We had the good fortune of connecting with Donika Brown & Myra Hollis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Donika Brown & Myra Hollis, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Donika: I am from Louisville, Kentucky. Growing up in a small upcoming city has really helped me understand the importance of community. My Mother put me and my sister in programs at community centers, so growing up I was always involved in something ( dance teams, step teams, knitting, cooking classes, ect). This really shaped my understanding of being involved in the community and continuing to grow through such programs. This is the very foundation of my work now. I love to feel connected to those around me and I find joy in many times this being a healing modality in itself. Myra: When I think about my roots, community instantly comes to mind. I am from Inglewood,CA before it started to be gentrified. Everyone in my neighborhood always knew each other from the grocery store, to local restaurants to the corner AA Mart. I think the biggest impact my neighborhood has had on me is how I form community and what community really means. Community means supporting others to be themselves and feel comfortable; that is exactly what my community has given me. Throughout my journey I have intentionally created new communities within my bigger community. I am grateful for all opportunities to stay connected to Inglewood because of the support I have always received from the people.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Black Womxn Healing Pod originally began as Black Women’s Healing Circle at San Diego State University in 2016. Africana Studies Professor Dr. Antwanisha Alameen-Shavers, Donika, and a few graduate students were the first to facilitate the circles and eventually Myra became the lead facilitator. As Myra did the work on the campus she envisioned others being able to access these conversations on healing. From there she asked Donika to hop on board and the rest is history. The purpose of Black Womxn Healing Podcast is to create space so that Black Womxn know that they are not alone and there is support for them out there. Our listeners have weekly access to topics that Black Womxn face daily. Our podcast discusses mental wellness in a relatable sense but still informative for continued growth and healing. Prior to the Pandemic we hosted several events, in person, that brought the community together. Since then we have created other creative ways to keep our listeners engaged through affirmations, journal prompts, our healing workbook,ect. Getting to where we are, today, business-wise has been a beautiful journey. In journeys we all know we have our ups and downs. We are continuously figuring out ways to monetize our podcast and a lot of it is trial and errors, especially with our in person portion being put to the side for now. What we have noticed though is consistent content, alongside our outreach to find opportunities for our podcast, has led some great opportunities to find us too. The smooth aspect of our podcast has been having each other. We are both super motivated, work efficiently, and get things done! If you are ready to start and/or continue your healing journey go purchase our healing workbook “Let’s Heal: A Workbook Designed For Black Womxn With Various Modalities” (AVAILABLE ON AMAZON NOW) and be on the lookout for our sweatshirts coming soon.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Donika: If my best friend was visiting my current area of Inglewood, California I would take them to a few different places. Well let’s just say that a lot of food would be eaten lol. I don’t really go by itineraries because it’s too much pressure. But some forsure spots I would want to take them to are Breakfasts at the Serving Spoon, Lunch at Woody’s Bar-B-Que or Country Style-Jamaican, Dinner at Comfort LA. I love the Culver City Steps for hiking and the beautiful views. For happy hours we would hit up Fiesta Martin or The New Townhouse LA. The African-American museum is a must. Maybe Catalina Island for the weekend. Just know we would have a ballll. lol Myra: Being that I am in between LA and San Diego a lot the time would be split between the two. Being outdoors would be key. We would organize the itinerary based on their interest throughout the day. While in LA we would hike at Eaton Canyon and of course to the Hollywood sign, catch views around the city at the Griffith Observatory and on some hills in Malibu. Dinner would be from hidden restaurants such as Szechwan Palace in Marina Del Rey or Lala’s on Melrose. For our time spent in San Diego we would get donuts from Nomad Donuts and eat at Street Car Merchants. When it comes to hikes San Diego has tons of options so we would definitely check that out.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Myra: I would love to shout out FEM Scholar, another group that I am connected to that is rooted in community, sisterhood and love. FEM Scholar has taught me a lot on how I navigate different spaces with different womxn and I am forever thankful for that. Donika: I would love to give a shout out to Denise over at Well-Play Counseling & Wellbeing Center, which is a community based space for women of color to thrive in their self-care journey. Denise has provided me mentorship and the space to be vulnerable during tough times. I beyond appreciate her and the constant encouragement she continues to give me. She has been vital in helping me to create a healthy mindset toward being a Black Womxn wanting ownership.
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