In early May, MindFreedom’s board member Al Galves, Phd and director David Oaks are flying into Minneapolis/St. Paul to attend peaceful protests, strategy sessions and rallies to support Ray Sandford.
by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom
Ray calls the MindFreedom office about every day or so. He’s always focused, polite, often cheerful. He doesn’t stay on the phone too long. He checks in, exchanges news. Clearly he is distressed and traumatized by the ongoing forced electroshock he is receiving. He knows his memory and cognitive abilities have been harmed. Especially directly after the shock he is sometimes disoriented.
When I ask Ray what is needed he usually lands on one thing: Peaceful protest.
Ray would like people to be on the streets to stop this forced electroshock, and that makes sense.
Well, after a long winter in Minnesota, it looks like this Spring we will be able to help Ray’s request come true.
Several of us are flying in to support Ray. Looks like the main dates will be Friday, 1 May; Saturday, 2 May; and Sunday, 3 May.
If you cannot get to Minnesota, please protest from wherever you are by speaking out, writing a letter to the editor, doing a call in, and bringing it up in conversations.
Ray is at the confluence of many rivers:
- “maintenance” use of that procedure
- The fight about forced treatment
- The need to use alternatives
- Involuntary outpatient care, where our homes are made into institutions
- Misuse of guardianships that ignore the clear, reasonable wishes of the clients
- Huge church-sponsored agencies that have no supervision by those churches
- Taxpayer-funded abuse, by a mental health system that claims it lacks money
When we fought forced electroshock of Paul Henry Thomas in New York State’s Pilgrim Psychiatric Hospital, in a way it was easier. Paul was locked up. When the publicity became too great, they simply stopped shocking Ray, and he was still supposedly “safe,” and locked up. Tough attorneys fought on behalf of Ray. Ultimately, Ray could be discharged.
In the case of Paul Henry Thomas, we have not yet met an attorney with the “fire in the belly” to take this on and support Ray. And because he’s an outpatient, he can’t be “discharged,” he’s already home. Help would require innovation, like peer support, but his captors are preventing peer support from even visiting him!
That’s why this campaign, which we must do, is in a way a call to thousands upon thousands of us uniting, together, and speaking out, as never before, taking action. And as Ray has asked, doing nonviolent protests, including out on the sidewalks and streets all over.