Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues. More importantly, however, it’s a tool that public health leaders across the United States have begun to employ to engage in early detection and intervention around the signs and symptoms of specific illnesses. The primer provides concrete tools and engagement with local mental health resources, national organizations, support groups, and online tools for mental health and addiction treatment and support.
Time: 2 – 3 p.m. CST
Elizabeth Guroff, MA, LCMFT, Director, Trauma-Informed Services, National Council for Behavioral Health Register for the Mental Health First Aid Webinar
Today we celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and in the same message, we grieve the early loss of Cherish “Chance” Houle. Both the anniversary of the assassination of our nation’s great leader in racial equity and the death of a 12-year-old victim due to bullying is an important reminder that our work continues. Fifty years later, we continue to honor the leaders who have led the path for us and we honor the lives we have lost along the way. We continue to push ourselves to work harder, with even more intentionality and urgency so that no life is taken from systems of hate and violence.
In the face of such overwhelming racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia, a sense of hopelessness may weigh heavily on our hearts and minds. Today, we ask our community to hold close our values and collective dream to build a more equitable world. Today, we remember that our victories and our struggles are intricately linked – that the resiliency and efforts of our inter-connected struggles are integral to the liberation of our communities.
From the vision of our LGBTQ elders to the leadership of our youth today, we are here to continue the struggle for the liberation of all marginalized people; whether undocumented or indigenous, whether women or transgender and gender non-binary, whether atheist or Muslim, whether able-bodied or disabled, whether struggling to make ends meet or experiencing homelessness, we are all together in the work for liberation.
As a Queer Hmong Refugee, I look to both the works of Dr. King and Bayard Rustin, who shaped much of our movement work. In their time, Dr. King and Rustin were vilified by those who thought they were too bold and too radical to affect real change. The reality is they set one of the paths of our liberations as marginalized people forward as leaders who understood the intersection of our struggles and liberation – that bold times called for bold leadership. We honor and thank them for their leadership as LGBTQ and Queer People of Color, as we are the beneficiaries of their lives’ work today. We also thank those who are working in state legislatures, school district meeting rooms, talking to their neighbors, and simply living their lives to create a more fair and just community for all to live and thrive.
In this moment, we remember our fight for progress and strides forward and we remember the lives of Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow of Sioux Falls, S.D. who was killed in her home last year and our region’s most recent loss, Cherish “Chance” Houle who died by suicide after experiencing transphobic bullying during her transition. We remember our beloved friends, family, coworkers and community members whose lives were claimed because of their simple desire to be free and to live as their truest – and most beautiful – selves. It is in their memory that we continue to commit ourselves to our work.
PFund Foundation remains committed to advancing our Elevated Priorities for Queer People of Color, Transgender and Gender-Non-Confirming Communities, and LGBTQ North Dakotans and South Dakotans. As the region’s LGBTQ grassroots community foundation, it has been our honor and privilege to support the work of our communities over the last 31 years and we will continue to do so for the years to come. Because our work for freedom and prosperity, to have the same opportunities and joys as all other people, is far from over. It is our resilience that defines our movement and in the memory of our elders, like Dr. King and Bayard Rustin, and the memory of all those we have lost along the way, we continue forward.
Interim Executive Director
Today, PFund Foundation uplifts our transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary community members. As the grassroots community foundation serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, Two-Spirit and allied community in the upper Midwest, we join the community in our resolve that Transgender People Won’t Be Erased.
Yesterday, The New York Times reported that the Department of Health and Human Services would restrict and regulate the definition of gender under Title IX to exclude transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary students from good and established policy.
Let us be clear: this move is an unprovoked and unwarranted attack on the safety and prosperity of our most vulnerable family, friends and neighbors.
In a 2014 survey, 41 percent of transgender adults reported at least one suicide attempt in their lives, 10 times the national average of 4.6 percent for cisgender people; in the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey, transgender Minnesota students reported less likely to feel safe in school, experience bullying on a weekly basis and 55 percent have reported a suicide attempt. In 2018, 22 transgender people have been murdered in the United States, each with a name, a family, friends and a community that is dedicated to not let their deaths be in vain.
As we join our community in uplifting our transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary friends, family and neighbors, PFund Foundation remains dedicated to advocating for funding for LGBTQ-focused and led organizations, leaders and initiatives. We recognize that effective strategies to respond to blatant transphobia, misogyny and xenophobia are often under-funded and under-represented in philanthropic giving.
According to the Funders for LGBTQ Issues 2016 Tracking Report, the Midwest experienced a six percent decrease in funding for LGBTQ-focused and led efforts and as a region, is well below the national average of one-quarter of one percent for LGBTQ funding. We can do better and we must do better.
We continue our work to support our transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary community members today. We see you, we hear you, we love you and we support you.