|ForBrownGirls.com Founder Karyn Washington|
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. In 2008 the White House added the late author Bebe Moore Campbell's name to the title because of her advocacy. Campbell's daughter/actress Maya Campbell lives with a mental health challenge.
Normally I don't write about my job, but back in May I led an online blogging campaign project called "I'm Good." May is Mental Health Awareness Month. You can read about why I started the campaign here. Around the time I was planning the campaign, I learned that blogger Karyn Washington took her life.
I wrapped up the campaign with this blog post below about her:
While in the middle of preparing for the launch of this blog campaign, the stress from planning peaked. We were not only getting the blog together, but organizing a kick off event for the I’m Good campaign. My team’s outside workload increased, which led to us pushing back meetings. And we still had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. I was so frustrated that one day I asked myself, “Why did I even suggest we do this?”
That same week I questioned what was I thinking, blogger Karyn Washington’s beautiful face was all over my Facebook page. Karyn, founder of the website For Brown Girls, took her life. She was only 22 years old. Friends say the loss of her mother to cancer was too much for her to bear. Karyn Washington advocated for black women and was an up-and- coming young talent and voice.
How I learned of Karyn Washington was through her Dark Skin, Red Lip Project. I wanted to wear red lipstick but felt nervous about doing so. In the Black community, many of us have issues with colorism or shade discrimination. I’m of a darker hue, and many times I heard growing up that dark-skinned women shouldn’t wear bright colors. And I also heard that red lipstick didn’t look good on dark skinned women. But those are all lies we’ve been telling people in my community.
As I gathered the courage to rock red lips, one of my sources for inspiration was the DarkSkinRedLip.com website that Karyn launched. It was filled with everyday dark-skinned Black women who submitted beautiful photos of themselves wearing red lipstick. I know it seems like a such a simple act, but it empowered a lot of women. Karyn’s website and singer Janelle Monae are two of the reasons why I proudly wear red lipstick today. Unfortunately the domain has not been renewed since her death and the site is down.
When Karyn died, I thought, “Could I have done something?” I never met her but I wished something I wrote or produced, or an interview I did with someone on depression could’ve reached her. I was saddened to see so much potential...gone. Yet I still had compassion for her pain and prayed she was at peace now.
Karyn’s death revitalized my reason for wanting to do this campaign. Maybe my post didn’t reach her. But maybe the posts on this blog helped someone. My team and I worked really hard, but if any of these posts gave even just ONE person hope, then we did our job.
|Cocoa Fly rocking red lips in honor|
of Karyn Washington #RedLipsforKaryn
After Karyn passed, I thought about that question I asked myself, “Why did I even suggest doing a blog campaign?” I did it for people like Karyn. I did it for people who are struggling so they know they’re not alone or not weird for having certain thoughts, feelings or experiences. I did it because I’m so tired of the constant depressing, hopeless, negative stories in the news about people with mental illnesses. There are so many other stories out there to tell. I did it so people out there know they can overcome anything.
Karyn Washington uplifted a lot of people through her work. And even in her death, she continues to encourage people like me to keep going, keep spreading hope.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this campaign by sharing their story. I know you touched someone out there and I appreciate your openness. Thank you to those who read and shared posts. Keep reading and sharing posts! Thank you to my team who started this journey with me back in October of 2013. I couldn’t have done this without you.
We’re keeping this website up because you never know how one person’s story could be a blessing to someone else.
Remember, that no matter what you’re going through, or your diagnosis—just remember you’re good. You’re good because you’re trying. You’re good because someone cares. You’re good because you’re not the only one on the planet with this hardship. You’re good because someone understands. You’re good because there’s hope. You’re good because someone else probably went through the same thing and if they made it through, so can you. You’ve Struggled. You’re Growing. You’re Good.
**You can read more posts by visiting www.im-good.com. Please, if you need to talk to a counselor or therapist, don't be ashamed. Do it. **