African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The bi-monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis County.
African American Quality of Life Initiative – Where are we Today?
June 28, 2023 Podcast:
Moderators Shannon Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Reverend Dr. Daryl Horton, a native Austinite and Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. Rev. Horton has been a member of Mt. Zion since 2002, where he has served in many capacities, as a preacher, teacher, Youth Pastor, and leader of the church and community. Rev. Horton is also President of the Baptist Ministers’ Union of Austin and Vicinity, and former Chair and current Board Member of the African American Resource Advisory Commission with the City of Austin. The AMEN program is honored to have Rev. Dr. Horton, his wife Dr. Shalonda Horton, and the Mt. Zion Baptist Church community as partners of the AMEN program.
The African American Quality of Life Initiative resulted from an assessment conducted in the early 2000’s by the City of Austin to evaluate the conditions and views of the local African American community. The African American Quality of Life Commission meets monthly and provides an opportunity for people of color who live in Austin to attend and share their experiences and concerns. The goal of the Commission is to provide feedback to City Council members to improve quality of life for all persons in Austin. Recommendations from this Commission have led to many positive outcomes throughout the years. Despite some progress, the COVID-19 pandemic created new stressors and losses that are still being felt disproportionately by the African American community. As a result of the pandemic, however, conversations about mental health and feelings of isolation have become more routine within the last several years, and resources have been made available to address these issues, which has been an important goal of the Commission. The faith community also plays an important role in forming partnerships and making recommendations to augment health and social services in the African American community.
The Commission helped to secure city funding to support community programs to improve African American mental health and wellness, and the AMEN and A Better Me programs were two of the successful recipients. The Commission continues to advocate for ongoing resources to support programs that focus on building sustainable infrastructure to enhance well-being within the community. While there continues to be significant health disparities within the African American community, Rev. Horton is hopeful for the future and has seen a lot of success and positive change within the community. For example, there has been a renewed love for the Church since the start of the pandemic and many individuals have come to realize the importance of feeling connected with one another. The Church has been an important leader within the community and is becoming an active and effective resource for many individuals, thanks in part to the Commission, the AMEN program, City of Austin and other local resources.
We regret to inform our followers that this is the last episode of the AMEN radio show. This show would not have been possible without the generous funding support of Austin Public Health. We are also extremely grateful to our partners at KAZI, our faithful sound engineer DeeJay Slyce, all of our fabulous guest speakers, and you, our listeners and readers for supporting our show. We hope these conversations have inspired you to take care of your health and well-being and reach out to support family, friends, and other community members. Remember, health happens in community, and your health is our community wealth.