Sunday, July 5, 2009

You're reading

Rogi Riverstone Sun, Jul 5, 2009 at 2:48 PM
To: Shela Silverman
I didn't ask for the computer for my personal use. I was using my printer for the LC until it broke! I can't afford to repair or replace it.

OUr LC has a computer. The office it was in was closed; the computer was sent for repairs, etc. NOBODY in Ft. S. has the administrator's password, so we can't download anything! Bullsht! I can't even put on it; it has no microsoft office software on it; nobody paid for that. It's a friggin mess. I can't read attachments people send. I don't think I can even read PDFs on it; I don't remember, but I don't think it has Adobe.

I've just emailed our LC yesterday, asking where the computer is and when and where it will be set up. I also said we'll need a scanner, copy machine, office supplies and fax. Lisa, our admin, has access to those at the county annex building, but WE are not allowed to use them, as they're actually county property!

We BOUGHT a printer for that computer; nobody knows where it is now and doesn't seem to care enough to look for it.

It's going to be a big challenge, getting the paper pushers to hook our computer to the internet. They always make excuses; nobody wants to pay for the DSL. There WAS internet, where it was. That was the mental health office. It's been closed because, I've heard, of insurance costs. They're calling it a "wellness center" now for people who drive in and do health checks, like the mamogram wagon that came through here recently. I don't understand; the clinic just got a big grant. It was reported in the CLOVIS newspaper, but not here.

I'm trying to get Paul, that guy you met, online with an email address, since he wants peer specialist training, etc.

The county extension office is where our LC admiin. person works. She says the county won't allow her to print, fax, etc. for us, except standard stuff like meeting minutes, agendas, budget reports. It's been a big hassle, getting any office work done here. Lisa only works part time for us; she has a full time job with the county 4h program.

That's why I had to apply for the MHA scholarship by using the Chamber of Commerce fax machine. That's why I WAS using the De Baca County News paper office, until that redneck screamed and cursed at me for no reason, except that he doesn't understand plain English and accused me of something off-the-wall that had nothing to do with me.

There's a dozen computers, sitting in a room, not hooked up anymore, that were supposed to be for people in Housing Authority to use. NOBODY will take responsibility for getting people in the town access to them. Frank Chevalier (consumer in Clovis) helped set them UP!

The library is a nightmare; we're certainly not welcome there!

I didn't know you wanted a formal meeting with other consumers, because you didn't say that. I told people you were coming and asked if they'd like to meet you. One was Kathy, another was Clora. I'd forgotten about Paul, but we ran into him, so that's cool. I thought I'd take you on a tour and introduce you to everybody, but you didn't want to do that. Plus, you had that crisis call; you couldn't anticipate that. They knew you were coming, we just didn't know what time, etc. Things are real casual here; if you want to talk to somebody and you're driving in town, give em a call or just drop by. They'll tell you if they're busy.

I didn't have much information about why you were coming. I was going to show you possible sites for a drop in center, show you the clinic (where we may be able to get space?), introduce you to Clora and Kathy and maybe Lorie, if she's ever home. I wanted to show you other places in town that are SUPPOSED to have public resources to which we have no access: the rural public transportation van and the computers were 2 of them. They're here; we just CAN'T USE THEM!!!

I had misunderstood you in DC. I thought you worked for an agency that would train me and begin employing me (and pay for my internet, 1/10th of my mothly income) so I could travel to other towns in the county, as well as organizing in Ft. S, as well as doing advocacy and helping people access resources and services we need, individually and collectively. Yeso, House, Melrose and Taiban -- and some others I can't remember -- as well as the people living at Lake Sumner are all De Baca County residents & need our help, too.

I'm still not seeing how, when and where we'll be trained. I don't know how many days it is, I don't know if I'll need to pack meals. if it's in a row, how I'll pay for housing and gas money to and from what city, etc. That info isn't available on any websites I've seen. Frank has a job with the county, doing maintanance and gardening. I'm hoping training won't conflict with his work commitments, and that we can carpool, and that his vehicle's in better shape than mine.

I also had no way of knowing that you only speak with consumers. I understand it, I just didn't know it. Several people who work with consumers said they'd like to meet you, incl. the police chief. Our police chief is us consumers' first line of defense against the bosses of this town. He's the most respectful, accepting member of the community here who has power and authority. He could be a real bastard and we're really lucky. If someone's acting out, he'll arrest them, but only if he absolutely has to. He'd rather resolve things peacefully, by diplomacy. The sherrif's a pig.

I've been involving people for a year now, since my first LC meeting. I've had no training and no support from anybody with access to training. I'm new in town, but I'm interfacing as often as possible with consumers in the county. Mostly, I've been listening between LC meetings to what people's issues REALLY are, and reporting them back to the LC, where they won't speak, of course. Because of that, our LC has made transportation and behavioral health civilian first responders their top, two priorities for the year.

