In response to troubling signs of growing mental health challenges in the African American community, in 2007 Brenda Wesley developed an African American Outreach Program; ASK (Access, Support & Knowledge). To lead her program she reached out and formed a partnership with NAMI Greater Milwaukee (National Alliance on Mental Illness). ASK is designed to educate the community and work to provide access to care for those who need it the most.
Brenda, a trained mental health education facilitator, has conducted numerous ASK presentations throughout Milwaukee. Brenda’s unique perspective is based in first-hand experience: two of her closest family members live with mental illness. She has become an advocate for those without a voice and has been hired by NAMI as their Outreach and Education Coordinator.
Wesley continues to live and work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her family. She continues to devote her time and energy by educating the community. She sits on various community committees as part of her advocacy work. She is part of The Mosaic Milwaukee Partnership Program, which engages leaders of various cultures and backgrounds to build trust, friendship and communication. Brenda is a 2009 graduate of the Emerge Wisconsin Program, which trains Democratic women candidates. Because of her advocacy work she was awarded the 2007 TLS (Transitional Living Services Advocate of the Year Award.)
Brenda does public speaking and has done many presentations and workshops as part of her community work, speaking on behalf of those with Mental Illness. She has presented for the Wisconsin Kidney Foundation Women of the World Series, Milwaukee Medical College, Milwaukee Public Schools and many civic groups, parents groups, churches, etc. She is the Author and Director of Pieces: In My Own Voice.
Pieces, is her fourth work, other works include:
What If? which asks the questions- What If Jesus never died? What If we did not have grace?What If He decided to come down off the cross? Have you ever wondered what life would be like without Him? Experience the agony and pain Jesus endured upon his death for man. See the tragedy of man’s continual sins committed in the light and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Behind the Veil: Encountering Jesus - Through worship, praise dance, song, and spoken word this stage play draws believers and non-believers into the presence of God. The revelation of the character and person of Christ and the many prophecies which are experienced behind the veil.
The Closet: Journey through the life of a little girl and watch as she develops into a woman.
Scattered along her way are the trials of betrayal, abuse, illness and many hardships
and heartbreaks. Retreating to the safest place she knows, her closet, it becomes the
place for peace, contentment and love.
“I understand the stigma attached to mental illness in our community, however, early intervention can save families an untold amount of unnecessary anguish. All it takes is a willingness to step up and ask for help. My hope is that people will be moved and stirred to make a decision to begin, or continue, to support those diagnosed with this illness. Sometimes all people need to see is that glimmer of hope through the darkness.”