I am biracial, and my father was my connection to the black community in Portland. When he died, I lost that connection. I felt very isolated and alone, and I felt this anger that kept on growing. Eventually, I would think about how easy my life would be if I was dead. I care so much about my mom and sister, so I never acted on it, but it was on my mind a lot. This overwhelming pain and anger lasted a couple of years – I was just in survival mode.
That all changed when I started at Portland State University. I joined a program for Black students, and I felt a connection to the black community again. It was therapeutic to be around people who had the same experience as me. My mentor really took the time to listen to me and to validate my experience. It was the first time I felt so supported by someone outside my family and close friends.
After I graduated from PSU, I thought that everything was fine. I started working at Lines For Life and was officially introduced to the field of mental health. I learned so much about mental health that I realized my own mental health was not good – I’ve experienced a lot of trauma, and the coping skills I learned aren’t healthy.
Working at Lines For Life has provided me with the support and tools I needed to help improve my mental health. With my experience in mind, I aim to bring mental wellness and support to communities of color in Oregon. Everybody deserves support, and I work to make this happen.