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Talk / Lecture

Community Conversations: Jeanette Charles

May 22, 2024 | 12:30PM - 2:00PM

IN PERSON

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This conversation will focus on the historical relationship between African derived traditions and political struggles for Black liberation. Through the lens of Pan-Africanism as well as African and Afro-Diasporic cosmologies, this program will examine how spiritual traditions have engaged in communal fights for systemic change and movement building. We will consider historical examples that embody this dialectic synergy and how these lineages continue to this day. How does this historical relationship shape and influence our present and future campaigns for social justice and liberation amidst political hardships, climate change, and economic instability? To understand this question, this conversation will lean into three primary Ifá concepts. The first is Egbe, a term that speaks to groups and communities of people whose spiritual and personal destinies are deeply interwoven. The second examines the power of studying the Odu Ifá, sacred stories and lessons captured in the spoken word of Yorùbá traditionalism with equivalents in its diasporic descendants. And, the third concept uplifts and centers how Ìyánífá, women who serve their communities and train in the ancestral tradition, are at the center of political victories and spiritual grounding.

Bio

Jeanette Charles-Márquez (she/her) is a proud daughter of the Haitian Diaspora and German working class, born and raised in Los Angeles. She is a historian pursuing her PhD in the African Diaspora of Latin America and the Caribbean at UCLA where she also received her MA. She was most recently awarded the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad to Trinindad and Tobago as well as Nigeria for 2023-2024. Her dissertation research focuses on the contemporary history of Afro-Venezuelan grassroots organizing and its relationship to African-derived religious traditions. In addition to her scholarship, Jeanette is also a long-time international solidarity activist, language justice interpreter, independent journalist (for print, radio, and television), and multimedia producer. Jeanette is also certified life coach and the founder of Ìyá Global, an offering that operates at the crossroads of storytelling, social justice activism, African spirituality, and international bridge building.

Community Conversations are co-curated with artist and abolitionist Patrisse Cullors, whose installation forms part of the exhibition The House Was Too Small. These dialogues bring together community partners, leaders, artists, and Ifa practitioners to explore and celebrate the orisha divinities who play a vital part in our everyday lives.

This program is funded by the Nissan Foundation and co-sponsored by the Center for Religion and Cities at Morgan State University, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.

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