The H.O.P.E. Initiative
H.O.P.E. is the philanthropic arm of Girlfriendism that is helping ordinary people everyday to be extraordinary through the arts and creative expression.
Our mission is to foster social impact and create social justice by utilizing the arts to promote social justice, healing and empowerment for individuals, families and the community.
EMANCIPATION THROUGH EMBODIMENT EDITION
July 3rd, 2023 marks 175th Emancipation Celebration for the Virgin Islands of the United States. In honor of this historical event, Girlfriendism's philanthropic branch, H.O.P.E. Incorporated (Helping Ordinary People Everyday) has successfully applied for and been awarded a grant to support its newest project: The HOPE Survivor Project: The Art of
Emancipation & Empowerment through Embodiment & Entrepreneurship.
Check Out The Grant Announcement HERE!
Ujima Talks - It's Carnival: Celebrating Culture, Community, and Black Women’s Bodily Autonomy, Watch On Demand
Join Ujima Inc., as we celebrate Black culture and celebration through the Carnival with Dr. Khnuma Simmonds! We'll discuss the wide variety of practices and styles of Carnival that have been inspired by spiritual and cultural elements, as well as discuss how the liberation of Black Women’s bodies has been a long-standing practice within Carnival. We will hold space to recognize the artistic and historical value of the parade.
Thank You for supporting our H.O.P.E. initiative
Reclaiming Faces Survivor Exhinit
What is the Reclaiming Faces Survivor Exhibit?
Inspired by Chalana Brown's 'Claiming Spaces: The African Story of the Sugar Mill' that launched on V.I. Emancipation Day of 2021, Reclaiming Faces is a continuation of anti-oppression, pro-healing and Afro-Caribbean emancipation work that is presented in the form of a photo exhibit curated by and for survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The exhibit launch will also serve as a ceremony of gratitude and reveal of the research 'Caribbean Women, Music & Dance: Self-Expression and Intimate Partner Violence' - a dissertation study by Dr. Khnuma Simmonds that investigated the perceived impact of Caribbean music and dance on the self-expression of Caribbean women in the U.S. Virgin Islands who have recovered from intimate partner violence. Intentionally launching on April 1st during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month in the year 2023 - the 175th Year of Emancipation in the U.S. Virgin Islands - this exhibit will unveil in the spirit of Sankofa (remembering the past to make progress in the future) as survivors share visual stories of healing from the past in hopes of reclaiming faces of empowerment for the future.
Who is hosting the Exhibit?
The exhibit is being hosted by H.O.P.E. Incorporated - a project of the St. Croix Foundation which serves as the philanthropic branch of Girlfriendism International that stands for Helping Ordinary People Everyday through the arts and creative expression, It is co-hosted alongside Chalana Brown and made possible by survivors of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What will survivors be asked to do?
The Reclaiming Faces Survivor Exhibit is a platform for storytelling through photography and written art. In preparation, participating survivors will be invited to share through a private photo shoot and creative writing session with Chalana Brown and Dr. Simmonds in order to capture images and messages of hope and healing. Sessions will be complemented with madras props to magnify the cultural context of V.I. survivors. While survivors may choose to share their experiences with guests, survivors are not required to speak before, during or after the event. This is a non-verbal, visual storytelling experience that highlights the power of art in the art of promoting hope and healing. Mentions in media coverage is the sole decision of each survivor and it is not required for participation. Additionally, every aspect of this exhibit is voluntary; and if at any time a survivor chooses to withdraw consent, HOPE and the exhibit organizers recognize that saying 'no' holds power, deserves respect and as such, will be honored at any point in the development and curation of this exhibit. Your emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual safety are our first priority.
Why is it being hosted in April?
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. Likewise, while Domestic Violence Awareness Month is in October, the exhibit recognizes that most survivors of domestic violence have also experienced some form of sexual violence which is another form of domestic violence. The exhibit will launch on April 1st and run through April 15th.
Where will the exhibit take place?
The exhibit will occur at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Freedom City, Frederiksted.
Who will benefit?
All collaborators in this event are contributing their time and talent for free in honor of survivors and to raise awareness on the cause. There are no sales or profits being made from this exhibit. Survivors will receive a digital copy of the photo and may opt to donate the exhibit photo to HOPE for future survivor exhibits locally and/or abroad.
Thank You for supporting our H.O.P.E. initiative
Spotlight Article by the Virgin Islands Consortium
Mission & Vision
The H.O.P.E. Initiative aims to foster social impact and create social change by utilizing the arts to promote social justice, healing and empowerment for individuals, families and the community.
Our vision is to create a culture of healing in community by cultivating hope through the arts.
H.O.P.E. recognizes every social problem as a personal and collective opportunity to be bold, courageous and resilient. We know that the arts are grounded in creativity and innovation and therefore, have the power to nurture the qualities needed to overcome trauma, foster healing and create a culture that challenges fear because it embraces hope.
WE BELIEVE IN HUMANITY:
● We know the power of kindness.
● We trust that most people are good and will do good when given opportunities to do so.
● We believe in the ability to change for good and for better.
● We believe that we have all that we need to do good in the world.
● We believe that creativity is the medium through which a higher power communicates
with humanity for the greater good of humanity.
● We believe that God is creative and creativity is a gift from God to humankind.
(Creativity is of God) ● We believe that creativity is the key to all things possible.
● We believe that ordinary people do extraordinary things everyday.
● We believe success comes with a balance of mind-fullness and heart-fullness.
H.O.P.E. is central to empowerment work, since without hope, neither individuals nor communities can begin the struggle to change (Freire 1998, Empowerment Theory Research). Like Freire, The H.O.P.E. Initiative - Helping Ordinary People Everyday - seeks to effectuate change in communities by creating safe spaces for people to change themselves through the healing arts and creative expression. H.O.P.E. seeks to offer a light of hope for a fresh change - one which is creative, cultural and relevant. Lead by survivors who are thriving in the arts and immersed in the community, H.O.P.E. will utilize the power of communication arts, performing arts, culinary arts and visual arts to promote healing, spark action and uphold the power of hope.
H.O.P.E. values the arts as one of God’s greatest creations for truth telling, truth seeking and truth bearers. We value the extraordinary contributions of ordinary people who dare to heal through creativity while inspiring others to do the same in the process. We value human touch and human connection and value art as a medium for these ‘ordinary needs’ that make an extraordinary difference for humanity. H.O.P.E. values culture - specifically Virgin Islands and Caribbean culture - and aims to incorporate facets of this identity in our work. Lastly, H.O.P.E. recognizes that trauma is found in all forms of oppression and oppressive events which includes but is not limited to domestic and sexual violence, racism and natural disasters. Our work is all encompassing of these issues and will be addressed through the various fine art forms: communication arts, performing arts, culinary arts and visual arts.