Community of Peace (COP) Gatherings
Community of Peace (COP) Gatherings featured healing arts (i.e. yoga, meditation, etc.), collaborative community service (neighborhood clean-up, gardening/murals, etc.) & artistic self-expression (dance, theatre, music, poetry, etc.). Free to the public, C.O.P. Gatherings were organized in collaboration with partners & friends, including youth, community, arts, & business organizations. Delicious & nourishing food available, creating a healthy environment for all. 2006 COP Events included: Spring RYS for Life (in partnership with Revel Youth Shine); Summer Soulstice Celebration at Powhatan (in partnership with Sankofa); Autumn Prayer Vigil for the Earth (in partnership with The Circle Org.), and Winter African American Holiday Expo & Marketplace Festival (in partnership with African American Holiday Ass’n). In addition, on the Mayan Day-Out-Of-Time, July 25, OCU staged the Awareness of Oneness Festival & Rally (in partnership with Oneness Movement) in Meridian Hill (Malcolm X) park. Community of Peace also featured monthly Full Moon Gatherings in conjunction with the Full Moon cycle, held at either our Creative Arts & Healing Center, or the OCU Home space located in the North Capitol Corridor of Washington, DC. These gatherings attracted soul-journers since 2004, a regular congregation of the OCU family of healing artists, spiritual warriors, & peace workers.
Awareness of Oneness Festival &Rally (AO) was OCU’s annual “day-out-of-time” public celebration of the ethnic, cultural & spiritual diversity within our global community. Through live music, art, dance, cuisine & other forms of creative expression, AO honors the planet & ourselves, placing special emphasis on enlightening youth about the world we live in—and on. AO was a public call for civic, social, political, environmental, religious, spiritual, & cultural organizations to take collective responsibility for our shared condition. AO represented a precious occasion for awakening to the reality of the inter-connectedness of all life, and to return to balanced living in which we, humanity, respect ourselves & Earth.
African American Holiday Expo & Marketplace Festival
The “Holiday Expo” was the flagship activity of the African American Holiday Association (AAHA), founded by Ayo Handy-Kendi in 1981 and dedicated to educating communities about the holiday of Kwanzaa, how to regain the spirituality of Christmas and how holidays impact culture. In 2004 AAHA invited OCU to assume stewardship of the Holiday Expo, which was held annually at the Reeves Center in D.C.’s historic U Street district. A major focus of the Marketplace Festival was providing youth with a hands-on learning & earning experience. AAHA’s Youth Entrepreneur Project offered opportunities for youth to develop skills exhibiting products, selling crafts and providing services as vendors, while gaining exposure to holistic health, spirituality & conscientious commerce, and increased awareness of their heritage, which nurtures self-esteem and expands their possibilities.