In the fight against inequality, some are put in the position of choosing between their personal wellbeing and the needs of the collective — so, many Black and LGBTQ activists are forced to neglect their own mental and emotional health, which can lead to higher rates of depression and anxiety among both groups. Additionally, in times of mental, spiritual, and emotional crisis, they’re more susceptible to substance abuse, poverty and homelessness – mostly attributed to the lack of adequate resources.
The issue has grown more prevalent throughout the years, and in response, more organizations — ranging from church groups and wellness clinics to pop-up mutual aid efforts — have affirmed their presence in the community and helped to provide outreach to at-risk demographics. Several of these organizations have gained traction in Charlotte over the past few years, such as Transcend Charlotte and The Social Justice Emotional Response Collective (SJERC) – both centered on providing mental and emotional outreach to minorities and the LGBTQ community, with emphasis on low-income and Black transgender folks.
How does this relate to BLM? Well, leaders in mental health and healing are diligently providing the backbone to the Black Lives Matter movement. In preparation for this article, I had the opportunity to chat with Reia Chapman, a licensed therapist, community organizer, and founder of The Social Justice Emotional Response Collective (SJERC). Currently serving as the director of clinical services at the Center for Family and Maternal Wellness, PLLC, she considers herself to be embodying the principles of collective liberation and justice in her practice. She also touched on the integral role mental health advocacy has in the human rights space and how her 24/7 outreach and support helped to fuel Black Lives Matter organizers since 2012.
Chapman’s impact on marginalized communities in Charlotte has always been significant. Her work during the past few months of heightened unrest in our city has increased and taken on a new form. As we look back on how the events of spring and summer shaped Charlotte, let’s profile the social justice powerhouse, Reia Chapman, and how she not only helped bring important conversations to the forefront, but continued to breathe life into the Black Lives Matter movement.
Read the full article HERE.