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'Healing Starts With Us' National Campaign Commits to Battling Depression - By Any Means Necessary

Goal To Secure 1 Million Pledges By Independence Day

NEW YORK, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the "Healing Starts With Us" national campaign launches its website to create a grassroots online network that will mobilize and promote the campaign's goal to reach 1 million pledges by Independence Day, July 4, 2008.

The campaign's website comes after an overflowing crowd of community, civic, social, political leaders and entertainers including Academy Award(R) nominee Ruby Dee, John Amos, Mo'Nique, Terry McMillan, HBO's The Wire co-stars Jamie Hector and Felicia "Snoop" Pearson and Rev. Al Sharpton united on March 18, 2008 for the launch of the "Healing Starts With Us" campaign, moderated by Susan L. Taylor and Geoffrey Canada. More than 700 attendees gathered at the historic Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center (formerly known as The Audubon Ballroom) to listen as celebrity guests read excerpts from Terrie M. Williams' latest book, BLACK PAIN: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting. Following the dramatic readings, in what has become the campaign's trademark, Williams engaged the audience in an "Open Book healing Q&A" discussion - which lead to an outpouring of audience members sharing moving testimonials that dealt with rape, death, and other traumas - including Terry McMillan, Felicia "Snoop" Pearson who shared incredibly touching stories of their own trials. Mo'Nique brought the evening full circle by sharing publicly for the first time her struggle with depression, and credited her husband Sidney who recognized and suggested her need for therapy. Said Mo'Nique, "I thought depression was a white woman's disease; my sistahs and brothas, I'm here to tell you that it does not discriminate."

The historic launch marked an important day in the history of the community, recognizing the opportunity to raise awareness and voices about issues facing men and women at every age and stage of life. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, Academy Award(R) nominee and beloved matriarch, Ruby Dee told the community that, "We must take back our community and its well being ... By Any Means Necessary."

"We want to encourage 1 million people to commit in support of our mission to provide a support network that encourages open dialogue about emotional distress", said Xavier Artis, creative philanthropist and campaign creator. "With this campaign we can take back our independence and begin the process of healing individually and collectively, as a community. It is through the power of one that we will reach and exceed our goal of 1 million pledges."

Growing support of the campaign to reach its 1 million pledges include several national corporations, non-profits, and community businesses who have joined forces to create the 'Healing Starts With Us' Committee of Sponsors including: The Dixon Group, Inc.; Forest City Ratner Companies; Macy's; Coca- Cola; The River Room; Columbia University Office of Government and Community Affairs; The Jonathan M. Tisch Foundation; The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center; The Loreen Arbus Foundation; Moet Hennessy USA; The Middleton Law Group; Shabazz Fish & Grill; The Terrie Williams Agency; Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide; The Artis Connection; Planet Hollywood; BET; Sean Jean; National Cares Mentoring Movement; Alpha International Travel; Sean John; and Blue World Travel; Hue-Man Cafe & Bookstore; The Shark Bar; Raven the Cakeman and Citrus Restaurant.

"We are proud of the partnership's we are establishing with businesses and individuals. This movement plays a significant role in helping our community move further down a path of hope and healing, while also providing them with a nurturing environment," added Williams. "With the website, we have the ability to use digital media to offer more opportunities for the community to create an, 'open book' dialogue with others, sign-up and pledge their support as we heal within the African American community."


SOURCE Healing Starts With Us
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