Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blac/k/q venacular Part I: My gift, my calling, has made room for me...

I have a saying, "Blak folk don't do therapy." 

It dont say, "Blaq folk are ignorant or clueless to our needs."          

It dont say, "Blac folk need non-Black folk to come heal           and                       save us." 

I said, "Blak folk don't do therapy," to who's who.

I was asked in return, "Then why become an [art] therapist?" 

I didn't feel like explaining.  

Power and privilege makes one think they deserve an answer from us Black girls                       on demand.

Speak, answer, twerk, cry, be enraged, tell yo story...on demand.   

"I want to see you angry              to get mad.         If I were you, I would be mad." 

Well           in all ways of none            are you me.  

Let me reintroduce myself,  I am a shealer a.k.a.     ARTherapist.

The arts                creative expression is my modality.   

The arts and expression are how Blac/k/q folk have healed throughout the African Diaspora f o r e v e r.                

I aint got no couch for you to come sit on             but i'll help you build one if that's what you need.   

I got some tools. 

I got some destigmaticized and dismantled "therapy "that we can re-imagine.  

I got some of dat good good―I got my gift, my calling that has made room for me. 

I got that calling on my life to co-create healing spaces:
spaces to acknowledge the hurts                             pains                    and the                happy                   joys       
spaces to reflect          
spaces to process          
spaces to heal  
spaces to muddle through the shit          
spaces to cry     
spaces to speak
spaces to be heard         
spaces to ask for counsel                     
spaces to pray
spaces to meditate
spaces to                             sit           stand                     walk                       dance                    run                         shout
spaces to come up with our own plans to heal                 
spaces to dream
spaces to give ourselves permission to...    
spaces NOT to be a monolith
spaces to explain without having to give a backstory      
spaces to dream              
spaces to be affirmed
spaces where we are given information to make informed decisions     
spaces where we can tend to our mental health in the context of our whole, uncompartmentalized selves
spaces to be our layered selves                    
spaces where Blac/k/q is not a disease, tho we may have a dis-ease   
spaces where even if there are severe/complex mental health challenges        we aint just put away    we aint just doped up
spaces where mental health is individual               
and community-centered
spaces where we are the experts            of ourselves     
spaces where we have resources
spaces where we can tell our stories  our way   with our voice         using our talk
spaces to re-imagine our narratives
spaces to restore ourselves
spaces to art in all its many way
spaces where we deconstruct crazy        and simultaneously dismantle systems of oppression
spaces where we have the deserving luxury to act
I am thankful for reading this article by Erin “Mari” Morales-Williams this morning cuz I thought I was flipping my lid because as I look at the jobs being offered I aint interested in them. They are not doing what I think therapy should be doing for people who look like me. I am not my sistas and brothas keeper, I am my sistas and my brothas and I want us to have radical healing spaces where we can heal, act and build simultaneously. This does not mean that I don't want to hone my clinical skills, I do, but it's how and where I do it that I will not compromise.  Also, the Universe will not let me settle for slave labor.  I am free and my resources are abundant, cuz my gift, my calling, has made room for me and God has entered where she already abides.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

all in a name...

had a very interesting convo with someone and my name came up. when she first laid eyes on me, soon after coming out of the womb, my grandmother named me "precious." and i had only been called precious up until my first day of nursery school.  at nursery school is when i become familiar with hearing veronica roll off people's tongues. i think that is why veronica, spelled and said in its entirety, is associated with school, work, activism, learning, seriousness, plans, structure, being on my A-game etc. veronica is the capricorn part of me and precious is the cancer part of me. precious is home and home also exists in public spaces.

along with veronica and precious, i have two other middle names and though they have very special meaning, it's rare that anyone calls me either of them. one of my middle names is a combo of my mom's two best friends names, they have been friends since grammar school.  i think that's wonderful that she has sista-friends who have been in her life that long.

precious is it unprofessional. whatever! 

