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Otieno family, Ben Crump to lead panel discussion about Black mental health at Virginia Union

Posted at 6:55 AM, May 24, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- More than three months since his death, Irvo Otieno’s family and Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump will participate in a panel discussion at Virginia Union University (VUU).

“Justice for Irvo Otieno: Advocating for Black Mental Health in Our Communities and Policy” will be held Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at VUU’s Perkins Living and Learning Center.

Initiatives of Change Executive Director Allan-Charles Chipman will moderate the discussion.

Chipman first met Otieno at a Bible study session in his home several years ago. He encourages the public to attend and ask questions.

“I'm hoping that people come and bring their own questions and seeing how it is affecting them. They'll be able to ask the panelists any question that they have, because we know that what happened to Brother Irvo was a crime not just against Brother Irvo, his family, but as a crime against our community, our society and our loved ones who are struggling with mental health,” Chipman explained.

Prosecutors said Otieno was killedon March 6 while in custody of law enforcement at Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County. His family said the 28-year-old was experiencing a mental health crisis.

10 people have been charged with second degree murder.

Attorneys for the accused said their clients are innocent and not personally responsible for Otieno’s killing. They have since asked to be dismissed from the case.

Joanne Oport with Africans For Mental Health, James Harris with Men To Heal, Denisha Potts with Chesterfield NAACP, Lawrence West of BLM RVA, and Esther Thomas, a registered nurse and relative of Otieno will also be on the panel.

You’re asked to register online prior to the discussion.

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