation to facilitate healing through one’s nourishment and resistance to the standard quo.

Jane Wang is a spirit-affirming organizer who has worked on issues of police accountability, labor and economic justice, and language justice. She is a medicine woman who brings free healing art to social movements and community spaces. Offerings include energy cleansing, astrology, tarot, meditation, herbal concoctions, and yoga sessions. Jane has studied astrology with Deborah Singletary, energy healing with Mary Marino, Iyengar yoga for eight years, and is a member of the re-evaluation co-counseling community. Jane is deepening her Buddhist roots through insight meditation and the Chan lineage practice.


Jane Wang is a spirit-affirming organizer who has worked on issues of police accountability, labor and economic justice, and language justice. She is a medicine woman who brings free healing art to social movements and community spaces. Offerings include energy cleansing, astrology, tarot, meditation, herbal concoctions, and yoga sessions. Jane has studied astrology with Deborah Singletary, energy healing with Mary Marino, Iyengar yoga for eight years, and is a member of the re-evaluation co-counseling community. Jane is deepening her Buddhist roots through insight meditation and the Chan lineage practice.

Melinda González is a Brooklyn original, born and raised in East Flatbush. She is a community artist who promotes healing and self-expression through Afro Puerto Rican Bomba, a synergy of elements drumming, singing and dance. Melinda is co-founder of BombaYo, an intergenerational bomba ensemble. Melinda’s healing journey includes explorations in holistic skincare, plant/herb based remedies, massage therapy and gardening. She is currently training in Meridian Touch Yoga and has received Reiki training.


Melinda González is a Brooklyn original, born and raised in East Flatbush. She is a community artist who promotes healing and self-expression through Afro Puerto Rican Bomba, a synergy of elements drumming, singing and dance. Melinda is co-founder of BombaYo, an intergenerational bomba ensemble. Melinda’s healing journey includes explorations in holistic skincare, plant/herb based remedies, massage therapy and gardening. She is currently training in Meridian Touch Yoga and has received Reiki training.

Natalie Peart is a Trini-Jamaican who writes, teaches yoga and bookkeeps (with heart). She is committed to economic and gender justice and has produced and written content about the "new economy" especially as it relates to people of color. She believes in the healing power of nature, and much like a sunny day, the ocean at night, or a blooming flower, thinks often of how she can be a positive agent to her family, friends and community.  

Natalie Peart is a Trini-Jamaican who writes, teaches yoga and bookkeeps (with heart). She is committed to economic and gender justice and has produced and written content about the "new economy" especially as it relates to people of color. She believes in the healing power of nature, and much like a sunny day, the ocean at night, or a blooming flower, thinks often of how she can be a positive agent to her family, friends and community.  

Myrna Cabán Lezcano is a queer Boricua yerbera (herbalist), certified yoga instructor, educator and former DJ. When she was two years old, she was healed by a curandera. She grew up eating mangos and being doused in Agua Florida. Her elders have inspired her by connecting to Spirit and Healing in their own ways: growing gandules (pigeon peas), raising chickens, making dream-based predictions, and singing spontaneous songs. Myrna graduated from Sacred Vibes Apothecary apprentice program and has completed a year-long yoga & healer training through Shambhala Yoga & Dance as well as the Brooklyn Urban Gardener certificate program at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. When she’s not creating herbal potions and listening to records, she is dreaming up the future of CASITAS.


Myrna Cabán Lezcano is a queer Boricua yerbera (herbalist), certified yoga instructor, educator and former DJ. When she was two years old, she was healed by a curandera. She grew up eating mangos and being doused in Agua Florida. Her elders have inspired her by connecting to Spirit and Healing in their own ways: growing gandules (pigeon peas), raising chickens, making dream-based predictions, and singing spontaneous songs. Myrna graduated from Sacred Vibes Apothecary apprentice program and has completed a year-long yoga & healer training through Shambhala Yoga & Dance as well as the Brooklyn Urban Gardener certificate program at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. When she’s not creating herbal potions and listening to records, she is dreaming up the future of CASITAS.

Natalie is passionate about teaching, dancing, creation, expression, and growing within value-creating communities. She is a collective member of Harriet’s Apothecary, a wildly passionate healing collective based in Brooklyn, NY. It is comprised of Black Cis women, Queer and Trans healers, artist, and healthcare professionals. The collective comes together at the start of the season to host a healing village that is committed to providing accessible healing spaces to Black and Poc folks. There and throughout the community she leads workshops which invites participants to tune in to their inner wisdom, trust their knowing and how to utilize that knowing to create their own tools of wellness.


