Last Friday we hosted our 8th Annual Stand Against Racism at Seattle City Hall. This year's theme, "Mental Health Through the Lens of Race and Social Justice," explained how institutions like education, health, and criminal justice work to create barriers from childhood through adulthood.

What we stood for this year

At YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, our work is based on the fight for racial and gender justice. As civil rights continue to be eroded for women, people of color, and other marginalized communities, mental health has become even more important.

Mayor Jenny Durkan

"If we wanna stand against racism, we first have to admit that it exists. We have to admit it's institutional. It is hard and uncomfortable to look at the past and figure out how we got here today."  - Mayor Jenny Durkan

Studies indicate that people of color experience high rates of bias and racism in health care, as well as other areas.  Compounded by the fact that people of color often lack access to accurate diagnoses and high-quality treatment, living with the daily stress of racism can negatively impact mental and physical well-being.

Dr. Knight

"Race-based trauma is a consequence of emotional pain that a person feels after encountering racism." Dr. Sharon Knight

Crowd SAR

People of color are more likely to be misdiagnosed, suffer inadequate treatment, lack culturally competent care, and be denied access to non-emergency room mental health treatment. These disparities have led to the wrongful routing of people of color into the criminal justice system and are often at the root of the school-to-prison pipeline.

Dr. Ivor Horn

"20 percent of children struggle with mental illness and black children are disproportionatey more affected." - Dr. Ivor Horn

The painful and well-documented history of government-sanctioned medical research experiments that knowingly exposed communities of color to health hazards contributes to the reluctance of some to seek care. 

Mark Fadool

"All the ills we live come from within our bodies. We need to look at the social determinates of health." - Mark Fadool

Our moderator Dr. Ivor Horn and panel of experts that included Dr. Sharon Knight, Mark Fadool, Sabina Neem, Jessica Wolfe, Daniel Malone, and Sarah Rankin discussed ways in which unconscious and conscious bias, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other barriers affect health care access and lead to homelessness and the school-to-prison pipeline. 

The panel left us with some great takeaways: acknowledge our sameness and differences,  engage in the healing process, think about how your privilege informs how you move through the world and don't underestimate the truth and power that you have to make a change. Join the work.

Race and Social Justice
Mental Health
School- to-prison pipeline
Salma Siddick

Salma Siddick is the Social Media & Content Manager at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. An immigrant from Zimbabwe, Salma has lived, worked, and attended school on three continents.


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Wed, 05/02/2018 - 14:45
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