The news of Karyn Washington’s death graced my inbox 3 days ago when a dear friend and fellow social media maven forwarded a link to an article sharing the tragic news. I felt a pang of despair and pondered over this loss. I did not know the ForBrownGirls.com and #DarkGirlsRedLip project founder and was scarcely familiar with her wonderful work. Nevertheless, the fact that this generous and creative young spirit decided to take her own life was clearly a tragedy. Here is yet another opportunity to implore Black women…to implore all women of color to speak up and speak out about their battles with mood disorders and other mental illnesses.
What inspired Kathleen in this endeavor? She explains, “I feel like there are a lot of people living their life in a full and useful way but nobody knows about it”. These are the people “I want to support and feature.” Dr. Hoffman seeks out these individuals to give them more visibility. “[Helping] others shine is rewarding,” she continues. Having featured health luminaries such as Andre Blackman, a leading voice for health and innovation and Katherine Leon, a passionate patient advocate for SCAD (spontaneous coronary artery dissection) early in the history of the chat and relatively early in the career trajectories of these advocates illustrates just how keen Hoffman’s eye is for talent. The chat has also feature entrepreneurs like Victor Wang, inventor of GeriJoy, a therapeutic tool in the form of a virtual dog that talks back to its owners and the founders of Medivizor, the physician-founded medical information platform.