Kenny Young is a descendant of the Chahta American Indian tribe and the Big Chief of the Black Seminoles Masking Indians, a New Orleans Tradition that dates back over 200 years. Sometimes referred to as the Mardi Gras Indians, the Masking Indians are world famous for their elaborate suits created anew each year through hundreds of hours of hand-sewn beadwork. Big Chief Kenny’s true purpose is to honor the indigenous ancestors and heritage. He is known throughout New Orleans, not only for his beadwork and music, but also his contributions to the community through summer camps, youth-training workshops, and feeding the homeless.
Roderick Sylvas is the residing Big Chief of The Wild Tchoupitoulas Indian tribe. Both of African and Chahta ancestry, the New Orleans Indian tradition dates back over 150 years and brings artistry, culture, and mentorship to the communities of New Orleans and all across the world. First founded in the 1970’s, the Wild Tchoupitoulas recorded one of the first Mardi Gras Indian records, featuring legendary New Orleans musicians the Meters, The Neville Brothers, and produced by Allen Tousaint. Introduced to the Indian culture by his uncle Manuel Washington, Chief Roderick brought back the tribe from its hiatus following Chief Jolly’s Death in the late 70’s, and has been Big Chief for the last 20 years. In 2016, The Wild Tchoupitoulas rejoined the Meters and performed at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, bringing education and culture to many of those who need it most. Through their performances at Jazz Fest, Venues, Elementary Schools, and throughout the streets of New Orleans, The Wild Tchoupitoulas serve as a foundation of community for some of the most hopeful populations in the city. Chief Roderick is currently working on Agricultural projects to empower both his New Orleans and Chahta tribes, as well as provide healthy fresh food access to his community.
International Entertainer, Entrepreneur & Humanitarian, Casme’ Ann Barnes recently relocated back home to Nawlins with a tunnel vision and mission to serve & positively impact her community. At a young age she vowed to utilize every gift to bless those around her and her journey is steadily progressing. Casme’s heart-work has been compared to the likes of Mother Theresa who worked diligently to care for the sick, shut in & at risk. Growing up as the oldest of eight children, Casme` is a natural born leader—with her music, and behind the music. A former Instructor/Mentor for Steve & Marjorie Harvey’s “Girls Who Rule The World”, Usher’s “New Look” Program, YMCA’s Note Program, Saving our Children & Families and 100 Black Men, Casme’ has also acted on the big screen, being featured in Walmart’s “The Receipt” commercial which aired during The Oscars 2017, Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”, TBS’s “House Of Payne”, “Madea’s Big Happy Family” and “The Braxton Family Values”.
Casme has opened for and performed with major artists BoB, Trina Braxton, American Idol’s Kimberly Locke, Keith Urban, Carl Thomas, Aaron Hall, Lil G(Silk) & more.. In 2017 she released her first Christian Single “Break Loose” which earned her a “Grammy Consideration”. CASME’ is a Recent Winner of “Hard Rock Cafe Rising Battle Of The Bands 2017 and “Sing Like A Star” New Orleans 2018.. Casme’ has also released 2 books “Daughter Of The King 101: Handbook, Devotional & Diary” as well as “The Journey To Being Me” a Daily Inspirational Notepad. In 2018 Casme’ launched “Daughter Of The King Academy” in efforts to train, encourage, inspire & motivate young girls to virtuously transition into womanhood. Casme’ Cares Community Outreach was founded in 2008, and has been since branded Love, Hope and Peace through the Arts ,Music & Community Building Events.
Daniel Lev Shkolnik is a writer and Humanist interested in the creation of modern ceremony and a life-affirming spirituality for a secular age. He works to create in-person ceremonies that are open and accessible to all beliefs and use archetypical human experiences such as death, memorial, rites of passage to create sacred space to deepen our humanity and open the possibility of personal transformation.
Dr. Ansel Augustine is the Executive Director of Cultural Diversity and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Washington DC. He is the former Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Previously he served as the Associate Director/Coordinator of Black Youth & Young Adult Ministry for the CYO Youth & Young Adult Ministry Office. He is also on the Faculty of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. Ansel has served on the board of directors for the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association (NCYAMA) and the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM). He began his career in ministry over 20 years ago when he became the youth minister at his home parish of St. Peter Claver in the Treme area of New Orleans, which he helped to rebuild following hurricane Katrina. He presently does consulting and speaking around the country with various Diocese and organizations. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc., the Knights of Columbus, the Knights of Peter Claver, Wild Tchoupitoulas Indians, and is a proud Associate of the Sisters of the Holy Family.