when i designed my newest business card and website i didnt put precious on it. the only reason i didnt put it on my website is because it would have made the single line across the top into a double line. lol lol lol. on my business card, same reason.  the odd thing to me is that i have had more than one person, especially those who call me precious, ask me about it. people who call me precious have asked my permission to still call me precious as an adult. i'm often taken off-guard when this becomes a discussion point because it's such a mute point for me. and when precious, the movie precious came out some folks got real uneasy about if it was okay to call me precious. often i am shaking my head in disbelief that one has given this so much thought, when it's such a no brainer for me.  with the movie situation, i was offended cuz aint shit wrong with the precious in the movie or real life gabourey sidibe. so no, i was not offended. 

anyway, this name thing has always been an issue for people but it has never been one for me. at my very core, precious who i am. i had to figure out veronica. and now at 39, i feel all lol lol lol.

the interesting thing about veronica is that in the last ten years, people have started calling me variations of veronica.  ten years ago a sista-friend started calling me "vee" and OMG the floodgates opened. lol lol which, she was particular, the two ee's had to be on there. she was even more particular that it is "vee-dub" lol lol lol.

now, friends call me v, v-bo, v's, veronicassss, but my family never called me veronica, not even my aunt who i am named after. lol lol lol lol.

sista space...

For more info visit or email

Monday, July 15, 2013

meet them where they are...

I have so much to say, on this the first "work" day after the Zimmerman verdict, however the thought that is at the forefront of my spirit is a song/chant that I recorded last year. The piece is called "Survivors," and the core of me knows that we are not victims, though we have been victimized. Even in the aftermath of this, and every other injustice African people throughout the African Diaspora have experienced, we are not victims. We have to etch this affirmation into our psyche as we move forward in remembrance of our past but also actively engaging in the living. 

To hear "Survivors" scroll down to close to the bottom of this link

Also, I created this collage last year and I feel that it is even more powerful today. It is entitled: "meet them where they are..."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy bearthday to me...

“” is a series of pictures & collages that I’ve captured/created over the last couple of weeks leading up to my 39th bearthday, July 5, 2013.  This series was inspired by the lyrics on India.Arie’s new cd "Songversation," and my current state of mind/heart. 

Images were captured/created at the following locations:
-My altar

-“Art Therapy in Black” exhibit

-2013 SAIC Commencement

-Walking meditations in my neighborhood

-Oprah’s Life Class live taping

-History Museum

-India.Arie's "Songversation" listening party at Hard Rock Café

-My first Mega-bus ride experience

-Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, Miami University (Body Ecology performance)

Friday, June 21, 2013

She is my sunshine...

(unedited freewrite)

Happy Bearthday Mama and Happy Summer Solstice. I was raised by a Master number 11, Gemini on the cusp of Cancer.  She is my first love, my mama.  The older I get the more I am like her, the more I am like myself. The more I grow in my womonness the more I see her as a womon, not just Mama.

I am grateful for her sacrifices throughout my life. I am grateful for her support. I am grateful for her strength.  I am grateful for her courage.  I am grateful for her vulnerability.  My mama, was my first "woman womon." Though she is, she wud not describe herself as a feminist, womonist, social justice practictioner,"power to the power" typa sista. Nonetheless, I realize that because of how she reared me, those were the movements that I was drawn to early on.

 I am grateful that Mama made sure that I also saw reflections of my Black gurl self in our home. I've told this story before about how I had ALL Black dolls and toys and she'd color the faces brown/black on the wrapping paper and anything else that she cudnot find to reflect me. She combed my natural hair and told me that I was beautiful and so was my natural hair.  She walked me to school hand in hand singing, "you are my sunshine..."

As a iddy-bitty girl, she taught me that I had a voice and that not only did I have my opinion, but I a right to SAY my opinion.  I had to be respectful, but I was never silenced or told "a child stays in a child's place."  She was my first teacher of critical engagement and to not just "drink the kool-aid" cuz someone told me it "taste'ed"  good. 

 She taught me lessons of responsibility and the value of my word. I grew up dancing and in the arts and I wud go to the field house and sign up for all of these classes and mid-way through I'd want to quit, but she wud not let me. She gave me the same speech, "If you make the commitment then you see it thru to the end." I had to finish the quarter and if I did not want to sign up for all the classes the next quarter, I had that option, but I had to finish what I originally signed up for. 

