To My Friend, Activist Hero Author Survivor: The Late Leonard Roy Frank

Leonard Roy Frank

Leonard Roy Frank

Dear Leonard Roy Frank,

Wade Hudson, a long-time activist and one of your main collaborators and friends, announced that you had died suddenly either late Wednesday night, January 14, 2015, or early Thursday morning, and all of us in the Mad Movement have lost one of our most powerful champions.

Leonard, I always thought of you as one of the early, beat drop-outs, because you were going into the business world after your graduation from the Wharton School of Business in the 1954, but your spiritual journey brought you into conflict with this society. As part of your mystical experience you were one of the early Americans in that generation to renounce eating meat and dairy products, and of course you grew that big beard. In 1962, because of your cultural and religious rebellion, you experienced absolutely incredible psychiatric abuse, including both forced insulin coma shock therapy and electroshock therapy. Many times I have told the story about how your psychiatrist checked to see if you had shaved or deviated from your vegetarianism, and when you persevered he ordered more forced electroshock.

After Wade’s announcement, one of the first things I thought of about our friendship these nearly four decades, was your sense of humor. I know that many people will remember your serious biblical-like magnetism whenever you spoke out against psychiatric tyranny, which was frequent, but I recall that nearly every time we talked you always made me laugh with your subtle, witty spirit.

I see that you died at age 82, born July 15, 1932, and you have unquestionably been one of the main human rights activists in the mental health field in this past century, so I hope many people reflect on your contribution to this community. For now, I make the following brief observations:

Ethics: You always framed your indictment of psychiatric abuse in moral ideals. From your nonviolence, I learned a lot about how the work of Gandhi and other leaders informed our work for those marginalized by a psychiatric label. You helped teach me that civil disobedience is important in the revolution that we require today.

Quotes: In order to re-create your memory following your psychiatric oppression with so much shock, you became one of the foremost experts on quotes. I love the fact that one can now walk into seemingly every bookstore and find your Quotationary, which has more than 20,000 quotes, and woven throughout those quotes one can find zingers that skewer the psychiatric industry.

Support: You have always uplifted the movement to peacefully overthrow psychiatry, and I see that Wade asks that people give a donation in your memory. Wade writes that:

“If you want to make a charitable donation, I suggest that you do so to MindFreedom International, P.O. Box 11284, Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA or online at http://www.mindfreedom.org/.”

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Normalgeddon: Your Landing Page About Having Fun & The Worst Case Scenario Of The Climate Crisis

This is a giant hole -- actually called End Of The World -- in Siberian permafrost that illustrates feedback loops involving methane release.

This is a giant hole — actually called End Of The World — in Siberian permafrost that illustrates feedback loops involving methane release.

Welcome to Normalgeddon!

I invented that word because we needed a way to describe this unique time in history when some really smart scientists are saying there is a high risk of ending not only civilization as we know it, but ending complex multi-cell life as we know it over these next few decades. I like to think that by acting urgently and based on our highest principles, we have a chance of turning things around.

Here is a brief list of resources both on this blog and in the web about preventing Normalgeddon.

Links to my blog entries:

1. My latest blog entry about the Chamber of Commerce and Global Warming (pending publication):

http://www.davidwoaks.com/global-warming-normalgeddon-mental-wellness-chamber-of-commerce

2. Other blog entries about this topic, read them one after another here:

http://www.davidwoaks.com/category/normalgeddon

Here are a few other resources about runaway global warming risk:

1. A google search for videos on this topic that you should check out:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=runaway+climate+change&tbm=vid

2. If you are ready to hear from someone who is respected but apparently is a bit more pessimistic than me about the future, please read about Guy R. McPherson and his book Going Dark here:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=mcpherson+going+dark

Thriving despite the risk of Normalgeddon

Readers of my blog know that I am informed as an amateur about the science of emergence, or as I like to call it “the butterfly effect.” In other words, if we all act from our best values of unity, activism, and love of Earth, then we may have unexpected great results, a Climate Miracle! So remember that hope involves taking action without knowing exactly what the outcome may be.

