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Dear Network180 Community,
The recent tragic death of George Floyd sparked protests across the nation bringing together citizens from all walks of life and political perspectives to confront the racism that continues to pervade our society. Sadly, George Floyd’s death is not an isolated event. Twenty four percent of deaths at the hand of law enforcement are African Americans and 17% are Latinos. Network180 acknowledges the persistent trauma suffered by communities of color, particularly African American males, due to individual and systemic racism. Yet, racism is not just a law enforcement issue. The COVID-19 pandemic magnified the racial inequities embedded in our healthcare systems. In the state of Michigan, African Americans accounted for 37% of all positive coronavirus cases but totaled 42% of the deaths resulting from COVID-19.
Network 180 staff, administration and Board are committed to being part of the change to identify and root out systemic discrimination and marginalization of people of color in our community. Network180 sees strength in diversity, not only in race and ethnicity, but also diversity of thought, voice and lived experiences. Diversity contributes to the health and vibrancy of our community. We believe in equality, dignity and respect, freedom of choice and self-determination not only for the people we serve, but for everyone.
As the Kent County Community Mental Health Authority, Network180 is known for serving the most vulnerable members of our community. We remain committed to continuing our own work in analyzing and improving our system of care, so every person who asks us for help receives the services they need and deserve, no matter their race, ethnicity, age, gender, income, social status, sexual orientation or beliefs.
We have all been affected in a personal way by the events of the past week, as well as the past 3 months. We want to acknowledge this. After months of uncertainty and instability caused by COVID-19, coupled with current social and political trauma and turmoil, the number of people reaching out for behavioral health services continues to expand. We want to assure the community that we remain open 24/7, 365 days a year and will continue to help everyone who seeks it.
Network180 stands with all who have been affected by these events and we will do our part to help our community heal. We encourage everyone to take some time to care for yourselves and to connect with and support one another. For those of us who have been hit particularly hard by this, please reach out – you’re not alone. Network180 is here to help.
Network 180 Board of Directors
William J. Ward