Our goal is not only to document and continue our own traditions and those of the cultures indígena which we come from, it is also to decolonize the advice we give our spirits and bodies. We come from cultures which have existed outside of the current structures and institutions, as such we will work against neoliberal capitalism and modern-day greed so our attitude of giving and generosity will build up local visual and performing artists, vendors, community resources, and human beings. Our endeavor is to deeply connect with the earth: using our harvests as food and medicine, giving thanks, being mindful to what is accessible to different communities and staying committed to collaborating with local small farmers, growers, and vendors.
Arieana and Vanessa started talking about opening up a Botanica because they had similar visions of infusing their traditions and passions in ways which give back to the community and advocate for mental health (mind, body, spirit). During their coursework, both completed their first-year clinical hours at the same school in East Oakland in 2017. While the idea to open a store was born outside the school in early 2018, las homegurls met in the summer of 2015 at a rape crisis counseling training. The universe has continually brought them together, now moving forward with a Botanica and unifying their passions rather than waiting; they felt they should not let modern day slavery of school/ work stop them from doing what they love. When the duo originally spoke they had made a pact to start five years from then if their lives allowed or necessitated.
But here we are and the #thetimeisnow
Botanica.Limpias.Tea.Sacred Tocas y Rocas.
Arieana is a recent graduate at California State University, East Bay in the Master’s of Social Work Program. She graduated UC Berkeley in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Education. She is currently a community based social worker at a non-profit working with families who are immigrants, at risk or already involved with CPS, foster families, and adopted families to decrease system involvement and generational trauma chains and support maintenance of traditions and healthy generational gifts.
She uses the approaches to/ types of therapy Arieana uses include CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), BSFT (Brief Strategic Family Therapy), Person-in-environment, anti-oppression, trauma informed, motivational interviewing, play therapy, and others. She is also a certified Domestic Violence Counselor, Rape Crisis Counselor, and Early Childhood Classroom Aide.
Most importantly she is a writer and artivist, and aspiring creative producer. She is a native of Fresno, Ca and currently resides in Hayward, Ca.
She self-identifies as a bruja curandera, practicing Mexican healing magic and divination passed down from her grandmother. She performs limpias (spiritual cleansings) and egg readings as well as tarot readings and herberia. Her grandma had a botanica in Fresno, Ca near Castillo’s Restuarant before the storefront was closed. She’s been working from home since. We are continuing our families traditions and expanding the vision.
Her visual art and written art is for activism and to bring attention to social issues, local issues, and local visual and performing artists. She hopes her poetry and writing can become her career. The ultimate goal is to see the botanica become a community center and see it grow into locations and bases which honor and are lead by the community members where they exist. She would also like to produce films and documentaries. See more at her personal blog.
VANE (SHE & THEY PRONOUNS)
Vanessa currently lives in Oakland, California and obtained her Master’s in Social Work at CSUEB and is a county social worker. She currently works in the kitchen of Sugar Magnolia Truck making home-made popsicles. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development at CSUN in December 2012. Vanessa is completed the MESA Bay Area Farming Training Program, and redefining her visual art this summer. Vanessa has been involved with BoomShake Music whom creates music for our social justice movements and revolution with street drumming and ancestral traditions.
She is from Sylmar/ San Fernando/ Panorama City, California- a hood butterfly. She is of her two Mexican Grandmothers that both told Vanessa that she reminded them of their mothers; and a Tia (paternal grandmother’s older sister), a medium, that had a home that was known as the “Casa de Milagros” in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, that held miracles, sold school supplies and handmade candies. Vanessa comes from a musical, dancing and bighearted family on her father’s side; and a long lineage of graceful, nature-loving mujeres on her mother’s side. Honoring her culture’s history, she is compelled to study the connection of the Aztec, Mayan, Santeria, dreamwork and the universal energies in relation to connecting with our higher selves.
Vanessa is an artivist and amateur poet that feels compelled to share her love languages. Vanessa hopes that this Botanica will be a start of a collaboration of many mediums that can be safe spaces for communities that aspire to heal from generational traumatization. The ultimate goal is to have a Casa de Milagros Community Center opened with the collaboration of other individuals that want to create a multitude healing space. Milagros is inspired by her aunt in Mexico whose home her community referred to as a place where miracles happened as she sold school supplies and provided resources to people in the area.
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