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Legacy of Young Activist Lives on Through the Amado Khaya Healing House in Lake County

Courtesy: Dr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez
Amado Khaya Canham Rodriguez, a 22-year-old artist and community organizer, died on August 4, 2020 in Mindoro, Philippines. His Filipino name, “Amado” means beloved, and his South African name, “Khaya” means home. Courtesy: Dr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez

Located in Lake County and Native Pomo Land, at the foot of Mount Konocti, is the Amado Khaya Healing House. The space is one of sanctuary, dedicated to helping people heal, be free, and find a place of belonging.

Dr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez, an activist-scholar and founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies at the University of California, Davis, made it her duty to create the house in honor of her 22-year-old son Amado Khaya Canham Rodriguez, who died tragically in August 2020.

“Amado’s very name means ‘beloved home.’ In a lot of ways, what that signifies for me is the work of creating places of freedom for organizers in movements he was connected with,” Rodriguez said. “It was really my husband’s idea to invest in a place of sanctuary, that would initially be a home of healing for us as a family but he suggested that we open it up to others aligned with what he stood for.”

Amado, an artist and activist of Filipino and South African descent, was an emerging young leader committed to service and social justice, from organizing against gentrification in Oakland to working in solidarity with the Filipino people in their fight for genuine democracy in the Philippines. He taught Rodriguez the importance of inner healing and being a healed example to the community.

“He helped shape me. One of the key things that he was able to contribute was an understanding of how we, as organizers and people who commit to social justice work, really need to attend to our own personal healing even as we attend to the collective healing of our communities,” Rodriguez said.

Courtesy: Dr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez
Courtesy: Dr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez

Her goal is to liberate people from trauma and facilitate those on the frontlines of fighting for justice.

“I think of freedom and liberation as being in a society freed from the oppressive exploitative systems of white supremacy, colonialism, imperialism, heteropatriarchy, and ableism,” Rodriguez said. “The wisdom of having been an organizer for so long, having lost my son and other kinds of losses in my life, has led me to a more holistic understanding of what liberation will truly take. As we dismantle these oppressive, exploitative systems, we need to attend to healing the harms these systems have caused so we have greater capacity to create new institutions rooted in radical love.”

The Rooted Ascendant and Brown Blossom Rising are partnered caretakers of the house, providing resources and offering a safe space for QTBIPOC and BIPOC guests.

Daisha Alexander, resident Indigenous healer through Rooted Ascendant, gives her service in healing others by integrating holistic ancestral healing with mental health.

“There’s a lot of healing entities here being in nature. It’s a serene place to calm and disconnect from your daily life,” Alexander said. “In order for people to experience it at its fullest, we ask that they bring a positive energy, come with no expectations, and exist. Just being in the house itself has been beneficial for many people.”

In March 2022, Alexander moved to the Amado Khaya Healing House to live full-time. Her experience in the house has helped her learn more about herself and shaped her into a different person.

Courtesy: Dr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez

“It’s helped me turn inward, face a lot of inner-child trauma, and really work in healing generational trauma. The land that is around us that just kind of forces you to sit with yourself and reflect on your life and your lessons and journey, it helps raise by vibrations,” Alexander said.

For her, the healing house brings people to a state where they can breathe and exist without constantly being in survival mode or worrying about their troubles.

According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature is linked to both cognitive benefits and improvements in mood, mental health, and emotional well-being.

Nikki Abeleda, founder of Brown Blossom Rising, believes that while the house’s location is beneficial and allows people to be present, the building has healing powers.

“There’s something about the house itself. Yes, it’s near water and trees and mountains, but it allows me to reflect and slow down and be present in life every day versus worrying about technology and so forth,” Abeleda said.

Abeleda encourages people to visit the house and experience the magic themselves. “The house is definitely magical and spiritual. It’s such a beautiful space, and Dr. Robyn Rodriguez describes it herself as a ‘million-dollar view,’” she said.

Dr. Rodriguez believes that the house’s magic is felt as soon as you enter the premises.

“It’s incredibly magical and invites a kind of curiosity and a sense of hopefulness,” Rodriguez said. “As soon as you come up the driveway, there is this shift, and there’s this majestic view of this lake that has sustained life for so many centuries.”

Rodriguez continues to help and expand her community through the ReMagination Farm where she resides. The farm works as a retreat and learning center to create a sanctuary for social justice-oriented scholars, community organizers, activists, and other creatives seeking a space for education and rejuvenation.

Email to learn more about the Remagination Farm and Amado Khaya Healing House. Follow @amadokhayahh on Instagram.

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