My mama has a huge heart and though she is  fiery, she is the most giving person I know. ( I come from fiery womyn, she and I both get it honest.  lol lol lol.) She taught me love is in the details, and if you're gonna do something, do it right, to the best of your ability and dont be cutting corners. My mama taught me to never let money be the center of my existence. Give it all away if it impedes my happiness. 

But most important, as Ive said before, I am most grateful that she gave me her God. Though we do not practice our beliefs in the same way anymore,  I am grateful for her making God the foundation in our home and in my life. At heart, I am a church girl. I was raised in the Black church and was active in the Black church. That is my foundation from which I move from to this day. I am not talking about doctrine, I am talking about God and spirituality. I am talking about ancestors, angels, and the knowing that there is something far greater than me who loves me. My mama debunked the myth that, God only help those who help themselves. She told me at an early age God shows favor to whomever God chooses. And because of how my mama reared me, she gave me the space to grow my understanding of God as the Divine feminine.

So on this day, the Summer Solstice, I wish my mama a Happy Bearthday. I love you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer Series...


"She be . Black . Arts . Movement . Summer Series" is an economically exclusive 6-week creativity immersion for Black womyn to CREATE artistic expression, ENGAGE public spaces, COLLABORATE with other dynamic sistas, PROMOTE mindfulness and EXPLORE Chicago. Artists and adventure-seekers veronica precious bohanan (UnSilenced Woman Press) and Sandria Washington (The Real Youga) are unapologetically taking sister circles out into the world and it’s going to be F-U-N!

Come discover how to #LiveArtfully.

Honor sacred creativity on six (6) Sundays, beginning July 7, 2013. All locations can be reached by public transportation and are wheelchair accessible. Follow your journey on Twitter at and Facebook at

Cost:  $20 per session, or $100 for all six
Attire:  Wear comfortable “play clothes” and your gym shoes
If you have any questions email
We will meet weekly in the front lobby of each venue.
All supplies will be provided.
Week 1:
July 7
10am - 1pm
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington
Week 2:
July 14
12 - 3pm
DuSable Museum
740 E. 56th Place
Week 3:
July 21
12 - 3pm
Mexican Fine Arts Museum
1852 W. 19th St.
Week 4:
July 28
10am - 1pm
MCA Chicago
220 E. Chicago
Week 5:
August 4
12 - 3pm
Chicago Historical Museum
1601 N. Clark
Week 6:
August 11
10am - 1pm
Next Door
659 W. Diversey Parkway
Your tourguides:
As an art therapist, writer and activist, veronica precious bohanan (vpb) is interested in how life's details intersect with race, class, gender and all aspects of one's environment—as one's mental health does not exist in isolation. veronica is interested in details because they are what make us each unique; they are also the qualities that must be navigated to have healthy relationships and communities. veronica's work as a therapist is grounded in trauma-informed care, cultural competency, and social, healing and reproductive justice. As an artist/writer, she has co-written such stage productions as Aqua Beats and Moon Verses, Brotha…Wassup Sun, and Love Does Not Hurt. Her poetry can be found in Home Girls Make Some Noise!: Hip-hop Feminism Anthology and Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees. Om: My Sistagyrl Lotus is her first collection of prose and poetry. veronica has travelled the U.S. and abroad facilitating girl and womyn-centered workshops. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Living life artfully is Sandria M. Washington’s full-time job. As a writer, philanthropist, activist, wellness ambassador and visionary, Sandria believes in “trying life on and wearing it well” and allowing all of her personalities to have a say  about their preferred medium of expression. As a writer and journalist, Sandria has written and edited for numerous print and online publications, interviewing acclaimed artists such as Sean Paul, Eric Benet, Donna Summer and Grammy award-winning songwriters J. Ivy and Tarrey Torae. Sandria was a featured spoken word artist at Proctor & Gamble’s My Black is Beautiful tour (Chicago) and her poetry has been published in the BAC Street Journal and American Open Mike, Vol. I anthology. Currently, she blogs at My So-Called Writer’s Life on As a yoga instructor trained through Moksha Yoga Center, Sandria combines the science and healing of yoga with the art and healing of creative writing to help people live their most authentic and inspired lives.