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Letter from the President and Board

Dear NAMI Orange County Members and Friends of NAMI Orange,

There is a stain upon the soul of our country. It has been there from our beginning and its continuous damage is brought into sharp relief during these chaotic times. The disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities; an unjust criminal justice system; the inequalities of access to social services, health care, quality schools, home ownership and work opportunity; this stain infects our families and communities. It spreads to those who live with mental illness as well.

Pete Earley writes on his blog about “Black Lives Matter” (BLM):
“There it is—disability—and, although BLM does not specifically mention mental illness, the BLM movement has time and again been outspoken and active in standing up for the rights of persons with mental illnesses when other advocacy organizations have been mostly silent. So I want to thank the BLM movement because I believe it has done a better job than any of the mental health advocacy organizations at peacefully, yet emphatically, calling attention to deadly threats faced by the seriously mentally ill – especially persons of color – in our communities at the hands of the police.”

NAMI Orange renews our commitment to advocate for more and better services and treatment for our members and community and call attention to threats faced by the seriously mentally ill. We strive to add our voices to ensure safer policing and increased trust between our community and law enforcement; and, open a dialogue to learn from those who have the “lived experience” of discrimination and social injustice.

As we weep with George Floyd, his family, friends, and the black community, we are resolved to continue to organize, plan, mobilize and collaborate to bring about change and set in place the legal and societal reforms needed to dismantle and end systemic racism. We appreciate your continued support and advocacy.

Respectfully,
Barbara Peet Maier, President NAMI Orange NC
and the NAMI Orange NC Board of Directors:
Laura Honeycutt, Megan Johnson, Kate Kryder, Barbara Maier, Tom Maier, Tony Marimpietri, Tora Taylor-Glover, Pearlie Williams

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