On November 5th, 2016, the Attitudinal Healing Connection held its 27th Anniversary Gala, celebrating 27 Years of Building Legacy and honoring friends and family who have exemplified our mission to empower and heal communities to break free from the cycles of violence through art, creativity and education.
It was a truly magical evening that included a banquet dinner, silent auction, our Super Awards Ceremony, and live music and dancing with the King Cosby Band.
Over 200 guests gathered to join us at Scott’s Seafood Pavilion, including the Co-Founders of Attitudinal Healing International, who created the 12 Principles of Attitudinal Healing which have laid the foundation for our work and legacy over the past 27 years .
Through this event, we were able to raise more than $60,000 to support AHC’s programs, including ArtEsteem, the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project, the West Oakland Legacy & Leadership Project. Because of the generous support of our sponsors and community, we will be able to continue our work building vibrant communities and opportunities for our children and families to truly thrive!
Thank you to all of our sponsors and everyone who attended.
Here are some of our highlights from #AHCGala2016!
AHC Co-Founder Kokomon Clottey and Ousseynou Kouyate opened the evening with the beautiful sounds and rhythms of West African Drumming.
Our MC and President, Guillermo Ortiz, offered a beautiful invocation, calling on our ancestors and the spirits of the earth to fill the gala with love and good energy.
“Kokomon and I heard a deep call from the bowels of the earth, to support and uplift our children.”
Our Founders Aeeshah and Kokomon Clottey thanked our sponsors and friends for their generous outpouring of support.
“Art involves research investigation, knowledge creativity, problem solving, skill, concentration vision, creation and more. To make, to create, that is art, and each and every one of us in here is an artistic being.”
AHC Executive Director Amana Harris, originator of the ArtEsteem Program and Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project
Guests were treated to powerful and moving testimonials from some of our program alumni and participants.
Mike Brown was a 7th grade student at Lowell Middle School when he first joined AHC’s ArtEsteem program, during the 2004 / 2005 school year. Mike Brown went on to graduate from Skyline High School in 2010, joined the Navy in 2011, and returned to join us at the gala after his deployment. He spoke at our gala about how his time with ArtEsteem impacted his life as a youth and young adult.
“AHC has had a great impact in my life. They helped me keep me sane, and helped me become the young man that I’m continuing to grow to be. I learned a lot of life skills around work ethic, and how to be a great human being. I am so thankful that all of these people have come into my life and I really appreciate all of you."
Mike Brown - ArtEsteem Alumni
In 2007 we had the opportunity to launch a 12 week leadership program that was conceptualized as a means to support Oakland residents to build their inner transformational tools, skills, service learning and resources in order to create more positive communities, schools and safe neighborhoods for themselves and their families, despite the negative influences and challenging circumstances many of them experience. Anaya Williams, a Neighborhood Leadership Institute graduate, shared how her experience in the program changed her life.
“When I met Ms. Aeeshah I just had a son and I was at my lowest. I had been through so much in life, I was broken, I was tired, I was sad. I went into the leadership program an angel with broken wings, and I walked out a courageous woman. When I graduated from the leadership class, I told Ms. Aeeshah I was going to change the world. And I am.”
Anaya Williams - Neighborhood Leadership Institute Graduate
5 years ago, Kenny Johnson and his family were devastatingly impacted by the violence that affects too many of our youth today. AHC made a commitment to continue healing circles for Kenny; and with the support of his family, community, and others, Kenny has demonstrated miraculous strength and a remarkable ability to forgive. His untethered belief in his ability to heal and overcome tremendous odds has been extraordinary, and we were honored to have Kenny join us and speak about his experience with AHC Healing Circles. His testimonial received a standing ovation.
“The first year when we did the healing circle, I was in the hospital in intensive care. I was on the phone and they called me and sent all their blessings through the phone - it put a big smile on my face and showed me that I still have something to live for.” - Kenny Johnson
Antwan Wilson graced the stage and spoke about what “The Art of Building Legacy,” means for him as the Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District.
"We can choose to say that We have tens of thousands of young people, black white and otherwise, who do not know their history.
