the Brien Center
Our Social Justice Statement
There is a time in the life of every family, community and country when we should stop everything, put our arms around each other, and decide together that we must find a better way forward. This is one of those times. Racism can batter people until they lose all hope. It destroys the fabric of neighborhoods and communities until they can no longer thrive. It has robbed generations of children of their potential. Racism kills. As individuals, as members of this organization, and as residents of Berkshire County, we must collectively decide that enough is finally enough.
At the Brien Center, we see people living with anguish and despair every day. For our entire 100 year history, our agency has fought relentlessly to end the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction. While we don’t pretend that discrimination against those living with behavioral health issues is the same as racial discrimination, we know from long experience that all forms of discrimination exact a terrible toll from their victims. George Floyd and so many others paid that toll with their lives.
This is wrong, unfair, cruel, lawless, and ultimately, so unproductive. How much better would we all be if everyone was allowed the freedom to live their best possible life?
The Brien Center is focused on what we can do to help. The impact of systemic racism on mental health is well established, with Black people more likely (understandably) to live with anxiety and depression than White people. Yet, they are far less likely to seek mental health services. Raising awareness of these facts and ensuring access to Brien Center services for those impacted by racism is an important goal for us. In addition, we are determined to always live up to the values that the Brien Center has stood for over the last century. They include treating all people with respect and dignity, and doing our very best to help our clients overcome unfair challenges that threaten their ability to succeed.
No one should have to face the anguish of racism alone. Everyone is worthy of happiness. With ‘your courage and our care,’ we pledge to be part of a new and better way forward.
Christine Macbeth, ACSW, LICSW President and CEO of the Brien Center.