July 2, 2022 (Reprinted from Mad In America)
First, let’s talk about Mad Pride Month, which MindFreedom Oregon has launched. Why July? The month of July has many connections to the movement for mental health consumers/psychiatric survivors (C/S), here are a few:
- Several decades ago, some activists in New York State were looking for a day to hold an annual protest in Albany of the mental health system. At first, they were about to choose July 4, but psychiatric survivor Myra Kovary encouraged them to choose a non-US-centered date, Bastille Day, July 14, 1981. C/S movement groups still often choose events on July 14.
- When MindFreedom International looked for a week to celebrate the concept, invented by Martin Luther King, Jr., of “creative maladjustment,” they chose a week from July 7 to 14.
- By happy coincidence, the birthdate of one of the most amazing psychiatric survivor activists in history, Leonard Roy Frank, is on July 15.
- As we learned more about our history of the Mad Pride Movement, Wikipedia carried an interesting fact about one of the first known psychiatric survivor groups: “On 7 July 1845, Richard Paternoster, John Perceval and a number of others formed the Alleged Lunatics’ Friend Society.”
- And in Oregon, of course, the infamous Oregon Country Fair is always shortly after the 4th of July. MindFreedom has held events in the heart of OCF, the Community Village, for many years. Dissident physician/psychiatric survivor Patch Adams has often spoken. In the past, the late dissident psychiatrist, Carl Hammerschlag, has also joined Patch.
So, when MindFreedom Oregon, a small affiliate of MindFreedom International, discussed having a Mad Pride Month, July was the obvious choice.