2015 Will You Stand Up
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ABOUT

WHAT IS

STIGMA?

A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. If something has stigma attached to it, people think it is something to be ashamed of. 

WHY IS STIGMA SO DANGEROUS?

For people living with mental illness, the presence of stigma can complicate how they are perceived and treated. The more we work to disarm the stigma by sharing our stories, the closer we get to make sure others are treated fairly and justly. 

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OUR STORY.

It started with a small group of people in the back of a coffee shop reading their stories aloud. The conversation that followed lasted for hours and Erasing the Distance was born. Since 2005 the organization has travel across the country collecting and sharing stories, facilitating conversations with audiences of all sizes and creating space for necessary conversations. 

THE TEAM

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HEATHER BODIE

COURTNEY HALL

SHELITA SHAW

NAYLA COLON

JABARI KHALIQ

EXECUTIVE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
 

MARKETING/DEVLOPMENT
& CUSTOM PROGRAMS
HIGH SCHOOLS

 

CUSTOM PROGRAMS
HIGHER EDUCATION

MSW INTERN
WORKSHOP DEVELOPMENT

VIDEOGRAPHY/
EDITING

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DISARM THE STIGMA SURROUNDING MENTAL ILLNESS ONE STORY AT A TIME.

Since our founding in 2005, our efforts to disarm stigma have been made possible by and incredible number of people. The staff, board, artists, clinicians, interns, and volunteers all work together to keep the message strong, the stories supported, and the mission active. Join the Erasing the Distance family.

 

THE BOARD

The Board of Directors is comprised of a dynamic group of professionals who are passionate about disarming the destructive stigma attached to mental illness. 

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SARA SARKEY

PRESIDENT

Governance Committee Chair

Sara Sarkey is the Head of Neuroscience and Vaccines for US Medical at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. She grew up south of Chicago in Northwest Indiana and received her BS in Biotechnology from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Loyola University Chicago. Sara currently lives in the Boston area with her husband and 2 children. She became involved with Erasing the Distance through her work at Takeda but has always had an interest in the impacts of mental illness and seeing beyond the labels we attach to people. She is thrilled to be part of Erasing the Distance and the amazing work they do to go beyond the stigma and bring awareness and compassion to people’s stories and experiences with mental illness. 

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EVELYN JOY COKER 

VICE PRESIDENT

Governance Committee Chair

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JUDITH BRADFORD

SECRETARY

Governance Committee Chair

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RICHARD PLESS

TREASURER

Finance Committee Chair

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CHARLIE STOOPS

DIRECTOR

Development Committee Chair

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CHARLENE KRUEGER

DIRECTOR

Development Committee

Charlene Krueger joined the Board in August 2021 after being introduced to the organization through a volunteer program at her employer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL where she has worked for over 30 years. She currently focuses on Conferencing and Broadcasts for the five states of Health Care Service Corporation, their parent company.  Charlene is passionate about getting rid of the stigma around mental health due to experiences in her personal life as well as those of loved ones.  “The more we talk about it, the less uncomfortable it gets, so let’s talk about it!”  

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CHARLOTTE HUNTER-BURNS

DIRECTOR

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DR. KIMBERLY J. DEAN

EMERITUS

Dr. Kimberly J. Dean is from the Southside of Chicago, IL, and is married with two energetic boys. Her life’s mission and passion is healing by traveling across the globe spreading God’s love through prayer, teaching, and ministering. Dr. Dean is a graduate of Tennessee State University with a BS in Health Care Administration & Planning with a certification from Meharry Medical College; an MBA in Health Services from Keller Graduate School of Management; and a Ph.D. in Human Services from Capella University.  Dr. Dean has over 20 years of experience in the Managed Care Industry focusing on Provider networks, contract negotiations, and strategic planning & development.

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MEET OUR 
FOUNDER

Brighid O'Shaughnessy

Since 2005, Brighid has utilized theatrical performances about mental health issues to educate and disarm stigma. 

A sought-after speaker and workshop leader, Brighid has presented at many events, including the Active Minds National Conference. Brighid was granted DePaul University's prestigious David O. Justice Award for her use of theatre to educate communities about mental illness in nontraditional and creative ways. 

Brighid continues to be a fierce mental health advocate. 

The closing moment of "Domincan: Chapter 2"
Winter 2018