We had the good fortune of connecting with Chakeia Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chakeia, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
The most important thing I have done as a parent in terms of the impact on my children is exposing them to their own cultural identity and how that identity relates to various cultures throughout our globe. Currently I am the Co-chair of the Arizona Matsuri, Vice President of Project Speak Life, and President of the Phoenix International Heritage Festival. Using my platform of events to make connections to other people through culture has been a great learning experience for my entire family. It is one of my greatest contributions to our team. At each festival my family takes on an active role of learning. My children have studied Jazz Musicians, Poets, Scientists, Freedom Fighters, Ona Bugeisha, African Samurai, and our list continues to grow. Through creative hands-on learning experiences we discover our uniqueness and we find what connects us so our world gets a little bit closer! We celebrate this knowledge and do it all over again! I strongly believe that submerging yourself in others life experiences and history builds bridges of unity. This unity is developed from understanding and fellowship that takes place when you come together. The more we step into the world of those around us we see how much we are alike. These similarities are meant to be explored while our quintessence should be appreciated. As we learn from one another we see how the language of love is stronger than any other. My greatest desire for my children and for those I serve in the community is to live in peace. I give myself and dedicate my life to not just a dream but creating a lifelong reality of cultural harmony. I don’t just dream in color; I live in it too!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The name of my business is Keia J. Events. My goal is to design over-the-top memorable events that connect people through unforgettable occasions. An event no matter how great or small is a big deal to me. And even the most simple of get-togethers deserves a little extra attention to make it special. My creativity sets me apart from others. I have done it all from birthday parties with stilt walkers to flame throwers at weddings. If you can think of it, I can find a way to make it or a version of it come true. I got to where I am in business today with dedication. Life can take you down many different paths, but if you have a goal in mind and keep it close to your heart, you can make it a reality. Always taking an active role in steps to make my visions come true has been key. When I had children my life changed. But finding ways to incorporate the people I love into what I love has been my ticket to success. Along the way I have learned the most important thing is to believe in yourself and enjoy the journey. If you have a plan, take it one day at a time and you will look up at a beautiful picture you initiated and created with a lot of great people along the way. Believe in the power of love and that the entire world is conspiring to see you succeed. When you can tap into that flow, nothing can stop you. Be sure to visit WWW.KEIAJEVENTS.COM.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When you visit Arizona you come for the weather! For the best temps you have to come in the fall, late winter, or early spring! If you want to really show your family a good time, I recommend the fall. The Arizona Cardinals start a ripple effect of activities in September. We have the Arizona State Fair and tons of pumpkin patches. My favorite patch is Schnepf farms! During this time of year there are some awesome festivals such as the Salt River Fields Balloon Festival and Dia de los Muertos Festival. My children have enjoyed some awesome face painting at the latter and the dancing was quite a site! The Phoenix International Heritage Festival is a food lovers dream. Foodies can go on a cultural treasure hunt that links you to all of the best places to eat and try something new! In the winter we have fun activities too. The Phoenix Zoo lights are great for the kiddos. For our car lovers, we have tons of car shows. My favorite is the Heritage Square Motoring through Time. This is a great event to include grandparents. The Arizona Matsuri is one of the largest festivals in the state. It is a must go to for traditional Japanese dancing, singing, and taiko drumming. Pokitrition has the best sushi burritos, be sure to check out their booth! In the spring, sports are king. There are so many fun sports events here. There is always something to do. First baseball kicks off with the Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest mid February. Then the Arizona Rattlers, our indoor football league, usually starts later that month. Followed by the Phoenix Suns March Madness. Lastly, the Phoenix Mercury starts to ball in May. Now if you are young and want to party, Scottsdale still reigns! Pick a spot downtown and you are sure to have a blast! We have date activities such as indoor skydiving, horseback riding, dirt biking, and four wheel drives. Are you going to explore the entire state? Then you have to visit the Grand Canyon! Roughly five million people from all over the globe visit the Grand Canyon each year. Therefore the Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing attractions in the world and a must see! To start to wind down your trip, go to Sedona. It is a peaceful location just right for stargazing. Now the perfect ending to a busy week of fun is at Miraval Arizona Wellness Resort. Escape for the day to one of the best wellness destinations in the world! You can come here any season and mix and match these activities to make the best of your week long destination trip!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt my family has been my strongest influence and support system. I am grateful for the love they have instilled in me to have for myself and others. I know that each experience with them shaped and molded me into the spiritual being I am today. I also want to give a shoutout to all of the people who sit beside me on the various organizations I am a part of in Arizona and abroad. The fact they believe in me to represent them and to be a beacon of hope for our community touches my heart and pushes me to continue on this journey.

Website: www.keiajevents.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/keiajevents
Twitter: www.twitter.com/keiajevents
Facebook: www.facebook.com/keiajevents
Youtube: www.youtube.com/keiajevents
Other Websites: www.KeiaJPhotography.comwww.weloveAMHA.orgwww.azmatsuri.orgwww.pihflife.orgwww.projectspeaklife.orgwww.azcardinals.comwww.azstatefair.comwww.schnepffarms.comwww.azspooktacular.comwww.mesaartscenter.com/diadelosmuertowww.heritagesquarephx.orgwww.pokitrition.comwww.mlb.com/dbackswww.azrattlers.comwww.nba.com/sunswww.mercury.wnba.com,  www.nps.gov/grcawww.visitsedona.comwww.miravalarizona.comwww.visitphoenix.com

Image Credits
Keia J. Photography, Chowderjay Photography and Cinematography, Kristen June McCormick Photography

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