Yesterday, we celebrated Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of the last enslaved Black Americans in 1865. Juneteenth is a time to honor the struggle for Black civil rights and the critical work being done by New Yorkers to eliminate racism and discrimination. In that light – we would like to share this fantastic video created by our Agency partners at the New York State Division of Human Rights.
This Juneteenth, let us also reflect on the important and necessary work underway in our organizations to eliminate inequities that result in disparities in access, quality and outcomes in our communities.
At the Office of Mental Health, this has included the Agency’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has hosting ‘Race Dialogues’ across our facilities. These create an opportunity to have difficult but necessary conversations around the importance of recognizing biases, celebrating diversity, and working to be a more inclusive environment for all individuals. Additionally, this work has included an Agency-wide Structural Racism Self-Assessment to identify areas where policies and practices unintentionally result in inequities, so corrective actions can be implemented. This work has also included strongly including equity components in funding and regulatory mechanisms, increased collection and use of disparities data, and the creation of diversity pipeline programs to increase levels of diversity in New York’s community mental health system.
While we celebrate strides and accomplishments, the work is far from done. We are committed to holding ourselves accountable for making change and promoting equity and inclusivity at all levels. As we celebrated Juneteenth this year, please join us with continued vigilance and attention towards promoting a more inclusive and equitable mental health system place for all.