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Art fundraiser for Daniel Prude seeks to build awareness around mental health

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An art fundraiser for the family of Daniel Prude seeks to bring together people affected by mental illness. Prude suffocated in police custody in March during a mental health arrest and died a week later.

Daniel Prude was 41 when he died March 30, 2020. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Daniel Prude was 41 when he died March 30, 2020.
Erica Jae is an organizer with the fundraiser, Prints for Prude. She says that Black people are too often underserved and misdiagnosed in the mental health field.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, providers’ biases and lack of cultural awareness can lead to misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment for Black patients.

“It’s all chalked up to anxiety or depression,” said Jae. “But I think it’s deep-rooted trauma. Especially amongst the Black community, we’re feeling pain from our ancestors and we’re still fighting for our rights.”


For years, Jae has organized the Mental Wealth Fest, an annual event for people affected by mental illness to express themselves through art and performance. Since learning about the death of Daniel Prude, she’s switched gears to provide more opportunities for people to come together to heal through art, and to help the Prude family.
Erica Jae is a photographer and organizer of Mental Wealth Fest Presents: Prints for Prude. - PHOTO PROVIDED BY ERICA JAE
  • PHOTO PROVIDED BY ERICA JAE
  • Erica Jae is a photographer and organizer of Mental Wealth Fest Presents: Prints for Prude.

“There’s people on the frontlines who are protesting,” said Jae. “But there’s also people who are home who are grieving and they need an outlet.” 

Local artists donated artwork for the event which will run from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3. Artwork will be on display at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center on East Avenue, and at 21st Century Arts on Tremont Street.



“It’s needed, it’s necessary to have events like this to open up spaces for healing and just literally talking about it and talking about our pain and our struggle and our grief and our trauma,” said Jae.

Arts sales and admission fees will go to Prude’s family.

Noelle Evans is a reporter with WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.