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The Space of Us: Reflections on Angela’s Pulse Visioning Retreats

This season we’ve embarked on a series of Angela’s Pulse Visioning Retreats to discuss Engagement and Collaborative Process, Fellowship and Leadership. We asked Joya Powell, Angela’s Pulse Core Collaborator and 2016 – 2017 Dancing While Black Fellow, to share her reflection on these gatherings.

The Space of Us by Joya Powell

A month or so ago, Angela’s Pulse held two visioning gatherings as a way to check in with our core/values and collectively strategize on a future woven with dreams. I was very fortunate to be present for both convenings, as vessel and water, as witness and testifier.

What nourishes you? What are you dreaming of?

The past, the present, the future simultaneously communing in one space

The space of us

For we are space, that which we hold for each other, ourselves and those we have yet to meet

When we met, the first time as ground tillers, folks from various moments and intersections of Angela’s Pulse’s journey to dig some ish up, to see what serves the soil. The second time we were a room of seed planters, 3 generations of Dancing While Black Fellows, ready to fill the earth with stars.

What nourishes you? What are you dreaming of?

Collective cosmos

Gravitational connection

Syncretic rhythms

Shatter obstacles of monochromatic tethers

We took these moments to reflect on our personal needs and aspirations. Breath intended to replenish the roots. Asked what nourishes you, and what are you dreaming of? Where and when are we ever asked about our personal dreams in order to better serve the collective? A revolutionary act of tending to the future.

Gems from day 1:

Those in the room: MK Abadoo, A. Nia Austin-Edwards, Adelaide Matthew Dicken, Oceana James, Jessica Lee, Paloma McGregor, Joya Powell, Erica Saucedo

  • Flying as a bird, soaring like a falcon, perching on top a table | a mosaic of magical colors
  • Shared practice
  • Reparation rate – next time there’s a budget in question, this is the rate we start negotiations at
  • “Crying is just washing” – Nia
  • Defining language around collaboration (intertwined connections not knowing where one starts and the other ends), engagement (circle made of arcs, zig zags, dots and rays), community (cellular make up of overlapping circles)
  • Embodying our own and each other’s interpretations
  • Soundscape by MK
  • Where there can be laughter and tears, a catharsis, a bath of sound and water
  • Let’s go get ’em!
  • And food

What? What!

We are divine  

Both the cards on the table and in the deck

Gems from day 2:

Those in the “room”: A. Nia Austin-Edwards, Jaime Dzandu, Kayla Hamilton, Orlando Hunter, Paloma McGregor, Sydnie Mosley, Alethea Pace, Joya Powell, Katrina Reid, Candace Thompson-Zachery

  • Reinforcing our commitment to each other and the organization which has brought us together
  • Accountability of our core values
  • Core values as a lived experiences
  • “Creativity as visioning” Paloma
  • Moved through our process of understanding fellowship: what does it look like when we improvise in pairs?
  • We are living our legacy, how are we showing up for those that will come after us? What does our legacy look like?
  • There is Value in how we do what we do, our Africanist cellular understanding of time, process, and transference of knowledge, that which does not fit a limited western lexicon, like saudade, ain’t no word in this germanic language to define our magic
  • And food

Nourish….! Dream….!

Both days we left colorful diagrams in our wake, giant representations of ways to root and grow. We dispersed and went our separate ways knowing we are linked through the echo of our cosmic connection, the centripetal force of Angela’s Pulse.




To see a world anew

Beyond the what is, to greet the will be

Photo Credits: 1) January’s retreat attendees, by Jessica Lee 2) February’s retreat attendees, by Kayla Hamilton 3) Reflections on post-it notes, by Paloma McGregor 4) Paloma McGregor with bird at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, by Joya Powell 5) Dancing While Black Fellows/February’s retreat attendees in motion at Spaceworks, by Nia Austin-Edwards

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