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Letter from a Birmingham Jail

With all of the recent discussion of the protests and riots following George Floyd's murder I thought it was worth remembering that this conversation has occurred before. Many objected to the tactics used by the Civil Rights movement with the same arguments and criticism that we hear today. I think they ring as hollow now as they did then. I think we could do well to read MLK's words and reflect on whether we want to be embracing the arguments that were so eloquently criticized here.
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.
Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.
Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.
You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.
But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.
When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.
I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.
I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"
Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.
It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."
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—Edit 2— Adam Rapoport has stepped down, but there is much left to be done. Please stay unsubscribed from BA/CN content, and don’t back down until they take real concrete steps to fix their broken leadership, tear down their toxic company culture, and do right by Sohla and every other BIPOC employee.
—Edit 3— If you were going to donate to Reclaim The Block, please check out this post from them listing other great organizations to donate to instead. (Thank you IllustriousTruck)
—Edit 4— Sohla has been (rightfully) getting a lot of attention during this whole debacle, but major props to Hawa Hassan @hawa_22 for exposing more of BA’s horrible discriminatory business practices. Check out her upcoming cookbook In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries That Touch the Indian Ocean.
—Edit 5— A few days late with the update here but BA video lead Matt Duckor has resigned.
—Edit 6— Hunzi has been suspended from Condé Naste, “pending investigation.” Three employees came forward and expressed the belief that this is retribution for his social media posts that have been critical of CN.
submitted by Cayenne_West to bon_appetit [link] [comments]

We are field staff at the SBA, ask us [almost] anything.

**Edit: I'm signing off for questions for the night folks. Thank you for your time and fantastic questions. I really appreciated it. **
Hi everyone,
My name is Noah and I work out of the San Francisco District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our office has been working closely with business owners and doing our best to manage calls right now. The local offices are very small outreach teams and I spend most of my days right now talking directly with our local business owners about how the shelter-in-place orders are impacting folks.
Everything from cake shops and hairdressers to tech start-ups and manufacturers come through my (now virtual) door. That's actually normal, even during non-disaster situations! Regardless of industry and stage the uncertainty that folks share with me is universal. We're doing what we can to alleviate some of that, where we can but also be transparent and honest about our own limitations.
When working with business owners I work really hard to make it clear what's known and what's not known, as well as not provide answers that I can't answer. Sometimes I make mistakes.
Each morning our team gets incorporates new updates into our discussions as these programs are changing daily right now.
Here's what I can't do (unfortunately)
Pretty much all of these questions I'm going to refer to my government-assigned work-from-home Bureaucat Nina Zoobie Halloumi.
The moderators sent me a list of questions consolidated by the community. I'm joined today with a field representative for the Office of Disaster Assistance West Bill Koontz and another district representative in DC David Hincapie. All three of us are field staff, so that means that we work with the public regularly, but also that we're not policy makers.
We're going to start this off by doing our best to answer the questions consolidated yesterday:

Program Organization

* Which programs does SBA oversee and where can we get information about ALL of them, including the less known ones?

We release a national resource guide that provides an overview of all of our programs. That resource guide doesn't include the PPP or the EIDL advance, since these were just added a few weeks ago. There are ~20-30 programs for business owners through the SBA. They fit into 4 different areas:
Disaster Contracting Counseling Financing
Disaster Physical damage Loans 8(a) certification program - qualifying businesses to sole source contracts and more Small Business Development Centers 7(a) (with about 30 different flavors) - working capital loans
Economic Injury Women Owned Small Business Certification Women's Business Centers 504 - commercial real estate loans
PPP loan (new) Veteran Owned Small Business Certification Veteran's Business Development Centers Microloans
Economic Injury Advance (new) Surety Bonds SCORE mentoring SBIR seed grants for new products
HubZones Procurement Assistance Centers SBIC - equity/venture funding
Export assistance Centers

* What is the specific role of the SBA vs. the banks?

This is a complicated question. The short answer is that it depends on the program. For our larger lending programs, SBA operates essentially as an insurer for loans that are made in accordance with our policies (If a lender agrees to follow our guidelines for a business loan, we will "guarantee" it - meaning that we will pay for a portion of the losses should that loan go bad.) Borrowers pay a packaging fee for our normal guaranteed loans and these fees offset any of the losses in normal times, not taxpayer dollars.

* Why do the guidelines the SBA is implementing seem to be different from what was described in the law authorizing the programs?

At a high and very general level I can say that laws and procedures/rules are two different things. The latter will always be more specific and can't conflict with laws. For instance, the Small Business Act is a 300 page law. It rarely gets updated and needs an act of congress to do so. Our standard operating procedures, or rules for implementing for just one element of that act is a 500 page document that goes through a public rulemaking process where comments and feedback must be taken and responded to. It gets updated more often than the law.
The Bureaucat will answer most of the why questions, except where that reasoning was included in the interim rulemaking.

