Nancy “Mama Nia” Wilson
Nancy “Mama Nia” Wilson has been a part of the SpiritHouse family since 2002. Nia is the daughter of Ronald and Elmira and the mother of Heather and Paul. Raised on Connecticut concrete and sand, Black soul and Campbell's pork and beans, Nia is a gifted healer, and cultural alchemist. She is a practical nurse who 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. Nia, has been building community, in Durham North Carolina, since, embracing it as home, in 1998. She currently serves as the Co-Director of SpiritHouse working with fellow artist, cultural workers and community members to assess, express and address their own needs.
Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs
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 junior. Today she works, as the organization's Co-Director. Her responsibilities include: curriculum development, workshop facilitation, fund raising and keeping the more “seasoned” organizational members up to date and in line.
Ebony Noelle Golden
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 people’s 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 singer and dancer who has been performing since she was a little girl. She specializes in Modern, Hip-hop and African Dance. 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 principal dancer with Bellan Dance Theatre, 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. “Dance,” she says “is where I connect with people, when they really hear what I’m trying to say.”
Tia Hall is a native of Washington, D.C. and graduate of Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. She joined the SpiritHouse family in 2013. She is known as daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. Tia works from an ideology that all people have assets and strengths that contribute to the wholeness and overall health of their community. She has a strong commitment to always give back and honor those that came before her. Tia’s 25 year work history encompasses bank management, graphic design manufacturer business owner/ operator, university researcher/ developer, community outreach organizer and Reiki healer. Tia leads the Harm Free Zone Documentary and Book Study Series for SpiritHouse.
Omisade has been a part of SpiritHouse since its founding in 1999. She is a native of New Bern, NC and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For the past 20 years, she has actively worked around a variety of social justice issues including School to Prison Pipeline, Reproductive Justice, Community Economic Development, Policing/Prisons and Domestic Violence. Her areas of expertise include organizational capacity building, training and facilitation, leadership development, philanthropy and governance. Omisade believes in the interconnectedness of spirituality and activism and the mighty and righteous work of indigenous leaders tethered to local communities and small organizations.
Marcella is a Liberian American trouble maker, story teller, health educator, cultural organizer, doula & Reproductive Justice advocate who likes art, fashion, plantains, and tearing down white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. She came to Spirithouse as a member of Youth Noise Network when she was 14 where she was able to use the support of her community to center her passion for black women and public health. After graduating from East Carolina University with a BS in Public Health in 2013, Marcella worked for various NC community organizing efforts to uplift communities through food justice, voter empowerment, and reproductive justice. Her work with Spirithouse centers health education, self care, and community wellness through anti racist and feminist lenses.
Andrea Hudson is a native of Queens, New York. She has been a part of the SpiritHouse family since 2015. Her passion lies in advocating for equality and fairness for juveniles in the courts, prisons, and in the community. Andrea has expertise in administrative support, fundraising and public speaking. She plays an active role as a community organizer in the local Durham community. She currently serves as one of the Co-Coordinators for the Participatory Defense program where she advocates for fair sentencing of juveniles in Durham.
Paul Newman Jr.
Paul A. Newman Jr.first joined the SpiritHouse tribe as a youth organizer and media producer with SpiritHouse's Youth Noise Network. For more than five years, Paul worked with other teens in Durham to produce audio and video documentaries that explored issues impacting their lives. Together they traveled and presented their work at youth convenings across the country. Paul also used his skills as a percussionist to produce music for the Youth Noise Network Cable TV show.
Today, as a young adult, Paul has returned to work with SpiritHouse as a part of the communications and media production team.
Praycious Wilson-Gay first joined the SpiritHouse tribe as a youth organizer in 2010. Praycious is a recent Syracuse University Drama graduate. She has worked on productions such as The Death of The Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA The Negro Book of the Dead, The Piano Lesson and Master Harold...and The Boys. She is a director, stage manager, and event manager. She aspires to be a founding artistic director of her own theatre company.
Born and raised in Durham NC, Poet Williams has been a part of the SpiritHouse Tribe since 2015. He works as a state-wide organizer with people who have been directly impacted/harmed by the criminal legal system and is a co-coordinator for the local Participatory Defense Program. Nicknamed "Medicine Man" Poet also works alongside other SpiritHouse healers to uncover practices and tools that effectively address generational trauma and foster collective communal healing.