#HumansOfImpactHub Dr. Sheronda Orridge

“If I could change one thing in the world, I would give everybody tolerance. Because a lot of times, we don’t look at other people’s situation, and a lot of times we forget the journey we came from. We’re always quick to judge once we get to a certain place, but we forget the journey that we took to get to that place. Like an adult fussing at a child for doing something they probably did as a child. Or somebody who became a preacher who used to get high or drunk and doesn’t want to visit those places now, thinking he’s too good to go to that place. So I would give people tolerance.”

Dr. Sheronda Orridge has a very strong sense of compassion and respect for people’s stories, and the need to understand them—both other people’s and our own. She joins Impact Hub on behalf of her business called Loving Spirit Holistic Services (LSHS), which offers a variety of services, including life coaching, doula services, community consulting, workshop facilitation, motivational speaking, and rites of passage ceremonies.

The rites of passage Dr. Orridge celebrates are to commemorate prominent transitions in people’s lives, for example when a young woman first gets her menstrual cycle, or when a young person turns 13, 18, or 21. “Our kids often don’t have those rites of passage, to recognize when they have difficulties or accomplishments, to have elders that can tell them what they have passed,” she says. “When my daughter was 10 going on 11, she started to rebel, and she felt like she wasn’t getting a handle on school. I always used to tell her ‘when you get through with all of this, you’re going to be a great woman.’”

Sheronda facilitated a very memorable rite of passage for her daughter’s 18th birthday. She invited everyone who had a hand in helping her daughter be the woman she is today, including her grandma and auntie from Chicago, coaches, and other people from the community, all elders who watched her grow and were able to share their observations on how she had become the person she is today. These kinds of experiences have helped her daughter to understand what her talents and gifts are. “She’s a natural leader, facilitator, actor,” says Sheronda, “and those are the things I enhanced in her, because school doesn’t teach you that.”

Sheronda has also done a great deal of work and activism around the foreclosure crisis of 2009, telling her own experience of injustice and organizing others to get the word out. She has gone to Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to speak and march on the issue. Her story and way of telling it has been powerful to other people. At one march in downtown Minneapolis, after a rousing and heartfelt speech Sheronda had given in St. Paul, a number of people came up to her to say, “Sheronda, we’re here for you.” Dr. Orridge continues to use these talents for speaking, organizing, and healing to create positive change in her community.

Kate Lucas

Kate Lucas

Kate Lucas is a writer, poet, and teacher based in Minneapolis. She has written for nonprofits for more than a decade, including Common Hope, Little Free Library, and Partners in Food Solutions, and she has taught writing as an adjunct faculty member at several Minnesota colleges and universities. Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as Copper Nickel, LUMINA, 111O, Minnesota Alumni, and the anthology From the Pews in the Back. She holds an MFA from Hamline University.