It’s about the next generation

On Sunday, a diverse crowd of 800+ VOICE leaders and allies from the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association packed the gorgeous sanctuary of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Triangle to meet with Gov. Glenn Youngkin to address the issue of youth behavioral health in Virginia.

It was a powerful afternoon, filled with stories of pain and loss, but also hope.

Gov. Youngkin shared details of his administration’s Right Help, Right Now three-year plan for overhauling Virginia’s behavioral health system. The Governor also made commitments to VOICE and our coalition partners to:

  • Consider the coalition’s request to invest $110 million in state funding for mental health Crisis Receiving Centers in the FY2025 state budget.
  • Meet with VOICE and our coalition allies again in September, to consider additional reforms and funding for youth behavioral health that the coalition plans to develop, in the lead-up to the 2024 General Assembly;
  • Keep prioritizing funding support for behavioral health reform as his administration’s number one priority for the rest of his term.

Check out WJLA’s coverage of Sunday’s assembly for a good rundown of the Assembly: 

Working Teams in Alexandria

After the recent caucus VOICE Alexandria leaders formed two teams focused on getting into action around mental health and housing. Each team has already met once, decided on a number of research actions including leading Listening Sessions around the city to better understand and find new leaders who share our interest in addressing the housing and mental health crisis in the city. On Tuesday night last week a small group of Alexandria leaders from both the mental health and housing team gathered at the Old Presbyterian Meeting Housing for a Listening Session Training. Listening Sessions are a central tool of organizing and we are excited for more leaders to be learning these skills and using them to build our power and VOICE in Alexandria! 

Congratulations Rev. Nixon

Big congratulations to our very own Reverend Kenneth Nixon for this great coverage of him, his book, VOICE, and most importantly the mental health crisis that compels us all to action! Read more about it here:

Now a community organizer and pastor at First Baptist Church of Manassas, Nixon wrote about his tumultuous upbringing in his new memoir, Born Into Crisis. Convinced his tragic childhood prepared him to advocate for mental health services today, he hypothesized in his book’s introduction: “I can’t help but feel that my life has been predetermined by the events that occurred on the day of my birth. … I was destined to end up right where I am today, advocating for the transformation of the mental health system in America.”