ILE ORO identifies with Yorùbá as a cultural identity. However, spirituality is still significant in Yorùbá culture. ILE ORO's interest in spirituality, as observed in our mission, is for the appreciation of the overarching Yorùbá value systems existing in natural relationships concerning the community and nature that promotes an eco-respecting, eco-friendly and sustainable community. Since we identify with Yorùbá as a cultural identity, our work points back to black excellence while taking pride, adoration, and respect for nature, the ancestors, and divinity, and our work insinuates this relationship.
The majority of our work illustrates the values of Yorùbá culture, and we uphold these values to sustain the Yorùbá-centric culture experienced in our community. Saying our work is religion limits our vision. Our work focuses more on creative perspectives on the Yorùbá way of life. Any religious activities are intimate and occur for individuals venturing down a specific spiritual tradition, and we do not and will not publicize them to a broad audience. Nonetheless, these activities only make up about 10% of our work, and we do not seek to support these activities through resource injections like grants. Our interest in seeking resource injections will only be to support our arts programming, including linguistics, fashion, design, performance, music, and aesthetics.
Helping BIPOC achieve excellence.
We primarily support BIPOCs on the South Side of Chicago, IL. They have high markings on the census hardship index, and studies on Chicago residents revealed that art and cultural activities in these communities are not always readily available. Despite this, neighborhoods surrounding The Loop and nearby have about 120 or more arts & culture organizations. It is a disparity; communities of color desire more arts and cultural events in their surrounding neighborhoods. We aim to support this desire on the South Side and minimize the barriers to participation by using local artists and artist groups for their involvement and collaboration.
We hope to reach BIPOCs who have lost their connectedness to their African roots by using our platform to uplift them. We ensure equity and accessibility. We specifically do not discriminate against color, LGBTQ+, people with disability, or neuro-divergent populations. We will remain open to perspectives and lived experiences and seek to understand how identity may be part of finding one’s place in the world.
Supporting LGBTQ+ rights.
We have and will always remain open to perspectives and lived experiences and seek to understand how identity is a part of finding one’s place in the world. We bring together people to be accepted and loved and to make them feel great in our fight for equality. We have seen in the queer movement an increasing number of LGBTQ+ facing a disconnectedness from their ancestral heritage that turns to our events and activities to find this connectedness. It is important to note that the Yorùbá culture that arrived in Cuba after the Atlantic Slave Trade that later transplanted to the United States was greatly influenced by the artistic work of queer folk who reimagined traditions to make Yorùbá culture more appealing to outsiders. We will continue to examine how to identify queer experiences to create awareness and be sensitive to LGBTQ+ rights.