On Saturday, May 21st, HCN hosted a graduation and celebration ceremony for the amazing participants of two of our Dream Keeper Initiative programs, Amani Mental Health Training and Kuamka Community Healing Arts. Program members performed spoken word, danced, sang, and gave powerful speeches about the impact these programs have had on their lives.
The Amani Mental Health Training Program provides new education and employment opportunities in the mental health field for Black/African American city residents and grows the number of mental health professionals trained to meet the urgent need for Afri-centric, culturally responsive mental health and wellness in San Francisco.
The Kuamka Community Healing Arts Program trains and supports Black/African American artists and therapists to facilitate healings arts groups throughout San Francisco. In Swahili, Kuamka means “to awaken,” or “the awakening”. The intention is that each artist will awaken a new healing both within themselves and the community with their unique expression of creativity.
The ceremony kicked off with HCN’s phenomenal Executive Director, Dr. April Y. Silas, giving a beautiful speech on love and acceptance. That heartfelt message set the tone for the entire event and gave participants the opportunity to invite that love into their performances and speeches.
Amani & Kuamka Program Diector, Monique Francene Mack, carefully crafted the event to reflect the people these programs serve, Black San Franciscans. With every speech and performance, the crowd was lifted with inspiration. The message that echoed throughout each speech was the transformative impact these programs are having on our community. Program leaders including Kuamka Expressive Art Mental Health Trainer De’Jhonea Scott, Amani Lead Program Trainer & Educator Quincy Gilliam, and Amani Program Trainer/ Educator Sharne Asfall all spoke out in celebration.
These fierce leaders gifted us a showcase that created and fostered an environment of Black joy, Black truth, and most importantly, Black excellence. Congratulations to our 2022 graduates of the Amani and Kuamka programs! We are so proud of your achievements.
Thank you to our community partners, HCN staff, and vendors for a wonderful event. With community love, we thrive.