I am a members of Black Men Speak, Inc
Who are we?
We are African American men who are getting the word out about the needs of black men with mental health and substance abuse issues. We do presentations that address topics such post traumatic stress, family issues, wellness and recovery, community violence, self esteem, spirituality and mental health, and African American history, often through personal stories. Black Men Speak began as a project of the African American Male Issues Committee of the Pool of Consumer Champions, a group of over 400 consumers in Alameda County, and now operates under PEERS, a consumer run organization in Alameda County.
What are we doing?
We, the members of Black Men, speak! We tell the story of what it is like to be an African American man with substance abuse and mental health issues living in an urban community. We do this by talking about our individual roads to recovery. Interwoven in our stories are challenges of trauma, family issues, and community violence, and the importance of faith, as we find our way to wellness and recovery. This is set in the historical context of the legacy of slavery. Our presentation begins with the unified recitation of our mission statement and singing of our anthem, and a description of how Black Men Speak became. It ends with an interactive question and answers a period with the audience, followed by a recitation of the mission statement.
What have we become?
Black Men Speak is a speakers bureau of African American
men who are getting the word out about strong black men with mental health and substance abuse issues. These men tell the story through spoken word, music, and song, of what it is like to be African America men with substance abuse and mental health issues facing multiple stigmas or race and class, and their individual roads to wellness and recovery. Interwoven in their stories are challenges of trauma, family issues, community violence, and the importance of faith.
Black Men Speak was a project of the Africa American Males Issues Committee of the Pool of Consumer Champions, Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services. The African American Male Issue Committee began meeting in March of 2009. They enlisted facilitators to help develop their mission, the project they wanted to do, and then, to plan the project.
That project is Black Men Speak, a speakers bureau of black men who have experienced the stigma and discrimination as black men and people with substance abuse and mental health issues. Black Men Speak now operate under PEERS, a consumer run organization in Alameda County. PEERS is the manager of the stigma and discrimination reduction campaign in Alameda County.
Black Men Speak are 6-10 men who tell their stories in different configurations based on the venue, with a support team of men who share their talents of singing, media and promotion, and provide other support. Since September 2009, they have presented at 19 venues in Alameda County, including community based mental health agencies, county programs, universities, and faith based communities. Black Men Speak have also been the keynote speakers and workshop presenters at conferences outside Alameda County, including Alternatives 2010 and 2011, CASRA Spring and Fall Conferences, and at trainings in Bay Area Counties.
The mission of Black Men Speaks is to inform and enlighten the mental health community and the general public about issues concerning African American males with mental health and substance abuse challenges through a speaker bureau. Our goal is to work to healing the African American community from the stigma, discrimination, and trauma by sharing our stories, thereby promoting and increasing wellness, recovery, and freedom.
Black Men Speaks to have been actively working to educate the community and eliminate stigma for the last 4 years. They have done so by creating a new and innovative project in Alameda County, African American men with mental health and substance abuse telling their stories.
485 Fortuna Avenue
San Leandro, CA 94577
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