Letter from the Racial Equity Committee
This June we acknowledge the year that has passed since George Floyd’s murder, as well as Juneteenth, which commemorates the announcement of the liberation of all enslaved people in Galveston, Texas—the last of the enslaved—two years after the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation. In honor of these events, we wanted to once again make a donation to the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), and particularly their Mental Health First program.
Last year, in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death, North Atlantic Books made a series of donations to Black-led community organizing projects in and around the East Bay, the unceded Ohlone land on which we operate. We are not a foundation or a philanthropic organization, but we felt we had the positionality and responsibility as a financially stable nonprofit book publisher to redistribute some of our resources to organizations actively working to dismantle white supremacy and support Black communities, while simultaneously doing our own racial-justice work.
One of those organizations was the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), which for years has worked in Oakland and Sacramento to demilitarize the police and provide community-driven, BIPOC-led, and peer-based approaches to public safety.
As a publisher committed to healing, racial justice, and health, we resonate deeply with the aims and strategies of APTP’s Mental Health First program, which has created a hotline for citizens in Oakland and Sacramento to call in the case of a mental-health crisis. As an alternative to an armed police intervention, the toll free number prompts an on-the-ground response from mental-health specialists and peers to de-escalate the situation and affirm life.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported on a successful intervention in Oakland, wherein police stepped aside for a Mental Health First team to attend to a young man in crisis. The responders integrated the young man’s mother into the effort to coax him out of his car and to a local hospital, where he received the care he needed.
At present, APTP is engaging in a public-awareness campaign around Oakland and Sacramento, including the distribution of postcards throughout the region and the placement of prominent billboards in highly traveled areas. We hope you will join us in supporting and learning more about Mental Health First and its essential work, as well as connecting with BIPOC-led organizations doing vital work on the frontlines of your community.
—From the North Atlantic Books Racial Equity Committee