January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In 2020, the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office, the nation’s top law enforcement agency, and K&L Gates, one of the nation’s premiere law firms, teamed up to establish the first-of-its-kind partnership aimed at combatting human trafficking to accomplish the following goals:
- Identify members of the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania who may be victims of human trafficking, including adolescents, and
- Connect victims (or potential victims and/or individuals who know of victims) to law enforcement (i.e., the FBI) to help human trafficking victims.
The partners are focusing on assisting LGBTQ victims of human trafficking – a historically underserved community.
The website for the Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative has an online intake form where victims or reporters of human trafficking may report known or suspected instances of human trafficking.
In 2021, combatting human trafficking will be a priority of the Citizens Academy Alumni Association (CAAA), which will work with K&L Gates and the FBI, to eradicate this atrocity.
If you would like additional information about the Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative and/or have questions, please visit our Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative website and/or contact Michael Komo (firstname.lastname@example.org) (412-355-7440) (an alumnus of the 2020 FBI Pittsburgh Division Citizens Academy), Max Gelernter (email@example.com) (412-355-8930), Walter Bunt (firstname.lastname@example.org) (412-355-8906), Amanda Cashman (email@example.com) (412-355-6331), and Nicole Stockey (firstname.lastname@example.org) (412-355-8270).
Tanya Beverly thought she could communicate with her television. She heard birds and dogs finishing her thoughts for her. One mistake, one bad decision to go without her pills, landed her in the Los Angeles County Jail. That’s where her story begins.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a myriad of challenges, not the least of which is maintaining our mental health and wellbeing.
Julius Boatwright, Founder of Steel Smiling started the organization to bridge the gap between black people and access to mental health support through education, advocacy, and awareness.
In recognition of Mental Health Month Boatwright offers these tips, especially to those who may be struggling during this challenging time:
- Acknowledge the weight and magnitude of what we are experiencing. It’s okay to feel angry, or helpless.
- We can help others by acknowledging what others are feeling – give permission for them to feel this way
- Maintain a routine. Engage in self-care and wellness activities. Go for a walk, try yoga, meditate, develop a deeper sense of appreciation for the things/beauty around you.
- For those who need help, seek help through telemedicine. This help can come in any number of ways, including video, chat, or text. Remember that the caller is in control. Don’t be concerned about being judged. Seek the help you need.
- To help those who are struggling at this time, a number of providers are waving co-pay fees.
Steel Smiling offers a digital mental health and wellness series on Wednesdays. Share your positive messages and stories on Facebook. Join the live chat on Wednesday evenings at 6 or 7 pm via Social Media @steelsmilingpgh.
To reach Steel Smiling, call 412.532/9558, email email@example.com.
The United States Census Bureau has announced a two-week extension on census responses due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Provide your response ONLINE today!
Census results affect planning and funding for healthcare—including programs such as Medicaid, Medicare Part B, State Children’s Health Insurance, and the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.
Now in its fifth year, the #RealCollege survey is the nation’s largest, longest-running annual assessment of basic needs insecurity among college students. In the absence of any federal data on the subject, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice created the survey to evaluate access to affordable food and housing among college students.
Governor Tom Wolf today announced a focused multi-agency effort and anti-stigma campaign, ‘Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters,’ aimed at expanding resources and the state’s comprehensive support of mental health and related health care priorities in Pennsylvania. The governor announced several initiatives and reviews the administration will undertake for commonwealth agencies to bolster the effort.
Thank you to Gov. Tom Wolf for launching Reach Out PA to analyze and improve our state’s behavioral health care system. It is widely cited that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health condition sometime in our lives, meaning virtually everyone knows someone impacted by mental illness. I am in full agreement with the Post-Gazette’s call for meaningful funding to support this initiative (Jan. 19 editorial, “The Cost of a Good Plan”).Joni Schwager
Prospects for kids in impoverished neighborhoods — grim as ever just a year ago — may be brighter as 2020 dawns.
In late 2018, Allegheny County voters rejected a tax hike for children’s programs. As 2019 ends, though, the county and the city of Pittsburgh are planning multi-million-dollar infusions into child care, early education and after-school activities, likely focused initially on the poorest communities.