Sabrina Madison has dedicated her life to the work of Black women in the community, most recently founding the Progress Center for Black Women, a project that landed her on the Woke 100 List for 2018 in Essence magazine.
Madison said she’s been contacted by many of the Black parents of the community looking for activities for their girls where they would be surrounded by other black girls. After several conversations and an appeal for donated mats, Madison’s idea to fulfill this need will take place on Saturday, August 25 with Yoga for Progress + WERQ.
“I didn’t really have many resources to send them to, and so I figured I would create some yoga classes for black girls just to help them deal with some of the various problems or stress. And just create a space for them,” Madison said.
Throughout the Madison and Dane county area, yoga studios and yoga instructors are predominately white; so Sabrina made it her mission to create a yoga space for Black women and girls to feel warm and welcome. Sabrina started this journey by going out and collecting a variety of yoga mats for the guests to use instead of them needing to purchase or rent their own. She then made it a priority to find a certified Black yoga instructor, and when she couldn’t find one she then took it upon herself to have Keena Atkinson specially trained to lead the class. She also wanted to make it more involved and decided to offer WERQ, a workout practice similar to ZUMBA, so the class feels more interactive and engaging.
“Sometimes when you walk into those spaces… the people aren’t friendly or you don’t feel welcome, or you don’t feel included,” Madison says. “We want to create a space where black women feel valued, they feel welcomed, they just feel like they belong there without having to sort of like apologize and make excuses for being in the space that they want to enjoy too.”
The event will take place at Hoyt Park from 10 to 2; in the event of a rainy day the location will be at the Boys and Girls in Fitchburg. Either way, food and drinks will be provided, as well as a DJ playing throughout the day. This is a free event; however, The Progress Center for Black Women is the organization carrying the event and they encourage donations so they can continue to sustain it. Sabrina’s plan is to continue the program and add more classes, and donations are advised to keep it up and running.
“Honestly, I just hope black women have a good time,” she says. “I just want folks to walk away with having felt rejuvenated, renewed, like I got my spirit lifted sort of feeling. And I want them to have met new people because oftentimes too when you live in a city like Madison, we’re here but there may not be a ton of us, and sometimes we don’t see each other’s faces throughout the day. I want them to connect with new people and then I want… younger women to have opportunity to talk with older women and just conversate…It just feels like black girl magic I guess. They just feel this joy.”
To get involved, or get someone you know involved, just show up in athletic wear, a water bottle, and a smile on your face! This will be a welcoming, and ever accepting environment. Everyone is welcome!
More information and registration is available at https://www.heymissprogress.com/events/yogaforprogress.