People dedicated to racial justice are often so focused on strengthening our communities, we fail to remain healthy ourselves. Monica Novoa speaks with organizers who are helping the movement mind its own mental health.
Why it’s crucial for effective racial justice work. This is necessary inner work to allow us to be open to engaging people who don’t look alike, don’t think alike, don’t talk alike, haven’t lived alike. There’s so much real and perceived difference in our work, particularly just in people. Not just race and ethnic difference, but even how we think differently about the work. It’s important that we create these opportunities where people are learning how to open themselves up to receive people who they see as different. That allows us to do this work in deeper and broader ways. These tools are about helping us to see beyond what’s immediately in front of us. It’s easy to get caught up in the immediate fights we’re dealing with, but it’s also important that we step back and attempt to see where we’ll be three to five years down the line.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s that societal attitudes toward the disease dramatically shifted. Schizophrenia was no longer seen as harmless, but was instead a dangerous disease defined by rage and associated with the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. In 1968, while protest movements became more radical — particularly those in poor black neighborhoods, the field of psychiatry introduced a radically new definition of the disease. That year, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) updated its definition. “The patient’s attitude is frequently hostile and aggressive and his behavior tends to be consistent with his delusions.”