By coincidence, a few hours ago I just spent my whole session with my great counselor, psychologist John Bundy, about this very topic because I found I was losing a lot of sleep as I did research. After all, this may be the end of human life. I like to think that we all act together and save life. But I know this topic can be very upsetting.

May I suggest that we use the power of peer support, and I plan to do a lot of protesting and speaking out about this topic. I sure hope we work together now about this, no matter what the results, and hopefully we will celebrate later on!

There is an ancient Persian saying: No one is tired on Victory Day!

 

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The Worst Case Scenario for Global Warming — What I Call Normalgeddon —  is Bad for Our Mental Wellness: The Chamber of Commerce Doesn’t Speak For Us!

David and Debra march in Eugene for climate justice

Sunday, September 21st, 2014, Eugene, Oregon, Debra and David (on right) beginning to march against global warming in solidarity with the event in New York City.

For four decades I have been an activist challenging the mental health industry. More and more I feel that the climate crisis should be one of the highest priorities for social change led by people who have personally experienced psychiatric abuse, and our allies. I affectionately call us The Mad Movement. It seems that almost every speaker against global warming ends their message the same way, that we can stop this catastrophe if society has the “will.” I believe that participants in The Mad Movement have an important insight into real sickness in society. As a psychiatric survivor, I have seen too much labeling of creative maladjustment as ill. We need to shake off our world’s complacency and numbness, also known as “normality.”

The beginning of 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of a little-known campaign by the well-respected environmental group 350.org that asks the approximately 7,000 local chambers of commerce in the USA to oppose the way the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, based in Washington, D.C., blocks national progress in the fight to stop global warming. 350 says that, “The Chamber has long opposed environmental standards, but on climate change, they’ve gone pretty near berserk” (www.chamber.350.org).

350’s main request of local chambers seems pretty modest — to simply issue a statement saying that the US Chamber “doesn’t speak for us” in its denial of human-caused climate change. Unfortunately, despite five years of effort by activists, only 56 local chambers have distanced themselves from the U.S. Chamber about global warming. That is less than one percent! I have helped organize many actions over the past five years to ask our local Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce to say anything about climate change, but regrettably we have been met by a wall of silence.

We have tried everything from writing letters to the editor, personally corresponding with board members, performing public street theater, and protesting inside the chamber office itself. And still, no substantial moves have been made. The Eugene Area Chamber’s board members relentlessly refuse to speak up for values that they profess to have.

I am extremely concerned about the disaster of climate change because I think of it as a one-two punch. The first punch is highly predictable and linear. Almost all scientists agree on this “unequivocal” punch. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spotlights the certainty of human-caused global warming hazards, such as sea-level rise. I am more interested in the second, surprise punch of runaway climate change, which is non-linear.

There has been a quiet revolution throughout the sciences that I like to call “the butterfly effect.” Others call this field the science of emergence, chaos, dynamic systems, or complexity. In short, when complex systems like Earth’s environment are disrupted, chaotic results can occur. Global warming may trigger amplifying, abrupt feedback effects, such as methane release as a result of warming permafrost. A little global warming may lead to an irreversible avalanche of extreme global warming. I call the worst case scenario of climate change “Normalgeddon.”

Right now, the Eugene chapter of 350.org is focusing on valuable state-wide campaigns such as blocking oil pipelines, divesting the University of Oregon Foundation from companies that profit from fossil fuels, and carbon-restrictive legislation. These campaigns are necessary, and we should rally for more support for these local efforts. We should also still support 350.org’s national campaign to get local chambers to speak out against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce president has always been responsive and civil to me personally, but he has also refused to speak out against the U.S. Chamber. He claims that the Eugene chamber is entirely independent. In a way, the Eugene community should see the Eugene Area Chamber’s refusal to speak up as a gift, because the climate crisis is no longer a faceless entity — it is embodied by our local chamber’s refusal to demand real change. Our chamber is also an actual place to peacefully protest. The chamber’s office is downtown at the corner of 14th and Willamette.

