Why the Interest?

August 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm

   I was asked recently, regarding my position on mental health rights, “Why the interest?” I had never been expected to put it into words, though it seemed reasonable enough. It’s not unlike asking the same question to someone speaking out for black civil rights and women’s rights. Time separates us from events in a way that brings clarity and while equality in thought hasn’t been fully realized, equality in law and prevailing public opinion have been afforded to even the most formerly oppressed or marginalized groups.

   I don’t think we should be drawing lines and hashing out which groups have which rights or waiting, measuring our movements in decades as one by one clusters of people organize, stand up and demand equal rights. People with mental health diagnoses are the last class of American people that can have their freedom taken away, be denied access to justice, and suffer punitive action without ever committing a crime. So from where I’m standing, the question is — why the disinterest?

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