Voices of Health

root - Posted on 26 August 2002

Children, youth, parents, local artists & community organizations gather to celebrate, inspire and raise awareness on the importance of holistic health in our communities. Sponsored by HOMEY.

by Connie Lu/PNN Media Intern

My ears guide me towards the bass echoing from the
music at the Holistic Health Festival, as I walk up
the street towards Precita Park on a beautiful and
relaxing Saturday afternoon. The park itself is
encompassed by a mosaic of colorful houses that fit
tightly against each other and an elementary school
with an amazing mural filled with life and a sense of
community. As I step onto the field, I see tables
along the edges of the park with vendors, art, crafts,
food, and various community organizations to promote
the importance of having a healthy body. I am sitting
on the grass now and soaking in the rich warmth of the
sun. The wind is blowing its cool breeze in keeping
the perfect temperature and there are children are
running freely with everyone gathered to enjoy a
peaceful, healthy day at the Holistic Health Festival.

The stage is set up at the front of Precita Park for
various musical and poetic performances. I arrive to hear the performances already in progress with JenRo, a 19-year-old songwriter, takes the stage and begins her
song called, "Hold Us Down". She dedicates this song
to the government and the police who are holding the
community down and preventing it from succeeding. Her
voice is strong and powerful, as she clearly
annunciates her rhyme to the rhythm of the break beat.
After her performance, I talked to JenRo briefly. I
asked her when she started to write songs and she
said, "I started writing songs at a young age, but my
first performance was when I was 10-years-old."
Initially, I was uncertain about asking her questions,
but after talking to her I was glad to have met her
because she is very friendly and approachable.

After JenRo's performance, the "Secluded Journalists",
a Hip-Hop crew from Pittsburg and Berkeley, begin
their song called "Faceless". This song is dedicated
to the greed of corporations for money and portrays
the worker as being "faceless" because there is no
recognition given for a job well done. The only thing
that matters to the boss is making money, not the
names of the hard-working employees, who are barely
surviving off each paycheck. The beat of the song is
quick with an underlying melody of a jazzy flute.
Their voices are filled with great strength, as they
roar into the microphones with passion for the words
that flow from their mouths.

The last performance is by "II Sense-Kaotic Souls", an
experimental Hip-Hop crew, whose style is very
different from the "Secluded Journalists" because the
beats that they work with are much slower and more
mellow. The deep, penetrating bass along with the
vast integration of various live instruments emitting
from speakers reflect the creative and talented skills
of the artists that make up this group. One of the
songs they perform is called, "Appreciate", which
relays the message of being thankful because the
number of days in the future are uncertain.

I leave the Health Festival feeling encouraged by the
artists who performed that day. Their desire to
express themselves through spoken words were so strong
and genuine. Each word comes from their hearts that
are deeply rooted in believing what is said through
their poems and songs. I am also reminded of the
essence of health because once my health depletes,
then I am unable to do even the most simple everyday
tasks. My health is the source of my strength.


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