Bending towards Justice: A Summit for Mental Health Equity

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered an address titled “Where do we go from here”?  In it, he recognized the the journey to social change is not an easy path but a courageous one. He spoke of the critical balance of both power and love to create change, and about the relationship of both to purpose and justice.

Today, far too many people dealing with mental health and addiction challenges experience the justice system in lieu of justice itself. We convene this year with purpose and power and love to advocate for the kind of justice struggling individuals and families deserve – a life free from discrimination and stigma, the opportunity to overcome health challenges in pursuit of a fulfilling life, the right to affordable healthcare that treats the whole person – body, brain and spirit.

Our breakfast will honor those who with courage and leadership have undertaken the journey to social change. Our daytime community forum will be a summit, a meeting of the best and brightest and brave addressing issues such as the behavioral health trauma, crisis response, violence, juvenile and adult incarceration and access to care. Above all we will ask the question ‘Where do we go from here?’ and provide a platform for change and a call to action.  

Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. … What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.
When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
— Excerpts from “Where Do We Go From Here?” Martin Luther King Jr., 1967

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