What drew you to ministry and spiritual work?
My call to Unitarian Universalist ministry came after being a member of the denomination for over 20 years.
I was not raised in a very religious family - my mother was raised Baptist, but no longer adhered to the faith, and my father, I now know, followed a Pagan path. I was unable to talk to him about it because we lost him to a stroke when I was 9 years old.
I found Unitarian Universalism after leaving a more restrictive denomination when my family and I were invited to Kwanzaa services. We found an open and affirming, loving and accepting group of people who lived a set of principles I could agree with - the first being a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every human being.
I became interested in Spiritual Direction after searching for something that could bring me closer to my ancestral origins. After losing my father when I was quite young, I never had the chance to ask him about his spiritual practice. I did have a chance to discuss spirituality and religion with my mother, and she impressed upon me that she was not going to dictate the spiritual path I would take - she wanted me to explore, to learn, and to choose my own path.
After doing some research into my family's ancestry, I discovered through DNA testing that I am descended (on my mother's side) from the Fula / Fulani people of Guinea-Bissau, on the continent of Africa. I've also discovered a connection to Hoodoo and Rootwork through chasing my family tree into Virginia, Louisiana and Missippi.
That all now helps to inform and shape my path as I continue my studies in Ministry with the ultimate goal of Ordination. I'm pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at the Starr King School for the Ministry, and expanding my knowledge of ancestral practices at the same time, and learning how to help others in their own journey.
I wanted to empower women to live a Spiritually Authentic life
Far too many times, I've heard conflicting and challenging messages about women and the role they play in modern society.
I spent a number of years working as an Image Consultant, helping women overcome the burdens of thinking they were never ENOUGH - we are told we're too tall, too short, too fat, too thin...on and on, and we're never ENOUGH.
The spiritual and psychic weight of that message of non-acceptance weighed heavily on me and I know it also weighed heavily on my "sisters." I'm determined to turn that around and empower women to choose and implement a spiritual foundation that uplifts and invigorates their souls while building healthy self-esteem and unshakeable self-confidence.
Who Inspires You?
I'm inspired by strong, beautiful, intelligent and FABULOUS women who live unapologetic lives that are passionately authentic - like author, actress, comedienne, social media consultant and video blogger Franchesca (Chescaleigh / Chescalocs) Ramsey.
Who Inspires You?
I'm also inspired by legendary women of the stage and screen, who fought (and continue to fight) through prejudice and bias, through an industry that does not always celebrate their beauty or reality, and that continues to perpetrate unrealistic portrayals of women as objects to be desired, acquired and owned, but not as brilliant, powerful individuals with important things to say and the knowledge and drive to make things happen.
Who Inspires You?
I'm inspired by many of my fellow UU ministers - men and women who lead with their hearts, use their brilliance to uplift and help others, and who represent the best of what our faith has to offer while keeping it REAL and also helping work through the struggles and challenges of a heart-centered faith.
One of my newer, yet most impactful and valuable resources is my BLUU Family. Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (https://blacklivesuu.com) provides spiritually sound, culturally relevant content that is affirming, inclusive, action-oriented, and grounded in the lived experiences and diverse prespectives of Black Unitarian Universalists. I am proud to count myself among the BLUU Beloveds - seeking to further connect, build community and develop leadership within the work of BLUU and their connection to broader liberation movements.