A Message of Tears and Optimism

Written by the CAMHD Leadership Team // June 24, 2020

We're all in this together - in solidarity


When we met the other day, the CAMHD leadership team shared both tears and optimism.

Tears, because we grieved the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and countless other Black members of our communities. Tears, because what has been caught on camera is only the tip of the iceberg, and many of these incidents are symptoms of pervasive, systemic racism in our country. We reflected deeply on the larger impacts on our society and our role in mental health, adverse experiences, complex trauma, and the pursuit of well-being.

However, we also shared optimism, arising from the many demonstrations of mixed communities standing in solidarity in Hawaii and beyond. Optimism, from out-of-the-box thinking, that social change might become a reality. We believe as Martin Luther King, Jr. taught, that constructive, non-violent tension is necessary for growth. Maybe, just maybe, we are on the cusp of real positive change. We are committed to advancing mental health, social well-being, culturally responsive care, and trauma-informed care to this purpose.

Where do we go from here? The CAMHD leadership team does not believe we have the answers nor the wisdom greater than others. We do want better for the kids and families in the state and will continue to work hard and think creatively towards that end. Change comes not just in strategy or policy, but in real transformation in our culture and identities. We know that injustice is here. We have been reflecting on the role that mental health treatment institutions have played in exerting social control. We do not want to perpetuate that pattern in the lives of youth. We do not want to be “more devoted to order than we are to justice” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

Our leadership team is committed to challenging ourselves and each other to stay strong in the battle against racism. We will engage in self-reflection, education, and actions to seek justice in our lives and culture, and humbly ask you to do the same.

In solidarity,

Scott K. Shimabukuro, Ph.D., ABPP
Acting Administrator, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division

Kurt Humphrey, M.D.
Medical Director

Janet Ledoux
Administrative Officer

Derek Vale
Healthcare System Management Office Supervisor

Trina Orimoto, Ph.D.
Program Improvement and Communications Office Manager

Lesley Slavin, Ph.D.
Chief Psychologist

Keli Acquaro, MA
Neighbor Island Services Branch Chief

Leah Chang, LCSW, DCSW
Oahu Services Branch Chief

Dayna Mortensen, MHC
Family Court Liaison Branch Chief


Last reviewed on June 24, 2020