We are proud to announce the upcoming visit to the USA of Iyalorixá Valnizia de Ayrá (Mãe Val) — senior Candomblé priestess and community activist from Brazil.   

Candomblé is a powerful, poetic and ancestral tradition developed by enslaved Africans and their descendants in Brazil with a focus on rites of healing, honoring the sacred in the natural world (Orishas) and resistance to oppression.  We have been working since 2000 with elders in the Candomblé tradition to share their insights about environmental and racial justice with activists in the United States through exchange programs, lectures/workshops and publications.
Mãe Val is the leader of the Terreiro do Cobre Candomblé temple in Salvador, Bahia, one of Bahia’s oldest and most politically and socially engaged ritual centers; its members are deeply engaged in Afro-Brazilian human rights organizing and are consistently at the forefront of the struggle to demand respect for religions of African descent.

This fall, in honor of our 20th anniversary, we are collaborating with the Caribbean Cultural Center in NYC and Spelman College in Atlanta, to bring this esteemed Afro-Brazilian elder to the US for a series of presentations, workshops and intimate conversations about the role of indigenous spirituality and women’s wisdom in grassroots social justice organizing.  We need your help.

As many of you know, the heart of the work at Veterans of Hope has been to gather and share the resources of spiritually-grounded social justice work across a range of communities, traditions and movements.   In the ominousness of the current political moment, we remain convinced that the histories of struggle, and the cultural, artistic and spiritual traditions of Black and Indigenous people – in our nation and around the world – are sources of tremendous strength and wisdom for our nation as we push ourselves to become a truly healthy, just and welcoming multiracial country.  We need your support!

Please click here to make a donation today to our work via PayPal.

Or, send a check to: The Veterans of Hope Project, P.O. Box 100065, Denver, CO  80250.  Your donation is tax-deductible. 

Your contribution will help support our fall programs and defray international and domestic airfare costs for our guests.  Please join us, in whatever way you can, as we strengthen this bridge between communities working for compassionate social justice in the USA and our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world who are facing similar assaults.  We learn from each other.  We help each other.  And together, with our ancestral resources, we make another world possible. 

Mãe Val will be presenting at the TRADE/ITIONS conference of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in New York on September 23 and at Spelman College on September 28.   For more information, check the Veterans of Hope Project website calendar here.
Warm regards and appreciation,
Rachel and Gloria, Co-Directors

The Veterans of Hope Project

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    • Dear Rachel Harding,
      I was a student in your class about spiritual ancestors and the African diaspora, way back in 1998 or 99. Your teaching awakened in me a desire to know more about what happened to our fellow humans as they were forcibly moved from their homes to various places in the Atlantic seaboard and the Caribbean.

      Recently I discovered a book entitled “The Cooking Gene” by Michael Twitty and everything he writes about reminds me of our time together in your class. I don’t know if you have read his book or not, but it is a deep look into one of the most fascinating aspects of the slavery times and how African foods became enmeshed in American foodways. Michael is a gay, Jewish, young black man and a writer of great talent. I hope you get a chance to read it, if you haven’t already.

      Rev. Kit Ketcham
      Iliff class of 1999

      Elizabeth “Kit” Ketcham
      September 2, 2017, @ 6:49 am Reply
      • Hi Kit, it’s nice to hear from you. I do remember you and I thank you for the recommendation of “The Cooking Gene.” I’ve heard of the book but haven’t read it yet. I’ll get hold of a copy soon.

        Were you around Denver/Iliff in 2008 when the Veterans of Hope Project organized a two-day symposium on the relationship between food, spirituality and social justice? The program was called “The Welcome Table” and featured cooking (and eating!) from African American, Afro-Brazilian, Mexican/Chican@ and Northern New Mexico Pueblo Indian culinary traditions. We also had wonderful local and national artists and activists conducting workshops on the themes of the program. There’s something wonderful about food at the heart of our creative life as human beings..isn’t there?

        Warm regards…


        September 11, 2017, @ 8:45 pm Reply

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