MHA of Rockland Recognizes Juneteenth as a National Holiday

In recognition and standing in complete solidarity with the Black community, MHA of Rockland has decided to join so many other companies (and 47 states plus the District of Columbia) to observe Juneteenth as a holiday this year.  Juneteenth — a blending of the words June and nineteenth — is the oldest regular US celebration of the end of slavery.

Therefore this Friday, June 19th, MHA offices will be closed. We will take this time to focus on the critical work ahead in the pursuit of racial justice.  We thank our staff for being aware of the racial injustices among coworkers and serving our clients and residents.

With the enormous challenges that we are facing this year, we felt we needed to recognize that the racial trauma the country is experiencing now is not new.  That struggle surfaced once again in the national debate and massive Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on May 25.  While watching the actions over the past weeks there has been a sense that this time is, and has to be, different.  It is imperative that we live up to the ideal of moving together in a new united way. 

The June 19th holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. But 155 years after the news of their emancipation finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas, the world is still struggling with the issues of systemic racism and injustice.   

MHA of Rockland MHA has fought against injustices and we will continue our efforts to be an antiracist organization. We formed the Diversity Inclusion Awareness and Learning for Ongoing Unity and Equity (DIALOGUE) Committee to respond to a recognized need by the agency to reflect the ever-expanding diverse population of both staff and consumers. The Committee develops, implements and monitors agency practices and procedures and recommends policies to the President/CEO that will enable the agency to become and remain culturally competent. 

Cultural competency trainings are done on an ongoing basis for staff, board members, volunteers and interns. 

DIALOGUE Committee Members are Brandon Beachamp, Colleen Collier Newton, Jacob Misla, Fay Pettiford, and Sheilah O’Donnell. If you are interested in joining the DIALOGUE Committee, please reach out to Brandon Beachamp at beachampb@mharockland.org.

A Letter to Our Staff Regarding Racism

From President & CEO, Stephanie Madison

What do you see?

I see pain. I see trauma. I see anger. I see fear.

I see oppression. I see injustice. I see systemic racism.

As a white woman, I am protected by privilege. I can never truly understand what people of color feel and experience every day.  What I can do is understand what racism truly is. As the prominent author Scott Woods wrote: “The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know it, like it, or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another.” 

I am deeply saddened, horrified, and angered by the murder of George Floyd. This barbaric act highlights the continued inequities that exist in America. The video footage circulated online, depicting the police officer’s knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, while he stated he couldn’t breathe, while he asked for relief, while he cried out for his mother, is an assault to our senses and to our mental health. It creates a new layer of trauma on top of the many, cumulative layers that already exist for black and brown people in our country. And so, despite my reaction, I will not make the mistake of thinking we all experience his death in the same way.

I will also not make the mistake of thinking that there is nothing we can do during this painful time in our country. We can create safe spaces for our black and brown friends, colleagues, and clients to speak their truth. We can listen, and more deeply understand the feelings and experiences of others.  We can follow and learn from leaders of color in our community, in our state, and in our nation. We can advocate to change our broken institutions. We can be allies, every moment of every day, in our personal lives, family lives, and professional lives.

We can also recognize that our work at MHA allows us to create an environment where hope, healing and calm can exist for those who need it most. We can strive to break down barriers, create access, fight back against ignorance, and refuse to accept apathy. We can continue to examine our own policies and practices, and those which are imposed upon us by regulatory agencies, to ensure that they do not perpetuate institutional racism. We can be empathic, compassionate, and expert gatekeepers who do not block anyone’s path to health and wellness. We can focus on the we, for we are so much more powerful together.

Please know that during this terrible time I am committed to all of us speaking our truth, offering empathy, and listening compassionately. If we can do anything to support your process of self care, or to strengthen our MHA community in the spirit of the work we are blessed to do, please don’t hesitate to say it. I know that each of you contributes to this place, our MHA community, through sharing your talents and expertise, your care and your compassion. And so, I offer you sincere thanks for who you are and all you do.                

Join Our Wave-By Car Parade!

Celebrate our Residential Staff & Residents!

Please join us for a “Wave-By” Car Parade to celebrate our Residential Staff who has shown tremendous dedication since the onset of COVID-19!

Our Residential Staff has continued to serve our residents; accompanying them to doctor appointments, helping to obtain essentials and caring for our sick residents, while putting their own health and the safety of their families at risk. Our front line heroes have worked additional shifts, covering for one another when people were out ill or quarantined. Dedicated Counselors have been available to offer support in all areas of our residents’ life.

All are welcome to join the caravan of good cheer as we drive by 3 of MHA of Rockland’s residential homes. Celebrate our Residential staff and residents by sharing a friendly smile, giving a big wave, flashing a thumbs up and showing off your signs. Creativity is welcomed!

For additional details, including route information, please contact MHA of Rockland at dumontn@mharockland.org or call (845) 216-4045.

Please note all social distancing guidelines will be in effect.