Update 4/6/2015: Craig Wanichek from Summit Bank is the newly – elected chair of the Board for Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.
On Sunday, September 21, 2014, here in Eugene Oregon, I participated, with my wonderful wife Debra, in a local rally to support the major march in New York City for climate justice.
Everyone and every group working for mental health justice ought to make fighting global warming a priority right now. Of course, the whole disability movement, and in fact all sentient beings should be concerned about climate crisis, but those of us working for human rights and more choices for mental wellness have special reasons to make this planetary catastrophe a unifying theme for all of us.
Martin Luther King frequently talked about the importance of creative maladjustment as an answer to oppression, and many environmentalists are wondering where humanity’s creativity and maladjustment are right about now. The Mad Movement knows that the psychiatric industry has ground down the human spirit for centuries, but we never ever give up! MLK resisted the war in Vietnam toward the end of his life, and some civil rights activists were mystified that he seemed to be off topic. However, MLK knew that we are all in one big movement for the “beloved community,” as he put it.
But if you need something very specific to connect the Mad Movement to global warming, here it is: Those of us called psychotic are often coerced to take neuroleptic drugs (sometimes called antipsychotics), and these drugs are well known to suppress the temperature-regulatory part of the brain. During a heat wave, prison reformers have been talking about how horrible it is that those in non-air-conditioned prisons where people are forced to take these drugs often die. Well, most USA states have laws allowing citizens to be forcibly court-ordered to take these drugs while living at home out in the community. (more…)
My very good friend Marcia Meyers of Portland, Oregon is one of the most powerful leaders I have seen in my nearly 40 years of activism in the little-known movement for deep change in the mental health industry. She joined my amazing wife Debra, some friends and me for a backyard party at our Eugene home this summer and brought to my attention an issue that deserves a larger audience. Marcia’s story riveted me because it involves activism, madness, psychiatric torture of her beloved daughter, Unitarianism, secret poisoned-pen letters, Scientology and global warming!
So while I have been blogging for a few years, please understand that this post is the longest one yet. The major web site Mad in America, which is now like the Huffington Post of over-throwing psychiatry and inspired by the books of journalist Bob Whitaker, is picking up my blog for re-distribution. My primary concern here is with honoring the incredible work of Marcia and her group Rethinking Psychiatry. Marcia can teach our whole social change movement an important lesson about unity that can help all people as we struggle against environmental catastrophe, which I call “Normalgeddon.”
I include my top 11 ways that our Mad Movement can reunite, none of which involved any religion.
Thank you Marcia Meyers!
Marcia is a 68-year-old, effusive retired teacher, who in her own words, “Identifies, in this order, as a grandmother, a teacher and an activist.” She dedicated 33 years to teaching in the public school system, during which she was active in the teacher’s union, both locally and nationally. Marcia describes this work as foundational to the activism that would follow. As she puts it, “From my many years of teaching and my years of union work I honed my skills as an organizer and activist.”
Marcia retired in 1999 and attended the World Trade Organization protest, the huge Battle in Seattle, later that year. This event was particularly transformative. She told me, “The new and privileged freedom of retirement along with this historic event catapulted me into local and national economic justice activist work.” It was in the wake of the Battle in Seattle that Marcia began her work with the Economic Justice Action Group of the First Unitarian Church of Portland. This branch of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church is one of the largest congregations ever, and for five years, has provided a safe, supportive home and platform for Marcia to fight corporate personhood. (more…)
Debra and David here. As many of you know, David broke his neck in December 2012. It is now almost summer of 2014, so we are still somewhat new to this. we have many questions! It occurred to us that we should ask these questions of many people, because our networks want to help and we know there are many of you who can help answer these questions but we have not met you yet!
OK, here are some questions that we may add to later as more come to us: (more…)
BELOW you will find my open letter that combines my main identities and interests: I am a survivor of abuse in the mental health system, a disability activist (labeled quad), environmentalist focused on the climate crisis, and spirituality: I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
Please comment here. Whether you comment or not, please forward this open letter for anyone far and wide. Help it go viral. Thanks. If you wish to send me a direct message, please use the contact form on the right to reach my office. Because of quantity, I cannot always respond to everything but I try to read your vision.
Everyone everywhere is welcome to share your ideas about mental health justice.
Please post your public comments here on this blog entry. I especially would love to hear personally from other survivors of psychiatric abuse, people with disabilities and Unitarian Universalists. You may also email me by using the Contact My Office form on the right of this blog.
Please forward this post to others. If you would like to print out my open letter you may find a PDF of it here.
To read the text of my open letter, simply click “More” below. Thanks.
Thank you again everyone for your support. This blog entry is by my good friend David Zupan. He is a videographer, and you must see this short video online. The famous group Habitat for Humanity has a special initiative that can help people with disabilities. My friend Sue Barnhart told us about it, and my brother Tony did a lot of the sweat equity that is required.
Many people helped out with a hammer or food. The result is a beautiful deck and ramp that helps me enjoy our wild backyard, and with Debra I know I am home!
Hey everyone, this is Debra and David talking. Thank you everyone for the van. It arrived the other day. It is a 2013 Dodge with low miles and it is fully accessible. Thanks to everyone who donated and supported this goal. We pledge to use this van for many good trips, including challenging the climate crisis!