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Black girls should save some of their magic for themselves

Provided by Kim Peavler - Melan Mind

Black Girl Magic is a phrase coined by women's empowerment leader Beverly Bond. It is used to highlight the positive things that Black women do. But a 2022 Women’s Health Report study states that Black women are more stressed than white in the U.S. A Naperville nurse has a program that teaches Black women how to slow down and is now working on a documentary highlighting this program.

Kim Peavler is the founder and creator of Melan Mind. This global organization spreads the power of mindfulness to Black women through its eight-week program. Peavler started her mindfulness journey with the intent to heal from a childhood trauma. She has practiced meditation for 15 years.

Peavler decided to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner. After a year, she realized she needed to change course. She signed up for a mindfulness program and is currently working on a master’s degree in mindfulness studies.

“And it was through that where I became very clear that I wanted to teach Black women because doing the research,” she said, “I could see that we were underrepresented. And Black women are the highest educated demographic, and yet we have some of the highest health disparities of everyone.”

She said some Black women aren’t quick to immerse themselves into the world of mindfulness.

“You can't really ask too many Black women to come into a room, sit on the floor, light some sage and chant some words because they're like, 'we're not doing that,'” Peavler said.

She suggested that this hesitancy may come from their religious upbringing.

“And yes, the word itself is an American word from maybe a Buddhist concept," Peavler explained."But there's no proprietorship and being in this moment, it's your God-given moment. So, religion or philosophy doesn't own that.”

The documentary is called “Culture Meets Presence” and will give insight into the Melan Mind program. Peavler is looking to raise $17,500 to produce the movie. She celebrated the beginning of a Kickstartercampaign Saturday March 18 at Society 57 in Aurora.

Kim Peavler speaking during her Kickstarter event.
Yvonne Boose
Kim Peavler speaking during her Kickstarter event.

The celebration included open mic and scheduled performances filled with laughter, poetry and singing.
Tiffany Hines is a musician and singer. She performed at the event.

“Kim has this peace and calmness about how she talks. It almost makes your spirit, to kind of center and be present with yourself," Hines said. "So even as she was telling me about it, I felt like this is so important for Black women, because we don't know how to sit down.”

Latreese Caldwell attended the Kickstarter event. She said she went to a prior Melan Mind event called R&B Yoga and Mindfulness Eating Experience. Caldwell said that experience taught her how to be present in the moment.

“I think for Black women -- is that we do so much," Caldwell said. “We live our lives fast paced, very stressful, doing everything for everyone. And she's trying to remind us to stop, slow down and take care of self.”

Tiffany Hines performing during Kickstarter event
Yvonne Boose
Tiffany Hines performing during Kickstarter event

Peavler said most Black women are looking for validation from others.

“We like our shiny parts, you know, I'm doing this, I'm doing that. But it's like the dark stuff -- we don't want to deal with that,” she said. “ And it's that dark stuff doesn't go away. You just bring it forth, and you find a way to be with it.”

She said looking for outside attention can lead to stress. Which in turn leads to other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and anxiety.

Peavler said Black women should start to cultivate an intimate relationship with themselves and should understand that external acceptance doesn’t fill the hole within.

You can learn more about Peavler’s mission and her film project at culturemeetspresence.com.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.