Personal Statement, Vision, and Mission
At 13 years old, I found my wings as an agent of transformation. I have been an educator since and received my Masters in Special Education in 1994. By the time I was 30 years old, I had been playing African percussion and performing for over 7 years. In 1996, inspired to empower and liberate, I started my own education consulting company, Spirit Drumz, a passion I have been pursuing for 20 years. Integrating career and life skills, I work in schools, colleges, and corporations. Themes of my work include Transformative Leadership, Diversity-Cultural Competencies, Feminist Studies, Percussion, Ethnomusicology of African Diasporic WomenÕs Traditions, and Permaculture-Sustainability. I have served in the capacity as mentor, coach, director, and performer across the US, Europe, Canada, and West Africa, spearheading integrative expressive cultural arts education programs such as: Drum-Talk-Story, Transformative Leadership, FunDRUMentals, and Drum Our Souls Free.
When I founded Spirit Drumz in 1994, I envisioned it serving as an empowerment organization that fosters community involvement and activism. In developing culturally relevant components, which uproot oppressive systems of communication, information, and leadership, engaging personal and collective explorations of cultural awareness, positioning and accountability, I have found that I had to immerse myself first in my own process on unraveling these same systems within myself. As an educator, multi-instrumentalist, and performer I teach, produce, direct, write, arrange unique activation works specially designed to awaken the voices of all peoples to activate evolutionary liberation through what I call Sound Power Affirmations. In so doing, designed and implemented an integrated diversity training program for educational organizational change, specifically geared for teachers, staff, and students from pre-school to college-level, called Transformative Leadership: Exploring Our Diversities (TLEOD). TLEOD framework provides strategies and accessible tools which advances effective leadership, professional development, productivity, and pro-active communication in teams, trainings, and organizations working towards ending all forms of oppression.
I am committed to work that engages issues of cultural identity, consciousness and in transformational healing, which includes global identity, both from a personal and transpersonal perspective Š as an immigrant myself and sustainability and how we as humans might transform ourselves at this time when the earth is in crisis and needs our undivided attention. And through the auspices of Spirit Drumz, the work fosters empowerment and activism via transformative education, drumming, the performance arts and earth-based spirituality.
Our visual-expressive-performance-language arts, drumming, leadership programs and strategic planning support the artistic development of youth and women in schools (K-12), universities, and organizations nationwide! Our goal is to be as conscious, active, and sustainable in all of our efforts and be a change agent in the movement towards global freedom of all kinds.
In Honor of The Underground Drum Sanctuary and School that existed in Oakland, California from 2001 to 2006
In 2001, Spirit Drumz opened its first drum school, The Underground Drum Sanctuary, to celebrate the chivalry of women, youth and men worldwide from many cultures, who mobilized to create a cooperative system of freedom from enslavement that functioned on the margins of mainstream culture. The drum sanctuary as a concept, commemorates and re-awakens the lineage of lost cultures and traditions through the ancient practice of drumming, dancing, chanting, and sound powah affirmations.
The principles of the Drum Sanctuary and School, inspired individuals of all cultures and experiences to affirm, remember and reclaim their voices and lineages, and to envision a liberated world. Spirit Drumz groomed women and girls to carry on the lineage of the African drum as masterful drummers, a rare profession that is now birthing the next wave of healers and leaders in our world. Many of Afia Walking Tree's students are now seasoned drummers, healers, teachers scattered all over the globe. In 2000, Afia Walking Tree released her first solo CD, Soul Affirmationz, a collection of "grass-roots-drumpowahment" rhythms, highlighting her dexterity as a world-class percussionist, vocalist and performer!
Our services to individuals, schools (K - University), organizations, corporations and private groups, have been rated comprehensive, inter-generational, multi-ethnic, culturally appropriate, audience participatory, enlivening and inspiring. Spirit Drumz Components include:
♦ African Diasporic Drum and Dance
♦ School Assemblies
♦ Cross Cultural Training
♦ Arts Education Consultation
♦ Shamonic Drum Journeys & Ceremonies
♦ Life Path Rites & Coaching
♦ Motivational Keynote Addresses
♦ Community Activism
Spirit Drumz associates function in many capacities as Community Leaders, Activists, Facilitators, Consultants, Strategists, Drum Warriors and Amazons, Priestesses, Council, Guardians, and Gatekeepers. Associates are skilled professionals who share Spirit Drumz' vision for a Re-Aligned Harmonic and liberated world. Our creativity, passion, integrity, and diverse make-up is dynamic and accessible to many lifestyles, spiritual paths, skill levels, learning styles and drum medicines.
We offer the best of our leadership to those we serve and represent many communities. We have a long-standing herstory of collaborations with several progressive cultural arts organizations, artistians, sponsors, allies, and benefactors, including the following. Please review our clients page for a more detailed list of our work internationally.
Women Drummers International
Ontario Drum Camp
Northern California Womens Herbal Symposium
California Alliance for Women
Sistahs Steppin in Pride
Oakland Public Conservatory of Music
City of Oakland Cultural Arts Department of Cultural Funding
Krissy Keifer and Dance Brigade
California Institute of Integral Studies
b>Health Adventures Visioning and Education Network