National Comadres Network
Who We Are
The National Comadres Network is a group of committed Chicana/Latinx community leaders who have come together to create healing spaces for women and girls that embrace intergenerational, culturally rooted, indigenous based healing practices and leadership development. The leadership development component focuses on a philosophy of healing self and healing others as a way to restore communities with wholeness and health. The other component of the healing work is that it be led and designed by women of color, women of indigenous descent and queer women of color.
Supported by the National Compadres Network, ten women from across the nation, initially invited by Maestro Jerry, formed this group and committed to facilitating the healing and well-being of women and girls through healing Círculos and retreats. In 2019, the Comadres formalized their role as the Advisory Committee of the National Comadres Network.
The Vision and Mission
The vision of the National Comadres Network is to:
1) restore individuals and communities with trust, love, dignity and respect; and,
2) transform systems and institutions to achieve equitable opportunities and outcomes for girls and women of color.
The mission of the National Comadres Network is to nurture healing informed leadership among women through culturally-rooted practices and networks of mutual support.
Healing for Systems Transformation
Healing Self, Healing Communities and Transforming Systems
The inextricable link between health of an individual and health of community is undeniable. The focus on healing self in order to heal community is what centers the overall strategy for addressing systemic racism and other forms of persistent oppression that harm communities of color and indigenous communities. The work of the National Comadres Network is to achieve systems transformation by building the capacity of community leaders and organizers to promote healing and restoration, given what we know and understand of the interconnectedness of individuals and systems. Systems change cannot happen if the leaders advocating for change are not working to healing themselves.
The Values guiding the work of the Comadres are:
CONFIANZA Moving from the center/the home and then outward, with a secure foundation. Trusting the process and honoring pace of the medicine.
CONECCIÓN Being guided by la Madre Tierra to come from a place of integrity, rooted in the sacredness of our ancestors’ teachings.
COMUNIDAD Working intergenerationally, expanding our ability to see the whole and expanding the web of healing relationships.
CONCIENCIA Centering an indigenous-based healing-informed practice rooted in antiracist/anti-oppression lens to decolonize our worldviews and ways of being.
Retreats and Círculos
Soon after its formal founding in 2019, the Comadres Advisory Committee began visioning and planning for activities that would support the healing and leadership development of women and girls. To this end, two major programs are offered; the annual healing retreats and the development of intergenerational regional Círculos (kinship circles).
The Comadres held their first formal gathering in September 2013 to plan the first retreat for women and girls in August 2014. Every year since, the Comadres have held weekend-long retreats at Mission San Antonio in Jolon, California. The retreat focus is to provide healing spaces and ceremony for women who are working as activists, healers and community organizers all across California.
The primary role of the Comadres, in addition to developing and planning the retreat, is to ensure the retreat is held and facilitated in a way that honors cultural traditions and ancestral ways that have been passed on from generation to generation. To this end, the Comadres meet regularly to prepare for hosting the retreats as well as to reflect on past retreats to ensure they are hosted in a good way.
The Comadres host on average of 30 and 35 women and girls from across California and the nation for one weekend in Jolon, California. As the Comadres continue to develop their capacity over time, and given the overwhelming need for the retiros, the hope is to increase the frequency of the retreats.
Círculos of Support
The purpose of the Círculo is to reconnect communities, one person, one family, one community at a time. In doing so, women are reconnected to a community’s history, values, and traditions and revitalize the role of Community Elders who serve as Wisdom Keepers while also listening to the voice of our youth as the next generations of leaders. This tradition supports the creation of circles for connecting, sharing, storytelling and healing.