For Immediate Release
Practitioners of Traditional African Religions Unite for World Peace and Healing
MIAMI, FL. November 29, 2017. In a world rocked by instability and conflict, an international community of Traditional African spiritual practitioners has united to pray for peace and healing during the first 16 days of December, 2017. While the goals may seem daunting to some, those involved in the initiative believe faith is instrumental in bringing about positive change.
Oloshas United, a not-for-profit religious organization with chapters across North America, has organized a number of ceremonies and celebrations open to the public as a way to build unity and strengthen the community. In addition, the public is invited to participate in online events such as the Dress in White Initiative and live-feed songs and prayers on Facebook.
“With all the difficulties our society is facing, we really need some healing,” explained Leo Negrón (Ewin Tola), Vice President of Oloshas United-Chicago. Orisha worship, which originated in West Africa thousands of years ago and spread to the New World via the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, is based on the belief that human beings can petition the Divine for peace and healing through prayer, song, sacred drumming and dancing, and spiritual cleansings. Community-based ceremonies bring people together to work for the common good, and to strengthen the effectiveness of prayer.
Oloshas United was founded in Miami in 2014 and has chapters throughout the United States. The goal of the organization is to promote solidarity, tradition, and service for the preservation of the global Orisha community. They are also dedicated to educating the public about Traditional African Religions, such as Lucumi (popularly known as Santería), Candomblé, and Traditional Ifa or Isese. While all of these traditions have common roots, they have evolved in different ways as practitioners spread across the Diaspora.
“We are striving for diversity in our event this year and to be more inclusive,” said Faizah Perry (Oggunada Mura), President of Oloshas United-Texas. “We have 2 sets of drummers, one from Nigeria and the other from Matanzas Cuba, in order to showcase the width and breadth of our traditions. This year, we’re all about promoting unity and healing, even within our own ranks.”
Unity isn’t always easy when one religious tradition butts heads with another, but the World Peace and Healing Initiative encourages everyone to put aside differences and pray for the common good. “We come together as one heart and mind to offer prayers of healing for the world,” said Fran Castellanos Ross (Ochun L’ade), Vice President of Oloshas United of Greater New York. “In unity, we find strength and heal the disconnection felt around the world. We heal, gain strength, and promote unity through collective prayer. We are really striving to set an example.”
Ceremonies include ritual drumming ceremonies, known as bembés, wemileres, or guiros, which feature sacred songs and dances to accompany the various drumbeats that honor the Orishas. The drumming ceremonies in December will focus on Obatalá, the orisha associated with peace, healing, wisdom, calm and deliberate actions, justice and fairness for all. People are encouraged to wear white clothing in honor of Obatalá because white is associated with healing and peace. In addition, some regional chapters will offer an Agbán for Babalú Ayé. An agbán is a spiritual cleansing ceremony, and Babalú Ayé is the orisha who heals disease. He is especially associated with infectious diseases like Zika, Dengue, Ebola, Tuberculosis, HIV, and similar conditions that threaten health worldwide.
All the events sponsored by Oloshas United December 1-16 are open the public. “We want to de-mystify what we’re about as a religion,” said Cynthia Duncan (Eñi Achó Iyá), spokesperson for Oloshas United’s Public Relations. “You don’t have to be an orisha worshipper yourself, or belong to a Traditional African spiritual practice, to understand the power of group prayer. We want to unite the community behind a shared goal, and encourage everyone to work toward world peace and healing.”
As Miguel Willie Ramos (Ilarí Obá), President of Oloshas United-Miami, puts it, “We are united in prayer before the Divine because our world needs it now more than ever.”
For more information, contact: email@example.com
Online Activities for the International Orisha Community
Dress in White for World Peace and Healing Campaign
December 1-16, 2017
Join us in prayer every day online, and show unity and support by posting a photo of yourself dressed in white on our Facebook page. Everyone is welcome to participate.
Orin Ati Adura Obatala Ati Oduduwa
Special Go Live Presentation of Orisha worshippers singing and praying for peace and well-being. Everyone is welcome to participate.
LIVE: December 1, 7 – 8 p.m. EST
The presentation will be rebroadcast every day until December 16.
Hosted by Oloshas United Northeast.
Ceremonies held around the United States
Oloshas United – Atlanta, GA
OrisaUp-day Celebration and Marketplace with Special Tribute to Obatala.
December 9, 2 – 8 p.m.
133 Sycamore Street
Songs and Prayers to Obatala & Breakfast
December 10, 11 a.m.
3350 Klondike Road
Oloshas United – Bay Area, CA.
Bembé for Obatalá
December 2, 12 – 6 p.m.
459 Vienna St.
San Francisco, CA
Agbán for Babalú Ayé
December 9, 7 pm.
Bembé for Obatalá
December 10, 2 p.m.
2915 W. 63rd St.
Oloshas United Los Angeles
Wemilere for Obatala
December 9, 2017 1 – 6 p.m.
260 N. Pass Ave.
1 – 6 p.m.
Oloshas United of Greater New York
Orin Ati Adura Obatala Ati Oduduwa (Online Sing Along)
December 1, 7 p.m. EST
Bembé for Obatala
December 10, 1-5 p.m.
630 Commonwealth Ave.
Oloshas United – Miami
Guiro and Agban for Asojano
Wemilere for Obatalá
228 W. 29th St.
Oloshas United – Philadelphia
Feeding & Clothing the Homeless
December 10, 2 – 5 p.m.
“El Campamento”- @ railway underpass in Kensington
Prayer Service for Obatalá
Graterford Prison – @ Chapel
December 10, 9 am
Riverside Correctional Facility for women.
@ Chaplaincy Services room
December 10, 10 am
Oloshas United – Texas
Obatalá Festival and Drumming
December 10, 12:30-4:30 pm.
2600 Gesser Rd. Room 174
Agban for Babaluaye
December 17, 6 p.m.
1315 Oak Meadows St.
Annual Ceremony for World Peace
December 2, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
425 Vaughn Rd.