The Empress of Zion Inc., a non profit international collective of Rastafari sisters, brothers and families, is holding its 10th annual conference in conjunction with Sistahfest and the WAVE (Women Against Violence Everywhere) program.
The organizations are collaborating to conduct a series of activities, plays and presentations addressing bullying, date rape and the conference theme, “Capacity Building for Sustainable Development.”
The conference will be held on Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26. Two plays will be held during the conference – one addressing bullying for children and the other date rape for adolescents. Presentations and awards honoring Empress Menen and her workers will be held on March 25 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Delegates will also be treated to a special reading from the book, Empress of Zion: She Hands us her Rule Book from the Pole of Authority, and a drumming session by Nyah Binghi.
Saturday’s program, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., will feature youth discussions about the themes of the plays.
In addition, presentations will be conducted by lawyer Marina Blake, Yaa Ashentawa, former founding chair of the Ras Tafari Youth Initiative Iffiya Holmes, and international representative of the Ethiopia Africa Millennium Council, ARK Ambassador and Empress of Zion executive president, Rev. Dr. Marcia O. Stewart (aka Queen Mother Moses).
In conjunction with the conference activities, the Sistahfest annual gala concert will be held on March 25 and March 26 at 8 p.m. This year’s event will feature performances by artists Empress Divine, Avetha, J. Nichole Noel and Barbara Dan. In addition, conscious rhythms will be spun by Toronto-based DJ Chocolate, Levi Selectress and New York City-based Rebel Dawtas.
The Empress of Zion Inc. conducts programs, projects and activities in Canada, the Caribbean, Africa and the USA to provide protection for the elderly, food, infant care, medical treatment, clothing and housing for individuals in need.
The collective’s projects include the Empress Menen Learning Centre in Kliptown, Soweto; life-skills training at the Miriam Makeba Centre for Girls in South Africa, donations to the Senior Citizens home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jamaica, the Haile Selassie I Village in Mamelodi, South Africa; and the WAVE program in Toronto.
The Empress of Zion Inc. 10th annual conference and Sistahfest will be held on March 25 and March 26 at Upfront Studio Theatre, 1290 Finch Avenue West (inside Keele Plaza). Admission for Sistahfest is $10. Part of the proceeds from Sistahfest will benefit the WAVE program.