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The Black history I carry with me: Marlene Boyette

A Beautiful Resistance celebrates Black History Month

From left: Mama Lula, Marlene Boyette, and Isaura Oliveira
From left: Mama Lula, Marlene Boyette, and Isaura OliveiraRaheem Jamal

A Beautiful Resistance is celebrating Black History Month by amplifying local stories of change-makers and the people inspired by them.

“My name is Marlene Boyette. As a Boston-based Black Woman and trauma-informed wellness practitioner, I want to celebrate New England Black history by honoring elders Lula “Mama Lula” Christopher and Isaura Oliveira. Their efforts have created an opening for myself and my peers to continue this work.

Since 1996, Mama Lula and Isaura Oliveira have given us healing. Mama Lula pioneered healing circles and self-empowerment work in Boston. Her organization, Boston Black Women’s Health Institute, Inc., introduced countless Black women to ancestral medicine work and created access to acupuncture, massage, and reflexology, too.


Isaura Oliveira teaches us what it means to embody resistance. At the Dance Complex in Cambridge, she provided new opportunities for Black people to explore ancestral and spiritual movement, using the body to tell stories of evolution and revolution. As creator of ‘Living Experience,’ she holds space for outdoor dance, movement, jogs, walks, and silent meditations within nature for Black, brown, and indigenous people in Boston.”

Marlene Boyette is a yoga and meditation instructor in Boston.

Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at jenee.osterheldt@globe.com and on Twitter @sincerelyjenee.