This award has a very special meaning to me, for if it were not for Urayoana the history of BAANA would have a very different path.
I’m not only extremely honored, but grateful as well, to Urayoana for her dedication, foresight, and humanity that gave forth to the second generation of our dreams and hopes of BAANA legacy.
In the beginning, in the early 70’s, through her discipline as a psychologist she watched with a clinical eye at the practice and style of work at Lincoln Detox. Clearly interested as a natural rebel, she and her partner Shaheem at all times supported us professionally, politically as well as personally. Those were the ‘Hay Days’ of Lincoln Detox and acupuncture.
The National Institute of Health, the National Drug Abuse Council, Addiction Service Agency of New York and the Health and Hospital Cooperation- not to say anything of the COINTELPRO infiltration of the FBI the boss in NYC directed by personal vindictiveness by the then Board of Estimate Chairman, Ed Koch, and his henchmen Charles Schummer and National Caucus of Labor Committee under the leadership of Lyndon LaRauge- made our lives under extreme pressure almost impossible and fending off licensing. We were developing and preparing proposals for every aforementioned agency to satisfy research protocols, provide treatment and fight hand-to-hand combat in the street to survive. Although, at this point not a part of the treatment team, Urayoana with her credentials assisted professionally, therapeutically and fought with us at every level.
As one of the most dedicated students at Lincoln Hospital, she fought to keep the classes and treatment available when the only building left functioning was the nurses residence.
I would like to take this time to thank Urayoana for her steadfastness in continuing the dreams of Lincoln Detox and BAANA Acupuncture Unit and for all of the aforementioned sacrifices as we saw it demystifying the art of healing called acupuncture- to make it available for the masses as an economically feasible treatment moderately accessible in the community. Thereby we put in the hands of the masses a skill that could be used on the grassroots level to confront the drug plagues be they methadone, heroin, cocaine, crack, alcohol or to confront the contradictions of overuse of prescription drugs.
It is so important in one’s life that we see our dreams and sacrifices come to fruition when faced with overwhelming odds.
Urayoana, mind you suffer much as we are all now aware of the stress and trauma of ‘low-intensity warfare,’ brought on by COINTELPRO during the government’s attempt to destroy BAANA. Urayoana’s husband at the time spent almost 3 years in prison for refusing to collaborate with the government’s ‘witch hunt.’ This wonderful sister kept her family together, organized a structure to support other grad jury resisters and build a support structure to continue the healing at BAANA.
For that I’m so thankful and proud to have been a part of her development. Sister Urayoana, from the beginning, has always been cerebral, allowing her mind to dictate her destiny. Her journey into the art of healing has demonstrated to her that the mind is not stronger than the soul. In the end, when faced with personal crisis and political oppression and a determination to show love and respect to her instructors, patients and most of all to her principles, it was her soul that gave force to the development of First World Acupuncture.
We recognize tonight an exceptional warrior for the people. Her honor is well, well deserved. Her wounds inflicted from her sacrifice must be comforted with our love. Our legacy must continue and so it will, thanks to the principle and love and soul of Urayoana.
From mine eyes, rivers run up the stream
confidence flows through the
veins – clarity is a friend of mine – reigning in my life before me
dashing energy while enlightening
my essence – making me whole
I love you my Sister
I’m proud of you
I give you my respect
for I know that very few
things worthwhile come easy
As always, prepare for war, prepare for natural disasters and do all that we can for the people. This you exemplify!
Aim high and go all out!!
Dr. Mutulu Shakur