Action Counters Indifference and Neglect
Techia Harrison said it best, “No human in this world should die like that”. She was talking about the horrific death of a woman, captured on video. Untold numbers around the world viewed the film. It shows the woman waiting on a bench in a hospital emergency room. For nearly 24 hours, no one checks on her. Then the woman falls facedown on the floor. Almost an hour later an employee kicks her body, looking for life. There is none. The woman was Harrison’s mother. Esmin Green died June 19, 2008. At the time, Ms. Green was involuntary committed in the King’s County Hospital.
Others say they also experienced “psychiatric atrocities”. Some have struggled in work for human rights enforcement for many years. They are activists,advocates, and people who support their work. Joined together for immediate action following Ms. Green’s death, WE THE PEOPLE was born. The first action was a vigil in Brooklyn on July 25. It was planned with sponsors from around the country.
Following that, members posted a broad, open call for unity. By early August the newly formed network took shape. Developments include the creation of a mission statement. It reads: “We resolve to work from a human rights platform to end involuntary psychiatric treatment and all other forms of abuse and torture in psychiatric systems.”
In Newsweek, The Woman Who Died in the Waiting Room, reporter Jeneen Interlandi wrote, “The sight of patients like Green, wearing a urine-stained hospital gown and lying face down on the floor, was hardly uncommon… At that moment, Green was in line with 32 other [patients] some of whom had been waiting just as long, if not longer”.
Members of WE THE PEOPLE speak of countless numbers of people who have survived psychiatric atrocities and those that have not survived. They cite numerous causes for the offenses from apathy to calculated criminal acts. For that reason, the group created a broad list of potential actions. “Activism in the areas of advocacy, legislation, networking, media, human rights, and the abolition of forced psychiatric practices will be developed through group deliberation”.
Dr. Peter Breggin, a renowned psychiatrist states in his article, Lessons from the Death of “Mental Patient” Esmin Green, “When human beings are so emotionally disturbed that they cannot take care of themselves, what do they need?” He goes on to write, “…desperately frightened, helpless human beings above all else need the caring presence of other human beings”.
No human in this world should die like that. WE THE PEOPLE is working to ensure that no one does again and that no one forgets. Their platform begins, “In remembrance of Esmin Green who was murdered-by-neglect.”