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Family Act Key for Blacks, Coalition Says

WASHINGTON INFORMER — A national family and medical paid leave program must be passed by Congress to ensure all American workers can care for their families without worrying about jeopardizing their income, according to officials at The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, a District-based coalition of more than 200 national organizations that work to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all in the United States.

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By Stacy Brown

A national family and medical paid leave program must be passed by Congress to ensure all American workers can care for their families without worrying about jeopardizing their income, according to officials at The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, a District-based coalition of more than 200 national organizations that work to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all in the United States.

Leadership Conference officials joined others at a Tri-Caucus briefing on the importance of paid family and medical leave at the federal level to achieve racial justice.

A panel experts at the June 5 gathering at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill discussed a wide range of topics, most notably the current federal and state landscape of family and medical leave with a special focus on how the Family Act will make vital improvements for people of color.

The gathering was co-sponsored by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Partnership for Women & Families, Black Women’s Roundtable, Family Values at Work, UnidosUS, United for Respect, and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“We believe passage of the Family Act is key for Black women and men to achieve economic security and prosperity,” said event moderator Melanie Campbell, who serves as president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable.

“As a program that ensures that people can take time from work when they need it to care for themselves and family, the Family Act speaks directly to the needs of Black women and their families because three out of four Black women — 75 percent — are the primary source of income in their family units,” Campbell said. “Also, nearly 30 percent of Black family caregivers are young family members between the ages 18 to 34 and who earn less than $30,000 annually.”

Earlier this month, Connecticut became just the seventh state to create a system of paid leave. Under the new law, minimum wage employees could have up to 95 percent of their pay covered, capped at $900 per week.

New York’s recently-passed paid leave policy offers only a 55 percent wage replacement, which will increase to 67 percent when the law is fully implemented.

“Paid leave is a critical step forward for women’s economic security, especially for low-wage workers and women of color who are an increasing number of primary breadwinners for their families,” Catherine Bailey of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund told the Connecticut Mirror. “We are proud to join the rest of the world and become just the seventh state in the U.S. to create a system of paid leave.”

The need for all states to create a substantial family leave law is underscored by a recent Harvard University report.

“Following decades of decline, maternal deaths began to rise in the United States around 1990 — a significant departure from the world’s other affluent countries,” the report said. “By 2013, rates had more than doubled.”

The CDC now estimates that 700 to 900 new and expectant mothers die in the U.S. each year, and an additional 500,000 women experience life-threatening postpartum complications.

More than half of these deaths and near deaths are from preventable causes, and a disproportionate number of the women suffering are Black.

“Put simply, for Black women far more than for white women, giving birth can amount to a death sentence,” the Harvard report said. “African-American women are three to four times more likely to die during or after delivery than are white women. According to the World Health Organization, their odds of surviving childbirth are comparable to those of women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan, where significant proportions of the population live in poverty.”

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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Activism

Youth Uprising Approaches Mental Wellness with Fun, Education and Job Opportunity

Youth Uprising offers education support, job readiness, counseling for healing and health: holistic wellness, physical health, sports and recreation, free style music classes, video and film production, dance, performing and visual arts. Classes are from 3:30 -5:00 and is open to all youth.

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Youth Uprising CEO Y’anad Burrell. Photo courtesy of Y’anad Burrell.
Youth Uprising CEO Y’anad Burrell. Photo courtesy of Y’anad Burrell.

Black Mental Health: Part 8

By Tanya Dennis

Youth Uprising provides comprehensive, fully integrated health, wellness, educational, career, arts, and cultural programming to Alameda County youth and young adults, ages 13-24. Located at 8711 MacArthur Blvd. in East Oakland. Youth Uprising has taken a mind, body, spirit approach to mental wellness.

Y’Anad Burrell, CEO of Youth Uprising, says that “It was essential we offered a mental wellness program at Youth Uprising because we saw the unfortunate outcomes of social isolation and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted to broaden our programs to not always think of wellness as a room and counseling, but instead think of how we could incorporate wellness in our everyday life dance.

“We have full-time clinicians but elevate the narrative of wellness that is interactive and fun. We check in with our youth on how they are adapting to this new social structure created by COVID-19,” she said.

Mental health clinicians Tamikia McCoy and Rica Rice offer services Monday thru Friday. For service contact Tamikia McCoy at – tmccoy@youthuprising.org

Youth Uprising offers education support, job readiness, counseling for healing and health: holistic wellness, physical health, sports and recreation, free style music classes, video and film production, dance, performing and visual arts. Classes are from 3:30 -5:00 and is open to all youth.

Currently Youth Uprising’s “Wing Wednesdays” is held at their Café, but there are plans for “pop-ups” and “A Taste of Oakland,” student event in August where 10 to 15 students will showcase their food.

Burrell says that “A Taste of Oakland” is providing an opportunity for learning the elements of the culinary industry in classes teaching cooking and the business side of the café. Each station in the café will have an adult teacher to guide them on how to serve, how to greet the customer, work the cash register weekly, cleaning and sanitizing the café, and understanding the elements of being a chef.”

Burrell is especially proud of Youth Uprising’s Delinquency Prevention Network (DPN) conducted by Javion Robertson. DPN is a job readiness program training up to 20 youth reduced from 50 due to COVID safety.

