Volunteering at CCHR

CCHR stands for Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
It’s a watchdog group founded by the Church of Scientology, and its target is psychiatry.
Link to CCHR website.

Our message comes to my town

To forward its mission of exposing psychiatric abuses, CCHR developed a video (on DVD) and an exhibit to go with it which they call “Industry of Death.” Around 2006, copies of this exhibit were made that could be loaded into trucks and taken around to various places. Each year, one such exhibit comes to Seattle, and I volunteer to help man it.

For the past three years, the “traveling exhibit” has been located in my neighborhood, called Capitol Hill. This neighborhood, as you might expect, is up on a large hill (or ridge) just east of downtown Seattle. It is a mix of urban shopping streets and apartment buildings, with neighborhoods of single-family houses, mostly to the east and north. On the northwest side of The Hill are some of the fanciest residences in Seattle.

The Hill is known for its Gay community. It is also home to many artists, designers and techies. And it houses many college students, as well as many families connected with the nearby universities.

Broadway is the first major north-south street on The Hill, closest to downtown. People come up to Broadway to shop, hang out at coffee houses, go to clubs, see art films, live, or beg for money from locals and visitors.

The exhibit is in an old brick building right next to Dick’s, the locally famous fast food chain. Across the street, a subway station – planned years before the 2008 crash – is being built. It won’t be finished for another 4 years. A little farther south is the Post Office, and just beyond that, Seattle Central Community College.

Seattle Central serves as a feeder school for the local universities. Many Asian students take classes there while they learn to speak English. It is also strong in the arts, design, culinary, and IT.

Seattle itself is considered friendly to psychiatry. Our U.S. Congressman is a psychiatrist. The military has a huge presence in the Seattle area, and they use psychiatrists a lot. The big IT companies like Amazon and Microsoft are pretty much behind psychiatry. And so is the aerospace industry, led by Boeing.

But on the Hill, at the CCHR traveling exhibit, we see a lot of people who have been damaged by psychiatric practices. Sometimes the people who live on the street come in and talk with us. They are almost all in the mental health system. Others, like John, have friends or family who have been affected. His sister has a daughter who was taken out of her house by Child Protective Services because her older brother got violent after he was put back on psych drugs. I talked to a father who was told he needed to put his son on Paxil. He knew better, and refused. But many others didn’t. Every year, we meet many people who are on psych drugs or who know someone who is. They think that ADHD or schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder are real diseases that must be treated by drugs. We try to show them that they have been lied to about this. Some are persuaded, and others are not.

Microcosm for the universe

Here on Capitol Hill – particularly when CCHR comes to town – we have in miniature a display of all the major forces, conditions, and considerations that exist in the universe.

What is success? Is it physical security, such as that you can obtain by being rich? Or is it excellence of artistic or technological achievement? Or is it simply the feeling that “I have succeeded, and I can continue to succeed.”

What is happiness? Is it the buzz you get when you are a little drunk or a little high? Is it having friends? Or having a lover? It is the giddy cheerfulness of innocence? Or is it the sober certainty of experience, wisdom, and demonstrated ability?

What is proper governance? Is it having the population under control? Or is it having a population that can control itself?

What is the correct way to do business? Does it consist of making huge profits for the business owners and fooling all the customers into believing that they have been well-served? Or does it consist of providing products and services that will assist people is their quest for real success and happiness?

When CCHR comes to town, it asks Seattle to re-consider these things.

And when your conscience comes to visit you, it may ask you to do something similar. What is right and what is wrong? And how can rightness prevail?

These are universal questions. These are personal questions. They deserve consideration.

This year CCHR is in Seattle, at 127 Broadway East, from 15 September to 5 October. Noon to 8pm weekdays, noon to 6 pm weekends.

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2 Responses to “Volunteering at CCHR”

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