THE BLOG
10/03/2014 02:29 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Numinous Market -- Women of Color Creating a Healing Space in Pittsburgh

2014-10-02-JOy.jpg

A friend in Pittsburgh has put together the first Numinous Magic Market and Healing Workshops - an event created by people of color for people of color, featuring an array of workshops and vendors focused on a healing space. The founder of Numinous Market, Joy KMT, has inspired me and supported me - then a complete stranger - during a difficult experience in my life. Her support resonated with me on a deeper level than I anticipated. I was interested in how her vision would translate into this type of event so she agreed to talk with me and answer some questions.

I think her comments, while focused on this event and Pittsburgh, have something to offer all of us, especially white women who are trying to be allies to women of color. I asked her that specific question, too. And I decided to take the $50 I had won at a gay bingo event the previous week and invest it into Joy's market as a concrete tool to share some of the privilege I have with the women creating this space. That sounds rather stilted, I fear, but I'm trying to be genuine with how my thought process unfolded - my comfort isn't the issue at all. But it is an unwillingness to experience discomfort that can get in the way of experiencing a magical space and support those who create it.

Sue Kerr: What is the common thread of the workshops and market?

Joy KMT: The common thread woven through these workshops is the ability for People of Color to create healing spaces for themselves. It is the idea that those that are experiencing marginalization not only know and understand the healing that needs to take place but are also using ancestral healing strategies, dynamically creating healing strategies in response to the conditions that we face now, and sharing those strategies with other people in a way that creates a possibility for liberation. As Audre Lorde said, the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. This is a space for us to develop our own tools to dismantle the house of oppression in which we find our bodies, spirits and minds.

Kerr: What vendors will be there?

KMT: There will be herbal medicines, card readings, reiki and rose essence healing, massage and waxing, herbal teas and healing foods prepared intentionally, gemstone jewelry, handmade jewelry, handcrafted items and handmade art, body butters, natural cleaning products, Caribbean food and more. All of the vendors are people of color.

Kerr: How does centralizing the spiritual, creative and healing genius of people of color create magic? Why is it important to talk about magic?

KMT: Magic is the revelation of possibilities and truths that were previously unseen. Any shift or transformation in the status quo is magic, and magic is what we need in order to make this world one in which all people can thrive.

Kerr: Why is this space important for Pittsburgh?

KMT: This space is important for Pittsburgh because while Pittsburgh has garnered attention for being America's most livable city, the conditions of people of color, particularly black people are far from the most livable. This city continually turns a blind eye to the needs and desires of people of color, destroying communities through gentrification and ignoring the institutional racism that is a barrier to thriving communities of color. Numinous Market is an intentionally created space that centers the experience and healing needs of people of color.

Kerr: I'm particularly drawn to the concept of survivor yoga, both as a tool of healing and from the perspective of yoga being culturally appropriated. Is it fair to approach this workshop as an opportunity to practice yoga in a more culturally respectful manner? Is there something divine in the act of pushing back against cultural appropriation?

KMT: There is something divine, in pushing back against cultural appropriation. By divine, I mean more fully human. Some people take divinity to be this exceptional thing. Really, we are all manifestations of divine intent. Oppression, white supremacy, misogyny, patriarchy, rob people of their ability to be fully human. Cultural appropriation erodes our ability to connect with other humans by treating other people's lives and realities like costumes. Connection is essential to the revelation of divinity and humanity. I don't believe that when you divorce yoga from its roots that you are actually practicing yoga at all. So I don't think that this is a chance to practice yoga in a more culturally respectful manner, I think this is a chance to practice yoga. Roopa Singh is the founder of SAAPYA and offers a more in-depth perspective. You can find her at Saapya

Kerr: How are queer people of color represented in your planning and invited to participate?

KMT: Well, I am the founder of the Tabernacle of Immaculate Perception, which is the overarching organization that hosts Numinous Market. I am also the founder of Numinous Market, and I'm queer. If I had to estimate, about 80-90% of the people involved in vending or facilitating workshops are also queer people of color. Numinous isn't only for queer people, but I definitely centralize queer people of color, especially queer black women in my organizing and outreach efforts.

Kerr: How can allies to women of color support this event and the artists participating? And going forward?

KMT: People can come out to the event and bring a friend this Sunday, October 5th from 12-8:30 P.M. at 5430 Penn Ave at the old Quiet Storm. It's a pay-what-you-can event, and donations at the door are appreciated. Also, most of the workshops are free or by donation, so please feel free to support the facilitators that are so generously giving of their time and expertise. The vendors will have amazing product and service offerings, so come prepared to indulge in nourishing your body mind and spirit. If you are unable to make it, and you would like to support the continuous efforts of the Tabernacle of Immaculate Perception and events like the Numinous Market, you can donate at Patreon.com

Thank you, Joy.

Find out more about Numinous Market via Facebook, including lots of photos of the makers and artists behind the workshops and vendors.