The planet’s issues are the people’s issues. Those of us who are the most marginalized and disenfranchised by existing inequality are the most vulnerable to impacts of the changing climate. All organizations fighting for people must fight for the planet, and vice versa. As a mental health and disability rights activist, connecting the issues of mental health and climate change are particularly important to me, but this work can and must be done in all realms. Please take up the leadership to nonviolently urge that the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, and its leaders, speak up about the U.S. Chamber and climate crisis.

After my wonderful wife Debra and I came home from last year’s climate march here in Eugene in solidarity with a huge New York City march, we turned to each other realizing that we had the exact same take-away message: Hope means acting from your own highest principles, without necessarily knowing what the outcome will be. I hope that the Eugene community and the board members of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce will think this through, and act on their own highest principles. After all, real mental well-being requires that we work now with a sense of urgency, unity, purpose and hope. Not only do we need a climate miracle, we need to construct our own miracle in our minds and in our communities.

 

———-

 

For more information see the David W. Oaks blog at www.normalgeddon.com.

 

 

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David Oaks is Hiring Home-Care Workers – Help Wanted Info!

 You will find the Top Ten Reasons for you to Join Team Oaks as a Home Care Worker or member of the Community, plus a downloadable flyer: http://www.davidwoaks.com/category/help-wanted

Below is lots more info about this job.  You may now apply directly to me by simply emailing me about your interest: davidwoaks@gmail.com   In fact I may help you start a whole career as a home-care worker with or without a provider number!  It is easier than ever to apply for these positions!

Home-Care Workers:  Permanent and Fill-In Positions

Work with long-time activist David Oaks.

DavidWOaksPhotoI am looking to hire more home-care workers. I have worked in disability rights, especially mental health, my whole life. In December 2012 I broke my neck. I am in a power-chair with paralyzed legs and partly disabled arms. This disability impacts my voice and has even fused my spine. Except for those pesky things I’m doing all right!

At this time, my team is full but we often have a need for substitute fill-ins because of vacation, illness, etc. Subbing is a good way to join our team.

My main interest now for my activism is the climate crisis. You may find out more information about me at my blog: http://www.davidwoaks.com/  You may also Google my full name David W Oaks. I am now 58 and I’m very grateful for a wonderful team of people who help me and my wife Debra at home here in the Churchill neighborhood of Eugene.

To apply for this Help Wanted: If you are interested in the below positions please reply by email first. Email me with a brief explanation of your interest to davidwoaks@gmail.com

For more info before you apply:

As a Client-Employed Provider (CEP) you will be paid through the Oregon Department of Human Services program. To read more about CEP and the local agency that administers CEP, click here.

You will need a State Care Provider Number to apply for these positions. If you have a number, please give it to me. If you do not have a number, tell me and I can help you get this Provider Number. It is easier than ever to get your Provider Number, which may open a whole new career for you helping people! Currently, the only way to get a Provider Number, is to interview with a disabled person who is an employer in this program and get approved by this disabled employer. S&DS does the free orientation and background check, and this may take you a few weeks to go through this process. You may read about Home Care Workers  here: http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/spwpd/pages/ltc/inhome.aspx

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Some Mental Health Justice Resources Related to Unitarian Universalism

Below please find a few links for people who are active with Unitarian Universalist churches and the topic of mental health justice.

Please note this list is not officially connected to any church. However, I am a UU member who has worked for 40 years on mental health activism. 

