Feb. 4, 2004 – Nicholas C. Cooper-Lewter, author of "Black Grief and Soul Therapy" and "Soul Theology: The Heart of American Culture," will be conducting a free workshop and community lectures on St. Croix on Thursday, Friday and Sunday in celebration of Black History Month.
"No one talks about the multi-generational suffering of the black people," Cooper-Lewter said.
Shaped by early traumatic experiences in his life — the death of his mother and of the aunt who raised him, and witnessing the effects on loved ones of segregation in the American South — Cooper-Lewter searched for a reason for what he believed to be the self-destruction of the black race.
His mission today is to spread a message of hope and healing. He seeks to change the mindset of African-American people who, as he says, "were lied to, told that we as a people must bear a cross."
"I am here to bring a gift — that we are perfect in love," he said.
The schedule of events:
Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — workshops at the Research and Extension Center on the University of the Virgin Islands campus.
Cooper-Lewter will be the featured workshop facilitator and will deliver the day's keynote address at 1:30 p.m. at a workshop on Multigenerational Healing and Soul Therapy. The day's other topics and their presenters are:
9:15 a.m. – Breathing as a Form of Therapy, Ken Afra, St. Croix musician and aritst.
9:45 a.m. – Sacred Sound Healing Therapy, the Rev. Toni C. Gillman, St. Thomas sound and wellness therapist.
10:30 a.m. – Purposeful Vision and Healing Therapy, Neb KaRa Kherishetapheru, co-director of Per Ankh on St. Croix.
12:30 p.m. – Social Therapeutic Strategies and Healing, Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, president of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Columbia, S.C.
3 p.m. – Interactive session on "Where do we go and what do we do from here?"
Friday, 7 to 9:30 p.m. — lecture in the theater of the Melvin Evans Center on the St. Croix campus, with teleconference hookup to the St. Thomas campus in Room B-101 of the Business Administration Building.
The program will include poetry spoken by Sommer Sibilly, Iyame and Diane Hampton, and a discussion and book signing following Cooper-Lewter's lecture on "Let the Healing Begin."
Sunday, 9 to 11 a.m. — worship service at Kingshill Lutheran Church, to be followed by a community celebration and picnic.
Cooper-Lewter will deliver the sermon at the service, which will include special quelbe music by the groups Dimitri Copemann and Friends, and Bully and the Kafooners, along with liturgical dance and rhythms led by Neb KaRa, Chenzira D. Kahina, also co-director of Per Ankh, and Neteru.
The presentations are being conducted in collaboration with the UVI Cooperative Extension Service, the University of South Carolina College of Social Work, Per Ankh Inc., and Kingshill Lutheran Church.
Cooper-Lewter holds a master's degree in social work and a doctorate in psychology. He has studied at the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies in Claremont, Calif. He is a master of the martial arts and founder of Kung Ling, an Asian-African form of Kung Fu.
A licensed counselor and psychotherapist, Cooper-Lewter for the last 20 years has been a pastor, professor, lecturer, workshop facilitator and consultant at universities, seminaries, churches foundations and institutes across the United States. He is currently a visiting professor at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work.
Accompanying Cooper-Lewter and his wife, Stephanie, to the territory are Lolita B. Jones, special projects coordinator at St. Paul's Community Baptist Church of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Khalilah Sami Caicedo, founder of the Maafa Collective of St. Croix.
For workshop registration and more information, call UVI at 692-4090 or Per Ankh at 772-2220. Or send e-mail to Per Ankh.
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