Community Spotlight: Marlene Boyette of Leela Yoga + Wellness

Leela Yoga + Wellness Logo

Today we are spotlighting Marlene Boyette of Leela Yoga + Wellness!

Marlene Boyette (she/her/hers) is a the founder of Leela Yoga + Wellness, certified Children’s Yoga and registered Trauma Informed Yoga Instructor, and a co-founder of Peace In Boston: an initiative focused on centering yoga instructors of color, bringing yoga to underserved communities, and prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion as acts of social justice within and outside of the Boston area.

Amplifying mind, body and playful spirit, Leela Yoga + Wellness is dedicated to a practice of wellness that uplifts and nurtures the joyous, playful spirits of adults and children through Sound Meditation, Mindfulness, Yoga and its principals. Offering yoga sessions, sound baths, and movements & relaxation workshops, Leela Yoga + Wellness offers tailored experiences to meet the specific needs & interests for attendees of all ages!

To learn more about upcoming classes and events at Leela Yoga + Wellness, click here!

We are so excited to partner with Marlene at our upcoming Branch Out With C1: Tranquility and Tea for Superhero Moms. Join Marlene for an afternoon of holistic wellness inspired by Company One Theatre’s upcoming production of Black Super Hero Magic Mama at the Boston Public Library Roslindale branch.

Together, participants are welcomed to create an altar of remembrance and lasting love, and unwind with guided meditation, sound bath, gentle and restorative movement / stillness specifically designed for BIPOC mothers and caretakers, paired with a unique tea blend to take home and enjoy–created just for this event by herbalism artist Julissa Emile. Take an hour away from the demands of daily life to be in community with other mothers and caregivers and focus on YOU!

Using ECT as treatment for depression

During Maasai Angel’s fight with Deep Thinker, she uses the “magnetic wheel of death” to “coax” him (so to speak) into revealing information on The Entity. This moment in the comic book world coincides with her time in a medical facility in the real world (BSHMM, p67). It is possible the buzzing mirrors a treatment for severe major depression known as ECT.

via getty images

In cases of severe depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be used as a treatment. While under general anesthesia, small electrical currents are passed through the patient’s brain to trigger a brief seizure. This stimulation can cause changes in the brain’s chemistry which seem to reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses.

Past use of the treatment resulted in stigmatization; high doses of electricity administered to the brain by untrained personnel resulted in severe side effects such as memory loss and fractured bones. Today, under much safer protocols and the supervision of trained professionals, ECT is a proven, effective treatment, particularly when others do not work. It is also used as a rapid treatment for patients in an acute condition or at risk of harm, such as suicide. It is not a cure and many patients require subsequent maintenance treatment, usually via psychotherapy and/or medication; sometimes, additional courses of ECT are needed.

The procedure is recognized as effective treatment for mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the National Institute of Mental Health, and similar organizations in Canada, Great Britain and many other countries.

From the Mayo Clinic:

“Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can provide rapid, significant improvements in severe symptoms of several mental health conditions. ECT is used to treat:

  • Severe depression, particularly when accompanied by detachment from reality (psychosis), a desire to commit suicide or refusal to eat.
  • Treatment-resistant depression, a severe depression that doesn’t improve with medications or other treatments.
  • Severe mania, a state of intense euphoria, agitation or hyperactivity that occurs as part of bipolar disorder. Other signs of mania include impaired decision-making, impulsive or risky behavior, substance abuse, and psychosis.
  • Catatonia, characterized by lack of movement, fast or strange movements, lack of speech, and other symptoms. It’s associated with schizophrenia and certain other psychiatric disorders. In some cases, catatonia is caused by a medical illness.
  • Agitation and aggression in people with dementia, which can be difficult to treat and negatively affect quality of life.”

From the American Psychiatric Association:

“Extensive research has found ECT to be highly effective for the relief of major depression. Clinical evidence indicates that for individuals with uncomplicated, but severe major depression, ECT will produce substantial improvement in approximately 80 percent of patients. It is also used for other severe mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. ECT is sometimes used in treating individuals with catatonia, a condition in which a person can become increasingly agitated and unresponsive. A person with catatonia can seriously injure themselves or develop severe dehydration from not eating or drinking.”

