|I live in between points of the toxic triangle in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, near some of the most beautiful places in the world. The San Francisco Bay, the Redwoods are just over the horizon while also being smack dab in the middle of this triangle. I’m not the only one within this triangle, triangulation abounds. My neighbors smile knowing and not knowing that our place, our home has been labeled toxic. I think our ecological memory is tainted or has not been nurtured enough. I hike the hills of Oakland, walk the shore listening to the trees, the creeks, the ancestors of this place.
I haven’t been here long but am rooted to a lineage of this place after 7 years of moons. However, I am part of an African and Afro-Cuban spiritual lineage that goes way, way back to the 401, the forces of nature known as Ochun the river, Aganyu the volcano, Yemaya the ocean, Ellegua who sits at the crossroads of all triangles. I engage these forces to greet this place and add my essence of light here. One day not long ago, I decided to engage the force of nature known as Olokun governor of ports and the deepest parts of the ocean who survived the Middle Passage and now resides at this one point in West Oakland.
I gathered with a community in prayers to our ancestors beseeching Olokun for healing for ourselves, for the land, the waters and the human and non-human communities that reside in West Oakland. We cleaned ourselves with fruit and grains, we sang traditional songs in a healing ceremony that has been practiced for generations near the toxic waters of Cuba, Nigeria, New Orleans and now West Oakland.
The place where I live is a beautiful place despite the labels and toxins, it is full of depth and beauty and a restorative power that also restores us.