Written by Step Above Stigma’s founder, Ampai Thammachack.
Say their names, read their stories, and know their faces.
I am talking about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, and the millions of other Black individuals murdered by police brutality and/or White supremacy.
Every day, families worry that their loved ones will not come home because they were racially profiled by a system that was not designed to protect all.
Every day, members of the Black community hear statements that are racist and wrong, even from friends and peers who “didn’t mean any harm.”
Every day, Black individuals strive to break glass ceilings, even though they were actually built with concrete.
These examples, along with countless other injustices and barriers that began when slave traders forcibly, evilly, and cruelly brought men, women and children to America, are what we cannot stop fighting to change.
As a member of the Black community, seeing the positive action online and in person has been transformative. I am so thankful that the words and experiences of the Black community are being amplified in unprecedented ways. However, I just hope that people really listen and that systemic change finally comes.
Change is not an option, and neither is ignorance. Reform needs to come at every level, including the institutions that shape our society and the day-to-day interactions we have all had.
It is crucial, now more than ever, that we put our money where our mouths are and do more than post the black screen.
With that said, I am so proud to say that the Step Above Stigma team stood in solidarity and raised $1310 from team members alone in just 24 hours. Funds will be split evenly between the Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund and the Black Mental Health Alliance. “The Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund brings healing through fellowships, residency programs, listening tours and more to empower the communities they serve (1).” Additionally, “The Black Mental Health Alliance develops, promotes and sponsors trusted culturally relevant educational programs, training and referral services that support the health and wellbeing of Black people and other vulnerable communities (2).” The work these organizations do is an inspiration to us all.
I am also excited to say that Step Above Stigma is working on a way to create long-term change with regard to Black mental health and has something very exciting in the works!
Speaking of work, the work to instill in our society that all lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter must never stop. All mental health does not matter until Black mental health matters, and that starts with us.