A Letter from President & CEO, Dr. Shari Brink
Recently I wrote that, “In some way, shape, or form, we all feel the effects of this time of anxiety, fear and isolation. And for some, there just are no words for the grief and loss and trauma.”
Well, words or not, try we must. We are witnessing, day-by-day, in our City and around the country, what trauma expressed looks like. Our fellow Americans – engaged in peaceful protest – have said “enough.” Enough abuse of power. Enough reliance on privilege. Enough second-class healthcare. Enough underpaid workers. Enough standing by.
While an early mantra in the pandemic was “we’re in this together,” as the crisis has unfolded, we’ve learned that it has taken an astoundingly disproportionate toll on black and brown communities.
A pandemic and the asphyxiation of a helpless black man layered on top of decades and centuries of racial injustice? Enough.
In these times, we must work together to dismantle systemic racism. Each must play their part, whether it be nonviolent protest, incisive journalism, policy change, or ensuring people of color are hired and promoted.
And what is the role of Blanton-Peale in these times? Plain and simple, racism affects mental health. Mental health care in today’s world requires wading into painful, layered, and complicated conversations about race and trauma.
To address trauma is to address our society’s most pressing challenges, one person at a time. Humanity’s penchant for violence and oppression – for racism – must be in the room with us. There must be room for the deep pain of its impacts. And high-quality care includes nurturing mental wellbeing too – helping create a world in which all can heal, grow and flourish.
In these times of heightened despair and anguish, we are here for all New Yorkers. Blanton-Peale will continue to support those who have been hardest hit by this pandemic and its emotional fallout, those who are experiencing its economic fallout, and those affected by our society’s deepest failings.
There will be no way to do it “right” all the time, but to do nothing is a sure way to get it wrong. As James Baldwin put it:
“Not everything that is faced can be changed,
but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
These are my own reflections on Blanton-Peale’s role in these tumultuous times. Whatever your part, may we be in it together as agents of change – of healing, courage and hope.
May God help us to find our way together,
Dr. Shari K. Brink
President & CEO