Karly Rodriguez is a mental health counselor, meditation practitioner, medical advocate and anti-racist organizer. She was raised in Teaneck, New Jersey in a Latinx and Jewish family. She graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University. Most of her clinical experience has been in college mental health and she is currently teaching in the counseling program at NYU. Karly is also the co-founder of the Hydrocephalus Association's NYC Community Network.
Johanna Foster is a mental health counselor, wellness advocate and anti-racist organizer. She is Black and Afro-German-American. Her parents met protesting and organizing in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. They moved together to Harlem where Johanna was born and raised. She has Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University and has spent the last years working in higher education where she worked as an instructor, counselor and workshop facilitator.
WHY THE NAME "OUR KITCHEN TABLE"?
The kitchen table has always been the center of our homes. It’s where we sat to write our papers and pay our bills. It's where we mourned lost loved ones. Where we prayed for and blessed one another. It was a good place to hide when things got scary. A good place to cry and rage. Our mothers and aunties shared sacred recipes with us there. It’s where the every day magic of sewing, cooking, baking, and making tea was performed. Everything important happening in our lives was discussed at the kitchen table.
“The kitchen is the center of the home, the place where women in particular work and communicate with each other.”
- Barbara Smith, co-founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press
We want to honor the legacy of Barbara Smith and Audre Lorde and the Combahee River Collective who were published from the The Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. We are inspired by their venture to co-create their own space for the work that they felt called to do.
We also want to honor Carrie Mae Weems whose powerful and beautiful Kitchen Table Series is one of Johanna’s favorite works of art. (http://carriemaeweems.net/galleries/kitchen-table.html).
WHY WE STARTED THIS PRACTICE
We met so many women of color who described feeling like they were being asked to throw away their families, their communities and culture by their therapist. Sometimes they walked away from therapy because they did not feel like they could be their authentic selves in those spaces. We began to imagine the kind of place we wanted to offer them.
"We're all human at the kitchen table"
- Ava DuVernay
We want to create a space where women of color are affirmed. Where our magnificence is upheld and celebrated. Where we can come together to heal. A place of deep humanity, where we operate from the belief that each of us has inherent worth and value.
We have big big plans and dreams. So watch this space!