“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
The 100 Days of May kept many of us all on our toes! In honor of May also being Mental Health Awareness Month, ensuring I practiced balance was a key goal.
The County of Sonoma Hosted a day-long Mental Health Forum in lieu of the regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting. With Sonoma County experiencing a rise in substance use disorders, homelessness and a shortage of services to address an unprecedented mental health crisis, this was a first-of-its-kind summit of behavioral health professionals from across the county for a listening session on the mental health care needs of the community. This was the FIRST time the Black Therapy Fund was afforded the public opportunity to share more about the unique program and insights from the launch. It took a huge nudge of a few of our county supervisors to connect the dots on why it is important to ensure all county-funded mental health programs are included, especially those specifically working to support those furthest out on the margins.
Following an alarming post from Rohnert Park Public Safety, our Criminal Justice Chair and I met with the Mayor of Rohnert Park to discuss the outdated Juvenile loitering ordinance. We asked that the council calendar a time to review said policy along with studies and cases pursued by the ACLU. Moreover, there are intricate challenges with the “free period” policies at Rancho Cotate High School which could inadvertently place those students in a vulnerable position as well. We encourage all city council members to explore all necessary ordinances and policies that have not caught up to 21st Century practices to ensure the safety of those on the margins.
The remainder of the month was filled with the rounding of workshops related to our environmental justice commitments via – RCPA partnership, SCTA Transportation study, Sonoma County Transit Focus group, and Santa Rosa City “Water” stakeholder group.
Amy N. and I represented the branch during the CA/HI Day at the Capital Statewide lobby day. There were about 150 youth and adult members from across the state – late night buses brought up our Southern California branches. I served as a group leader which entailed ensuring we were well versed on the bills we were collectively advocating for and that we arrived at all five of our appointments on time. Our group consisted of members from Sonoma County, Tri-Cities (Antioch), San Diego, and Los Angeles.
It was a long day, we learned a ton and got to spend time with some amazing youth leaders.
Respectfully Submitted by Kirstyne Lange, President