By Mike Kinney
One month after the murder of 21-year-old Tyree Wilson, residents of the Richmond apartment complex where the young man’s life was cut short were treated to a “Self-Help Day” by a bevy of local government agencies and nonprofits on Friday, May 28.
About 60 adults and children from the Pullman Point Apartments, 2801 Pullman Ave., participated in the event, where residents received supportive services to address trauma along with donations of bicycles, gift cards and BBQ meals.
Among the participating agencies were the Contra Costa Mental Health Engagement Team, Contra Costa Alcohol & Other Drugs Services, Contra Costa Children’s Mental Health Services, Richmond police and fire departments, Contra Costa Chapter of National Alliance on Mental Health, RichMinds, Familia’s Unidas and the Office of County Supervisor Gioia.
Ten bicycles were donated to young people by the Richmond Police & Fire Toy Program, and over 40 gift cards (Target, Safeway, Visa) were distributed, the majority of which were donated by Richmond cannabis businesses Green Remedy and Holistic Healing Collective. CJ’s Fish and BBQ supplied the food for the gathering.
“The Richmond community has always been about coming together to support one another in tough times,” said Michelle Milam, the city’s Crime Prevention Manager. “When there is violence, it’s important that we work to help everyone know they aren’t alone. The only way to impact trauma is together.”
Supervisor Gioia added, “engaging residents proactively at their homes with mental health support services goes a long way.”
“It’s here, it’s not scary, and it’s a positive experience and entry point to use the services in the future,” said Robert Rogers, district coordinator for Supervisor Gioia’s Office. “I feel so much gratitude for the mental health professionals who came here to Pullman. After the recent tragedy here, people need to know that they have support as they process and heal.”
Richmond Police Chief Bisa French echoed those sentiment, emphasizing the importance of community supporting each other amid traumatic times.
“What we saw here today was the residents interacting with providers on the site,” added Antwon Cloird, co-founder of RichMinds, an organization that focuses on mental health, trauma and community response issues. “The residents were definitely looking for help and resources. If a person wants to feel safe, they have to feel well. Health and wellness has to be holistic in order to make a true difference for people suffering from trauma. “
During the event, Professor Aminta Mickles of the Health and Human Services Department at Contra Costa College received the Educator Change Agent Award from Contra Costa Chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness, recognizing her leadership and dedication to empowering and educating those impacted by mental illness.