These resources are an ongoing project, so check back later and there may some changes.

uu-mental-health-justice-graphicFacebook group on the topic of UU Mental Health Justice:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/uumentalhealthjustice/

One of the main pioneers to work on mental health issues is the UU minister Rev. Barbara Meyers. You can find information about her and her many projects here:

http://www.mpuuc.org/mentalhealth/mentalintro.html

One of the main UU ministers to embrace the mental health justice movement is Rev. Phil Schulman. You can find him on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/RebShaman?fref=ts

One of his projects is Advocates for Humanity, which you can find on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/AdvocatesForHumanity

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Update: My Open Letter to Linda Vigen Phillips, Author of the New Young Adult Novel “Crazy”

Update: The author has replied, and you can read this November 14, 2014 update at the bottom of this,

Here in Eugene, Oregon, I heard a radio interview with the author of a young adult novel called “Crazy,” and I hoped that the author would challenge some mental health oppression during her book tour here in Oregon. After all, her semi-autobiographical fiction novel is about growing up in Klamath Falls, Oregon with a mom who has severe mental and emotional problems. Unfortunately, the radio interview seemed to turn into a promotion of the conventional mental health system.

Below is my open public letter to this author to ask that she questions the mental health industry more in her book tour:

Cover of the book "Crazy"

The Young Adult Novel “Crazy” is by author Linda Vigen Phillips.

Dear Linda Vigen Phillips,

At first, when I heard the interview with you on my local radio station KLCC-FM today, I was enthused about the possibilities for your book tour. I had high expectations that you can challenge mental health oppression.

For the past 40 years I have been working to change the mental health system as a person who survived abuse by the psychiatric system as a teenager. So I’m optimistic that your book tour could give many teens struggling with these issues a great amount of hope.

However, during your interview, I felt very disheartened because the message seemed to support the current mental health industry, which I feel needs to be overthrown completely. You seem to be such a caring and smart author with the intent of supporting psychiatric survivors and our families. So below I ask some questions that I would love to hear a reply to, and most importantly, I urge you to open dialogue with your audiences about these issues throughout your book tour.

I have not yet read your young adult novel, “Crazy,” but I know you are reaching many of us who have psychiatric diagnoses and family members, such as during your book tour visit to one of my favorite bookstores, Tsunami Books. Several times over the past few years, Tsunami Books has hosted some great psychiatric survivor authors, poets, musicians and other creative folks. So please take my questions in the friendly manner they are offered to you:

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Robin Williams or Patch Adams? Watch Brief Message from David Oaks to Mad In America International Event

Update: We have the winners of this film festival! For more info, click here.

 

You may watch a little eight-minute video message, below, I sent this past Sunday, October 12, 2014, especially created to be shown during the gala dinner for the Mad In America International Film Festival, which brought together many movies that challenge the mental health industry. I wish I could have been there physically because this certainly was one of the main Mad Culture events of the season and many activists, film makers, and other creative folks were in attendance.

My amazing wife Debra repeated my sentences so that everyone could hear my disabled voice and not miss a precious word. My good friend David Zupan, who is making a documentary about me, videoed us on our backyard deck. In the background, you may see our guest cottage, which used to be my writing studio. This is where I fell from a ladder while reaching up in our loft for our cat, Bongo, and broke my neck back in December 2012.

In the video, I mention that many of us love Robin Williams, but I choose to follow the path of joy, life, and love created by Patch Adams, who Robin portrayed in the movie by that name. My friend Patch is a psychiatric survivor who, as a young person, was suicidal and decided to make a life change to embrace the world, flawed as it may be.

Here is the video message, followed by some links to info that I mention:

My blog about global warming and mental health: http://www.davidwoaks.com/eugene-area-chamber-global-warming

My blog where I, PsychoQuad, go to the movies, written because of the film festival: http://www.davidwoaks.com/psychoquad-movies

You can read about the Mad In America International Film Festival and the many great movies: http://madinamericainternationalfilmfestival.com/

Some other videos by David Zupan, including the building of Debra’s dream, an accessible path for me to our back garden: http://vimeo.com/user1758711/videos

By the way, Patch proudly does not get on the Internet (his employees do though). The great news is that Patch responds to every written message that he gets by old-fashion postal mail. You may just get a postcard back, but this pretty famous celebrity personally answers every letter. Thank him for being honorary chair for International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment! If that concept, first announced by Martin Luther King, is new to you just google it. Anyway, write to Patch here:

Patch Adams MD & Gesundheit Institute
P.O. Box 307
Urbana, IL 61803 USA

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