Origin Story and Healers

Origin Story

The Oxalis Collective formed when three friends–Karen, Richael, and Pérez–came together to vision about their life directions in late spring 2017. Richael had been developing the concept of creating healing experiences for groups, called healing curation, for over a year, and the friends were moved by an opportunity to collaborate. The emergence of the collective evolved over the summer as the necessity of this work became clearer. In August 2017, the collective, with a reverence for plant medicine, found its name in Oxalis, its namesake, and formalized the collective during the same month.


Color portrait of Karen.Karen L. Culpepper (she/her/hers) is a Chinese-DEAUS (Descendant of Enslaved Africans in the US) clinical herbalist and licensed massage therapist. She is founder of the MD-based clinical herbal practice, Embracing Rhythm, and apothecary, Sacred Legacy Herbal Apothecary. Karen’s unique herbalist contribution centers on the ways in which the energetics of plant medicine can support deep healing. Her particular focus areas are intergenerational trauma and its impact on physiology and womb restoration. Within the intersection of historical trauma of the African slave trade and womb healing, her study and knowledge of cotton root bark was recently published in the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild and offers a powerful perspective on role of plant spirit healing in the context of political changes and reproductive resistance.

Black and white portrait of Richael.Richael Faithful (they/them/theirs) is a DC-based multidisciplinary folk healing artist and healing justice practitioner from the U.S. Black diasporic healing tradition called conjure. Faithful is known for their spiritual support of activists of all backgrounds including leaders of The Movement 4 Black Lives. Their healing work has been nationally featured in Everyday Feminism, Colorlines, HuffPost, The Root, among others. They have also contributed to several anthologies, including Lambda Literary award nominee, Outside the XY: Queer, Black and Brown Masculinity, and Land Justice: Re-Imagining Land, Food and the Commons. Faithful is former Shaman-in-Residence for Freed Bodyworks. Before their formal initiation, Faithful was an Equal Justice Works Fellow/Staff Attorney and community organizer.  Also: www.richaelfaithful.com

Color portrait of Perez by Felicity Thompson.
Photo by Felicity Thompson

Miriam Zoila Pérez (they/them/theirs) is a DC-based Cuban-American writer and activist whose work has circled around the themes of race, gender and health for over a decade. Pérez is trained in the healing modalities of doula and massage therapist, but has also spent many years engaged in the non-profit and activist arena with a focus on reproductive justice work. They bring a strong desire to politicize healing work and to bring healing to political spaces. Pérez has spent much of the last ten years writing about these topics for outlets like Colorlines, Fusion, Rewire and Talking Points Memo. They recently gave a TED talk about how racism impacts maternal health, and have deep experience with facilitation and speaking in a variety of arenas. Also at: www.miriamzperez.com