We Lost a Sister: Karyn Washington

Karyn Washington 

You may have heard that we recently lost a beloved humanitarian, activist, and a sister in Karyn Washington. She was dealt a lot of blows in life, with the loss of her mother and other private battles, and in the end it was….well she’s not here anymore. The loss has been devastating to all of us. Karyn was a woman who gave so much of herself in the interest of empowering black women everywhere to see the beauty that is inherent in all of us. A lack of self-acceptance is something that a lot of black women struggle with, and she was a huge part of changing that.

The way she went was unexpected. To be honest, I’m still trying to make sense of it. She was going through a lot, but I didn’t know that it would all come down to a loss like this.

Even as she was living with a lot of pain, she was helping people. She was empowering black women everywhere, and she was a huge part of the solution. She still is, even though she’s no longer with us.

There is one thing I want to say about the way she went:

It’s important to take away the stigma that mental health issues have, not only on a global scale, but within the black community. Mental illness is a disease:  It is crippling, scary, ominous, and it requires just as much help as anyone fighting a disease that attacks the body.  No one wants to talk about panic disorders, depression, and other mental illnesses. If you can live with it, you do you best to. You pray about it, because you think that you’ll find all your answers there and you won’t need any more than that. But you do need more. When you feel the walls closing in on you, I ask you to override any shame, humiliation, or pride you might feel washing over you. You belong with us. We don’t want to loose you too. Go ahead and get the help you need.

Here in Canada, there are resources available to those who suffer from any kind of mental illness:

The Canadian Mental Health Association 
Kids Health Phone 
Mental Health Crisis Line
Child, Youth, & Family Crisis Line for Eastern Ontario

And in times of crisis:

Centre for Suicide Prevention
Youth at Risk of Suicide 

Don’t let her message of love, self acceptance, and the glory of black women of colour everywhere to be lost with how she went. Her legacy is still alive and well, and it won’t be forgotten.  She left this world, as the same person she always was; a loving, giving, compassionate, smart, and accomplished young woman who was interested in empowering sisters everywhere. Let’s not forget it.


Rest in Peace Karyn. We love you. You’re with God now.



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