* Why did the SBA implement a $1k/employee cap in addition to the $10k cap? On what programs does the number of FTEs limit amounts?

[Bill]To ensure that the greatest number of applicants can receive assistance. The only other area where the number of FTEs may impact a business owners are where SBA size standards might make an applicant ineligible for our programs.

PPP/EIDL Specifics

Loan Organization

* How do EIDL/PPP loans work together or conflict?

  1. EIDL and PPP loans can't be used for the same expenses.
  2. EIDL advances (which are forgivable) will reduce the amount of forgiveness received under the PPP. This is to avoid duplication of benefits.
  3. Technically an EIDL can be rolled into a PPP. Further guidance may be coming out clarifying the process and conditions under which this can occur.
  4. EIDL loans are broader in what they can be used for. PPP loans are narrower. For that reason we generally suggest that payroll costs be paid with the PPP and other business needs (rent, utilities, inventory, etc) be covered with EIDL loan funds.

* What is the process flow for the loan/grant programs(apply, approved by SBA, apply at a bank...) or where can we see these flows?

The simple EIDL process flow is:
[Bill]The status of a specific application will be available to the applicant when processing of their EIDL is near completion. SBA will provide an email notification inviting the applicant to set up an account electronically. This account will enable applicants to check the status of their application, loan decision, loan amount, sign loan closing documents, schedule disbursement, etc. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience while their applications are being processed.
We're not going to delve into the details on this because these processes are getting updated and changed constantly to work better. They also haven't been shared even with the field offices in many cases. Any information shared, even from the processing centers, would be out of date quickly or only represent a narrow perspective.
The PPP has a different process at every bank. It's different at every institution. From an SBA perspective it's a black box on both ends, except where we've made requirements in the application process (such as the information that an application has to collect. That's by design because SBA is not the one originating these loans.

* Does the SBA communicate directly with the businesses seeking these loans? How can we recognize legitimate attempts to communicate with us?

SBA won't contact a PPP borrower directly. If someone contacts you about a PPP loan and says they're from the SBA please report this to our Office of Inspector General. They released a special FAQ on Scams and Frauds earlier this month. If you haven't applied for an EIDL and you get contacted by someone from the SBA telling you about it you should suspect a scam or fraud as well. Once you've applied for EIDL, you may be contacted by an office of disaster assistance loan officer.

Loans and forgiveness

* Which loans get forgiveness, which loans are automatic, which require proof, how can we find the restrictions? What actual guarantees are there that loans will be forgiven if the rules are followed? Will the rules still be subject to change after the loans are made?'

Only PPP loans and EIDL advances get forgiveness. EIDL advance forgiveness is automatic. PPP forgiveness must be applied to and the details on that process have yet to be released. Questions about the future I'm delegating to the bureaucat

* Are there restrictions on how payrolls are paid for programs that require documentation of payment of payroll for forgiveness? (i.e. changing employee, emphasizing different operations, firing/hiring but attaining a particular payroll overall

This question would only apply to the PPP. The answer is yes, maybe and that the detailed rules on the forgiveness portion of the PPP has yet to be released. bureaucat

* How does forgiveness work if business conditions change like the company is forced into bankruptcy, employees refuse to return to work or the government orders the business to be shut down for more than 8 weeks?

  1. If you take the funds out and declare bankruptcy and don't get the forgiveness the PPP will act like any other federally funded loan.
  2. If employees don't return to work you may hire others to replace them or receive forgiveness proportionally to what you are able to spend on payroll costs (the details on how this is calculated have not yet been released). You can also return the funds that you weren't able to use. There are no pre-payment penalties for the PPP.
  3. PPP funds are expected to be paid towards payroll costs even if the business is shut down. There is no requirement that the business be in operation. Some business owners have taken the opportunity to find other work that can be done remotely for their employees, some are simply paying even though noone is working, some are having employees self-study/develop new skills. There are a lot of options here.

* Why are loans set up so PPP forgiveness only applies if EIDL is not used for payroll even after PPP is exhausted paying for payroll?

  1. They aren't? You can use EIDL for payroll costs, but you should document very clearly which funds (PPP or EIDL) are going towards which pay periods. Many business owners are just keeping the two totally separate to make for cleaner and easier bookkeeping.

* Why can the self-employed apply for 2.5 months of income but only 8 weeks is forgivable?

This was a decision by the administrator in consultation with the Treasury. Page 12 of the Interim Final Rule lays out the reasoning:

Obtaining approvals

* Why are different banks requiring different documentation between what financial companies require for documentation?

