Honoring Our Own Divinity
In this week’s blog, Alyssa Traina ’25, Politics major with a double minor in Public Relations and Legal Studies, reflects on Sister Destiny’s visit to their class with storytelling and Jazz. Read more about “H.O.O.D.” as Honoring Our Own Divinity and her wisdom in using radical love to fight for our communities.
Under the bright sun in the Lo Schiavo Lounge, the fourth cohort of the Community Empowerment Activists program, joined by friends, family, and members of past cohorts, were blessed to have Sister Destiny Muhammad visit us.
Sister Destiny is a composer, bandleader, harpist, and educator that describes her genre as “Celtic to Coltrane”, a mix of jazz and storytelling with a cool and eclectic feeling. Along with her curated concerts, she has headlined countless jazz festivals and worked alongside notable jazz masters like Ambrose Akisemuire and Omar Sosa. She is also the Governor Emeritus and Educational Chair Emeritus of the Recording Academy and other organizations.
Most importantly, she is a brilliant artist that combines empowerment with her craft. Our CEA class is rooted in the idea of “The rEVOLution is Love”. We are focused on radical love of ourselves, our communities, the oppressed, and the earth. With an emphasis on building community, we are reimagining a just world. As Sister Destiny shared her wisdom and talent with the harp we grounded in our mission of rEVOLutionary love through her idea of “HOOD”.
“HOOD”, which stands for Honoring Our Own Divinity, is her reclamation of a word that has so often been used to degrade Black people. She has transformed it into a powerful affirmation that calls upon everyone to recognize our inherent value as human beings. At the beginning of our time together she guided us in a meditative experience, asking us to call upon our ancestors while she nurtured a plant using the strength and support she received from her ancestors. Her message was to protect and care for ourselves so we can protect and care for our communities, not often, but daily.
With her captivating and moving music as the soundtrack for the transformative experience that was her visit, she graciously answered our questions. Going deep into her life and experiences she gave us advice on how to protect our spirit and channel our ancestors to guide us in our lives. Her wisdom will stay with us for the remainder of our time on this earth and help us in our endeavors to fight for our communities using radical love.
We are so grateful to have shared space with Sister Destiny and thank her for her time and wisdom. I encourage everyone to check out all of her amazing work so they can learn to HOOD, daily!
Learn more about the Community Empowerment Activists program preparing students as visionary organizers and movement workers here.