Today we’re taking part in Mad history, and celebrating the legacy of lunacy

Today is the 4th annual Vermont Mad Pride celebration, this year taking place in Brattleboro, Vermont. 

Mad Pride events started in Toronto in the early 1990’s as a protest of local community prejudices towards people with a psychiatric history living in boarding homes in the city. Since then, Mad Pride has been celebrated in communities around the world. 

Today we will be gathering in Pliny Park and marching to the Brattleboro Common, adjacent to the grounds of the Brattleboro Retreat. The Retreat is the largest psychiatric hospital in the state, where up to 119 people are held on locked inpatient units. 

Today the Retreat will stand as a stark reminder of the continued history of institutionalization and of psychiatric coercion and discrimination of Mad people everywhere. But as we gather, we will actively engage in our journey, toward Mad liberation and freedom from oppression. We are creating our legacy of lunacy. 

We have pride in ourselves, our community, pride in our experiences, and pride in our Mad lives. Today we know that what is wrong is not ourselves for experiencing madness, but what is wrong is the world that oppresses us and traumatizes us. Today we are actively taking part in a new chapter in our history as Mad people. Our rage, our pride, and our celebration of our lives is part of the history of Mad liberation. 

Shery Mead at Vermont Mad Pride 2017 with a sign “My Mind / My Choice”

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