July Highlights - Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. It is also the busiest program time of the year for No More Martyrs. Below, check out the highlights of how we recognized the month and worked to build awareness of minority mental health and, specifically, the experiences of Black women with mental health concerns.
July 1, 2018
Tasha Simone of Hot 107.7 Radio Station in Birmingham, Alabama helped No More Martyrs kick off Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by inviting us to the station to spread awareness and share details about our events for the month.
No More Martyrs was also recognized on July 1st in Huntsville, Alabama by the Caribbean Association of North Alabama.
July 3, 2018
No More Martyrs ushered in the 4th of July weekend with an appearance on Good Day Alabama on WBRC Fox6 News in Birmingham, Alabama. During our appearance, Dr. Nadia Richardson shared information about the 2018 Minority Mental Health Awareness Summit. She was joined by event sponsors Psychiatric Intake Response Center (Represented by Dr. Tobias Martinez) and the YMCA of Central Alabama (Represented by Ms. Fanciy Sears).
July 5-8, 2018
Girls Trip! No More Martyrs attended the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. Essence festal is much more than an annual music festival. It brings together thinkers, companies, organizations and decision-makers from across the world to engage, inspire and empower Black women to prioritize themselves (and have a good time doing it). Our purpose for attending was to explore ways that No More Martyrs can be actively engaged in the event each year in order to spread awareness of mental health experiences for Black women. The Essence Festival Expo offers a variety of vendors as well as organizations educating participants on diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell, obesity and a number of other health related issues. No More Martyrs is working to have a table there next year (fingers crossed - stay tuned).
While we were able to engage a number of different participants, companies and organizations, the highlight of our trip was the Shea Moisture events. Shea Moisture, as a company, has a rich history that started in Sierra Leone in 1912 and continues today as a part of Sundial Brands. Sundial Brands is a Black owned-company that also owns Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and and Essence Ventures. Sundial Brands owner, Richelieu Dennis, was recognized in the Essence photo tribute that No More Martyrs did for Black Heritage Month earlier this year (See - Representation Matters). During the Essence Festival, Shea Moisture hosted a number of events including a panel of Black female entrepreneurs and businesswomen which included Nyakio Grieco (Nyakio Beauty), Melissa Butler (The Lip Bar) and Beatrice Felix-Espada (The Honey Pot Company).
July 11, 2018
No More Martyrs hosted two pre-summit trainings at Samford University. The two trainings included Becoming a LGBTQ Competent Mental Health Professional (facilitated by Justyn Smith, MS, LPC of The Queer Center) and Youth Mental Health First Aid Training (facilitated by Lauren Carson of Black Girls Smile and Lois Herndon).
Also, on July 11th, No More Martyrs hosted a kick off reception for Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The event took place at Birmingham City Hall. During the reception, Mayor Randall Woodfin presented No More Martyrs with a proclamation for the mental health work being done in Birmingham, Alabama and beyond.
No More Martyrs continues to grow because of the support of many numerous individuals. Below, are just a few that we were able to celebrate during this year's kick off reception.
July 12, 2018
No More Martyrs hosted the 3rd Annual Minority Mental Health Awareness Summit at Samford University. Event sponsors included the Samford University's Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives, Jefferson County Department of Health, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham - LBGT Fund, YWCA of Central Alabama and Children's of Alabama Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC).
Authors of Black Women’s Mental Health, Dr. Stephanie Evans, Dr. Kanika Bell and Dr. Nsenga Burton along with Ms. Lauren Carson (Founder of Black Girls Smile) served as on a special panel discussion about Black Women and Mental Health.
July 13, 2018
No More Martyrs culminated the 2018 Minority Mental Health Awareness Summit with a visit to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and 16th Street Baptist Church located in Birmingham, Alabama as well as the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery , Alabama. During the trip, participants joined conversations regarding racial trauma and mental health were led by mental health advocates and licensed mental health professionals. This tour was done in partnership with Brothers Let’s Talk.
The Legacy of Racial Trauma
The headline of the Montgomery Advertiser on the day of our racial trauma tour. While some may see this as a coincidence, No More Martyrs sees it as evidence of the longstanding impacts of racial injustice on mental wellness.
At the end of the tour, participants returned to Birmingham and were invite to a special reading and book signing by world-renowned poet, educator and activist, Nikki Giovanni. The event took place at the Wine Loft in Birmingham, Alabama. During the reading, Nikki Giovanni shared pieces and signed copies from her most recent publication ‘A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter’.
Nikki Giovanni pictured here with Dr. Nadia Richardson of No More Martyrs.
July 16, 2018
No More Martyrs launched Sister Support Meetups in Atlanta, Georgia. Sister Support Meetups are monthly meetups that offer support and information. Women come out to share their stories over dinner in a welcoming and social environment while learning recovery strategies for living successfully with mental health concerns and connecting to valuable resources. Sister Support Meetups now take place in Atlanta, Georgia, Birmingham, Alabama, Washington, DC and Blackwood, New Jersey.
Atlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL
No More Martyrs launched their Sister Support Meetups in Atlanta, Georgia on July 16, 2018 and held their monthly meetup in Birmingham, Alabama on July 19th
July 23-29, 2018
No More Martyrs Visits Brazil
No More Martyrs has always aimed to be a national and international organization. With an online following that reflects our global interests, No More Martyrs took our first step towards international engagement by visiting Salvador, Brazil during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Salvador is the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia and the first slave port of the Americas. Known for having the most Afro-based population in the world outside of Africa, Salvador is a unique mixture of culture and history. Remnants of colonialism continue to manifest through evident systemic inequities in income, education, healthcare, criminal justice and race identity politics. Colorism (prejudice against individuals based on ethnic and racial group) is also rampant. During out trip, No More Martyrs interviewed Black women on racism, colorism and mental health. Interviews were videotaped and will be a part of a documentary project about mental health in the African diaspora. Stay tuned for details.
No More Martyrs had a wonderful opportunity to connect with Comucidade during our visit. Comucidade is a club of Brazilian university students who participate in various community service projects in the community of Pilar. No More Martyrs joined them in Pilar during one of their service days. Since 2015, Comucidade has been providing programs to women and children that promotes health, education and equal rights.
No More Martyrs extends a special message of thank you to Cetila Itas and Vidas Negras Importam (Black Lives Matter) for scheduling meetings with university students, area residents and local mental health professionals. With the support of Vidas Negras Importam, No More Martyrs was able to interview Brazilian mental health professionals and visit a local substance abuse and mental health facility. No More Martyrs remains in contact with Vidas Negras Importam and looks forward to future collaborations.
Dr. Rosana Resende serves as the Associate Director of the Florida-Brazil Linkage Institute as well as an instructor and coordinator with the University of Florida Center for Latin American Studies. No More Martyrs is incredibly appreciative to Dr. Resende for inviting us to meet her group of study abroad students from the University of Florida and for providing advice as we explored Salvador and gathered interviews.
July 31, 2018
No More Martyrs concluded Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by attending a Women’s Project Listening Session facilitated by Alicia Garza, Oakland-based organizer, activist, Strategy and Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The listening session took place at Beloved Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The discussion focused on voting, politics and women’s rights. Many of the topics discussed align with No More Martyrs’ focus on social justice and mental health advocacy. Minority Mental Health Awareness Month 2018 was a whirlwind. We are excited about the future and will continue to advance mental health awareness throughout the year.