You may be disappointed, but I think the shift from apathy, suspicion and passivity to planning, speaking out and peer support has been phenomenal over the past year. I'm not being egotistical here, but I have facilitated, encouraged and nurtured that.

You can get 200 consumers to a meeting in Las Vegas, but you have a state hospital and a population of 14,500. That's a bit over 1% of your general population.

We manage between 12 and 20 consumers to a meeting in Fort Sumner, but we have a population of 1,200 and only a family clinic. That's a little over 1% of our general population. The nearest hospital is over 100 miles away. So's the nearest community college, and ENMU is farther away even than that.

There's no such thing as civil or human rights in Fort Sumner, nobody to call for justice or fairness -- for ANYBODY who isn't a descendent of the founding terrorists -- or their friends. Most of the consumers that live here only do because they're too poor and too beaten down to escape. They can't leave; they've got no place to go. I'm trapped here, too. But, if it wasn't for the consumers, I'd have left by now. Don't know how and don't know where, but I wouldn't be here, for sure. I've been harassed, threatened, insulted, verbally abuse and ASSAULTED by these sons and daughters of the founding families of this death camp for Native people!

Considering our LC chair can't chair a meeting to save his life and has lost total interest in the LC now that his rehab project has grant money, since the primary organizer for our LC is actually Jesse Chavez, since the most active family member in our LC is a shrill, judgmental, abusive, in-denial CONSUMER with a big chip on her shoulder and a gun, since, until I showed up, no consumer with any sense would say a WORD during the meetings I'd say we're doing pretty well, actually.

YOU know what you mean, but I do not. I need clear and concise information.

In DC, you'd said you could help me with American Airlines, but you didn't reply to the email I sent about it.

This LC has made it TORTURE for me to participate in training, conferences, correspondence, reimbursement etc., etc. I almost quit last winter, when I rationed my food to 1 meal a day, because the LC dragged its feet and wouldn't get me $ for a damn rental car to attend a conference in Albq, where I could shop! I didn't know 'til the day before the conference whether I could get there! I got the funding approval letter the LAST day of the conference! Frank Chevalier put the rental car on HIS PERSONAL credit card, and I paid him back out of my reimbursement, which I got two weeks after the conference!! They'd known I was going for months!

It's bad enough the decendents of the founding terrorists treat me like dog poop on their shoes. This LC doesn't even have my back!

I'm one, little human being, with little formal education, in pain and living with emphysema, a brain injury and PTSD, with rotting teeth and a bad memory. I have nobody here who loves me. If I died today, nobody'd discover the body for weeks. I live on less than $800 a month and my rent is $300. I smell raw sewage under this trailer, but my landlord has disappeared and I can't do anything about it except stop using the toilet where it smells and use the one at the other end of the house.

I spent all winter without a vehicle except my electric bicycle, unable to shop at the only grocery for fifty miles. The house had no heat.

My "friends" from Albuquerque have all abandoned me, because I'm "too much trouble."

I'm stranded here, alone, sick and poor. I'm doing everything I know how to make the best of it and to improve MY quality of life by working to improve EVERYBODY's quality of life.

Last week, I had to white knuckle it through another acute bout of suicidal depression, all alone up here.

Jsus! What more can I do besides what I am doing: networking, studying, discussing, researching, emailing, telephoning long distance at MY EXPENSE, driving that decrepit truck that NEEDS repairs I can't afford to Albuquerque twice in one month with gas I can't afford, to be treated like scum by affluent conference organizers who wouldn't know "mental" health if it bit them in the ass.

On top of all that, I'm trying to produce radio! I don't even have a decent space for a recording studio! Trucks rumble down the highway outside this tin box with no foundation. The transcontinental railroad passes all day and night. I have styrofoam I found in the trash and a piece of dirty "egg crate" foam that blew down the road one day, to pretend I can "sound proof" my bedroom closet well enough to record narrations and scripts! The nearest radio station is over a hundred miles from here, and THEIR equipment sucks: it hums!

But I'm going to apply for grants from the Carter foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities -- AND the Paul Robeson Foundation -- to produce a documentary on Mad Pride!

I can barely CHEW my teeth are so bad. I sound like sht on a microphone.

So, if you're disappointed, I'm sorry. I don't have a cape; I'm not a super hero.

I'm just a survivor, doing anything I can to help myself, while my mother's voice whispers, "you're no damn good; you're not worth the lead to shoot you; I wish you'd never been born; you'll never amount to anythng" and I struggle not to swallow a gun.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

You're reading

KUNM-FM Mail Rogi Riverstone

De Baca Co. consumers' needs
1 message
Rogi Riverstone Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 12:53 PM


As I'm not sure which addresses are whose, would you mind sending the following message to LC 10 participants in De Baca County, either by email or USPS, as necessary? It is particularly important that consumers receive it. Thanks!


