A Legacy of Healing: Honor Black Contributions to Mental Health
A continually changing group of patterns and colors.
From the Greek words “kalos,” meaning beautiful, and “eidos,” which means form or shape.
Kaleidoscope is the DEI community facilitated by Elizabeth Tulsky, C4’s Director of Youth and Family Services, and Jamileh McKnight, SPHR, C4’s Human Resources Business Partner. Kaleidoscope was created to foster a space for C4 employees to learn from each other, share experiences and gain insight from different perspectives, thus being more aware of challenges faced by our diverse client population and enhancing the care we provide. Each month, we present a new topic and have a meeting to educate and inform. The following meeting is a reflective discussion exploring nuances of the topic, sharing lived experiences, and discussing ways to affect change. Past topics have included The Impact of Racism on Mental Health, Understanding the LGBTQIA+ Community, and Women of Color in the Workplace. We encourage representation and participation of people of different genders, races, ethnicities, religions, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities, and classes.
As C4’s DEI facilitators, we would like to pay special tribute to a few Black pioneers in the fields of Social Work and Mental Health, specifically those whose work and lasting impact are in alignment with the Mission and Values of C4.
Jacki McKinny, M.S.W
An Expert in Trauma
Jacki McKinny was a survivor of trauma, addiction, homelessness and the psychiatric and criminal justice systems. While receiving help from the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, she was connected with some of the most elite medical professionals in the country, but she noticed that the doctors and therapists could not relate to her or with her. This ignited a fire in Jacki to talk about the lack of cultural competency in the medical profession, most specifically around mental health and the trauma that she knew all too well. C4 is proud to deliver similar services, from a more diverse perspective to alleviate the stress of not feeling seen or heard while seeking care.
Dr. E. Kitch Childs
Feminist Therapy Pioneer
A Chicago Connection – Dr. E. Kitch Childs was a clinical psychologist who was known for advocating for minority women, sex workers, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and the LGBTQ+ community. She was a founding member of the Association for Woman in Psychology and Chicago’s Gay Liberation Front. She also used a sliding scale fee structure and free therapy sessions in communities that didn’t have access to services like the ones she provided. She was a co-founder of the Association for Woman in Psychology in 1969, a founding member of the University of Chicago’s Gay Liberation, Chicago’s Lesbian Liberation, and was inducted into Chicago’s LGBT Hall of Fame in 1993.
Lester Blackwell Granger
First Black Man to be President of the National Conference of Social Work (NCSW)
Lester Blackwell Granger launched his career as a high school teacher and a social worker. In 1952, he became the first Black man to serve as president of the National Conference of Social Work. He spent most of his time as acting NCSW president advocating for civil rights measures. As national executive secretary of the National Urban League from 1941 to 1961, he was a champion of integration and equal treatment for African Americans.
Beverly Daniel Tatum
Former Spelman College President
Beverly Daniel Tatum is a psychologist and psychology professor who has studied how race affects education and identity. Her bestselling book Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria evaluates how racism is harmful to children’s education, and the importance of embracing racial identity. She emphasizes the importance of discussing race in our society as a way to eliminate racism. This is why our Youth and Family Services program is vital to the community.
Each of these innovators have demonstrated the importance of mental health in the Black community and because of them, organizations like C4 are able to enrich lives in underserved communities. While it is important to celebrate the many triumphs of Blacks throughout history, it is also important to acknowledge that there is still a long way to go, and it doesn’t end in February. That is why it is essential to C4 to take time to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Black people, honor the legacies and achievements of generations past, confront the injustices still faced today, and provide the care necessary to ensure a better future.
Elizabeth Tulsky and Jamileh McKnight