August 27, 2022
Greetings, Dear Friends,
To say that 2021 and portions of 2022 have been years unlike any others, continues to be quite an understatement. We’ve seen pandemics, social justice movements, natural disasters, celebrity deaths, an insurrection at the United States Capitol, highly classified files and important security documents removed from the White House, just to name a few.
For 115 consecutive weekends, our weekly Black Lives Matter Vigils for Action continue to focus on issues such as systematic racism, voting rights, health care, affordable housing, police ruthlessness, and social injustices. Some of the most pressing social issues Americans face today are:
Voter Suppression: Yes, voter suppression is very alive and very real. A new wave of laws limiting the freedom to vote is now sweeping across America.
On the surface, these new restrictions—such as fewer early-voting locations, reduced voting hours, and limits on voting by mail—may sound harmless. Voter suppression is carefully and directly targeted to diminish the voting power of people of color, the poor, the elderly, and college students. When these groups these are excluded from voting, candidates who share their priorities have a harder time getting elected. It undermines our democracy and stymies our quest for justice and equality. Is this the “New Jim Crow”?
Mental Health Awareness: Mental health awareness is a social justice issue just as much as it is a healthcare issue. Mental health does not discriminate, but the systems in place that facilitate the approach to mental health inherently do.
Largely due to stigmas and the white-centric nature of medicine, "25 percent of African-Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40 percent of whites," according to McLean Harvard Medical school affiliate. Acknowledging that fact requires action to change it, whether that be through awareness, infiltration of these spaces or practicing individual self-care.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 46.6 million adults in the United States experience mental illness during any given year, and one in five people between the ages of 13 and 18 experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. The numbers are especially disproportionate in regards to people of color and those who come from low-income backgrounds.
LGBTQ+: Members of the LGBTQ+ community are still frequent victims of discrimination, harassment, and violence. They are often unable to enjoy fair access to the same educational, healthcare, economic, political, and other opportunities. There needs to be a serious focus on mental health issues for improving the accessibility for psychological care, especially for LGBTQ+ people, people of color and low-income communities.
Largely due to stigmas and the white-centric nature of medicine, only "25 percent of African-Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40 percent of whites," according to McLean Harvard Medical school affiliate.
Gun Violence: I am surprised to learn that many Americans consider gun violence to be a public health crisis. However, its impact can be felt across all aspects of life in the USA. For the first time in nearly three decades, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed gun reform legislation that President Joe Biden signed into law on June 25, 2022.
As the President of this great Branch of the NAACP, I remain committed to fulfilling our mission, and will continue to encourage others to promote and stand for justice and equity for all people of color. These times in which we live affect all of us, and we must make sacrifices that have not been common in our day-to-day lives before. I pray that all nations will live in peace as we continue to address today’s challenge. “May God Bless America” and, please, “Stay Vertical”.
Dr. Ellsworth L. B. Weaver, Sr., President
NAACP Fauquier County Branch #7059-B
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.