Friday Announcements: Imagine 2042; Ethnicity and Use of the Mental Health Act; Alston Bannerman Sabbaticals for Activists of Color

A CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (1000-2000 words due Monday, May 17, imagine2042@gmail.com)

Imagine 2042: Visions of a Racial Order Transformed

Imagine that the year is 2042 and that surely, dramatically, and transformatively, the racial landscape of the United States has changed over the course of the century. The long-forecast end of the United States as a white-majority country in that year may or may not be an important part of the story. Race still matters, but operates now much more to unify rather than divide us. Many trace the change to the Obama era that ended a quarter-century earlier – not necessarily because of any big new federal policies implemented during that president’s time in office, but also because of other social and institutional developments that took seed or began to flower then. Some social justice oldtimers recall that they wept when Obama, our first nonwhite president, first took office. They did not know that even more meaningful developments were just ahead.

We invite you to elaborate this vision.

What would a United States another giant step or two toward racial equity and justice look like? What specific and notable markers of racial change would we see, hear, and feel? If some seeds of change indeed are in place right now, in 2010, and/or just around the corner, identify one or more of them for us. What sorts of things do we need to do to get from here to there? Who must play what role in moving us along?

We encourage a range of perspectives and emphases. You may want to tackle just one aspect of the challenge – what this future looks like, what the seeds-in-place look like, how to move from here to there – or a combination.  The scope of your ideas may range from the local to the national; from matters of politics and policy to questions of spirituality and art; from pieces that emphasize the well-being of a single racial or ethnic group to those that discuss implications for us all; from attention to a single institution (say, schools, faith organizations, workplaces, or professional sports) to more encompassing perspectives. That’s up to you.

Please send your 1,000-2,000 word entry to Imagine2042@gmail.com by Monday, May 17. Include your full name and a sentence or two identifying yourself: e.g., “Andrew Grant-Thomas is Deputy Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, a national policy-oriented research institute located at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.” Articles will be posted to our well-trafficked Race-Talk forum beginning Monday, May 24. We will post as many pieces as possible. However, given our uncertainty about the volume of responses we’ll get, we reserve the right to post only selected articles. (Of course, the normal rules of respectful engagement apply.) We’ll let you know whether and when your entry will be posted.

Please feel free to forward this notice to others. All thoughtful visions are welcome.

Ethnicity and Use of the Mental Health act
24th May 2010 / London

The latest data published on use of the Mental Health Act in England for 2008 / 2009 from the Mental Health Minimum Data Set shows that the rates of detention via the Mental Health Act have increased steeply (The NHS Information Office 2009). This report shows that 31.8% of service users receiving care on inpatient units were detained under the Mental Health Act. This is a greater number than in previous years. The data also showed that 53.8% of the “Black” and “Black British” group who were inpatients, spent some time detained compulsorily in comparison to 31.8% overall. The over representation of certain Black and Minority Ethnic Groups within inpatient services is not new.

The results of the 2009 “Count Me In” Census have also just been published (Care Quality Commission 2010). The Census found that 22% of all patients were from minority ethnic groups compared to 20% for the 2005 Census, possibly reflecting the changing population of the UK. The rates of individuals subject to the Mental Health Act were higher than average for some groups namely the Black Caribbean, Black African, Other Black and White / Black Caribbean Mixed and Other White Groups. The rates of people from Other Black and Black Caribbean groups detained under Section 37/41 has remained higher than average for the last five years. The rates of admission or detention have not reduced since 2005 for Black and minority ethnic groups.

This one day event will focus on the exploration of the following questions:

• How should we interpret these findings?

• Is racism the main issue behind the fact that some BME groups are over represented in terms of admission and detention rates and also the increased use of certain diagnostic categories such as schizophrenia?

• Should we be focusing on understanding and learning why certain BME groups are not over represented?

• Have the changes to the Mental Health Act been detrimental or helpful? To whom?

• What alternatives are available and seen as useful to people from BME communities who have been, or who are currently at risk of being detained?

• Where do the solutions lie? Should we be focusing on tackling racism in society? Should we be making stronger efforts to address institutional racism within mental health services?
Who Should attend?

This conference will be relevant to anyone in the field of mental health and social care. Also, officers from local authorities and NHS trusts across the UK, mental health professionals and practitioners, including Approved Mental Health Professionals, charities, third sector, educational establishments, the legal profession, academics and policy makers. Limited free places are available to service users and carers.

For more information and registration details, click here.

Alston Bannerman Fellowship: Offering Sabbaticals for Long-Time Activists of Color

Deadline: April 13, 2010

Part of the Center for Social Inclusion, the Alston Bannerman Fellowship Program supports long-time activists of color by giving them resources to take time out for reflection and renewal. Fellows receive a $25,000 award to take sabbaticals of three months or more. To be eligible, an applicant must be a person of color, have more than ten years of community organizing experience, be committed to continuing social change work in communities of color, and live in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, or U.S. Virgin Islands. Both paid and unpaid leaders are eligible to apply. Beyond the basic eligibility criteria, the program seeks applicants whose work attacks root causes of inequity by organizing those affected to take strategic collective action, challenges the systems that perpetrate injustice and effect institutional and structural change, builds community capacity for democratic participation and develops grassroots leadership, acknowledges the cultural values of the community, creates accountable participatory structures in which community members have decision-making power, and contributes to building a movement for social change by making connections between issues, developing alliances with other constituencies, and collaborating with other organizations.

For details: http://www.alstonbannerman.org/