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Art, Cultural Resistance & Transformation

Seeds and Soul: Interview with Joana Cruz

Interview with Joana Cruz
Organizer, Seeds & Soul Cultural Exchange and Festival
By Christine Joy Ferrer

On October 24, 2015, in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, Dancing Earth and the Audiopharmacy Prescriptions Collective organized the first ever Seeds & Soul Indigenous Cultural Exchange and Festival at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. The free festival brought together about a thousand people and harnessed the power of the arts and indigenous cultural exchange with Bay Area communities, centered around culture, music, art, food, and relationship-building as tools for social and environmental change. Featured artists and presenters included: Corrina Gould (Indian People Organizing for Change); Leny Strobel (Center for Babaylan Studies); Capoeira Ijexa, Namorados Da Lua, and Bangka Journeys. Joana Cruz is a lead organizer for Seeds & Soul and the operations manager for Audiopharmacy Prescriptions Collective.

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This Little Black Girl

By Kristine Mays

A little Black girl in San Francisco, that’s who I was. I was also a kid with a wild imagination, surrounded by a diverse community of people of all colors and cultures. I soaked it all in like a sponge and to this day, some of the experiences still nourish my soul.

I take great pride in saying I was born and raised here even though the city feels nothing like it did when I was a child. Yet, I find myself happy when I say I am here and from here, born in the middle of such a multifaceted place. The smell of incense, weed, patchouli… smells associated with hippies filled my nostrils before I was old enough to comprehend it all. You see, I was born in 1969 and lived with my family only one block over from Haight and Ashbury. My Mom tells stories of hippy neighbors and concerts in Golden Gate Park. Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were a big part of my soundtrack when I was a child, along with Sly and the Family Stone.

A little Black girl in San Francisco, that’s who I was. Wearing a pressed cotton dress, white ankle socks edged with lace, and patent leather Mary Jane shoes to church with family friends. Being told to sit up straight, be still and behave. Sitting in a Baptist church near Hayes and Octavia on wooden pews, I watched stone-faced older women in black-and-white uniforms (like nurses) giving out paper fans. These stern-looking women wore white gloves and walked with their hands behind their backs. They covered women with squares of burgundy fabric when they “fell out in the spirit”. They carried smelling salts to revive those who passed out.

Geneva Towers

By Mark Johnson

The Geneva Towers Complex was a two-building, 22-story high-rise that sat at the center of the Sunnydale Projects, approximately four blocks from the Cow Palace.

I lived on the sixteenth floor of B Building in a two-bedroom apartment from about 1979 to 1988. At that time, my apartment offered me a beautiful view of the rolling green hills nestled in the backdrop of the Cow Palace and the Geneva Drive-in Theatre. I would crank up my stereo, put on some Rick James music, grab myself a joint, and step out on the balcony to enjoy an often breezy, but sunshiny day.

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Playland

By Charles Curtis Blackwell

About 1954, I was real small and I went with a parent to Playland. We paid and went in. I walked in a hallway. I got on a moving floor with moving walls. I got scared.  It was like something you’d use in a Hollywood movie. I started crying.

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