Melrose Spring Equinox Healing Celebration

Presented by

Nos Quedamos
Friend of Yolanda García Park
NYC Parks Department

An Afternoon of Family Fun & Spiritual Healing in Melrose Commons.

The goal of the 1st annual Melrose Spring Equinox Healing Celebration is to connect the Melrose Commons community with nature while celebrating its life-affirming, rejuvenating, and restorative qualities.

While alternative healing methods and self-care are becoming more visible in the mainstream, there is still a stigma associated with engaging in such practices in communities of color–despite the fact that many of these organic-based and natural medicinal practices were created and used by our indigenous ancestors for a millennia. This holistic gathering begins to demystify organic forms of spiritual stress relief and mental grounding solutions from aromatherapy, meditation and sonic vibration alignment, among others. Download Flier | Download Banner

Saturday, March 18, 2023 ~ 2pm-5pm

Yolanda García Park

Melrose Avenue & E 159th St, South Bronx, 10451


Book Reading: Karla Mayenbeer Cruz

Karla Mayenbeer Cruz
Author Karla Mayenbeer Cruz

“The Adventures of Pepita Morales at City Hall: The Fight to Save El Jardin”
A warm-hearted and enthusiastic story that follows Latinx Council Woman Pepita Morales on her journey to save a beloved community garden from being destroyed. Through her leadership, Pepita teaches children the importance of honoring our cultural traditions and coming together to exercise the power of our collective voice. This dynamic story introduces children to social themes such as political organizing and community building, while also reflecting a strong and positive representation of the Latinx community.

Karla Mayenbeer Cruz writes children’s stories with positive and strong representation of the Latinx community.

Her mission as an author is to change the cultural narrative Latinx children are exposed to when they see themselves and their community represented in mainstream media. With her debut children’s book, The Adventures of Pepita Morales at City Hall: The Fight to Save el Jardin, Karla is ready to challenge the status quo and create a space for Latinx children to feel seen and heard.

Karla believes children are empowered when they see themselves represented in books, yet she finds children’s literature to be deliberately a white-dominated world. She believes this imbalance not only affects children of color, but it also fails to acclimate white children to people who are different from themselves. Pepita Morales is a strong and caring female protagonist that is a leader and relatable to young boys and girls of Latin American and Caribbean background.

Taíno Storytelling: Bobby González

Bobby González

Reconnecting to our roots through storytelling. Stories are a legacy passed down by the elders to keep the flame of the spirit of a people burning bright.

Bobby González is a multicultural lecturer, performance poet and storyteller. Born and raised in the South Bronx, New York City, Bobby Gonzalez grew up in a bicultural environment. Bobby draws on his Native American (Taino) and Latino (Puerto Rican) roots to offer a unique repertoire of discourses, readings and performances that celebrates his indigenous heritage. He has made presentations at Carnegie Hall. the University of Mississippi and the National Museum of the American Indian.

Self-Care Poetry: María Aponte

Maria Aponte
María Aponte

Through poetry and storytelling Maria will engage the audience in positive healing through the spoken word on the importance of discovering your inner spiritual self to celebrate change and accepting the new. How do we learn from our abuelas and mothers the importance of keeping traditions alive and present to give us a foundation to plant and replant our seeds of joy.

María Aponte is a Poet/Author/Performance Artist/ Community Arts Activist/Educator. Two-time recipient of the International Latino Book Award. A 2021 honoree Bronx Book Fair for Community Service and Literary Excellence.

On May 21, 2022, María received the Marymount Manhattan College, Mother Raymunde Mckay Award in recognition for distinguished service and outstanding contributions to the community. Maria is the Founder and President of Latina 50 Plus, Inc. 


Envrionment: Environmental Justice Youth Team (EJYT)

Environmental Justice Youth Team

Nos Quedamos’ Environmental Justice Youth Team will conduct an environmental resilience “Healing Garden” demo that will focus on cooking with herbs and other succulents found and grown in regional community gardens.

Environmental Justice Youth Team is a leadership development program which teaches the youth about community organizing. What does it mean, what are some examples, and then putting it into practice. The way they put it into practice is by using the existing space of a rooftop garden where community led conversations can take place to address issues such as green space access, food insecurity, and air quality while promoting the priority of health and wellness.

Mindful Living with Z (Reiki & Meditation): Zayda Rivera

Zayda Rivera

This session will utilize the gentle healing techniques of Reiki, which uses spiritual energy for balancing, healing and harmonizing all aspects of a person’s body, mind, and spirit to help ease stress, pain, discomfort, and distress. Some basic meditation instruction will also be provided to lower the volume of our everyday noise just enough for us to hear messages from our higher selves guided by our spirit.

ZAYDA RIVERA is the founder of Mindful Living with Z, which she launched in 2019 following a near-death experience. After more than a decade of practicing meditation and yoga, Z answered the call to take a deeper dive in healing modalities to heal herself and others.

She became a certified Reiki Master-Teacher, yoga instructor, meditation guide, and tarot reader. Z is also a spiritual mentor, assisting others who seeking a deeper connection with the Divine.

Dr. Drum’s (José Ortíz) Healing Dome:

Doctor Drum
José Ortíz

The Healing Dome is a sound/vibration listening station designed for relaxation, releasing stress and mental wellness as harnessing the medicinal properties of sonic and kinetic energy as an alternative therapeutic method for healing. This meditative exercise will be facilitated by José Ortíz, aka Dr. Drum (director of the Puerto Rican percussion group Bomba Yo).

Watch the short film below for more on The Healing Dome.

José Ortiz, aka: Dr. Drum, is a nationally highly acclaimed professional on-stage performer, educator in Pan-African, Caribbean and Latin culture and is a self-taught percussionist of Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

For these past twenty years, he has been an adamant advocate for the cultural arts as well as an adamant activist, organizer and educator of Afro Puerto Rican Bomba, a traditional African derived music and art form, which was brought to the Americas from the African Diaspora. Dr. Drum’s engaging style encourages children and adults to explore their own musicality. He sees this art form as a vehicle for self-discipline, cultural affirmation, and healing. In doing this work Dr. Drum most importantly, seeks to bring awareness and appreciation of the contributions of the African Diaspora in the Americas to the entire world. Dr. Drum has been affiliated through the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Bronx Council On the Arts, the Union Square Award Professional Development Program. Furthermore, he has co-chaired a committee and presented for the Bomba Research Conference. Dr. Drum has been acknowledged numerously and has received various awards such as: The Proclamation Recognition Award from the Bronx Borough President, the Don Quijote Recognition Award from Brooklyn college and numerous citation awards from the New York State Assembly Men and Council for his cultural contributions.

Dr. Drum is known as one of the Top National Afro Rican Bomba Artists.

For more information, contact Edwin Pagán (event program curator) at

This event is made possible by a NYC Green Fund Direct Relief Grant

In partnership with

Nos Quedamos' 3.0th Anniversary