Voices of Resilience: Honoring Black Peer Recovery Specialists for Black History Month

Voices of Resilience: Honoring Black Peer Recovery Specialists for Black History Month

During the celebration of Black History Month, we take this opportunity to shine a spotlight on the remarkable resilience and unwavering commitment of Black peer recovery specialists, peer counselors, and recovery coaches. These individuals embody the spirit of hope and understanding as they navigate the complexities of mental health and substance use challenges. In our excitement to recognize and appreciate their invaluable contributions, we strive to amplify their voices and share their stories.

Each narrative becomes a beacon of inspiration, shedding light on the diverse experiences within the Black community. By acknowledging their efforts, we aim to foster a meaningful dialogue that not only appreciates their unique perspectives but also actively contributes to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues—one powerful story at a time. Together, let us embrace and honor the strength and resilience found in the journeys of Black peer recovery specialists throughout history and today.

Jules Desroches is a certified peer recovery specialist at Tree of Hope Association and embraced the world of peer work after navigating challenges at the crossroads of recognizing the need for help and finding the courage to seek it. Jules discovered solace in the realms of arts integration and outdoor activities—powerful outlets for individuals who, like him, may be labeled as ‘articulate’ but find comfort beyond verbal expression. He appreciates how being a peer allows him to show up ethically and authentically. He shares his experiences as offerings, rather than just telling people what not to do without explanation, vulnerability, or perspective.

Desmond Haneef Perry serves as a forensic peer specialist (criminal defense) at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD). He is are turning citizen who has triumphed over challenges with a strong commitment to criminal justice reform. As an African American Muslim, he serves as a public defender and dedicates himself to defending the rights and dignity of others. He is proud that his lived experience is seen as an asset, not a liability.

Janea Parker is a housing counselor for the Baltimore County Housing Stability Program, utilizing her experience as a mental health peer recovery specialist. She believes it is crucial to highlight the impact of mental health on one’s daily life and advocates for tools to overcome trauma. As a Baltimore native and Army Veteran, she encourages others to embrace resilience, emphasizing the importance of self-love and navigating life with a diagnosis. Janea uses her journey to inspire hope for a brighter future.

Daron (Ron) Brodie, with 12 years of long-term recovery, has been a certified peer recovery specialist at the Carroll County Health Department for over 6 years. He has also worked in emergency rooms for the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program. Additionally, Daron has served as a peer in the Westminster police department for the Law Enforcement Assistant Diversion (L.E.A.D) program.

Donielle Davis is a certified peer recovery specialist at Affiliated Sante Group and takes pleasure in providing what he wished he had during his days of struggle and darkness. He values the opportunity to share his story with those who need to hear that he not only has been in similar situations but has actively pursued wellness.

Tyrone Walker, a dedicated certified peer recovery specialist at Grace Medical Center, plays a pivotal role in overseeing the Outpatient Civil Commitment Community Outreach Program. Passionate about making a positive impact, Tyrone finds immense joy in giving back and providing crucial support to those in need. His commitment to the well-being of the community reflects a genuine desire to uplift and empower individuals on their journey to recovery.