Natalie is passionate about teaching, dancing, creation, expression, and growing within value-creating communities. She is a collective member of Harriet’s Apothecary, a wildly passionate healing collective based in Brooklyn, NY. It is comprised of Black Cis women, Queer and Trans healers, artist, and healthcare professionals. The collective comes together at the start of the season to host a healing village that is committed to providing accessible healing spaces to Black and Poc folks. There and throughout the community she leads workshops which invites participants to tune in to their inner wisdom, trust their knowing and how to utilize that knowing to create their own tools of wellness.

Padmini has been practicing yoga for over a decade. She is the author of "Social Sutra: Yoga, Health and Identity in New York's Changing Neighborhoods" (Health, Culture and Society Vol. 3 No. 1, 2012) and is working on a book about yoga, gentrification, and social change. 


Padmini has been practicing yoga for over a decade. She is the author of "Social Sutra: Yoga, Health and Identity in New York's Changing Neighborhoods" (Health, Culture and Society Vol. 3 No. 1, 2012) and is working on a book about yoga, gentrification, and social change. 

SKILLSHARES & EVENTS

REGISTER HERE:  http://bit.ly/moonphilosophizing MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE SUPPORT OF CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR NEW YORK CITY

REGISTER HERE:  http://bit.ly/moonphilosophizing

MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE SUPPORT OF CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR NEW YORK CITY

SUNDAY, APRIL 17: 2:00-4:00 PM

SPRING SENSUALITY SKILLSHARE

Spring has arrived and our bodies are waking up from winter’s hibernation. Honor the call of spring by exploring your sensuality and coming alive in the body through the senses. 


What makes you feel filled with creative and erotic power? In this workshop, we will use meditation, herbs, and movement to dream up our most sensual selves and invoke magic to call it into being. Please bring an item or picture that awakens your creative and sensual power for the communal altar.


Jackson Heights, Queens (address provided upon registration)
$5 - 10 sliding scale; no-one turned away for lack of funds

MORE INFO: http://bit.ly/senscasitas

REGISTER: http://bit.ly/senscasitasreg

 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 24:  2:00 - 4:00 PM

WINTER BALANCE: CREATING NOURISHING KITCHEN ALTARS

($5-10 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds)

ESPAÑOL ABAJO]

THIS SKILLSHARE SPACE IS DESIGNED FOR: People of Color or Mixed Race folks who identify as Queer, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Genderqueer and Cisgender Women of Color who fall anywhere on the sexual orientation continuum.

Breakdown of terms above: http://goo.gl/sh4nYD

LOCATION: Near Church Ave & 18th St in Brooklyn. Q train Church Ave stop (address provided upon registration). Elevator in building but entrance not wheelchair accessible.

Learn how to create an altar in your kitchen for intentional nourishment and winter balance!

Winter is traditionally a time when the body can rest from the radiant energies that infuse the warmer seasons. This is a restorative period when you plant the seeds that will grow in spring and summer. Drawing from the wisdom of crystal healing and herbalism, we will learn about the components of a kitchen altar that invoke vital balancing qualities in the food we prepare. You will walk away from this winter workshop with your own herbal packet & kitchen altar recipe.

BRING: AN ITEM THAT REPRESENTS NOURISHMENT FOR A COMMUNAL ALTAR ACTIVITY

REGISTER HERE:  http://bit.ly/kitchenaltars

 

ESTE ESPACIO ES DISEÑADO PARA: Gente de color -- afro, afro latinxs, indigenxs, mestizxs; gente arabe, asiaticx, raza mixta, etc. que tambien se identifican como Gay, Bisexual, Transgenero y Mujeres Cisgénero que se identifican con cualquier orientación sexual.

Para leer mas sobre términos arriba: goo.gl/HIwO9U

Aprende como crear un altar para tu cocina que refleja tus intenciones para nutrición sana y balanceada durante el invierno!

El invierno es la época de descanso y nuestro tiempo para empezar a sembrar semillas que crecerán en la primavera y el verano. Usaremos piedras curativas y plantas medicinales para diseñar un altar que nos inspirará a preparar comidas nutritivas. Al final de este taller tendras una receta para tu propio altar de la cocina y una bolsita de plantas medicinales.

PORFAVOR TRAER ALGO QUE REPRESENTE ALIMIENTO Y SANACIÓN PARA UNA ACTVIDAD COLECTIVA

REGISTRAR PARA TALLER HERE:  http://bit.ly/kitchenaltars

SUNDAY, JUNE 14 @BLACK WOMEN'S BLUEPRINT in collaboration with HARRIET'S APOTHECARY

SURVIVAL TOOLKITS FOR THE NON-PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

IN THIS REFLECTIVE, INTERACTIVE LAB, WE WILL DESIGN AND CRAFT OUR OWN UNIQUE TOOLKITS TO SURVIVE THE WOES AND MICROAGRESSIONS OF NONPROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX SHENANIGANS

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ATTENDED AND SPECIAL SHOUT-OUT TO SISTERS FROM SISTER CIRCLE COLLECTIVE FOR JOINING US. 

