Rogers recognizes Boys & Men of Color Month with Facebook Live event11/23/21 11:50:am
In recognition of Boys & Men of Color Month, Rogers recently co-sponsored a Facebook Live featuring Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Solomon Thomas and Milwaukee-area mental health advocates.
The event featured three vignettes from the play Pieces: In My Own Voice that explored PTSD, schizophrenia, and suicide. Troney Small, an employee from Talent Development and InHealth, performed in the play along with local actors and mental health advocates Chastity Washington and Demar Walker.
Following the vignettes, Solomon shared the story of his sister’s suicide and his personal mental health journey and stigmas that he faced.
“The process for my recovery after my sister died by suicide wasn’t an easy one, it was a hard one,” Solomon said. “I felt the stigma against mental health. I felt the stigma of being a Black man and expressing my mental health. I didn’t ask for help for about six months because I didn’t want to look weak. I didn’t think people would understand my feelings, and they would take it as an excuse for not good performance in the field — not being fully present as a human being.”
In honor of his sister, he and his family started The Defensive Line Foundation, which is dedicated to ending the epidemic of youth suicide, especially for young people of color.
“Boys and men of color face many challenges related to mental health, including historical trauma, financial and cultural barriers to care, and stigma,” says Sue McKenzie Dicks, vice president, Healthy Culture at Rogers. “Events like this Facebook Live are so important because sharing personal stories of lived experience reduces stigma, connects people within and across communities, and provides support and hope that is grounded in community for those who are struggling.”
The October 25 event was held in partnership with MIRACLE (Mental Illness Raising Awareness with Community & Congregation Leaders Everywhere) and Safe & Sound. It was moderated by Montrèal Cain, founder of MERA Mental Health Preventive Care & Crisis Intervention.