We can choose to do something about that. We can choose to say that every young person will get to understand who they are, and where they come from. We can choose to say that we want young people to get an education, that isn’t just about books and science, but a value and understanding of Self, of growing from and with a community, and deciding to be more than what others might say they can or can’t do. In Oakland Unified, that for me is the legacy that i’m proud to say that I play a small part in inspiring.” - Antwan Wilson, OUSD Superintendent
Super S/Hero Awards
During our Super S/Hero Awards ceremony, AHC honored 3 passionate community leaders who have dedicated their work to empowering the lives of Bay Area youth and families .
We honored Carmen Hendon as one of our Super Sheroes because of her remarkable devotion to the children of Oakland. During her thank you speech, she lead gala attendees through the same call-and-response chant she has been using to begin the day with her students for the past 40 years.
“I will do my best. I will do my best. Because, because. I am the best. Don't worry about me. And have a nice day.” - Carmen Hendon, OUSD Educator for 40+ years
Our Super Hero Brahm Ahmadi is a social entrepreneur who works passionately to build healthier inner city communities by creating change within the food system. His work has received national attention for its projects in food enterprise, urban agriculture and nutrition education.
“I’m building a grocery store in West Oakland. But it's a lot more than just a grocery store. I’m building a platform; for dignity, for equity, for justice, for opportunity, to build community, to rebuild the foundation of our culture, to nourish our bodies our hearts and our minds. It is a joy for me to do this work and to be a part of this community. And I am very touched, for this moment of recognition of our work.” - Brahm Ahmadi
We honored Chris Chatmon as one of our Super Heroes because of his commitment to improving life outcomes for all youth and especially African~American males. He has dedicated his career and life's work to creating pathways of success within Oakland and beyond.
“I am because We are. We are because I am. May the circle never be broken. So much is resonating with me being here tonight in so many different levels. I want to acknowledge Kokomon and Aeeshah for being role models to me, and not just community leaders but partners and parents not only to their birth children, but to the children of this community. Im adopted, so people used to tell me that blood is thicker and water and used to say things that sometimes didn't necessarily apply to me. But really I am the investment of so many people in my community that never allowed me to give up. When they saw me with my head down or my heart broken they would pick me up. And the way that I choose to acknowledge that is by giving that right back." - Chris Chatmon, Deputy Chief of Equity at OUSD and Executive Director of African American Male Achievement
Silent Auction & Raffle
A beautiful silent auction full of art and gift baskets donated by individuals and businesses all over the Bay Area helped us raise over $5,000 dollars to support and continue our work.
We also held a raffle with 3 prizes that included, a $300 Gift Certificate to Pave Fine Jewelry, 1 customized deep carved djembe drum from Sageman Drums, and an amazing 5-day stay for two on the beautiful island of Kauai!
Thank you to the following raffle and silent auction donors:
Abel J Guillén, Acote, Adventure Cat Sailing Charters, Amana Harris, Amin Hassan, American Conservatory Theater, Aquarium of the Bay SF, Barefoot Movement, Barnes & Nobel, The Dock, Bladium Sports & Fitness Club, Blue and Gold Fleet, Books, Inc., Boca Nova, California Canoe & Kayak, Children’s Fairyland, Dashe Cellars, Dan Kalb, Diane V. Cirincione-Jampolsky, Ph.D., Exploratorium, Fine Arts Museum of SF, Flax Art & Design, Flying Studios, Forge Pizza, Franne Golde, Golden Gate Fields, Great Western Power Company, House Kombucha, Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., John Ezelle, Keena Romano, Kokomon Clottey, Kimberly Turner, Kingston 11, Lindsey Millikan, Metropolitan Golf Links, New Parkway, NHI Massage School, Numi Tea, Oakland Ice Center, Oaklandish, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland Symphony, Pave Fine Jewelry, Piedmont Springs, Pier 39, Pikesville, Pixar, Rose Sullivan, Richard Cohn & Barbara Gay, Sageman Drums, San Francisco Zoo, SF Exploratorium, SF Museum of Modern Art, Siu Ming Leung Garber, SoleSpace Clothing, Spirits Competition, St. George Spirits, Starline Social Club, The Brow Lounge, The Crucible Oakland, Waterfront Hotel, Will Davis & Paula Powers, Whole Foods, Guillermo Ortiz and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Following the powerful speeches and testimony and raffle prizes, we sang and danced the night away with the King Cosby Band.
Special thank you to our table captains, sponsors and donors that made our Gala possible. We encourage our friends and community to support these organizations and businesses who have answered the call to contribute and join us as we continue to create a safer, more just world for all.