Every 90 days students are taught communications, public speaking, resume writing, time management, professional dress, workplace employer relations and prepare youth before they are placed.

DPN is Youth Uprisings most popular and well attended program and is conducted Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m.. To enroll contact Javion Robertson at jrobertson@youthuprising.org

Burrell noted that, “Youth Uprising belongs to our community and our youth, so we deliver on our original purpose and design. Our goal is to develop youth into leaders, and that they leave aware of how the system impacts them and are prepared.

“Our mission statement is “We believe that if we provide youth with relevant services and programs, meaningful engagement with caring adults, and opportunities to practice leadership they will become change agents and contributors to a healthy thriving community. This formula for change maintains that healthy, involved people can influence policy and ultimately create healthier, safer, and economically robust communities. It recognizes that youth are inherently resilient, and that risk can be reduced with the right set of supports, services, and opportunities.”

For more information contact Danielle Parker, Youth Uprising’s Executive Assistant dparker@youthuprising.org or call 510-777-9909.

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Activism

Project Hosts Virtual Workshop for African American Families Caring for Mentally Ill, Substance Abusers

“We see a lot of people with mental illness being incarcerated at Santa Rita jail,” said Margot Dashiell, chairwoman of the AAFOP Steering Committee. “Forty-eight percent of those incarcerated in the jail’s mental health unit are African American, yet African Americans constitute only 9% of the County population. Involuntary hospitalization is also at a disproportionate rate at John George Mental Health facility.

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Margot Dashiell has a BA in sociology and MA in educational and clinical psychology. Ms. Dashiell taught African American studies and sociology at Laney College for 30 years, and now retired, is board chair of the Steering Committee for the African American Wellness Project.
Margot Dashiell has a BA in sociology and MA in educational and clinical psychology. Ms. Dashiell taught African American studies and sociology at Laney College for 30 years, and now retired, is board chair of the Steering Committee for the African American Wellness Project.

By Tanya Dennis

(This story is part of a series on Black Mental Health)

The African American Family Outreach Project (AAFOP) will host a free virtual workshop for family members who serve as caregivers for those living with serious mental illness and/or substance abuse on Saturday, June 25, from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

There, caregivers can seek information on symptoms, treatment options and the means for navigating Alameda County’s complex system of care. A four-person volunteer family member steering committee plans each event based on their own personal experience in caring for a loved one. The meetings are for family members and planned by family members. To register, call 510-697-8533.

The event will also feature Dr. Aaron Chapman, psychiatrist, and medical director for Alameda County Behavioral Health Services. He will discuss the role of psychiatric care and devote considerable time to answer audience questions in depth and followed by a panel of speakers who will describe the process for filing a complaint against a service provider.

“We see a lot of people with mental illness being incarcerated at Santa Rita jail,” said Margot Dashiell, chairwoman of the AAFOP Steering Committee. “Forty-eight percent of those incarcerated in the jail’s mental health unit are African American, yet African Americans constitute only 9% of the County population. Involuntary hospitalization is also at a disproportionate rate at John George Mental Health facility.

“If we can help families recognize the symptoms and what resources are available, families could recognize symptoms early on, and serious challenges could be averted,” she said. “Homelessness has exacerbated the problem and we’re witnessing an increase in suicides at an alarming rate. We offer family education and a resource support center virtually due to COVID-19.”

AAFOP was designed to help families who have loved ones suffering from mental illness with resources and coping skills. For the past five years, AAFOP’s fiscal sponsor and home has been the Mental Health Association of Alameda County, with funding from Alameda County Behavioral Health Services.

Traditionally, psychiatry programs, master’s degree and Ph.D. psychology programs did not recognize the importance of families in helping loved ones who are ill or addicted. In fact, it was once the common view in textbooks and training programs that mental illness resulted from poor parenting.

Reversing old ideas and practices, Alameda County Behavioral Health designated funds from California’s Mental Health Services Act to AAFOP to encourage family members to actively engage in the treatment process for loved ones. Many agencies and service providers today still do not actively encourage family participation in the treatment process.

AAFOP encourages continual learning and the importance of self-care in the face of stressful conditions. As such, it encourages attendees to join Family Education Resource Center’s AAFOP which meets virtually on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. To receive a link for the support group, call 510-746-1700.

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Bay Area

Just Armour Holds Father’s Day Skating Party on June 12

Sharika Gregory will be hosting a Father’s Day Skating event on Sunday, June 12, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Golden Gate Village’s Basketball Court near the 100 block of Drake Avenue in Marin City. The event is free. There will be cash prizes, fun, food, and music.

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Sharika Gregory will be hosting a Father’s Day Skating event on Sunday, June 12, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Golden Gate Village’s Basketball Court near the 100 block of Drake Avenue in Marin City. The event is free. There will be cash prizes, fun, food, and music.

For more information, go to justarmour.org.

Sharika Gregory will be hosting a Father’s Day Skating event on Sunday, June 12, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Golden Gate Village’s Basketball Court near the 100 block of Drake Avenue in Marin City. The event is free. There will be cash prizes, fun, food, and music.

Sharika Gregory will be hosting a Father’s Day Skating event on Sunday, June 12, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Golden Gate Village’s Basketball Court near the 100 block of Drake Avenue in Marin City. The event is free. There will be cash prizes, fun, food, and music.

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