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Artist Feature

Wed, Nov 11, 2020

We Heal Together: Community Interviews Part 1

Surrounded by bougainvillea flowers, Irene Juárez O’Connell's mural Sana, Sana: We Heal Together features six community members working to heal themselves and others through networks of community care.

The focal point of our outdoor exhibition, Community is Collective Care, O’Connell's mural incorporates an object that supports or represents healing for each of the individuals featured.

In her interview back in September, O'Connell states, "I selected six figures who I have had the privilege to meet and who I consider bring healing in some way to the community or are embodying or practicing a version of healing that doesn’t often get portrayed in dominate media. [...] I wanted to make sure that each of the people portrayed had a chance to have their story told."

While preparing for this mural, O'Connell interviewed each person that has since been compiled into a Youtube video and broken up into individual snippets on Soundcloud for you to enjoy. Below are three of these recorded interviews... Stay tuned for part two.


Sam Cunningham

Sam is a mentor and outreach specialist supporting incarcerated youth and adults in re-entry. A former lifer, he draws from his experience to inspire others to pursue a path of peace and is shown holding a certificate of appreciation from the incarcerated youth he offers support.

"That's when I decided, even if I never left prison as a free man again. I would start sharing the healing medicine of hope, peace, and of love that Nane and Barrios Unidos was bringing to us in prison."

Ccc 1

Ooli Crowbear

Ooli is first nations Yaqui, and has lived in Santa Cruz for 16 years. Ooli is a dedicated sibling, daughter, and friend, as well as a compassionate caregiver to adults on the spectrum. Ooli holds a gifted medicine drum.

"I believe community healing can look like our community genuinely reaching out to one another. [...] We each have a role to play and that's community medicine right there... seeing each other."

Ccc 2

Rosalina Cruz

Rosalina is a Mixteca woman who lives and works in Watsonville as a seasonal agricultural worker. She carries indigenous knowledge around self-care and health, including a daily ritual of manzanilla (chamomile) tea. Rosalina holds a fresh bunch of chamomile flowers.

"Para mí, salud es para cuidar bien [de] nosotros, a mi niño pues comer algo de...verduras. [...] Allá en el trabajo no quieren que [nos] sentemos juntos, [nos] lavamos la[s] mano[s] con jabón por unos 20 segundos...le hechan espray (desinfectante) en la silla..."

Community is Collective Care

Visit the exhibition located outside the museum in Downtown Santa Cruz or learn more about muralist, Irene Juarez O'Connell.