National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

torch.bmp (19926 bytes)

ANNOUNCING NARPA'S 20th ANNUAL RIGHTS CONFERENCE

Celebrating the Life and Passion of Rae Unzicker:
Fighting for Rights, Choice, and Social Justice for All People

November 1-4, 2001

Thursday evening (7 PM) through Sunday noon (Registration on Thursday is from 4 until 7 PM, and the keynote and welcome reception and keynote presentation begins at 7 PM.)

Link to at-a-glance schedule of workshops and keynote presentations

Link to full descriptions of all workshops and keynote presentations

Link to brief biographies of presenters

Holiday Inn Select, Niagara Falls, NY


In keeping with this year’s international theme, our opening night speaker will be Eric Rosenthal, Director of Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI). Working closely with c/s/x groups and individuals in Kosovo and other Eastern European countries, Eric will offer insights drawn from his experiences. MDRI’s work in exposing abuses of mental patients in Mexico was extensively covered by the New York Times. MDRI will bring twelve activists from Kosovo, mental health service users (European term for consumers/ survivors/ ex-patinets) to do a workshop. Invited to participate in this workshop are representatives from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Consumer/survivor rights issues have too long been absent from the radar screen of international "watchdog" groups. We expect that this will be the beginning of needed collaboration and mutual support. Our other European keynote speaker on international rights issues is Gabor Gombos, President of the European Network of Mental Health Users and ex-Users. Gabor, who lives in Budapest Hungary, was honored by being featured in Kerry Kennedy Cuomo’s recent book, Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing the World.


The legal track for NARPA conferences are not just for lawyers. Participation in the workshops enable attendees to equip themselves with necessary information for implementing advocacy strategies upon returning home. Presenters include Susan Stefan, J.D., Steven Schwartz, J.D., Bob Fleischner, J.D., of the Center for Public Representation. Susan Stefan, formerly professor of law at the University of Miami and author of Unequal Rights: Discrimination Against People with Mental Disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act, helped to plan the legal workshop track with Tom Behrendt of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project. Susan will present her very annual update analyzing key legal developments that impact the rights of people regarded as having mental disabilities. We are applying for Continuing Legal Education accreditation (the 1998 NARPA conference in Albany, NY, was approved for CLE credit). Among the outstanding workshop presenters are Michael Allen, J.D., and Ira Burnim, J.D., of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; Susan Aranoff, J.D., of Connecticut Legal Rights Project; Professor Bill Brooks of the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center at Touro College; Bruce Berry and Susan White of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission; David Popiel, J.D., of the Community Health Law Project NJ; Emmett Dwyer, J.D., Advocacy Unlimited, formerly with Prisoners' Legal Services of New York, Connecticut Legal Rights Project, and Legal Assistance to Prisoners; Dennis Feld, J.D., Kim Darrow, J.D., and Aileen McNamara, J.D., of Mental Hygiene Legal Services; Beth Danon, J.D., of Vermont Protection and Advocacy; Ellen Lawson, J.D., and Karen Welch, J.D., of Neighborhood Legal Services; Kathy Kosnoff, J.D., of the Minnesota Disability Law Center; Peter Stastny, M.D., of the NY Office of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine .


NARPA recognizes the importance of connecting with and learning from other social change movements. We are particularly fortunate this year to have Vanessa Jackson as a keynote speaker. Vanessa’s work is anchored in her education in the civil rights and feminist movements and distilled through her experiences as a social worker and psychiatric survivor. She will also be presenting a workshop which explores the challenges and opportunities in social change movements.

Lisa F. Daniels and Katherine Hodges in a keynote address will provide insight from the perspective of young people. Overly zealous violence prevention programs in our schools and the unprecedented medicating of youth puts them at risk for forced treatment and institutionalization. Attendees will see the importance of attracting and cultivating leadership among youth. Their creativity, energy, enthusiasm and activism for social justice will inspire and help us rededicate ourselves to do the needed work in our home communities.

Affirming our connection to other social justice movements, professional folk singers and songwriters, Anne Feeney and Chris Chandler, will give a workshop describing nuts and bolts organizing strategies drawn from their work as labor activists. Jacki McKinney and Celia Brown, leaders of the National People of Color Consumer/Survivor Network will conduct a workshop addressing discrimination issues for African-American consumer/survivors and strategies for overcoming barriers and becoming empowered through activism.


As always, NARPA has assembled a superb array of presenters who will share work drawn from their life experiences as psychiatric survivors, advocates, and creative thinkers who are able to resist a dominant ideology that they know does not benefit the people it purports to help.

In addition to the above legal track workshops, other confirmed workshop presenters include Dan Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.; Laura Prescott; Laura Ziegler; Judi Chamberlin; Larry Plumlee, M.D.; Bill Stewart; Loren Mosher M.D.; David Oaks; Laurie Ahern; George Ebert; Cheryl Stevens M.D.; Margo McMahon; Phil Schulman;  Darby Penney, M.L.S.; Peter Stastny, M.D.; Jacki McKinney; Celia Brown; Harvey Rosenthal; Celine Cyr, Ken Barney, M.D.; Bruce Berry; Susan White; Oryx Cohen; Ron Bassman, Ph.D.; Nancy Brown; Kathie Zatkin, J.D., M.S.W.; Vanessa Jackson M.S.W.; Sue Jarboe; Shery Mead, M.S.W.; Lorae Boisvert; Xenia Williams; Steve Periard; Terry Strecker; Sonja Kjaer; and Jack Guastaferro.


Because this year’s conference is taking place in Niagara Falls at the Canadian Border, we hope to see our friends from Canada participating as presenters and attendees. When our conference ends at Sunday noon on November 4, some of us will be traveling to Montreal to attend and collaborate with A.G.I.D.D.-S.M.Q at their conference: The North-American Symposium on Empowerment: Madly Empowered From Darkness to Light». The AGIDD conference in Montreal begins in the evening on November 4. Here is part of AGIDD’s mission statement from their brochure; ". . . mission is to fight for recognition and the rights of people experiencing or who have experienced mental health problems; the rights of all citizens, meaning the rights based on the principles of social justice, freedom and equality." For information about AGIDD-SMQ’s conference in Montreal: Phone 514/523-3443, Web site www.cam.org/~agidd

This will be a special conference -- one marked by the great loss of Rae Unzicker. We will come together to celebrate her work and honor the passage of a warrior and hero of our civil rights movement. Rae will always be an inspiration in our own battles for social justice.

Please register early and reserve your room at the hotel as soon as you know that you will be coming to the NARPA conference. Knowing how many people to expect is extremely helpful in our planning.


NARPA -- Anne Krauss, Administrator / Conference Coordinator
P.O. Box 1712
Port Washington, NY  11050


Schedule at-a-glance of workshops & presentations - with hyperlinks

Detailed course description of all workshops & plenary presentations

Link to brief biographies of presenters

NARPA Home