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Ntombi Howell
Sunrise: December 2, 1951
Sunset:  January 2, 2003

"The key is acceptance," she said. "As a black woman, a lesbian, an ex-drug addict, one of the things that was important to me is that I was accepted as who I am in this community. So I can pull all my strengths out of me and improve my community."   -- Ntombi Howell

The above quote was published in The Examiner, Wednesday, February 11, 1998 and was preceded by the following description by Carol Ness  EXAMINER staff member:  [She] took a deep breath and leaned into the microphone to explain the magic of Glide Memorial Church to a cabinet secretary and two of President Clinton's top emissaries on race.  [] 

Ntombi Howell died on January 2, 2003.  She was born on December 2, 1951 in Harlem, New York.  She came to Glide Memorial Church fifteen years ago as a person in recovery and joined the recovery circle.  Janice Mirikitani and Rev. Cecil Williams saw her irresistible compassion, intelligence and radiance and asked her to join the Glide staff.  Twelve years ago, Ntombi became the Director of Glide’s recovery program, in partnership with the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics.  For Glide, Ntombi became a national spokesperson who could transform the concept of recovery into a universal human experience for all people.  Through Glide’s Empowerment Journey program, she trained churches around the US to start recovery circles with the philosophy that “we’re all in need of some form of recovery.”
Ntombi also taught at New College in San Francisco, where she received her Masters in Psychology.  She lectured at national conferences for Hazelden, Sweet Potato Pie and the National Black Women’s Health Project on recovery and women’s healing.  Her writing and poetry have been published in anthologies and Bay Area magazines.  She took part in Bay Area lesbian theatre productions.  She was an advocate and activist for the rights of women, people of color and the poor. Her gift of empathy and communication crossed all barriers of class, race, national origin, language, religious beliefs and the walls of denial.  Ntombi’s chosen family includes Nadra Hannah, Ama R. Saran, Aliyah Majon, Roxanne Shaw, Janice Mirikitani and Cecil Williams.  In addition to her chosen family, she leaves behind an extended family of many friends, community activists, advocates and colleagues.

Viewing and Reflections were held at Duggan's Funeral; Services were at Glide Memorial Church, 330 Ellis Street (corner of Ellis and Taylor), San Francisco, CA.  Phone:  415-674-6000


The Celebration will included reflections, poetry, live music, dance and a feast. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the following organizations, In Memory of Ntombi,

Charlotte Maxwell
Complimentary Clinic

5691 Telegraph Ave,
Oakland, CA  94609


Nia Collective Scholarship Fund

PO BOX 10863, Oakland,  CA 94610-0863


Glide Memorial Church

330 Ellis Street,
San Francisco, CA  94102


Women of Color Camp

P.O. BOX 1044

El Cerrito, CA  94530

Source:  Zuna Institute
Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, Inc



"This society, aided and abetted by the cosmetic industry, tells us we're not okay. It tells us we cannot live up to the ideals they've established."

"As newly clean and sober women clear up their minds, memories of all the times they were harmed, hurt, bruised, or abused often come to mind," said Howell. "They look at these same bodies of theirs and find they can't love them. Not loving our bodies can mean the difference between using and staying clean; the difference between relapse and making it."  [Read More]

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