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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The community lost a giant and Heaven gained an angel

"Tasha Jones is a rare and wonderful artist that strikes a balance in a world so often lopsided. She has the soul of a Nikki Giovanni draped in the Haute Couture fashions of a runway model. Jones is a student of life and a teacher of lessons. On stage, she tells the story of her life and, in doing so, tells the story of all women, a story of love, loss, and life. She offers a perspective, poignancy, and insight in her writing that allows men to see themselves through her work and women to see themselves in her work. She proves herself to be simultaneously what women are and what they aspire to be. Once you've experienced her for yourself, you will feel better, wiser, and are enriched for it." — Jon Goode

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As the Indianapolis community grieves the physical presence of Queen Mother Mashaiki Jywanza, who transitioned this life on January 1, 2024, there is joy in knowing her spirit remains very present as she is now an ancestor.

The powerful advocate for literacy, education, freedom, liberation for all, the working poor, and the oppressed was demonstrated in her life’s work.

Through her actions, she changed how the community approached and examined access to Black history as the Assistant to the Director of Indianapolis Public Schools Office of African-Centered Multicultural Education, ensuring the teaching methodologies and pedagogy were engaging and advantageous to student learning.

A lifelong Indiana resident and friend of kazi (Swahili term for work), she organized and connected the Indianapolis community on causes that would empower, impact, and build the people’s consciousness.

“She and her husband Kamau Jywanza co-chaired the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’CORBA), and they were committed to the plight of the people, youth, and education,” stated community leaders Musa and Donna Maafrika. “She was our friend, sister friend.”

She was a friend of Indianapolis and we honor her work and impact. We express our sincerest sympathy to the immediate family, friends, communities, and comrades from here to West Africa, and allow many to share with their words.

“She is an advocate, warrior, fighter, protector, genealogist, teacher, Mother, and Nurturer. (Present tense, her energy remains.) She positively impacted and poured into me. She gave unconditionally without expectation of anything in return. We are a better community because of her.”

Nichelle Hayes, Former CEO of Indianapolis Public Library and Founding Director of the Center for Black Literature & Culture

“Mashariki was my go-to sister for all things Afrocentric and spiritual. She poured libations for many events I organized. She was a beautiful soul who always brought a beautiful spirit and peace into any room she entered.”

Eunice Trotter, Director of Indiana Landmarks Black Heritage Preservation Program

“Our African Queen Mother, Mashariki Jywanza, has joined the ancestors. She lifted our hearts so many times, and now our hearts are heavy and hurting. Even now, the world is a strange place without her in it. We will miss her guidance, wisdom, hard work, love, friendship, fellowship and laughter. We will always remember her when we gather as a community and in our silent moments of solitude. We will celebrate her life for as long as the rivers flow and the sun rises.”

Dr. Rev. James C. Anyike

“Queen Mother Mashariki JYWANZa was a social innovator, healer, mother, and grandmother to black Indianapolis. She raised not only her children but also others. I am forever grateful for what she has brought to this world.”

DeAmon Harges, Roving Listener, Social Banker

“Mashariki was the most courageous revolutionary with whom I have developed. Our people are better off because of her contribution to this life, some of which I will never share. She will rest in peace as we strive for world peace. Her legacy is for those who know her to understand. “The struggle continues.”

Elder Ajabu

In addition to other positions during her 17 years in IPS, Mashariki steadfastly served our school district and the community as assistant to the director of the IPS Office of African-Centered Multicultural Education director. Her extensive knowledge of African history and culture and her critical concern for the welfare and well-being of Black and Brown students never waned. She is

now an Ancestor whose earthly vision and purpose will continue through the many lives she touched and taught.

Dr. Director, IPS Office of Racial Equity & Inclusion Campus of Crispus Attucks High School

A community tribute will take place, Friday (1/12/2) at AMP at 16 Tech (1220 Waterway Blvd., 46202) from 5-8PM.

The services will be held at North United Methodist Church (3808 North Meridian 46205) Saturday (1/13/24), from 9-1PM.

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