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Thank You, Bebe Moore Campbell

Statement of Michael Fitzpatrick, NAMI Executive Director

November 28, 2006

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) mourns the passing of Bebe Moore Campbell, the best-selling author who shared great insight and compassion in writing about individuals and families confronting social issues, including mental illness.

She has been considered one of the most important African American novelists of the 20th century for works such as Brothers and Sisters (1994) and What You Owe Me (2001). But she also was more.   For NAMI, she truly has been part of the family.

Bebe was trained as a teacher in NAMI’s Family-to-Family education program, as a member of our NAMI Urban Los Angeles affiliate. She attended NAMI conventions and conferences. She was a national spokesperson for us, speaking out against the stigma that often surrounds mental illness, and promoting treatment and family education. Because of her commitment, NAMI’s name and voice was heard in countless newspaper, radio and television interviews, touching millions of Americans.

In 2003, Bebe received NAMI’s Outstanding Media Award for Literature for the book Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, written especially for children, about a young girl who learns how to cope with her mother’s bipolar illness.   In 2005, her novel 72-Hour Hold focused on an adult daughter and a family’s experience with the onset of mental illness. It helped educate Americans that the struggle often is not just with the illness, but with the healthcare system as well.

Bebe spoke from experience. She spoke from the heart. She spoke for NAMI. We are grateful for all that she shared.

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