Can you honor the legacy of activism and creative maladjustment (what some would call “lunacy”) that came before us?
What creative ways can you think of to record and recognize the struggle of movement leaders while building your own leadership where you are?
Today is a day for remembering that while there is hard work ahead, we have heroes who have done incredible work that allows us some comfort today.
Let’s remember pivotal folks in the movements that are important to us — whether that’s the civil rights movement, the Consumer/Psychiatric Survivor/Ex-patient movement in mental health, the labor movement — whatever activism has made a difference to you! We can celebrate the well-known figures, and the lesser known (but no less important!) personal heroes in our own lives. Share their names and stories.
Challenge yourself to honor the legacy and history of human rights activism, and find inspiration in the past to build your own legacy!
1. Organize a meeting of support to share names of those in the history of the movement and what we can do to carry on their work.
2. Create a unique ceremony to honor those who worked so hard toward change. It might also be unifying to organize a candlelight vigil on a bridge to symbolically recognize those who came before and those nameless who have fallen in the struggle.
3. Write blogs, letters, or articles so that these names will not be forgotten. Write to newspapers, submit pieces to magazines about heroes who have brought humanity to the Mental Health system.
Martin Luther King, Jr. on the LEGACY of human rights activism and mass movements:
“This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”
(Strength to Love; 1962)
“All history teaches us that like a turbulent ocean beating great cliffs into fragments of rock, the determined movement of peopole incessantly demanding their rights always disintegrates the old order.”
(“The Social Organization of Nonviolence;” 1959)