Last week, I had a meeting with two consumers from Las Vegas, NM. Here's a website about them:

We discussed the feasibility of a behavioral health drop in center for Fort Sumner. We agreed that the Village is not yet ready for such a center -- although it needs one very badly.

The primary reason for this is that De Baca County consumers are not yet organized enough, although we certainly can be, with some commitment, time and patience. The by product of this is that there is still too much ignorance and stigmatisation of behavioral health issues here to expect much community support right now. Also, we don't yet have the person power to provide needed services that could be supplied by such a center. And we don't have enough familiarity and experience with each other to know whose talents and skills can do what.

We discussed a remedy to this: begin organizing behavioral health consumers as soon as possible, so we can begin educating ourselves and our fellow citizens on behavioral health issues, resources, needs and problem solving in the county.

As a result, I've met with three consumers this week. We all have energy for organizing and had very productive preliminary discussions. We have agreed we need the following from De Baca County LC 10 core to begin.

First, consumers need to meet on our own. We need to discuss our needs and concerns amongst ourselves, with our own agenda. We feel more comfortable talking with each other without the presence of providers and family members. It's not that we don't respect them or want to work with them in the broader BHPC LC 10. We need an atmosphere in which our agenda is of primary concern. We need not to have to worry about how someone else might interpret what we say, therefore remaining silent. We need meetings that focus primarily on us, not what the state, providers, family members or anybody else finds important. We need to decide what we think is important. After all, "behavioral heath" is about us.

Historically, consumers have often had to acquiesce to the agendas of providers and family members. In the most extreme cases, we have needed their approval for our very survival. We have learned not to speak up for ourselves, lest we -- especially unintentionally -- alienate, offend or anger providers and family members who might either withdraw support or punish us if they feel threatened by our assertions of independent thought or accidentally suspect our motives.

We need to speak freely among ourselves. We already do this , between meetings. We feel a sense of frustration that the focus of many meetings is not on our concerns and implementation of solutions to our problems.

This is particularly true in a small village, where we are so vulnerable to the whims and agendas of a very small group of "authorities" who can exert power over us. If we alienate one source of support, there aren't many or, often, any other alternatives to which we can turn in the Village.

We propose that these be the meetings at which consumers are paid stipends. This would provide incentive to new people who attend and defray their costs and inconvenience.

There is precedence for this. The Las Vegas, NM consumers meet independently of their collaborative, and send several consumer representatives to their LC. These representatives are scheduled as a regular agenda item in the monthly meetings. They bring their needs, concerns and proposed solutions before the larger body. And they report back to the consumer meeting what occurs in the collaborative meeting. That way, every consumer doesn't have to sit through agenda items in which they may not choose -- or be able -- to participate; they know they'll have a place, time and opportunity in which they can focus on their concerns primarily. We could also arrange these meetings in venues that are accessible and comfortable for us and, as necessary, accomodate people whose participation might be limited to telephone or internet access because they won't be attending in person.

Second, I am applying for training as a Peer Specialist. Another person is interested in applying, too. The two other people with whom I spoke this week are not interested in committing to training, for very good reasons. But they support us in being trained. One is a life-long resident of the village who is far more appropriate to discuss such intimate and intimidating issues as behavioral health, one-on-one, with village residents than I. I have skills in public presentations, but would probably be seen as an outsider in personal conversations. We have agreed that I can teach what I've learned from my training to others such as this person, so people more suited to these conversations have the skills they want in order to be supportive.

Lastly, we need the BHPC LC10 computer online and ready for use. Some of us have no computers. We need to receive and send applications, correspondence, email, faxes, letters, scanned documents and attachments into and out of the Village. The public library is extremely problematic; several of us have not been treated well there. And the BHPC LC 10 computer was purchased exactly for this reason. Some of us don't want passers by in a public place to see what websites we're researching; we need quiet, privacy and minimal distraction and interruptions. This needs to happen immediately.

We'll want to access the computer sometimes for meetings, too, so we can show each other online resources.

Since the mental health clinic closed and the computer has been serviced, we have no idea where it is now or how to access it. We also need that printer nobody can find, or a replacement. I may know of one we can get for the cost of shipping it here. We'll need a scanner, access to a fax machine, postage and printing. We'll need access to office supplies for mailings, fliers, etc.

We have a good base of experienced consumers who have attended LC 10 meetings for awhile now. We know what the LC 10 is and how it operates. We are ready to begin proactive recruitment, organizing, problem solving, networking, resource accessing and, sooner than later, funding for our projects.

Jesse Chavez might be able to assist us in a good portion of initiating the consumer meetings, or can direct LC 10 to the tools we'll need to actualize this. He can contact Las Vegas' LC for details on consumer meetings. The website I've cited provides contact information.

We consumers are willing and able now to roll up our sleeves and get to work, initiating projects for our needs. Let's get started.
Rogi Riverstone