President’s Desk

United Way of Southwest Alabama / President’s Desk

Last Monday, exiting the office back door onto Joachim Street, the office manager, Erica Berger, and I encountered a young man eating fried chicken from United Way’s garbage can.  The can was taken to the street over the weekend, so the chicken was days old and had been sitting in the garbage can since at least Friday, but more likely from Thursday. When the young man looked up at us, he said, “I’m hungry. Nobody will give me food or money.” 

When I was a little girl, I knew that I was going to have a career. My Barbie dolls had careers, and I really did not play with baby dolls. I was very politically aware and knew that women did not have the same opportunities for careers or career advancement as our male counterparts, but I saw that as a challenge. Little did I know, that 50 years later, women still do not have the same opportunities for advancement or for equal pay.  I somehow thought that we would have evolved further as a society than we have.

The Reverend David L. Frazier, Sr. served as the keynote speaker speaker for this year's Port City Chapter of Black's in Government  33rd Annual Memorial Breakfast honoring Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. His theme revolved around Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," but his message pointed out what is not going on in the African American...

The holidays and the end of the year bring about a nostalgia for holidays’ past and force us to face, all too many times, the things we did and did not do during the year. I feel so much joy and sadness during this time. Joy for the new memories created and sadness for the loss of friends and loved ones. Joy for things accomplished and sadness for things left untended. However, I always face the new year with optimism, hope and a strong desire to make my life better – to organize, to simplify, to live a healthier life in general.

It was the summer of 1978 when my friend, I’ll call her Dinah, called me to tell me that she couldn’t come to my house again because my parents were friends with Bill and David, and they, on occasion, visited my parents in our home. Confusion, anger, frustration and disbelief describe some of the feelings that my 12 year old self felt.  She asked if I would spend the night with her instead, and I did, but it was the last time. I remember resenting her mother that evening and left first thing the next morning.  Her mother lectured me about the evils of homosexuality and about how my parents’ condoning homosexuality was equally as evil.

The nonprofit organization Mental Health America’s “work is guided by its Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4) philosophy – that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process. When we think about diseases like cancer or heart disease, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention, identify symptoms, and develop a plan of action to stop and hopefully reverse the progression of the disease. Like other diseases, it is critical to address symptoms early and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.”

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