I am black, a woman, a homosexual, militant, and a republican . . . I suffer from mental illness, come from a single parent home, and grew up on welfare a good deal of my childhood. I have several bibles, a Quran, and a Pentateuch in my home and I read them all. I am an anomaly I guess I’ll let all that sink in for a minute . . . or two . . . By our current American labeling standards all these things in one person, one body are unamerican, go against the grain and the tapestry of what the powers that be say is truly American. It took me a long time to be okay with all those things and not answer to the likes of the so-called standard bearers around me dictate.
This issue is about the SELF. With all the past events that have passed in the last few months, with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain taking their lives I thought it would be important to talk about how we can be okay being who we are no matter how “un-American” it may seem, no matter how out of the box we are. We often have a hard time accepting who we are and what we are. In the world that we live in it is a heavy load to bear to conform to the standards of this world. Especially when we look at the world in which people of color live in. Our mental health is important and what we feed grows. The world we live in has become more and more polarized, but depression and mental illness has no color and takes prisoners of all races, genders, creeds, sexual orientations, and religions. So, although we may make mention of statistics along color lines that is only to bring attention to just how much trouble this country is in and how much more we need to work together based on the war against illness wages.
Our research found that in extremely impoverished neighborhoods that there was a 36% risk of attempting suicide amongst our black youth by the time they reached 20.
Suicidal behavior may be more prevalent than previous reported for our youth. For children who had reported being victims of violence by the age of nine they were 70% more likely to attempt suicide than those not victimized. The risk was associated with the belief that violence was inevitable. And for children who perpetrated violence they were found to have higher suicide risk attempts.
Those statistics include youth, impoverished neighborhoods and suicide but what we find is that for older adult’s in black communities suicide does not always present as a way to deal with depression, the hardness of life in being black and the perils that come along with it but mental illness and hardship often goes untreated. We wanted to highlight those very things.
So, we decided to celebrate the walks of everyday people. We fight everyday to sink or swim to accomplish our goals and make our dreams come true. The SELF is an important part of who we are, it makes up our humanity, our soul, our mind, our body, our hopes, our dreams, our disappointments . . . through every pitfall and moment that we overcome it is a testimony to our resiliency a perfect story to tell and re-tell. We are told often that our accomplishments come only without struggle, without failure and sadness, but truth is the success of our lives come from those very things despite. Every issue from now until the end of the year we will chronicle a large feature and several small features of people living their everyday dreams and working towards their dreams everyday despite the battles they have encountered in their lives. I am hoping you will draw inspiration and encouragement from these issues coming from our LEGACY Series. We will be focusing on the SELF and how to make it grow and prosper in every way possible, and in the atmosphere that we live in today we all need as much of that as possible.