Blog Entry Journey To Radiance, Health & Healing

Health & Healing Spotlight: Olafemi ‘Bankh” Akintunde


Last year, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement shared strategies for cultivating an extraordinary New Year. Now, we want you to hear from a phenomenal Black male leader on his own personal journey to actively engage in self-care. 

As the Director of CBMA Health and Healing Strategies (HHS), I had the pleasure of interviewing Brother Olafemi "Bankh” Akintunde, a teacher at West Oakland Middle School and one of the HHS mentors being engaged through CBMA’s partnership with the National CARES Mentoring Movement. Read more below! 

CBMA:            Thanks for joining us, Bankh! Tell us little bit about your work.

Bankh:           My purpose in life is create space for youth and adults to heal, process, and ascend to new heights within self.  This may show up as several different ways. As a teacher, I am able to instruct from a holistic space that allows my students to grow or at least explore growth. I am currently teaching in the Oakland Unified School District and Juvenile Hall. In addition, as a Radical Healer for Flourish Agenda, our main focus is to highlight social toxicities and ways in which we can improve our lives by practicing healthier ways of engaging with others as well as self. 

I also annually co-direct a summer camp for African American youth ages 14-18 called Camp Akili, that address trauma and healing. I am an active member of the Brotherhood of Elders Network, which is a inter-generational group of Black men who come together to combine resources to improve the lives of our people. I also work diligently with the Ancient Free and Accepted Scottish Rite brothers of El Shaddai Lodge #3.     

CBMA:            What are some of your end of year health and healing strategies?

Bankh:           Right now the focus for me is to zero in on the philosophy of good health. Like making sure the body moves every day. Taking a moment within the day to intentionally breathe. Knowing how important it is to wake up and start your day with positive affirmations as well as giving your body what it needs to function at an optimal level. How I end my day is just as important as how I start my day. Making sure I drink a lot of water everyday (Half your body weight). Working out is so important to assisting the healing process within the body, mind, and spirit. When I eat, I try to put things in my body that are in its raw state to preserve the nutrients. The more raw vegetables and fruits I put into my body and better I feel. Life begets life.   

CBMA:            Why are you currently wearing all white?

Bankh:           I am a practitioner of Ifa. Ifa is a spiritual tradition that comes from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa. It is believed that the white cloth symbolizes the honoring of my ancestors, wisdom, and purity to name a few. In order to wear white you must be clean in thought and spirit, so it serves as a reminder to walk straight.     

CBMA:            What would you say to our members who want to get healthier but don’t know how to get started with the holidays approaching?

Bankh:           I would say, be patient with yourself. Know what you want, so that regardless if anyone puts things in your face that seem tempting, you will not be thrown of your square. Bring your own food to these group gatherings so that you can nourish yourself and still participate with everyone. It might be wise to also eat before you get together with others. A proactive plan will surely help bring forth the results you want. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed and benefitted from this conversation with Brother Bankh! As an added End-Of-Year Healing and Healing offering, Bankh has put together a list of recommended self-care regimens and culinary recipes, which you can find here

We also encourage you to stay tuned to the next installment of our Journey to Radiance series for the episode titled, “A Mentor’s Journey,” in which Bankh will appear as a guest. 'Til then, on behalf of the entire CBMA Team, have a healthy and blessed holiday!   


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