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A Mes­sage From Our CEO: Hap­py Lunar New Year and Black His­to­ry Month

Grace's Headshot

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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