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Media Black Voices News –



Written by Precinct Reporter Group
Thursday, 19 July 2012 05:30
Jim Gilmer, a minister, represented the faith-based community, and tied spirituality to the social
disparities we suffer on a daily basis, adding that alternative therapies include ethnic-specific
prayer, community-based clinics, and herbal or deep level healing. He stated that having a
supportive church family to support you can definitely have a very positive effect on a person
being made whole, spirit, soul and body. However, it is not a one-size fits all concept; ethnic
preferences must be applicable.
The state of California is looking at incorporating ethnic-specific spirituality into their mental
health issues, according to Dr. Woods.
CRDP member General Jeff from Skid Row stated that since the 1980s when the crack
epidemic struck 45.3% of the residents are African American. Although there is a strong spiritual
connection many of the residents are not ready to deal with the methodology used by many in
the faith-based community that currently serves the population. Sometimes the people just want
food and a safe place to sleep; they are not ready to fill out tons of paperwork. With no federal
oversight, the agencies receiving funding are following the popular trickle-down philosophy, and
the so-called solutions are too cookie-cut. The people have nothing to do daily so it’s easy to go
have a drink and hang out. He has been working with the population for five years on a
shoestring budget. During that time he has established basketball, photography, theater groups
to help the residents gain a modicum of self-respect, and could serve as a national model for
dealing with the homeless populations that cities, counties and states are bewildered with.
Dr. Nikki King, Ph.D., CRDP Policy Analyst from UC Davis, also serves as a caregiver for a
family member in the mental health system. The focus group she worked with contained 260
participants that ranged in age from 17-81 years, all self-identified as having African American
or African heritage. One of the core responses that most of the leaders shared was that the
respondees wanted more African American mental health providers; they did not feel
comfortable with people who had already prejudged them. Only 3% indicated a preference for
Caucasian mental heath providers.
Sharon Yates from the Urban League had to learn mental health tactics to help rescue her
daughter from a downward spiral despite having had intervention from a professional service
provider. We are not fully aware what is happening behind the scenes; young people not
finishing high school are no longer accepted into the military, all the fine arts programs have
been removed from high schools. When the youth are expelled from school, all they do is sit
around and watch television.
3 / 5
Project Looks To Reduce Disparities
Written by Precinct Reporter Group
Thursday, 19 July 2012 05:30
Dr. Woods told Ms. Salatti we have captured the spirit of the people. Respect is high on the
agenda for both African and African American populations. Black psychologists working with the
marginalized communities are looking for funding that enables them to expand the programs
already in place within the communities. They are looking for ways the administration can
partner with neighborhood projects that are working with adequate funding. Echoing General
Jeff, the money does not trickle down to those organizations; $5,000 to $10,000 per year is not
adequate to do the work needed.
Acacia Bamberg Salatti stated that the department she is with does not give grants, when they
speak about partnerships they can connect the grassroots organizations with people who can
undergird their practices. And they can follow up.
General Jeff came back with a last statement chronicling the high level of mistrust among many
African Americans. He asked ms. Salatti if the information provided by the population he works
with will be safeguarded from those who would use it to literally rape the community without
providing any quality follow-up care. Ms Salatti responded that she is planning to write a White
House White Paper about the information she received, and the fact that alternative modalities
should be included.
Woods explained the title “We Ain’t Crazy” was a response to the common idiom that health
care providers think of all Black people as being crazy. One recurring theme was there are
many grassroots operated by Black people that are not receiving funding to enable them to stay
engaged in the marginalized communities.
An additional meeting on July 17 was held at the Westin Airport Hotel at the 44th Association of
Black Psychologists annual international convention, where CRDP held a workshop, town hall
meeting and press conference to get the findings in the limelight.
For additional information about CRDP, visit the website http://www.AAHI.SBC.org or contact
director Dr. V. Diane Woods at
(951) 201-4364

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