2014 skillshares

Vibrant Herbal Juices & Sassy Syrups
Learn to make healing herbal juices that will leave your body wanting thirsting for more. Create delicious herbal syrups that can be used for cooking, baking, mocktails, teas - anything that you may want to sweeten in your life! We will drink juice made with 3 kinds of herbs and walk away with a small jar of herbal syrup! 

Soap Making Demonstration
A beginner's introduction to soap making using the Cold Process Soap method. See how luscious soaps are made. Chat about recipe formulation, learn the difference between fragrances and essentials oils, and discuss safety guidelines & equipment. 
If you'd like to purchase a soap made with the same process, they'll be available for $5.

Lotion Making
Learn how to make all natural lotion using a blender, essential oils, beeswax and coconut oil. Your skin will thank you. Everyone will get a small jar of lotion to take home. $3 to participate. No one turned away for lack of funds. 

Freedom in Meditation
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote that "peace is every step." How do we arrive at a place where our every action is a compassionate meditation? In many ways, the path begins with finding comfort in stillness. This workshop explores meditation as a sanctuary of kindness that we can create for our selves, each and every day. We will re-imagine meditation, explore a few different approaches (or techniques) and do a guided practice. All levels welcome.

Salt Scrubs & Herbal/Flower Face Steams 
Be your own skin potion alchemist by creating scrubs and steam treatments to hydrate your skin, boost circulation, and bring renewal. Your skin is your largest organ, so show it some extra love! 

RECIPES & resources

 

SUGAR FACE SCRUB

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (can replace with fine grain sea salt)
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tpsp lavender flowers
  • 1 tbsp rose petals
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil

Ground lavender and flower petals in a coffee grinder for a more fine powder.  Larger bits are great too!

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Can adjust ingredient amounts to your taste! 

Wet face, gently massage scrub on to face & rinse!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EASY ARUGULA SALAD

Stimulates digestion & nourishes liver and kidneys

  • Bunch of arugula in bowl (about two handfuls in pic below)
  • 1/4 lemon squeezed onto arugula (or more if you desire)
  • 1 TBS of toasted sesame oil on top
  • Thinly sliced or peeled daikon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 pinches of black sesame seeds
  • Toss and serve!

 

 

 

 

GOLDEN MILK:  aids digestion, reduces inflammation & brings warmth

Evening healing through nourishing/medicinal drink. {Lesser known herbal powers in parenthesis}

  • Mix 1/2 tsp powders of cinnamon (kidney tonic), ginger root (circulatory stimulant), cardamom (antispasmodic) + 1/8 tsp nutmeg (sleep aid).
  • Bring 1 cup almond milk to very low heat. 
  • Add mix + 5 cardamom pods. Can also add tumeric (anti-inflammatory). Add less ginger or nutmeg for milder version.
  • Serve! No sweetener needed. 


RESOURCES  

(in progress...email casitaswisdom@gmail.com to have a link added)

COLLECTIVES & HEALING SPACES

Harriet's Apothecary

www.harrietsapothecary.com

Sister Circle Collective

www.sistercirclecollective.org

Black Women's Blueprint

www.blackwomensblueprint.org

Third Root Community Health Center

http://thirdroot.org

POC Healers (thank you Queering Herbalism/AGQ

http://queerherbalism.blogspot.com/p/poc-healers.html

Immigrant Movement International

immigrant-movement.us/wordpress

HERBALISM

Sacred Vibes Apothecary

www.sacredvibeshealing.com

Maria Benedetti

http://www.botanicultura.com

Queering Herbalism

http://queerherbalism.blogspot.com

Ancestral Apothecary

http://www.ancestralapothecary.com/services.php

Shooting Start Botanicals

www.shootingstarbotanicals.org/

MEDITATION & YOGA

New York Insight Meditation Center - POC & Allies Group

https://www.nyimc.org/event/peer-led-poc-allies-meditation-discussion-group-11/

The Interdependence Project

http://theidproject.org

FARMING, COMMUNITY GARDENING & FOOD JUSTICE

Black Urban Growers

http://blackurbangrowers.org

Eco Station NY

https://www.facebook.com/EcoStationNY

East New York Farms

www.eastnewyorkfarms.org/

La Finca del Sur

http://bronxfarmers.blogspot.com

Rise & Root Farm / Karen Washington

www.riseandrootfarm.com/karen-washington/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CASItaswisdom@gmail.com