NAMI CEO Jessica Cruz released this statement on recent racist incidents and what we must do as a community:
NAMI California joins NAMI in standing in solidarity with all the families, friends, and community members who have lost loved ones senselessly due to racism.
We understand that we must take steps to right wrongs and demand equality and justice.
We must work together to protect our loved ones and fellow Californians impacted by racial discrimination and violence.
We must recognize racism as a public health crisis.
We must ensure quality mental health care and services for those suffering from racism and racial trauma. The lack of cultural competence in mental health treatment can no longer be tolerated.
We must continue to advocate at the local and state level for systematic change and take on long-rooted racial disparities and structural inequities.
We ask that you help us in raising our voices for those who are suffering.
Our local NAMI California affiliates are here for you; find out more about mental health challenges in African American communities; and learn more about cultural competence from our toolkit.
Full Statement from NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison, Jr.:
“The effect of racism and racial trauma on mental health is real and cannot be ignored. The disparity in access to mental health care in communities of color cannot be ignored. The inequality and lack of cultural competency in mental health treatment cannot be ignored.
“Our nation’s African American community is going through an extremely painful experience, pain that has been inflicted upon this community repeatedly throughout history and is magnified by mass media and repeated deaths. We stand with all the families, friends and communities who have lost loved ones senselessly due to racism. And, with more than 100,000 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic – disproportionately from minority communities – these recent deaths add gasoline to the fire of injustice.
“While there is much we need to do to address racism in our country, we must not forget the importance of mental health as we do so. Racism is a public health crisis.
“As the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, it is our responsibility to serve all. While as an organization we are still early in our intentional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey and have much to do, we have renewed our commitment to our values. We continue to strive to deliver help and hope to all who need it.
“NAMI stands in solidarity with everyone impacted across the country. You are not alone.”