Dear KYC Community,
February is quite a month of celebrations and recognitions of what beautiful diversity that our world offers. Today is the first day of Lunar New Year (Year of the Tiger). Many Asian cultures follow the lunar calendar; thus, Lunar New Year falls on a different day on the Gregorian calendar we use. This Lunar New Year could not come at a better time. As the Lunar New Year is seen as a time of reunion, rebirth, and renewal — and we could all use some renewal for our tired souls. 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (Happy New Year)
February also marks the beginning of Black History Month, reminding us to acknowledge and remember the richness of Black history when so many Black scholars, authors, artists, activists, and countless others have been ignored or lost in the traditional history books or media but reborn through research, storytelling, and intentional learning. Our community is shaped by the entirety of its history. The ways in which we personally experience that history and the present culture it has created — both the good and the bad of it – shape who we become as individuals. For this reason, it’s critical for social services and community health organizations like KYC to incorporate history into our work of better supporting the individuals for whom we serve.
As we honor Black History Month, I invite you to consider with me that systemic and institutional racism translates to ongoing trauma experienced by Black community members today; that race-based discrimination can manifest in a variety of physical and mental health challenges for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Americans today; that mistrust of the medical system and a shortage of Black behavioral healthcare providers lead to differences in the ways Black Americans seek help for mental health challenges today. History is not just in our collective past: it has real and meaningful implications for each of us as individuals right now.
The work that each of us does today builds the history that we’ll share together tomorrow. I’m honored to work alongside our incredible KYC Community to continue the work that needs to be done to ensure that each member of our community has access to compassionate, personalized care. As a proud Korean American, I cannot and will not ever fully understand what it’s like to be a Black American. What I can do is work to educate myself and take steps to build a community that is more equitable, more just, and more accountable for the way in which we care for each other.
I invite you to celebrate this month with a renewed hope and to continue to strive to do better for our communities…together.
Yours in service,
Grace Hong Duffin
President & CEO
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