We are Black indigenous wombmen bodies of culture who have relocated, or families have generational standing within the unceded territories of the Wabanaki confederacy, known currently as Maine, based on choice, reclamation, innovation, freedom, and sovereignty.
Our community advisors are BIPOC and white-bodied community leaders and stakeholders, philanthropists, and business owners, who act in authentic relationships to develop programming and secure funding and resources to sustain the mission, vision, and programming of the Harriet Tubman Movement Coalition.
In May 2019 Keita Whitten Foster, LCSW designed the first Black Wombmen Chilaxe Retreat in Sweden Maine with one co-facilitator, an assistant, and 6 participants. Later that year, she formed The Harriet Tubman Movement Coalition with the help of 2019 participants and community stakeholders.
We are womanists- a collective consciousness governed by embodied wisdom within a matrifocal understanding of the interconnectedness, sanctity, and interdependency of people, environments, and sentient beings.
We center the leadership, voice, and lived experiences of older and younger *Black Indigenous Wombmen.
We are a Maine/New England-based coalition of BIPOC and white-bodied community leaders and
stakeholders, philanthropists, and business owners who work together within authentic relations to fundraise and serve as community advisors.
Initial 2019 Co-FoundersDee Clarke, Keita Whitten Foster, Helen Caddie-Larcenia, Tierra Ross, Isa Beaulieu, Asata Radcliffe -and Rachel Talbot Ross taking the picture- at Rowe Education center with Resmaa Menekem’s Somatic Abolitionist Experience
Healing Pathways are Social Justice
Healing Pathways is social justice rooted in faith, grace, liberation, rest, and healing, which is integral to sustaining action. Our healing pathways are akin to the divine breath of life- like unconditional love, it’s vital to one’s existence- just as the right to unconditionally thrive for *Black Indigenous wombmen. We understand missions and visions are not static. They are continuums- an ebb and flow that shifts and adapts over time according to the will, innovations, and capacities of our partnerships and needs of *Black Indigenous Wombmyn bodies of culture globally.
SEP, LCSW, Kripalu Yoga Instructor Harrison, ME, USA
Thrive Space Holder: Founder, Retreat Curator, Lead Facilitator
Keita Whitten Foster
Today I teach, consult, and coach people and groups how to find and develop their “True North”. I want people to experience liberation within themselves and the fortitude to self-determine their life’s purpose. This may involve holistic acts of healing, self-care, and ritual. In graduate school I resonated with the social justice adage; the goal of social work should be to work oneself out of a job. I like to think the work I am doing today with The Harriet Tubman Movement Coalition provided me with the bridge I needed to shift my perspectives as a therapist to a person who joins with others to witness them through adversities. The pain and confusion of growth represents a continuum of re-envisioning possibilities grounded in love, faith, purpose, and second chances. I am the midwife that sits with you and coaches you through these life transitions.
Originally from NYC, Keita relocated to Maine in 1996. She arrived in Maine with no education, no job, raising two small children, and soon found herself at the Family Shelter in Portland where she began to rebuild her life by becoming involved in community service as an AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer. Keita went on to produce the Mama Africa Show for six years on WMPG Community Radio, joined the Portland NAACP, volunteered with the Abyssinian Restoration Project, wrote for Community Voices (Press Herald), developed songwriting and performed with local musicians, became a day shelter case manager (Preble Street), a Child Protective Social Worker (Maine Dept. of Human Services), Adjunct (Andover and Southern Maine Community College), a rural section 65 BHP and Clinician (Behavioral Health Professional) a project Thrive Portland Public School-based and community mental health clinician, and opened a private practice Portland in 2014. Keita is a Parent as Scholar alumnus with a BSW and MSW from the University of Southern Maine- receiving academic honors, student leader awards, and recognition for her thesis project, Dialogues in Diversity: Multicultural students sharing their realities in Portland Maine, with Black New England and Thinking Matters symposiums.
Today's home is rural Western Southern Maine, where she treasures space in nature, time in her studio, growing food, and her life partnerships as wife, friend, mother, and grandmother. Keita loves bringing people together around food, drink, and dance. She is known for inviting people to dine with her. She is also a space holder for Somatic Liberation Dance circles.
