Commentary

Assembly: Phil Ting

When the pandemic began two years ago, our state faced the critical challenge of keeping our communities safe in the face of a global health crisis. Since then, although we all have become much more aware of ways to protect our physical health, it is important to remember the key role of mental health in our lives as well. 

Richmond Area Multi-Services, or RAMS, a nonprofit which has operated locally since 1974, has been an extraordinary advocate for mental health services, especially among the Asian Pacific Islander (API) population. 

Each year, the State Assembly gives lawmakers the honor of selecting one organization in their district to be named as the Nonprofit of the Year, and I am proud to announce that RAMS will be receiving this award in our district. Its dedication to wellness services, especially for vulnerable and under-resourced populations, has been crucial in our community.

In the past 50 years, RAMS has grown from a small organization providing mental health services to Asian Americans in the Richmond District to a large-scale operation that is host to a myriad of wellness resources for Bay Area residents. With more than 130 sites across the Bay Area, it offers a range of counseling services, peer support programs, and pre-vocational and professional training, across age groups and tens of languages. Each year, RAMS provides essential services to more than 17,000 clients.

Although it is home to so many resources, at its core is RAMS’s unique ability to adapt their offerings to its diverse base of clients. Its emphasis in respecting and responding to cultural needs means that its services are targeted and accessible to communities that have historically faced barriers in obtaining clinical and professional assistance. Its work in our district has been invaluable.

I’m especially glad to give recognition to RAMS’s achievements, given that mental health is an issue close to my heart and work in the Legislature. As chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I advocated for the funding and launch of the California Peer-Run Warm Line in 2019, allocating more than $10 million to create a phone and text service for those needing emotional support. In recent budgets, I have also helped to fund comprehensive mental wellness resources for those suffering from homelessness. I feel so grateful for RAMS’s continuous work in this critical area.

You may also know from our ongoing efforts to stop Asian hate that RAMS has been an indispensable player in our fight for social justice. Last year, I worked to secure the $166.5 million API Equity Budget, opening up new opportunities for many community organizations to receive financial support for its work. As a grant recipient, RAMS will be investing in the next generation of community leaders, organizing an educational road trip for 10 high-potential teens from under-resourced populations; these bright minds will get the chance to meet and learn from important figures working in social advocacy across the country.

We are fortunate to have such an innovative and devoted nonprofit right here in our district. Congratulations to RAMS for being named our 2022 Nonprofit of the Year, and thank you for carrying out this vital work for our community. Your tireless commitment is astounding and commendable.

Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the west side of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City. 

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