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Erika Salazar, is a Woman, Mother of indigenous Colombian ancestry and custodian of the Healing Altar of the Amazonian Kamentza Nation. She also the founder of Botanica Tradicional, an herbalist center where she offers her knowledge derived from 15 years of experience working with the Plants Medicine as a Traditional Healer (Curandera) and Herbalist (Yerbatera) under the tutelage of her GodFather Traditional Medicine Man Taita Juan Bautista Agreda. She has lived in New Orleans for the past 7 years, where she has spread her ancestral teachings and knowledge of herbalism. She know hopes to bring this wisdom to help re-green the 9th ward with plants native to Louisiana.
Priestess Nana Sula Spirit is a priestess in the West African and Diaspora traditions and presides over the Temple of Light- Ile de Coin Coin in Musician’s Village, New Orleans. She has studied the Ifa/Orisha mysteries of Nigeria since 1985, and was initiated at the Shrine of Impohema in Ghana in 2007. She has used her voice both as an author and singer to educate and bring awareness through these sacred traditions.
Sula Janet holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with distinguished honors in African Studies and English Literature from Rutgers University in New Jersey (1994). She has traveled extensively throughout Africa and the Caribbean and has been a volunteer with Operation Crossroads Africa participating in community development projects on the Continent of Africa since 1991.
Sula is also a Medicine Queen with the Mardi Gras Indian Tribe Mandingo Warriors – the Spirit of Fi-Yi-Yi and a member of the Mardi Gras Indian Queens of the Nation Society. In addition, Sula the Doula has been a Birth Doula since 2006 and was Founding Director of the Na’Zyia Doula Collective (2007-2012) – the first Doula Collective of Color in the State of Louisiana. Sula serves on the Board of Directors of the Congo Square Preservation Society and has been a Board Member since 2009.
Rev. Morgan Guyton is wrapping up six years of leading the NOLA Wesley United Methodist Campus Ministry in the summer of 2020, after which he will be pursuing pastoral counseling. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, he has served in pastoral ministry since 2010. In 2016, Westminster John Knox published his first book How Jesus Saves the World From Us: 12 Antidotes To Toxic Christianity. He shares his poetry and reflections on radical spirituality and politics at www.patheos.com/blogs/
Sarah serves as a counselor intern and Co-Founding Director of Program Development for the Loyola Center for Counseling and Education. Her prior clinical experience includes working in Hawaii as a naturopathic physician’s assistant, creativity-therapist and eco-therapist for patients healing from psychiatric issues, substance abuse, and cancer. Sarah then spent three years in Berlin, Germany working as a life coach, aromatherapist and guide using meditation, autogenic hypnosis, and shamanic drum journeys. Her counseling clinical work utilizes those modalities while focusing mainly on relational psychodynamic psychotherapy for adults with various presenting issues, specializing in those related to personality, identity, and trauma. Sarah holds a B.A. in theatre studies (2006), a B.A. in psychology (2017), and is currently pursuing her M.S. in clinical mental health counseling at Loyola University. She is also the Director of Care for Creatives at Southern Rep Theatre, a program that unites New Orleans’ creative community in a sanctuary space to promote resilience through enriching workshops and engaging mental health self-care events. Her research is centered around psychological wellness through hope and social connection.
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Stephanie Osborne is the CEO of Meditate New Orleans and the producer of Reclaiming the Goddess Within. Stephanie has studied meditation for over 25 years and has Guided Meditation for over 10 years. After studying a combination of meditation traditions and techniques including Mindfulness, Zen Buddhist Meditation, Tibetan Buddhist Meditation, Primordial Sound Meditation, Soka Gakai Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Osborne has created a beautifully blended meditation experience that includes all of her favorite aspects of meditation and it’s traditions.Stephanie’s Mindfulness, Compassion and Gratitude Curriculum is being used at schools, churches, work places and social groups throughout Louisiana. She’s happily married to Terrance Osborne, her husband of 22 years and is the proud mother of three amazing kids: LT, Seth and Sydni.