Unity for Disability Power: Envisioning Mental Health Justice

Transcript of my speech at the #ADAPTtakesCHI rally and march 4/12/17

Mahdia Lynn
Apr 13, 2017 · 2 min read

As I share this microphone today I speak alongside stories of strength, power and resilience. Stories of what we’ve accomplished, and what is yet to be done. Today, I would like us to imagine our better future together. I would like to see our movement filled with the audacity and enthusiasm of a people who know that they are right, are believe they will win. Because I believe that we will win.

This is the better future I seek:

I seek a future where we are all given equal access to healthcare — where we receive informed, competent care regardless of size, race, class, gender, or diagnosis.

I seek a future where mental illness is treated with the same urgency and compassion as a broken bone. I seek a future where mental illness is no longer treated as a crime.

Where the police are demilitarized and first responders are given training for competent and compassionate care in a mental health crisis. I believe we will win it.


I know what happens when an unchecked, militarized police force handles a mental health crisis. I have survived it. A first hand witness to its brutality, I am a survivor of abuse at the hands of people sworn to protect, who got away with it because they knew my voice wouldn’t matter. I stand in front of you a survivor of a shattered system.

Police violence and institutional abuse are too often a reality of our experience. I carry scars; I am poisoned by trauma from this broken system. I found wellness despite it. I pray for better. I still believe we will win.

I am a survivor of state violence and institutional neglect and so I envision a future where people like me may be free from it. So that what I went through will never happen again. I pray for better. I believe we will win.


I seek an end to prisons and a massive restructuring of mental health care in marginalized communities. I seek the decriminalization of mental illness, of people living with HIV+AIDS. I seek the decriminalization of addiction. I seek culturally competent mental health care in every neighborhood. I seek economic and racial justice as a first step towards healthy communities. I seek fundamental change. I seek abolition. I believe we will win.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store