Community Spotlight: Justice Resource Institute (JRI)

JRI, or the Justice Resource Institute, is an organization dedicated to social justice, providing over 100 programs to underserved individuals, families and communities throughout the state of Massachusetts.

We are so excited to have staff from the Center for Trauma and Embodiment stop by our rehearsal soon as we navigate the themes of grief and trauma throughout the play. We look forward to having them join our ongoing discussion in our process!

The Center for Trauma and Embodiment provides training and resources for people who have CPTSD, PTSD, and for those seeking to trauma-informed care practices and treatments. Some of the services they provide are Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY), Trauma Informed Weight Lifting (TIWL), and ReScripted; a trauma-informed intervention anchored in embodiment practices that utilizes the power of play, theater and movement.

Working with children, youth, and adults, JRI is committed to opening doors to opportunity and independence through compassionate support, innovation, and community leadership.

Building/Becoming a Superhero

We’ve pulled a few threads from the script, weaving together the elements that lead Tramarion and Flat Joe towards the creation of the Maasai Angel, and Sabrina towards becoming the superhero of her own story.

(p.9) TRAMARION: I don’t know where I put my lucky T-shirt — (She holds up his worn-out lucky T-shirt, freshly laundered.) How’d you do that?


ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception): The psychic powers of telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance. A person who possesses ESP is called an esper. The spy organization SHIELD has employed an Esper Division.

— from the Marvel Fandom Wiki Glossary

(p.11) TRAMARION: Thoughts become things, Ma.

SABRINA: Is that what Coach Brackett says?

Elements of ESP…
Psionic Constructs: Avid usage of the psychic planes energies allows a user to construct mental energy into various shapes and forms be they weapons or otherwise. Because of the nature of said energy the psi forms are purely ethereal having no physical sway, but that doesn’t make them any less effective offense wise.

— from the Marvel Fandom Wiki Glossary

(p.20) TRAMARION: You think I’m playing, but I swear my mom’s got cameras hidden around here.

FLAT JOE: Sometimes, my Aunt Louise be saying that she has eyes in the back of her head. But your mama? Man, she’s got E-S-P or somethin’ for real. Like, for real.

(p.27) TRAMARION: (He grabs the comic, flips through the pages. He erases a line of text and writes) “I am the Maasai Angel. I stand up for those people society throws away. Or…I don’t.” (He tosses the comic in the box marked TRASH.)

(p.44) FLAT JOE: If you got powers, you don’t really have to do anything. You ain’t gotta fight crime if you don’t want to. you don’t gotta deal with people’s problems.

TRAMARION: Doctor Manhattan.

FLAT JOE: Word. He split. He was like, “I could save the world, but humans are stupid. So I’m just gonna be naked all the time on my own planet.”

TRAMARION: The naked part was kinda weird.

FLAT JOE: If you’re that powerful and you choose to help instead of run away…That’s admirable. You don’t abandon people. You don’t leave. You use your power to help all the people.”

(p.51) LADY VULTURE: “Superhero” might be generous. We don’t even know yet if [the Maasai Angel] has any real powers.”

(p.42) TRAMARION: I think she needs a superpower.

(p.64) DEEP THINKER: […] I’m all about that mind. The subconscious. See, your thoughts become… things? I think. Is that right?

MAASAI ANGEL: Things. Your thoughts become things. What’s wrong with you?

Elements of ESP…
Telepathic Control & Manipulation: The ability to manipulate other people’s minds achieving a variety of effects up to and including mind control.

— from the Marvel Fandom Wiki Glossary

(p.70) TRAMARION: Can we give Maasai Angel powers or not?

FLAT JOE: Nah. Not super powers. Just one. Power. Singular. And I know exactly what it should be.

(p.73) DEATH TAP: How’d you do that? You ain’t got powers.

MAASAI ANGEL: Just one. Power. Singular. E-S-P.
(She tosses the guns to the ground.)
Or it was just the one. But I chose what I wanted to do with it. And what I wanted to do, was expand it. Not only do I have precognition of your every move, I can control objects, too. Comes in handy, dontcha think? Cuz now, I can stop a bullet.

