Mission: Organic Oneness is a grassroots, social justice organization that co-creates with communities to mobilize systemic change, healing, and wellness, foregrounding Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
Location: Chicago, Minneapolis, Champaign-Urbana
In 2021, Organic Oneness served approximately 5,000 individuals in Chicago, Minneapolis and Urbana-Champaign.
Through the community building process of learning, planning, acting, and reflecting with like-minded individuals, community partners, and institutional representatives, they utilize the framework of consultation to find truth and solutions on how to build a more unified and just society. They co-create and convene annual anchor programs, such as the King Day of Service: Bronzeville, Be the Healing Conference, and the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Bike Ride. As a result of connections made through these anchor events, additional ripple events happen over the course of the year.
In Minneapolis, they have a food pantry and youth programming in the immediate vicinity of George Floyd Square to help repair, rebuild, and transform the area. At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, they promote their mission and build capacity on campus through internships and a registered student organization.
Mission: The preservation of Lakota culture, language and the healing of its people. Location: Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota programs. They are committed to the fundamental values of oneness, equality, justice, and service to humanity, and believe that education is the key to tapping into the moral and intellectual potential of each individual.
Oceti Wakan, meaning Sacred Fireplace in the Lakota language, was founded by Pete Catches and his son, Peter Catches, 37th and 38th generation medicine men, respectively.
Their vision was to reacquaint Lakota children and youth throughout the region with their true spiritual nature, their language, and their culture. They saw that overcoming the effects of colonization and boarding schools could be done through education, specifically through the traditional concept of the medicine wheel. Each side of the wheel corresponds to an aspect of life: the spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental.
The Life Skills for the Young Lakota program is currently used in 11 schools throughout Pine Ridge, impacting over 3,000 students. For the coming year, Life Skills for Teens will be rolled out in high schools. A Life Skills for Native Americans and one for incarcerated Native people is ready to debut this year as well. Oceti Wakan is also planning to expand on the wellness center that they built recently, offering a place for prayer, education, and mentoring.
New Era Creative Space
The mission of New Era Creative Space is to inspire stronger communities through creative programs. They are committed to the fundamental values of oneness, equality, justice, and service to humanity, and believe that education is the key to tapping into the moral and intellectual potential of each individual.
Location: Peekskill, New York
In the first quarter of 2021, they were still meeting virtually in response to COVID-19 protocols. Though challenging, they managed to produce their first virtual theatrical production “Melanin Magic” that attracted over 200 viewers and received rave reviews from viewers and donors. In summer 2021, they did an in person production on Juneteenth at the Peeksill High School.
They brought virtual art and STEM programs to the Peekskill City School District and were invited to provide programs at The Children’s Village, an organization in Dobbs Ferry that works in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children.
In the spring, with the COVID-19 landscape opening up, they were blessed and thankful to offer in-person classes again. By the end of the summer, they had served over 300 students. Their programs included art, drama, dance, nature programs and introduced documentary filmmaking. This momentum from the summer continued into the fall with NECS programs running in the Peekskill City School District, two local churches, and the Be First Boxing Gym.