By Luke Sikinyi and the NYAPRS Cultural Competence Committee (March 10, 2023)
Helen “Skip” Skipper, Executive Director of the New York City Justice Peer Initiative (JPI)
As we continue to highlight women leaders of color in mental health and peer movements, we are happy to share our next leader featured in the Black Movement History Leaders exhibit: Executive Director of the New York City Justice Peer Initiative (JPI) and NYAPRS New York City Regional Coordinator, Helen “Skip” Skipper! Read below to see a snapshot of Skip’s work and learn more about the project.
This series is in response to a project from the Wildflower Alliance highlighting often overlooked leaders within various mental health movements. The Black Movement History Leaders: Past & Present exhibit is both a way to publicly recognize these leaders’ great work as well as a call to develop and lift more emerging leaders of color. In the spirit of Women’s history month, we plan to use the remaining days in March to highlight women of color who have been trailblazers in overlapping movements.
There have been and continue to be many powerful Black leaders within this movement who too often are made less visible by a society that still finds it easier and more automatic to lift up white voices first. This exhibit is intended as only one of many small steps to counter that trend, and to help us avoid losing more stories from our history than have already been lost. We consider this not just an exhibit, but a call to action to lift up more black voices, to at least sometimes take a step back to make space for those who’ve had less access to these platforms, to share or pass along invitations to step forward, and to make intentional efforts to mentor and grow emerging Black voices, too. Sera Davidow, Executive Director for Wildflower Alliance tells more about her experience with this project in this Mad In American blog postThe Wildflower Alliance