Elements of ESP…
Precognition: The ability to foresee events before they’ve come to pass.
Psychic Wave Manipulation: The ability to generate and manipulate thought waves. The user can manipulate their thought waves and utilize them either in a telepathic manner or materialize the waves into powerful energy for physical purposes; further compression of such psychic waves could become physical matter. It can create a barrier composed of compressed waves, materialized waves into appendages to manipulate objects and project mind waves into whatever is imagined.

— from the Marvel Fandom Wiki Glossary

(p.88) TRAMARION: You get to decide how you’ll use your power. But you have to be in the real world to do it.

These Mothers Who Lost Sons to Police Violence Tell Protesters to ‘Keep Up the Fight’ by Melissa Chan, Time Magazine, June 3, 2020. PHOTO: Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, joins others during a news conference on May 21, 2019 in New York City. [Spencer Platt—Getty Images].

Community Spotlight: Wee The People & Hip-Hop Artist Paul Willis

From Wee the People

Up next in our Community Spotlight: Wee the People and Paul Willis!

Wee the People is a Boston-based social justice project for children ages 4-12. Launched in 2015 by two Black mothers, Wee the People organizes free, interactive workshops and events that explore activism, resistance, and social action through the visual and performing arts: music, dance/movement, theater, graphic arts, spoken word, and storytelling. Partnering with public institutions, community organizations, and Boston-based artists, Wee the People seeks to create high-impact, celebratory experiences that promote uncomfortable conversations parents often avoid with young children.

Paul Willis is a hip-hop artist, educator, and community organizer who values social justice and building community. Paul’s music reflects his personal narrative, the stories of his students, and a commitment to being a positive force. Willis works for 826 Boston, the nonprofit writing, tutoring and publishing organization that serves kids grades K through 12, inspiring the young people involved to share their stories fully and freely.

We are so excited to partner with Wee the People and Paul Willis at our upcoming Branch Out event, We Wear the Crowns: A Radical Celebration of Black Boyhood. Check out the previous post to learn more about the event series!

Branch Out with C1!

In our exciting partnership with the ART and Boston Public Library, Company One presents Branch Out with C1!

This series of gatherings spread across the Boston Public Library’s branches, connecting to the themes of Company One Theatre’s production of the play Black Super Hero Magic Mama to our city’s local communities through interactive experiences in partnership with organizations throughout Boston, paired with a sneak peek of the play!

Company One is delighted to work with our community partners of the Branch Out series: Wee The People, the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, Comics in Color, The Theater Offensive, Marlene Boyette of Leela Yoga & Wellness, and Juju Emile!

Our first Branch Out event, We Wear the Crowns: A Radical Celebration of Black Boyhood, is this Saturday from 11am-12pm at the Boston Public Library’s Roxbury Branch.

Join us for storytime and a celebratory collage craft activity the whole family will enjoy! Centering families with children ages 4-12, Boston-based social justice project Wee the People and Hip-Hop Artist Paul Willis will host an interactive workshop to explore activism, Black joy, and self-love in conversation with Company One Theatre’s upcoming production of Black Super Hero Magic Mama.

To register for any of our free Branch Out gatherings, click here!

Implicit Bias and Its Effects in Law Enforcement

Image from MIT Teaching + Learning Lab: Implicit Bias

We’re having great conversations in our rehearsal process for Black Superhero Magic Mama. This past week, we talked about implicit bias as a present theme in the show.

What is Implicit Bias?

Implicit bias is an unconscious bias that influences the way we interact and perceive others in school, the workplace, and social situations. Often implicit bias is a learned behavior from cultural conditioning, media portrayals, and upbringing.

Types of Implicit Bias

When we think of the term implicit bias, our thoughts immediately go to race and gender. Yet, implicit bias can extend to:

  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Age
  • Ability/Disability

This list only names the most common forms of implicit bias. To learn about other types of implicit bias, check out this article by Catalyst.

How Can Implicit Bias Effect Law Enforcement?

Implicit bias impacts the relationship between law enforcement and the BIPOC community, especially in how police officers interact with local citizens. Some instances of implicit bias that occur are racial profiling (such as stop-and-frisk) and shooter bias.

Shooter bias is a form of implicit racial bias that influences how officers make split-second decisions that involve the use of a gun. Disproportionately affecting Black Americans injured or killed by police every year.

