Mental Health Monday Ritual & Community Healing

Guests will discuss the history of healing rituals and community healing practices with roots dating back to our Paleolithic ancestors. We will explore some of these practices that often included music, drumming, dance, and other arts elements.

Please contact Lauren Edwards with any questions (


Fred Johnson is an artist and educator dedicated to the journey of creating space that serve to manifest the restoration of our highest energy of humanity. The fact that he has opened for both Aretha Franklin and Dr. Deepak Chopra points to his versatility as an artist and healer. An acclaimed jazz vocalist, sacred chanter, storyteller, author and arts educator, Fred is a graduate of the National Academy of the Performing Arts as well as the Master Performers School of the National Mime Theater. He studied abstract painting at The National Academy of Art and Design.

He has opened for or recorded and toured worldwide with jazz and R& B legends Ramsey Lewis, Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins, Christian McBride, Richard Elliot, George Benson, Boney James, Joe Zawinul, Ottmar Liebert, David Sanborn, B. B. King, Patti LaBelle, Herbie Mann, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat Adderley and Miles Davis.

He is recognized globally for his work in the health and wellness community as well as his extensive work in international Interfaith peace and reconciliation. He served as Deputy Executive Director of Intersections International, a Multi-faith, Multi-cultural initiative of The Collegiate Church of New York for nine years and led their international outreach, utilizing the arts, meditation and dialogue that specifically addressed challenges in communities around the issues of bias, exclusion and cultural conflict. Since the mid 1980’s Fred has worked in communities throughout the world, empowering children and adults in creative ways, to celebrate the richness of who they are, to dream big, lift their voices and come together to work towards making the experience of living in Tampa Bay culturally rich, inclusive and inspiring.

His presentations on the healing power of music have caught the attention of internationally recognized holistic health practitioners and the medical community. Fred presents lectures and seminars re-accentuating the importance of creative expression and the sharing of story as catalysts for personal and communal empowerment, health and healing and giving voice to the voiceless. He is a leading voice in the national conversation regarding Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access and chairs committees for The International Transformational Leadership Council, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida and The Stella Adler Center for the Arts in both New York and Los Angeles.

Mentored by spiritual masters of the African oral and percussion legacy, Fred has been hailed as one of the true guardians of an oral tradition transplanted and nurtured to create a fusion of cultural heritage that is uniquely American and inherently African. His global presentations of “Jazz, it’s Roots and Branches” has served to inform and inspire audiences around the world to recognize and celebrate a creative global tapestry set by the first woven thread sown from the artistic richness of Africa. Fred currently serves as Artist in Residence and Community Engagement Specialist at The Straz Center where he additionally coordinates their Arts and Health programming and special program support initiatives for veterans and their family members and active duty personnel serving in the Tampa Bay area.

David Olawuyi Fakunle, Ph.D. is a “mercenary for change,” employing any skill and occupying any space to help elevate everyone divested from their truest self, especially those who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. David serves as Assistant Professor of Public Health at the Morgan State University School of Community Health & Policy, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine, and Associate Faculty in the Mental Health department of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. David’s interests include stressors within the built environment, societal manifestations of racism, and the use of arts and culture to strengthen health, equity and ultimately, liberation.

Additionally, David has applied artistic and cultural practices such as Black storytelling, African drumming, singing and theater in the proclamation of truth for over 25 years, collaborating primarily with organizations in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. region. Among many affiliations, David is co-founder and CEO of DiscoverME/RecoverME, an organization that utilizes the African oral tradition to empower use of storytelling for healing and growth, serves as Executive Director of WombWork Productions, a Baltimore-based social change performing arts company, and serves as Chair of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first state-level commission in the U.S. dedicated to chronicling and bringing justice to racial terror lynchings.

UAB AIM’s Virtual Mental Health Monday Series is made possible by

Independent Presbyterian Church Foundation

Miriam Kirklin Reed

Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust

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