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ALG, CO Black Arts Festival to host Circle of Healing

The African Leadership Group’s Breaking Barriers initiative and the Colorado Black Arts Festival will hold a joint Circle of Healing Event this Friday in City Park.

The event, which will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., is free and open to the public, and you can register here.

The Circle of Healing event will feature drum healing by Francis Agyakwa, a poem by Theo Wilson, and an open mic for community members to offer up their own poems.

Breaking Barriers was launched last year by ALG. It grew out of the organization’s Leadership Africa program.  

“Breaking Barriers started as a project but it has turned into a movement,” Papa Dia, ALG’s founder and executive director said during last fall’s Leadership Africa graduation celebration. The idea behind the movement is to create space for dialogue “between the African Immigrant and the African American,” Papa explained.

“There are a lot of issues that never get talked about between those two communities, and especially knowing the fact that on the surface, we have similarities. Knowing we are all black but our journey has been extremely different,” Papa said. “There’s a lot of stereotyping between those two communities and we have never had the opportunity to come together, have a conversation around these issues.”

After conducting a survey of 200 people during Juneteenth and Black Arts Festival celebrations, the Breaking Barriers group convened a forum in mid-September attended by leaders from both communities.

The Circle of Healing event is the latest sign that the Breaking Barriers movement will continue, Papa said. “This is not just a project for our group, not a project for the African Leadership Group, but a project for the entire community, so we can leave something tangible for the next generation,” he said.

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