Freedom Center presents at the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta

Submitted by lee on Mon, 07/02/2007 - 22:47

This past weekend, two Freedom Center organizers did a presentation called "Who's Calling Who Crazy? Psychiatry and the Oppressed" in a packed standing room-only hotel room in Atlanta, Georgia as part of the U.S Social Forum. The U.S Social forum was a large gathering of approximately 20,000 grassroots activists from around the country (and some internationals) who were gathering to educate, motivate, and envision a more just world.

The Freedom Center presentation brought a uniquely diverse crowd. There were psychiatric abuse survivors, anti-racists activists, academics, social workers and even (dum dum dum) a psychiatrist. Freedom Center organizer Dianne Dragon opened the presentation with a moment of silence for those who were locked up in institutions. The talk then opened up with FC organizer Mollie Hurter presenting on who the Freedom Center was, myths and truths of psychiatry and the biological model, eugenics, mental health screenings, and institutionalized diagnostic language. Dianne followed this talk by telling her personal story of having been mistreated and lied to within the psychiatric system, of having to deal with dodging the psychiatric system as a parent of three children, and of the ways in which the Freedom Center had helped her.

Afterwards, nearly everyone in the room chimed in with a questions, comments, or resources to offer up. Some people were familiar with the psych-survivor movement and were adding evidence to the mix or telling people about Mindfreedom's hunger strike. Other folks were less familiar and were shocked and/or curious about the evidence or lack there of around biomedical psychiatry. Several people of color wanted to elaborate on the role that the psychiatric system had in oppressing poor people and of colonizing cultures. Several people who worked with the public school system wanted to talk about the ways they saw drugs being pushed or forced on young children in the public schools. Several people wanted to tell their personal story, or some part of it. Overall, the workshop served as a forum in which to educate, share stories, and make people aware of potential ways of understanding and handling extreme states or psychiatric abuse.