Nancy “Mama Nia” Wilson has been a part of the SpiritHouse family since 2002. Currently serving as the SpiritHouse Executive Director, Mama Nia originally hails from Norwalk Ct., where she has acquired over twenty years of direct care client services, ranging from early childhood education to mentally handicapped adults. She is a practical nurse who has specialized in pediatric and psychiatric nursing, but found a much stronger calling working with teens and their families in drop- out, drug and pregnancy prevention. Mama Nia is a mother, poet, performer, and storyteller, whose works with fellow artists, organizers, encourages community members to assess, express, and address their own needs.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs has been part of the SpiritHouse family since 2004. Alexis is a queer Black trouble maker and a beacon of revolutionary love, who earned her PhD in English, Africana Studies and Women’s Studies from Duke University in 2010 and was named one of the 50 visionaries changing the world by UTNE reader in 2009. And her mom got trained to be a doula! The most important thing for you to know about Alexis is that she believes that transformation is possible and she loves you like a miracle that is happening right now. Alexis is also the founder of BrokenBeautiful Press, instigator of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind educational movement and the co-creator of a queer Black intergenerational experiential archive on wheels called The MobileHomeComing Project.
Born under the Aquarian sun sign, Mya is a daughter, sister, friend, performance artist, and documentarian. As the co-founder of Youth Noise Network (YNN) a youth radio project originally run through the Center for Documentary Studies, Mya understands the need to amplify the, often stifled, voices of today’s youth. First introduced to SpiritHouse through a sixth grade after-school program, Mya reconnected and joined the SpiritHouse family, in 2008, when she was a high school senior. Today she works, with the organization, as a program assistant, whose responsibilities include: curriculum development, workshop facilitation, fund raising and keeping the more “seasoned” organizational members up to date and in line. Mya is also an aspiring pastry chef who recognizes the cultural significance of good food. “People don’t often think about how many great conversation and important decisions are made over meals, I’d love to think that my sweets could be a part of that.”
Ebony Noelle Golden has been a part of the SpiritHouse family since 2005. Hailing from Houston, TX, Ebony Noelle Golden is a cultural worker, artist, Cave Canem Fellow, and creative director of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative. She’s earned degrees from New York University (M.A.-Performance Studies), American University (M.F.A.-Poetry), and Texas A & M University (B.A.-English/Poetry). A 2009 Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee, Ebony has taught, published and performed widely. Her work has been supported by New York University, SpiritHouse, Alternate Roots, We Shall Overcome Fund, Fund for Southern Communities, Soul Mountain Poetry Center, North Carolina Humanities Council, State of the Nation, and Atlantic Center for the Arts. She proudly serves on the executive board for Writer’s Ink, a community poetry collective based in Houston, TX.
Nikki Brown has been part of the SpiritHouse family since 2007. She is an Eastern North Carolina native currently residing in Durham NC. Nikki is a lifelong visual artist with a vested interest in fair play, and a passion for hearing peoples stories. She views her work with creative audio, and photo documentaries as a way to combine these three passions so that they are accessible for her and others who are dealing with visual impairments, as well as to provide an empowering outlet for the storyteller in all of us. Nikki believes her work allows people to see and hear how much we all have in common, and to recognize that we all want, and need some of the same things; to be heard to be held, and to be healed in community. Nikki creates audio pieces designed to provide the same experience that she tries to make visible through her visual art; a scene that fills the senses, answers questions, takes you to another place, and invites you to bear witness.
Heather Lee has been a part of the SpiritHouse family since 2007. Heather Lee is a 26 year young woman who has been dancing and performing since she was a little girl. She specializes in Modern, Hip-hop and African Dance with some experience in salsa, and bellydance. Heather has studied Modern, Contemporary and African Dance at the world renowned American Dance Festival in 2006, 2008 and 2009 and returned as a performer with the African American Dance Ensemble in 2010. Heather has been a principle dancer with Bellan Dance Theatre for 3 years, and recently performed with Mark Dendy on a site specific piece created for the re-opening of the North Carolina Museum of art in Raleigh, NC. She has taught classes for Southern High School, Durham Parks and Recreation, Ninth Street Dance, and Sato’s dance Academy. Currently working towards a degree in dance, Heather has used her passion to engage with her community. “Dance,” she says ”is where I connect with people, when they really hear what I’m trying to say.”