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Meet Erick Nunez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erick Nunez.

Erick, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a Columbia University School of Social Work graduate, with a track in Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming and a concentration in Contemporary Social Issues. Originally from South Central, California, I am the youngest of four and is the first in my family to graduate from college after attending the California State University of Long Beach with a B.A in Sociology. As an openly gay biracial man, who understands the privilege I have gained through my education, I never forgot about the communicated that I am part of. I have a deep passion for working with LGBTQ youth and homeless populations, being an advocate for those living with HIV/AIDS and a role model to young gay black men through my role Co-Chair in Young Gay Black Men’s Initiative – a nonprofit focusing on policy and advocacy. I have served as the President of Impulse Group NYC, a social networking group that promotes safe sex practices through a sex-positive lens that brings HIV awareness and education through social events and advocacy efforts.

Within my career, I have served as a Program Manager of HIV programs in New York City and with my return to Los Angeles, I have served as Program Director for the SoCal Club, which is located in my hometown of South Central, providing a holistic approach to health care for young Black and Latino men. Currently, I am the Director of Special Projects at Barbour and Floyd Medical Associates, developing a program on Integrated Care for Behavioral Health and Primary care for individuals that are underrepresented and underserved. Finally, I also an Associate Clinical Social Worker providing mental health services to the community of Inglewood at Soco Rey Therapy.

Soco Rey Therapy where therapy is chill AF. I am grateful to part of this practice because I think it has changed my way of thinking when it comes to providing mental health services. I think for a long time, mental health services have been so “white” and at Soco Rey I am allowed to be myself and allow for all the communities to show up in the way I deliver my clinical service.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it has not been a smooth road. Coming from South Central and having the privilege and opportunity to attend Columbia University, really opened my eyes to how the world moves and works.

Getting a degree in Social Work opened my eyes to other struggles and made me more self-aware about my own B.S, that life has not been a smooth road.

I am grateful for the ups and downs of my career as a professional and focusing on mental health now, I can see that life is not a smooth road for people – so I have to give myself/yourself more credit.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
So I am the Director of Special Project at Barbour and Floyd Medical Associates. Focusing on developing a program on integrating behavioral health and medical health together. So making sure that individuals with high levels of mental health needs are still accessing their medical doctor to cater to other health conditions.

At Soco Rey Therapy, I am a Therapist Consultant. Providing therapy at a private practice just feels more liberating. Being part of Black own business, women’s own business is a privilege.

I think about agencies/businesses that I work at now are so important because they are owned and operated by people of color.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I am originally from South Central aka “South LA”. I love the culture of South Central, from the hood liquor stores to the sun shining over the palm trees, South Central made me who I am today and I’m so grateful to be from a city like that.

There are a lot of things wrong with the community though, not the fault of the people but the fault of what has been provided to the city. I want to change that. I want people in South LA to have more and thrive for more. We have to break these cycles in South Central.

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