The Ma’at LGBTQIA+ Dream Keeper Initiative has evolved significantly over the past month. As its founder, my vision was to create a space that epitomizes openness, authenticity, and engagement, fostering a sense of safety for all. This involved a conscious effort to decolonize our approach, embracing diverse cultures, traditions, and rituals often overlooked in mental health discussions. My attire is bright, comfortable, and reflective of my body's needs; my hair may appear untamed, my language is deeply personal, and social justice is a constant priority. Drawing from a wide range of life experiences, I've been committed to ensuring genuine, love-filled dialogues with everyone involved in the program.
Since our last update, I've leveraged existing networks to connect with over 50 professionals from various San Francisco schools, community outreach programs, and social work organizations, discussing collaborative opportunities to serve our communities more effectively. These discussions have centered around introducing the HCN and the Ma’at DKI program, while also understanding their current needs. These dialogues are ongoing as we strive to work collaboratively. I've also started individual therapy sessions with five youths, focusing on their strengths to achieve their desires, needs, and goals.
A notable challenge has been the absence of a central hub for referrals within our network. Although many organizations are aware of each other, a clear understanding of how each can contribute to uplifting the Black LGBTQIIA+ community is lacking. This has led to engaging with long-established organizations to enhance communication and referrals, thereby empowering our youth and ensuring clarity in our collective efforts. Looking forward, our strategy includes enhancing communication among partners to better address client needs.
My immediate plan involves presenting at conferences and community gatherings on topics like decolonizing therapy, understanding gender and sexuality, and integrating consent into everyday discussions. This is an invitation for you to join and expand these conversations, helping to represent our community in diverse spaces. Participation in panels and conferences will also showcase the remarkable work of HCN programs, emphasizing the growth and impact of this particular initiative.
I visit a school every Monday, engaging with students on various topics, from casual snack choices to deeper discussions on BIPOC, social injustices, global issues, and LGBTQ+ needs. Their eagerness to engage, ask questions, and seek conversations is a testament to the importance of our presence. I eagerly anticipate the numerous opportunities ahead to connect with communities across various locations.