Howard University Graduate School

HUGS Research Magazine
and Graduate School Research Archive

ARTICLEIssue 014

Howard University Joins in Community Conversation on Issues in the African-American Community

By Gwendolyn S. Bethea, Ph.D.

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Event Coordinator Frankie L. Bethea, Founder, The Blush Initiative; Kelechi C. Fluitt, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Counseling Psychology, Howard University; and Maurice Fluitt, Ph.D.,; Department of Genetics and Human Genetics, Howard University participated in "A Community Conversation: Linking Gun Violence, Substance Abuse, Homelessness, and Mental Health" on April 2, 2016.

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HU Graduate School participated in recent Community Conversation on gun violence, substance abuse, mental health, and homelessness.

The Howard University Mental Health is a Team Sport Campaign recently joined with the African-American Music Association, Inc.(AAMA), the Georgia Avenue Family Support Collaborative, and the Carolyn Anne Foundation, Inc. in hosting a "A Community Conversation: Linking Gun Violence, Substance Abuse, Homelessness, and Mental Health." The forum took place on April 2, 2016 at The Roots Public Charter School, in Washington, DC. Panelists discussed the relationships between mental health, substance abuse, gun violence, and homelessness. The event also celebrated Marvin Gaye Day, with local musical talent. Gaye was a victim of gun violence, substance abuse and mental illness. He was born on April 2. Before he and his family moved to Detroit, they lived at 15th and Ingraham Streets, NW.

Forum participants included Facilitators N. Saleem Hylton, Co-Founder/President, African American Music Association, and Youth and Families in Crisis, LLC; Frankie L. Bethea, Founder, The Blush Initiative; Kelechi C. Fluitt (Mental Health), Doctoral Candidate, Department of Counseling Psychology, Howard University; Mandy David (Substance Abuse), Senior Health Communications Specialist, Deputy Project Director, American Institutes for Research; Malik Farrakhan (Gun Violence), Community Activist; Maurice Fluitt (Mental Health Research), Doctoral Candidate, Department of Genetics and Human Genetics, Howard University; Ivy Hylton (Mental Health), President, Youth and Families in Crisis, LLC; Cheryl Maxwell, M.A. (Substance Abuse), Founder and President, Carolyn Anne Foundation, Inc.; Rene Fenwick, Community Activist (Domestic Violence); and Jackie Clark (Domestic Violence and Homelessness).

During a special audience-panel exchange, participants offered suggestions on how best to move forward with solutions for the viability and survival of African-American communities locally and nationally. The suggestions included focusing on mental health, promoting economic sustainability, understanding the dynamics of the socio/political landscape of African-American and broader communities, developing a consciousness of the generational impact of physical, emotional, and social disfunctionality within these communities.

The Howard Mental Health is a Team Sport Campaign was launched in April 2015 with community leaders, health professionals, and scholars who presented current state-of-the-art research on mental health diagnosis and treatment.

The AAMA was established to preserve, protect, promote, and to foster the continued development of African-American music and the legacy of those who compose, record, and perform the music. Its primary goal is to offer programs and activities to the community that will assure a better quality of life for persons pursuing music as a career. One of its programs seeks to save children from abuse, neglect, and street violence. The Carolyn Anne Foundation, Inc. promotes mental health, while celebrating the life of Carolyn Anne Watts, who committed suicide in 2010 and whose prolific art -- more than 170 paintings --was discovered shortly after her death.

The joint partnership also represents numerous community, health-based, religious, and educational institutions which have joined together to bring awareness to the relationships between mental health, substance abuse, and gun violence that is pervasive across cultures, class, and ethnicity, internationally, but disproportionately represented in African-American communities nationwide.

For more information, contact Gwendolyn Scotton Bethea, Ph.D., communications coordinator, gbethea@howard.edu, 202-806-7277; or Frankie Lezlee Bethea, event coordinator, 240-247-7495. Future conversations are planned across the District of Columbia.

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