In Policing in black & white, Kirsten Weir writes how bias in law enforcement creates disparities in building community between police departments and the communities they serve. Leading to a larger conversation around policing, there is a clear need for reform that works against implicit bias and centers accountability and healing for the trauma it creates for those affected.

How Can I Be Aware of My Own Implicit Bias?

The simple answer? By identifying and evaluating your own biases.

By acknowledging the biases you may hold, you can take further steps in practicing mindfulness and conscious decision-making to combat your biases.

Community Spotlight: Louis D. Brown Peace Institute

We are so excited to partner with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in our upcoming Branch Out with C1 event at the Boston Public Library Grove Hall branch.

The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute is a center of healing, teaching, and learning for families and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief, and loss.

In memory of Louis D. Brown, Louis’ parents, Joseph and Clementina Chéry, created the Louis D. Brown Institute to create support and resources in Boston for survivors of homicide victims.

Serving as an integral partner of the City of Boston, the institute works towards transforming our society’s response to homicide with a small-to-all approach. Offering services, trainings, and advocacy for families of murdered and incarcerated ones affected by homicide and gun violence, the team of dedicated staff and volunteers work towards a world where all families can live in peace and all people are valued.

As a community partner for Black Superhero Magic Mama, the Louis D. Brown Institute will be joining us in our Branch Out with C1 series on Thursday, April 7th 6-7pm.

Join us for a conversation inspired by Company One Theatre’s upcoming production of Black Super Hero Magic Mama. Hear about Boston’s past, and help us envision a more just city leading with Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s work in supporting homicide victims. This hybrid event will also feature a virtual space hosted by The Theater Offensive’s Radical Futures Workshop Series as we gather to celebrate art for social change and collective healing.

We Wear The Mask

Tonight’s rehearsal conversation about reporter Tom Blackman brought to mind Paul Laurence Dunbar‘s famous poem, We Wear The Mask… which then made us think of Kehinde Wiley‘s video project called “Smile.” (We shared some other works by Wiley in a previous post.) Both pieces speak to the social masks Black men and boys are forced to carry with them, and we’re interested in how these artworks may resonate with Tom, Tramarion, Flat Joe, Coach Brackett, and characters across the world of the play. We offer a glimpse of these two artworks, below.


Smile by Kehinde Wiley

Smile is a four-channel video artwork Kehinde Wiley began while completing his MFA at Yale University in 2001. The artist revisited the project 15 years later, once again asking young men he found on the streets of New York to smile unceasingly in front of a camera for one hour. Within the video, the young men can be seen stoically submitting to discomfort and humiliation as their expressions distort under the pain and duress of the pursuit to appear happy.” — Curatorial Notes from Roberts Projects (emphasis mine) 

[0:3:15 Excerpt] Kehinde Wiley: Smile, 2016. Digital video. 90 min, color, sound.


“We Wear The Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Written 1895

Black History Trivia Bowl

Yesterday we dropped a post about Know Your Heritage, and we wanted to offer some more resources for how Black History Trivia Bowl’s nationwide events feel, look, and sound. Check out the video clips below, as well as sample question sets.

After a pandemic-forced break, Kennesaw Teen Center returned to live in-person competition in January 2022.

The Black History Bowl is a fun, competitive and educational event for middle school students. Teams will have an opportunity to compete in three rounds of competition that begin on January 15 , 2022 and end with the Championship Series on February 5, 2022. Teams compete by answering a variety of black history-related questions in science, the arts, education, sports, entertainment, civil rights, politics and more in a fast-paced game show format. The Bowl seeks to raise and deepen the awareness of the vital role played by African-Americans in the rich history of our country.
87,000 students invited to participate
• All schools, churches and youth groups are eligible.
• Competition division: Middle school aged (grades 6-8),
• Teams composed of a minimum of four players and a maximum of six players, with two advisers.

KTC’s 2019 Black History Bowl Champions from Thankful Baptist Church


Study Questions

Here’s a selection of study questions for 2011-2021 Black History Bowl competitions.
To see the full 27 page document, click here.

Click to enlarge! ⬇️

2021 Virtual Quiz Bowl

In March 2021, the Washington DC Friendship Public Charter School hosted their Black History Month Quiz Bowl. Check out the video, below!