In Humboldt County, there is 25.1% of People of Color  experiencing cultural starvation. Community members decided to plant seeds of love, faith, and nurturing space for BIPOC individuals and families to feel welcomed, appreciated, and acknowledged. An African Agency was necessary with leaders with cultural knowledge, history, and Afrikan methodologies. Thus, a village for the village was reborn through HC Black Music and Arts Association (HCBMAA).

Since day one, HCBMAA has used African-centered principles, concepts, and values. HC Black Music and Art Association is an Afrikan nonprofit phoenix agency with multicultural programs built around cultural healing and wellness that includes; traditions, art, music, nutrition, activities  gardening and spiritual outlets to youth, individuals, and families of color in Humboldt County rural areas. The people invested in HCBMAA are a Harambee that believes in Ubuntu Sisi Ni Sawa to heal the community to heal the individual. Dr. Kevin Washington (2010), an Afrikan-centered psychologist and author, explained that the concept of Ubuntu is a shared connection to kinfolk… "It means you belong, are accepted, and needed in the community." Thus, the phoenix logo was born with the powerful words of Maya Angelou, "And Still I Rise"

Dr. Kevin Washington (2010)

Afrikan-centered psychologist and author

Explained that

the concept of Ubuntu is a shared connection to kinfolk…

It was that night that a seed was sowed (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) and "Out of the Ashes We Rise" was born into a healing, compassionate space for the People of Color in Humboldt County.

HC Black Music and Arts Association emerged in November 2019 from the collective efforts of People of Color at Taste of Bim, in Eureka, California. The group meeting was recorded and facilitated by Valetta Molofsky, a Master of Social Work graduate at Cal-Poly Humboldt. She wanted to help the movement of Africans and peoples of African descent in the community restore Afrocentric heritage, music culture, and Black Excellence. During community reconciliation, pre-covid, Valetta observed narrative storytelling, gathered anonymous qualitative surveys, and used a restorative approach towards cultural starvation. In 2020, Molofsky coined the word cultural starvation.

Cultural Starvation refers to a lack of culturally identified resources, traditional programs, and reciprocal connections. The impact of cultural starvation impedes personal growth and professional goals. It affects one's identity, ensuring mental health and wellness decline for Black Indigenous People of Color (Molofsky, 2019). Five components that prolong cultural starvation are:

  1. Environmental displacement
  2. Race-based traumatic stress
  3. Western colonial approaches in education settings
  4. Limited cultural competence from service providers
  5. Cultural appropriation from agencies and community members

Molofsky's research noted that as melanics struggle to retain identity and heritages, structural, institutional and environmental barriers still disrupt the methods of Ubuntu recovery.

The need for change agents representing African Black Caribbean (ABC) culture was apparent; thus, the alliance with the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc, a 100-year-old Black organization, was formed. Later, HCBMAA partnered with the Black Mental Health Alliance, the Greater Los Angeles · National Association of Black Social Workers, WIS The Sisterhood, and The Glen Edward Kuumba Literacy Foundation. To continue supporting Black sovereignty, a community circle took place with HCBMAA, Black Humboldt, the Eureka NAACP, and B-Black to promote Black wellness, equity, policy and reform, and cultural connections for POC in Humboldt County. Since 2020, HCBMAA focuses on ABC's Youth of Tomorrow, helping them reach upper mobility in education, leadership, and the workforce.

If you would like to use the information on Our Story, the citation is Molofsky, V. (2020). Cultural Starvation:Out of the Ashes We Rise. HC Black Music and Arts Association.