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This Woman's WorkThe Writing and Activism of Bebe Moore Campbell$
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Osizwe Raena Jamila Harwell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496807588

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496807588.001.0001

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Private Matters and Public Health: Campbell Takes On Mental Illness at Home and in the Community

Private Matters and Public Health: Campbell Takes On Mental Illness at Home and in the Community

(p.36) Chapter Two Private Matters and Public Health: Campbell Takes On Mental Illness at Home and in the Community
This Woman's Work

Osizwe Raena Jamila Harwell

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter two provides an in-depth discussion of Bebe Moore Campbell’s activism as a mental health advocate from 1999-2006 based on interviews with colleagues, family, and friends. It narrates her personal struggle with a daughter who is bipolar and the proactive stance that she took to cope with this difficulty. The chapter reveals how her involvement in the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), her role as a national spokesperson, and her local activism sparked the birth of the NAMI-Urban LA chapter, serving black and Latino communities. Campbell and a group of black women concerned about their children with mental illness effectively addressed the practical needs of families of color by challenging stigma, lobbying for social policies, and providing information, support, and resources both locally and on a national stage. Considering gendered racial communities as the resource and landscape for much of Campbell’s work, it appears that she maintained a broad friendship circle beyond the Black Action Society and NAMI- Urban LA. Exploring this primarily female “embedded friendship network” further evidences Campbell’s commitment to community and family and broadens context of her activism, writing, and life trajectory.

Keywords:   National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI Urban Illness, Mental illness, Activism, Bridge leadership

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