"Breaking the Silence 2007," a two-day summit on behavioral health and the African-American community, is sponsored by Pennsylvania state Sen. Vincent Hughes at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The summit, which runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, is free. It brings dozens of experts to town to examine a wide variety of mental and social health issues.
"The purpose of this summit is to provide resources and solutions that are readily available for the most fragile members of our community," according to Hughes. "If we don't talk about the problem, we can't get to the solution." Last year's summit attracted more than 3,000 participants.
Besides the 40-plus workshops, there will be informational booths distributing material relevant to all members of the family. Stress management, gender issues, the power of faith connection, adolescent health, drug and alcohol addiction, are just some topics addressed. Advance registration is recommended for the workshops.
A highlight of the summit is a performance by noted actress Jenifer Lewis called "Bipolar, Bath & Beyond," an adults-only event Friday evening. (See Jenice M. Armstrong's interview with Lewis on the next page.)
"Silent disablers of the African-American family have a major impact in our communities, economically, socially and individually," said Hughes. "We need to be honest about what we are dealing with and do what it takes to heal our families."