September 29, 2016
Voss Foundation is thrilled to introduce Amikaeyla Gaston as one of our 2016 Women Helping Women New York Honorees. We look forward to hearing from Amikaeyla and co-honoree Monique Péan on November 16, 2016. For more information and tickets, please click here.
While recuperating from an intentional, near-fatal hit-and-run automobile accident just before entering medical school, Amikaeyla discovered her life purpose – to heal the world with the power of expression. Through engaging performances and passionate speaking engagements, Amikaeyla uplifts audiences and inspires positive action. She shares her story of how while surviving a hate crime, she found the most powerful form of healing – musical expression. Suffering from 3rd degree burns and through a year-long stay in numerous hospitals, the one thing that alleviated her pain was music. Today, Ami (as she is affectionately known by all who meet her), travels the world as a Cultural Ambassador guiding people out of pain and repression and into the fullest embodiment of themselves, their communities, and even their country at large.
Ami transformed the pain of her extreme experience into ICAHSI, the International Cultural Arts & Healing Sciences Institute and the Music as Medicine Healing Arts Project. This multi-faceted therapeutic approach has been utilized by government, health, non-profit, environmental and social justice organizations, and has been sponsored by a variety of organizations, including but not limited to the US Department of State, United Nations High Commission on Refugees, National CityDance, Caritas, Intersections International Iraqi Voices Amplification Project, and the Palestinian Association for Artistic Development
Her unique ability to connect with those who are suffering and encourage them to embrace positive possibilities has impacted thousands around the world. Ami’s “Music as Medicine” and other programming has led her to supporting the opening of several first-of-their-kind girl’s schools in Sierra Leone, women-led social entrepreneurial projects, and solar water projects in Nigeria. Ami also uses art to highlight issues that impact young girls, like the effects that the lack of access to clean water has in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the Middle East. Through art she creates and informs a designated space that allows people to let down guards and discuss issues with open minds and hearts.
Ami is the proud recipient of the Global Woman Award, the CIBA-GEIGY Outstanding Community Service Award, the Pioneer Award for Exemplary Leadership and Outstanding Service in Social Justice and Advocacy Award, the Nation’s Capital Mayoral Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, the Hero for Peace and Forgiveness Award, and 12 Washington Area Music Awards. She currently serves on the Board of the World Trust Organization; National Alliance for Media, Arts, & Culture; Golden Pacific Health Management; Story For All; Company E National Contemporary Ballet Troupe; and is a featured presenter and trainer on conflict management, resolution, and cultural competency for nonprofit and health organizations throughout the nation.