HBGC with Tod@s Host LGBTQ Mental Health Weekend

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hbgcTwo events encourage LGBTQ people of color to break silence, seek support

Boston, Mass. — For decades, taboos and stigma related to mental health and illness have persisted in Black and Latin@ communities. What’s more, the intersecting identities of Latin@ and Black LGBTQ individuals — especially race/ethnicity, gender and sexuality — make it difficult to access services and resources that address the personal, cultural and social issues that affect mental health.

Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) and TOD@S hope to change that with a weekend of events that encourage Boston’s Black and Latin@ LGBTQ communities to break the silence surrounding mental health by sharing stories, building understanding, supporting each other in healing and achieving mental health, and learning about services, programs & professionals to assist us in maintaining mental wellness.

On Friday, March 22nd, writer, filmmaker and NAACP Image Award winner Stanley Bennett Clay will host a screening and discussion of his groundbreaking docu-drama You Are Not Alone. Through creative re-enactments and interviews with mental health professionals and Black gay men from the U.S., Caribbean and Africa, You Are Not Alone challenges taboos around mental illness and homosexuality and encourages Black gay men to heal from mental illness and realize their potential. The screening takes place from 7 – 9 p.m. at Haley House Bakery Cafe in Roxbury’s Dudley Square.

On Saturday, March 23rd, HBGC and TOD@S will host a panel dialogue exploring the affects of violence and trauma on the mental health of Black and Latin@ LGBTQ communities. Panelists include Carmen Leah Ascensio, TOD@S project coordinator and licensed clinician with Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program; Cornell University therapeutic crisis intervention trainer Nia Clark; award-winning writer and media maker Stanley Bennett ClayPaul Daniels II, diocesan intern at the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts; and Wilfred Labiosa, executive director of substance use disorder nonprofit CASPAR, Inc. The dialogue will be facilitated by Isa Woldeguiorguis, executive director of The Center for Hope and Healing, a sexual assault crisis intervention agency based in Lowell, MA.

The dialogue will delve into topics such as depression and suicidality, mental and substance use disorders, inequalities and disparities that impact the health of LGBTQ communities of color, spirituality and healing, self care practices and accessing support services.

After the dialogue, attendees can learn about services, programs and professionals for Black and Latin@ LGBTQ-identified individuals affected by violence at a resource fair featuring local organizations, groups and agencies. The panel dialogue and resource fair takes place from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at Fenway Community Health Center.

Both the screening and the panel dialogue are free and open to the public.

For more info about HBGC and TOD@S’s Black and Latin@ LGBTQ mental health weekend, contact Corey Yarbrough at cyarbrough@hbgc-boston.org or 617.417.5779.

Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) is one of few non-profit organizations in Boston dedicated to the unique and complex needs of the Black, Hispanic and Latin@ LGBTQ community. Founded in 2009, we work to inspire and empower Latin@, Hispanic and Black LGBTQ identified individuals to improve their livelihood through activism, education, community outreach, and counseling.

Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) es una organización en Boston dedicada a servir y a unir a la comunidad LGBQ/T Afro Americana y Latina. Trabajamos para inspirar y fortalecer individuos de la comunidad, LGBQ/T Afro Americana y Latina, para mejorar sus vidas a través del activismo, educación, y consejería.

TOD@S (Transforming Ourselves through Dialogue, Organizing and Services) is an interagency collaboration of The Network/La Red, The Hispanic Black Gay Coalition, The Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health, and Renewal House, a program of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry. Together we work to improve and increase access to intervention and prevention services for LGBQ/T Black and Latin@ people affected by partner abuse.

TOD@S es una colaboración entre The Network/La Red, la Coalición de Gays Hispanos y Negros (Hispanic Black Gay Coalition), el Programa de Recuperación de Violencia de Fenway Health y Casa de Renovación (Renewal House), un programa del Ministerio Urbano Unitario Universalista. Juntos trabajamos para mejorar y aumentar el acceso a los servicios de intervención y prevención para LGBQ / T Negro y personas latinas afectadas por el abuso de pareja.

[From a News Release]

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