The short answer is because they have the discretion to do so. Every lender needs to exercise due diligence and make an effort to verify payroll costs. Among 5,000+ lenders you're going to see the full spectrum of approaches here.

* How much does creditworthiness or credit score matter for these loans?

PPP: Depends on the lender. EIDL: It is a factor.

* What happens if multiple applications (in good faith) are submitted to multiple lenders?

SBA's loan system should only allow for a single application to be submitted on behalf of a borrower. The first borrower to submit will lock-out all other submitters. I've dealt with a number of business owners who pursued this strategy. There are upsides and downsides.
edit: We've also encountered some situations where the above has not occurred and we're actively investigating this situation. If you are approved for two loans a borrower should notify their lender, only accept one, and should return the funds from one.

Loan status

* Where can businesses go to find their status with the SBA (i.e. confirmation numbers, status, etc)?

For the PPP, they need to go to their lender. We can only see if an approval exists. For the EIDL they need to go to the 1-800 number. ((800) 659-2955)

* Do you have any information about the order of EIDL grant processing?

[Bill]We are processing disaster loan applications and Advances on a first-come, first serve basis as fast as we can.

* If someone has an approval number but their bank does not act what options do they have besides waiting?

Banks were instructed that the expectation for PPP is that they disburse funds within 10 calendar days from approval.
EDIT: new guidance was released. The expectation remains 10 calendar days from approval. " Loans for which funds have not been disbursed because a borrower has not submitted required loan documentation within 20 calendar days of loan approval shall be cancelled by the lender" If a loan was approved prior to April 28th, the 10 day clock was reset to start on April 28th.

* Can SBA loan confirmation numbers be transferred away from lenders who are failing to fund in a timely way?

No.

* Do the confirmation numbers have a structure (region, number in line, etc)?

I'd advise against numerology. I'm not aware of a specific structure with much meaningful information and Application numbers are assigned as applications are received.

SBA Structure

* What are tiers 1, 2, and 3 on the SBA helpline and what questions can they each answer?

[Bill] Our customer call center has not provided ODA field office staff members any information about Tiers 1, 2 or 3. As with any operation, there are supervisors in the call center with oversight responsibility and more authority than others.

* Within the SBA, what is the role of the ODA (Office of Disaster Assistance)? What sub-organizations should we be aware of relating to this pandemic?

[Bill] The Office of Disaster Assistance's mission is to provide low interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery & equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. ODA has their own field offices, but not sub-organizations.

* Does the SBA outsource operations? Which ones and to whom?

[Bill]Normally, no. For the COVID19 response, SBA’s ODA established a public/private relationship with an unnamed outside vendor to process COVID19 loans.

Communication

* How can we best recognize solicitation attempts by financial firms without proper affiliation to the SBA or access to the programs?

There are a few resources: 1. Check the Find a Lender tool if they have a physical location near you 2. Ask your local SBA district office 3. See if their name showed up on this list of institutions that made loans in Phase 1.
This can be legitimately difficult overall though because there are sometimes intermediaries that authorized lenders will allow to package loan applications for them. If a website has a "banking partners" section on their website they're usually an intermediary or a packager. You can do detective work using tools put out by the Treasury. A regulated bank will always have that information in the footer of their website with a number that you can independently verify at their regulator's website. For intermediaries, you just have to go off of reviews online.

* Customer service reps have been giving out unhelpful or confusing information. What processes are being put in place to make sure they can give us the accurate information we need?

[Bill]Our field office staff are sharing any reports we receive of unhelpful or confusing comments made by employees in SBA’s call centers. SBA will release any customer service representative who is unable to properly perform their job.

* Outside of SBA.gov, what are the routes the SBA uses to talk to us? Where can we see a daily or weekly briefing?

Folks can sign up for national updates here, or also sign up directly for smaller, more specific email distribution lists here. You can also view our events page, where local offices and our non-profit partners are holding hundreds of webinars on a variety of topics every month.

* How can we see the total amount of loans made?

Check our Freedom of Information page. New reports and data get published there.

* What communications should small businesses expect as they go through the process, including about errors, denials, progress or acceptance? (Might be integrated with another question)

[Bill] The status of individual applications will be available to the applicant when processing of their EIDL is near completion. SBA will provide an email notification inviting the applicant to set up an account electronically. This account will enable applicants to check the status of their application, loan decision, loan amount, sign loan closing documents, schedule disbursement, etc. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience while their applications are being processed. Regarding files that are suspended or delayed due to errors or denials, our field office staff have not yet been informed how files in this category are being handled or when to expect resolutions.

Public Relations

* What does the SBA think of the job they have been doing so far?

bureaucat
That's a response I'll leave to our national press release. SBA isn't one thing.

