The Mentally Ill and Alfred Olango

My friends, what is happening in our world? I continually find myself uttering the words “How long, O Lord?” And now another death….Alfred Olango…a mentally ill black man shot in California. No one deserves to die because of the color of their skin or who they are in this world. We are all beloved children of God.

Yet, my heart is breaking even more this morning. As a daughter of a woman who has lived most of my life with a mental illness, I am angry…angry that Alfred’s sister called for help and instead of getting help her brother was shot and later died. I am angry….that this is just another example of how easily people jump to conclusions when it comes to the mentally ill. I am angry….that we still have a long way to go in educating about mental health issues.

I am not writing this post to issue blame, but because I believe these words need to be shared and mental health needs to continue to be talked about. I am writing this post because my heart is breaking. What if I had called for help for my mom? I am not Alfred Olango’s sister, but I could very well be. I am a daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. It is a part of my family’s story and always will be.

In December 2012, after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, I wrote my heart out about being a daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. Then, in June 2014, I wrote about another shooting near Portland Oregon and once again about being a daughter. In each of these instances, the common denominator seems to be “mental illness.”

I don’t have any of the answers, friends. But I think we need to remember the importance of talking about mental health. Alfred Olango deserved treatment. He didn’t deserve to die. Yet here we are talking about his death. My heart breaks for his family especially for his sister who did the right thing and called for help.

My heart breaks, as I continue to cry out to our God, “How long, Oh Lord?”

I am linking up with Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Three Word Wednesday.


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