Mad Pride 2006 was a great success in Toronto, Canada this year as ruth ruth from Friendly Spike Theater, an MFI Sponsor Group, gives a “live report.”

Friendly Spike Theater of Toronto, Canada is a Sponsor Group of MFI.

MAD PRIDE brings us together!

by ruth ruth – friendlyspike@globalserve.net

September 21, 2006 4:33:14 PM PDT

Congratulations and thanks to all in our community of Psychiatric Survivors and others who brought forth and presented The Mad Pride Weekend – 2006. This year’s celebration was well attended and heartily embraced by a beautiful following.

The event opened at PARC (Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre) on September 14, 2006.  Jessica, Ruth, Michelle, and other PARC folks provided a decorative and festive atmosphere for the party, -colored table clothes and flowers!.

Guest speakers, Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo noted the size and the diversity of the Psychiatric Survivor Community.   Member of Parliament Peggy Nash acknowledged the tenacious example of Psychiatric Survivors and the Mad Pride community in its struggle for equal rights.  On presenting The Friendly Spike of Activism, (an annual award to a writer who uses words to make a positive difference) to this year’s recipient, Poet and Activist  Mel Starkman, Chief Commissioner of Ontario Human Rights Commission, Barbara Hall, stressed the importance of the Psychiatric Survivor Community and its persistence in fighting against discrimination.   Upon receiving the award Mel acknowledged Psychiatric Survivors, most notably Activist Don Weitz,  for liberating him from institutionalization and providing him with a community to be part of. A delicious hot lunch was served, and PARC members Maynard, John, and others shared stories of personal triumph over adversity. A rights forum in the form of a Jeopardy Game presented by Peggy Gail Dehal Ramson and fellow PCLS ‘ers,(Parkdale Community Legal Services) followed.  The PCLS group performed with glitz and glamour to rival anything TV land could muster.  But,  better than TV land as this Jeopardy was about Human Rights!.

On September 15th ,2006 in OISE’s (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) panoramic Peace Lounge  Erick Fabris presented Community Treatment Orders: Imprisoning With Drugs in The 21st Century. Erick’s delivery of compelling research was both eloquent and down to earth. Erick defined CTO’s (Community Treatment Orders) and educated us on its wide spread use as a means of social control. The lecture was followed with a reception hosted by CAPA (Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault) who served an impressive buffet of tasty dishes.  Special thanks to organizer Shaindl, and helpers for preparing such a fortifying party for both body and mind.  Big thanks to Bonnie Burstow for arranging the venue.

Show time at The Alchemy Theatre featured The Friendly Spike Theatre Band’s new play in development The Places We Share, September 15 & 16 performances received thumbs up from a delighted community.  The play succeeded in demonstrating a diverse group’s desire to connect with, encourage and inspire each other.

A display of Art gracing the lobby of the theatre was presented by The Artists of Soundtimes

On September 16th, 2006 Bonnie Burstow presented a reading from her novel The House on Lippincott a story about the traumatic impact of  World War II’s Holocaust on an inter generational Jewish family.

Closing September 16th programming,  Now, Who’s Crazy Now, a new one woman play by Puzzle Factory founder, Elly Litvak provided a strong example of personal experience within a theatre context.

September 17th, 2006 Writer’s Stage,Hosted by Mel Starkman, featured readings by Caroline Fei-Yeng Kwok, – Free To Fly,  Loretta Clark – Three Rivers of Blood and Destiny, Jeramiah Bach and Luis Fernandes – Psychiatric Shorts,  And Neena Saloiya, Mama D. and Gian Mura.

A reception of knowledge and refreshment was provided by The Empowerment Council on September 16th, 2006.  The event organized by Lucy Costa and Carole King  introduced the work of PSAT (Psychiatric Survivor Archives-Toronto) and provided nourishment: appetizing and yummy snacks!

And finally, September 17th 2006 The attendance for the popular Patient Build Wall Tour, guided by our own historian extraordinaire Geoffrey Reaume grows with each passing year;”The purpose of this tour is to remember the contributions of the men and women who lived, worked, and died in the Toronto Insane Asylum. This is represented by the boundary walls they built which stand as enduring testament to their abilities and a monument to their endurance.  We hold up this past symbol to challenge discrimination that is experienced today by people who have a psychiatric history” , G. Reaume.   This is Mad Pride!.

We gratefully acknowledge our sponsors The Toronto Arts council’s Community Arts Program, The City of Toronto Special Events Fund,  PCLS (Parkdale Community Legal Services), PARC (Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre) CKLN FM Radio, The Friendly Spike Theatre Angels, and all the many hard working folks who contributed their time and energy to Mad Pride 2006!

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