Sacred Spaces

In this day and time it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the excess of technology, and the limited amount of human interaction within this fast-paced society. Often it is difficult to shake the feeling of loneliness and confusion. With so much going on all the time, especially in a city such as Oakland that regularly experiences a variety of traumas, an opportunity to reflect individually or in a group would be beneficial in more ways than one. It is for this reason The Attitudinal Healing Connection proposes to create an open sacred space for residents of West Oakland and beyond.

In partnership with: Alameda County Health Care Services, Oakland Parks and Recreation, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, the Khadafy Foundation, and California College of the Arts, the Attitudinal Healing Connection aims to adopt McClymonds Park, which is located on the corner of 26th and Linden Streets, and transform the neglected park into a healing space. The park currently is not used for much outside of the occasional pedestrian utilizing its pathway as a shortcut.

The idea to rejuvenate the local park is not a new one. In 2005, forty youth from McClymonds High School created preliminary designs for the park with well known landscape architect Walter Hood. Like many projects in the city, this did not progress past the stage of preliminary designs. The Attitudinal Healing Connection and its community partners aim to avoid this fate by garnering community support for the sacred place at McClymonds Park.

We will do this by engaging the surrounding community by disseminating petitions in the neighborhood around the park as well as distributing surveys. We know that such a transformation cannot happen without a substantial community effort. For this reason, we will present our plan and findings to local West Oakland schools and community groups. McClymonds High School will have a great role in the transforming of the park, as it is the nearest school to the park. The Attitudinal Healing Connection will engage the after school program, art students, parents and alumni, to contribute to the design of this sacred space.

To make this project possible, we applied for a grant in June. Open Spaces Sacred Places: The Healing Power of Nature provides national awards through the TKF Foundation for integrated research and design projects. It is our hope that the foundation recognizes the merit of our proposal to transform McClymonds Park into West Oakland’s very own sacred space. The purpose of the award program is to, “facilitate a deeper human experience through a personal connection to spirit in nature, and to improve individual lives and communities by providing more opportunities to experience nature as a sacred place in the city.” AHC, with the community’s help plans to do just that.

For information about how you can support the Attitudinal Healing Connection in bringing a sacred healing space to West Oakland, contact Amana Harris at amana@ahc-oakland.org or call (510) 653-5533.

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