The high and low points related to this week’s events come at an emotional cost to many of us. There were reasons to be hopeful about the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial only to experience, the very same afternoon, the fatal police shooting here in Columbus of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” The path we travel as helpers and facilitators in Central Ohio, helps to bend this arc and urges that we meet challenges with our authentic contributions. At times, it is difficult to maintain the stamina to continue on this important journey. One way to find encouragement is to look for the bright spots along the way.
Established in early 2020, the Black Community Ambassadors Support Program, led by Elizabeth Joy, MBA, MSW, LISW, LCDIII, BCC, provides strength to African American helpers across our community. Their work serves as a beacon offering programs, resources and spaces to allow givers to become receivers, particularly in these difficult times.
Another bright spot is the amount of support that is available to every resident, every day through a single phone call. The P.E.E.R. Center provides a warm line, 614.358.8255, staffed by those with lived experiences to support adults in recovery or living with mental health or substance use disorders. For others, the emotional support line, 614.276.CARE (2273), is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by trained clinicians ready to take calls from those experiencing anxiety and more critical concerns.
Lastly, Deshawn Goncalves, a young man who participated in a local youth-led prevention program, is living a once-in-a-lifetime moment that has many across the country watching and cheering. As a finalist on American Idol, DeShawn credits the experiences with the ADAMH-funded Paragon Project in preparing him for this bright moment on the national stage.
Only through our collective strength will we bend our part of the arc. ADAMH stands alongside our community partners to create more opportunities for personal and community bright spots here in Franklin County. Our network partners are working every day to do just that.
With gratitude for the journey,
Erika Clark Jones
Where Better Begins.