I believe in the total interweaving of mind, body and spirit to promote and maintain optimal healthy homeostasis. My intention is to provide a safe and comfortable space, where I tailor various therapeutic massage modalities and techniques to the specific needs of each person.
Helen identifies as Black, Buddhist, an elder, lesbian, a mother, a grandmother, a wife, and homeowner. Helen is originally from Danbury, CT. Before moving to Georgetown Maine in 1988, she was the proud owner of ASPASIA a guesthouse for women located in Provincetown, MA from 1981 to 1987. In 1989, Helen reinvented her career when she graduated from the Downeast School of Massage in Waldoboro Maine and moved to Washington Maine that same year to build her home. Helen is trained in traditional Swedish Massage, Kinesiotaping, Air extraction Cupping, Deep Tissue and Trigger Point Massage, Hot Stone Therapy, Myofascial Release and Mobilization, and Neuromuscular Therapies. She continues to be a member of the American Massage Therapy Association since 1993. Helen lives sustainably in rural Maine by choice. She built her solar home on 75 acre of land she has continued to steward for 33 years.
Prior to this retreat I'd not had the opportunity to spend more than 24hrs in an intergenerational women of color space. The retreat came around a time I needed that time to be emotionally and mentally held and nurtured. Now having the ability to be on the other side and help facilitate that for other women is an amazing experience.
Athena is a 2022 Chilaxe Retreat participant. Originally from New Jersey, Athena Lynch was surrounded by creative people growing up. Athena has lived in Maine for six years and attended Maine College of Art in Portland. She is a transdisciplinary, socially engaged artist whose work ranges from installation to object-making-centered story-telling and social engagement. Her work references African diasporic perspectives past, present, and future. Contrary to the narrative the media uses to contrast the collective history of slavery and media smear campaigns of black bodies, Athena uses her work to voice that blackness is not a monolithic existence. Her work tells these stories through the lens of remembrance/memory and acknowledging the past to move forward.
Sequoria "Coco" Dickerson
I felt so held, so seen, or nourished. With the many health challenges exacerbated by covid in my community, I've found myself, as an herbalist and medicine woman, often holding space for others. Words can't describe what it meant to connect with Keita and Helen and not only have a space held for me that was intentional to my needs as an alternative wellness practitioner, but also had the energy, sisterhood, and good vibes to match. For some this space will be where they come to heal; others will find clarity, restoration and their second wind. And others still, like me, will find a safe space to retreat to before burnout-a space to do spiritual maintenance work. Black women, we deserve it all. I'm grateful that THTMC has been a resource to me in my own emotional sobriety, and I look forward to supporting in the holding space for others to experience the magic and the wonder of this year's offering. I was honored to be asked to join this year's planning team as a Thrive Space Holder.
Sequoria has traveled to 50 countries studying, working, and praying with her feet. She is the founder of Route 2 Roots Wellness, a radical self-care movement helping people heal from lifestyles of high functioning stress and emotional insobriety through ancestral reclamation and play. She is a certified herbalist, radical self-care & entheogen integration coach, community organizer, and former Director of Prophetic Resistance Boston, a faith-based nonprofit that uses the development of leadership skills to empower citizens to organize their communities and find solutions to the problems they face. After 20 years of struggling with depression, Coco was led to southern Gabon to study the plant medicine Iboga for its profound effects in supporting people with their mental health. A few weeks prior to the start of her training, she heard the Spirit of Iboga medicine reaching out to her. She would later discover her paternal lineage are descends from Gabonese Bwiti practitioners who have been working with iboga for thousands of years- Iboga was calling her home. Sequoria was initiated into the Missoko Bwiti tribe and is now a holder of her ancestral indigenous plant medicine.
The Harriet Tubman Movement Coalition holds space in deep appreciation of the lives of Nicole A. Mokeme & Dee “Diane” Clarke, whose work in Maine championed and enhanced community, BIPOC lives, and the Last Girl First movement. Rest well sisters’. Until we meet again.