2017 was fire.
Among the Dagara (Burkina Faso/Ghana), the last digit of the calendar year determines the element that governs that year. Dagara elder, Dr. Malidoma Some, has said, “Fire is the rising force that makes us do, see, feel, love, and hate. Fire has great power, both outside of us and within us. On the outside, visible fire drives us to perform our respective duties, to fulfill our life purpose.
But a fire burns also within us. The fire within connects us to our real family—the people we are always drawn to when we see them—and causes them to recognize us.”
The fire drove the Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality (CCSS) this year to accomplish much in pursuit of our purpose. And we want to thank everyone for their love and support.
In 2017, we had a record number of views and visitors on our website sacredsexualities.org. People came to read the thoughtful, provocative commentary of our chief erotics officer, Dr. Herukhuti, and our contributors. Akynos Shekera’s article on the US government raid on the online resource Eros Guide this year was a hot topic. You also found renewed interest in Loraine Hutchins’ article on Maya Angelou from a previous year. Dr. Herukhuti’s article on the award-winning film Moonlight garnered significant attention by those of you who read his insightful and incisive challenge of conventional thinking on the film.
We introduced a new sex and relationship coaching program, Peace + Pleasure+Passion, to help people realize their potential as empowered sexual beings and develop their capacity to love, communicate, and relate authentically. We’ll be organizing another cycle in 2018. For more information, go here.
Community Healing Campaign
This year, we launched the first part of a very important, multi-year community healing campaign related to addressing sexual stigma and shame in Black communities. We chose the stigma and shame associated with sexual fluidity as our first area of focus. For Bisexual Health Awareness Month in March, we organized a social media teach-in on Black bisexual health with contributors to the new book, Black LGBT Health in the United States: The Intersection of Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation.
No Homo | No Hetero
Following the teach-in, we started production on the No Homo | No Hetero project, which examines the tremendous stigma associated with sexual fluidity among Black man and the impact it has on families and communities. In association with Bi Us Entertainment, we began filming a documentary film with a panel discussion and a series of interviews with sexually fluid Black men in the New York City area. Dr. Herukhuti chose to produce the film as his fellowship project at Third World Newsreel.
We secured seed funding from a number of organizations including BiNet USA, Bisexual Organizing Project, National Black Justice Coalition, National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Children, Youth, and Families division of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. We also organized a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $36,o00. Because of the success of the campaign, we decided to keep it alive past the December 20th deadline through Indiegogo’s InDemand service to give more people the opportunity to demonstrate their support of the film by making a contribution. Learn more about the No Homo | No Hetero on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.
Spiritual Pilgrimage to Remains of Kemet
This past summer Dr. Herukhuti made a spiritual pilgrimage to the Arab Republic of Egypt to visit the remains of the ancient civilization of Kemet. While on pilgrimage, he was able to visit and conduct ritual in a number of the spiritual sites, a very important experience for any Kemetic priests and initiates. Dr. Herukhuti reflected on his experience in an article for sacredsexualities.org. The pilgrimage has had a powerful impact upon Dr. Herukhuti and will inform our work in the months and years to come. Stay tuned.
Despite a year full with programming and production responsibilities, Dr. Herukhuti was able to engage audiences live and in living color with his unique combination of African and Western knowledge including in a keynote presentation with Khafre Abif and Dr. Lauren Beach at one-day conference in Chicago hosted by AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
In the Media
Dr. Herukhuti, his work, and CCSS appeared in various media outlets in 2017 including the nationally broadcast morning news program News One Now with Roland Martin, the Windy City Times, The Advocate, In 2017, we added hundreds of new social media followers and made tens of thousands of impressions across our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Sexuality Studies at Goddard College
Dr. Herukhuti along with Drs. Zelaika Hepworth Clarke and Muriel Shockley co-authored a successful proposal for new undergraduate concentration in sexuality studies at Goddard College. Drs. Herukhuti and Clarke will serve as the inaugural core faculty for the concentration, which will accepting students for fall 2018 semester. Dr. Herukhuti celebrated his 10th anniversary of the faculty at Goddard this year as well. You can find out more about the initiative by contacting the Goddard College admissions office toll-free at 1-800-906-8312, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.