Reflections on my thirty-four years as a Black man with mental illness

By Kelvin Easiley, Jr

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This is the time when a laser focus is trained on the various complexities people of color encounter while facing mental health stigma and a shoddy healthcare system.The same healthcare system many people of color approach with grave skepticism.

There are many people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or both but are high-functioning individuals. These folks get dressed, go to work, attend social gatherings and have mental health concerns that are untreated, undiagnosed, and unaddressed. In some cases the pressure of keeping up a veneer of wellness eventually drives these high-functioning people to seek care.Others fall into a cycle of being asymptomatic, which means that an individual is  “presenting no symptoms of disease (depending on the absence of triggers and stressors), to experiencing a deluge of symptoms that run the gamut of mental health disorders.

I turn thirty-four in a few days. I am excited about it.

I realized this morning how hard I fight for my fucking life. I am a Black man with schizoaffective disorder. Nine years have passed since my twenty-fifth birthday and I’m still alive. I don’t take this lightly, because growing up, it was common knowledge that many young Black men did not make it to their twenty-fifth birthday.

I woke this morning unable to get out of bed. Thus, I couldn’t make it to work on time, again. I had to alert my supervisor to my belated arrival. It wasn’t the usual, “not feeling like going to work today, so I’m staying in bed”, it was “my medication has me so drowsy, that the six hours of sleep I got last night hasn’t sufficed to have had the half life of the side effects wear off.” kind of staying in bed.  

Prison hands bars via Flickr

Cook County judges forced to set affordable bonds for non-dangerous defendants

One of the reasons that the United States has such a disproportionately high prison population is that a lot of people just can’t afford to avoid jail once they are accused of a crime.

Although it’s law in most states that judges should set bond that defendants can actually afford, this isn’t often the case. Cook County is now one of a handful that are working to reconcile this glaring flaw in the criminal justice system. 

R. Kelly denies accusations of leading a “cult”

R. Kelly is in the news again amid accusations that he’s the leader of a “cult” of young women he’s manipulated into living in his home and cutting ties with their families. Parents of some of the women and former associates of Kelly’s were the main sources for an article published by Buzzfeed on Monday that broke the story.

Now, after the world’s had an entire day to dive back into his long history of being an “accused” sexual predator (emphais on “accused” since he continues to pay settlements and evade charges for these accusations), the R&B singer has spoken out and says he’s considering taking legal action against his accusers, according to Variety.

We are in a queer media movement, but is increased visibility the answer to violence?

By George Johnson

This June marked the 17th celebration of “Pride Month,” a designation declared by Bill Clinton to recognize and observe the heritage and culture of LGBTQ people. As LGBTQ rights continue to be attacked politically, growth in pop culture and media is simultaneously surging in areas of journalism, television, Broadway, and the big screen, creating new narratives and shifting the conversation from a hetero focused lens to one more inclusive of what life actually looks like.

However, these two opposing trends lead one to question whether increased visibility and representation is only doing the beneficial work we presume it to be doing in the fight for LGBTQ existence.

Parents accuse R. Kelly of holding daughter and other women in abusive cult

R. Kelly has been accused of hosting an abusive cult where he manipulates young women into living on his property and only eating, bathing, leaving and having sex with him on his orders. Buzzfeed made the shocking revelations on Monday morning when it published a thorough report entitled “Inside the Pied Piper of R&B’s ‘Cult’.” 

Teenager plays iconic ‘F–k tha Police’ song during funeral for murdered NYPD officer

Thousands of police officers had gathered for the funeral of Officer Miosotis Familia in New York when they heard a song they surely all know too well. A teenager in an apartment a few floors above took the opportunity to blast the N.W.A. classic “F–k tha Police” on repeat in an act of protest against the department.