* Which businesses or industries does the SBA think need help most? Does size (smaller than "small") matter?

SBA exists to help all small businesses. Some industries are much more represented than others (there are just more food service and construction firms than clog manufacturers out there.)
The federal definitions of "small" are often contentious, but the SBA definitions are often pointed to as more comprehensive definitions because we make an attempt to create a different definition for every single industry. You can use this tool or look at the table at the bottom of this page. The standards are designed to be broadly inclusive and for most of our programs are not the sole item used to determine eligibility.
My experience is that for our regular lending and counselling programs, business owners usually grow out of them before they become ineligible(they hire their own consultants or find they can get better terms than an SBA loan.) I don't work as much on the contracting side of things, but I think the size standards are more frequently needing to be evaluated in those programs.

* What are the most common questions you have been answering?

Additional questions

* Are there limitations on funding foreign owned but otherwise US companies built into the programs?

For the PPP technically the program can accept these applications so long as the business is a US operated business. It is overall more difficult to document and submit these in a way that is acceptable to SBA systems though. A lender has to be willing to slow down and work closely with the borrower and SBA to get it submitted. For all of the other SBA programs, a business needs to be majority owned by a US citizen or legal permanent resident to qualify.

* Some applications made 3/29 and 3/30 seem to be stuck in credit pull. Is there any plan for these? (Might be integrated with another question)

[Bill]We in the field offices have not yet been informed specifically how these files will be handled, or when. Any business that applied for a Coronavirus (COVID-19) SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) prior to the release of SBA’s new streamlined application the week ending March 29, must reapply using SBA’s streamlined online application (in SBA’s new loan processing system) available at www.sba.gov. If a business doesn’t have an application number or received one that begins with a “2”, they must reapply under SBA’s new processing system. SBA is presently contacting everyone who applied through the old system, and asking them to reapply at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/ when applications re-open. If a business owner has an application or conformation number that begins with a “3”, they don’t need to do anything – their application is in process in the new system.
submitted by Noah_SBA to smallbusiness [link] [comments]

[Ballroom Dance] A Decades Long Blood Feud Between Dance Governing Bodies Because of the Olympics

Hopefully everyone's been enjoying their quarantine! But if not, maybe this next installment of ballroom dance drama will help! This is actually pretty much a research paper at this point, so you might want to settle in or take it in chunks. I may actually divide it up.
Anyway, I’ve been teasing for a while about this installment so hopefully it lives up to expectation. The Olympic bid on the part of ballroom dance goes back decades, meaning this post is just a small glimpse into the drama that’s created.
A few additional installments are going to come out of this, including USA Dance's micromanaging and ruining one of their biggest competitions and the Great Italian Judging Scandal of 2010 and how USA Dance ruined their biggest competition! The Italian judging scandal is gonna take a while, since, well, it's all in Italian and google translate isn't that great.
So let’s dive into the fever swamp that is how one governing body's Olympic bid is ruining ballroom dance for everyone around the world! Good times...
Some Background
The world of competitive ballroom dance -- also called “DanceSport,” — lest ANYONE forget that this is a sport now and we’re SERIOUS — is overseen by two governing bodies globally and another two governing bodies in the US. They maintain syllabuses on dance styles and determine what moves are allowed at what level. Dancers also register with one or more of these organizations to compete at levels higher than your good ol’ collegiate competitions.
These governing bodies originally had different purposes. Some would only govern professional competitions and the others focused on amateurs. This division of power brought peace to the DanceSport world. Until the Olympic committee attacked.
A quick aside -- if you follow ballroom dance long enough, you’ll hear about Blackpool. This is the most prestigious dance competition in the world, held in Blackpool, England. It goes back to 1920 and is basically its own thing. The champions of this competition basically set styles for everyone downstream. You can trace popular variations back to Blackpool.
Alright, this part is kinda boring but there’s gonna be a lot of acronyms tossed around, so if you get confused, come back up here and maybe this will help.
NDCA -- The oldest governing body is the National Dance Council of America (NDCA), established in 1948. Their job for decades was to foster competition between professional dancers. They are WDC’s associated body in the US.
WDC -- Next is the World Dance Council (WDC). This was established in 1950 in Scotland, also to govern professional competitions but on a global scale.
WDSF -- Seven years later, the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) was established to govern ameature competitions, also global. They used to be called the IDSF, so if some of the links talk about the IDSF they mean the same thing.
USA Dance -- Finally, entered USA Dance. In 1965, a group of ameatures got together to petition the Olympics. USA Dance joined forces with the other amateurs governing body -- WDSF -- to help in this Olympic bid. They thought it would benefit the competitive ballroom dance scene to compete alongside the world’s greatest athletes (and make money from the IOC *cough* *cough*), so why not? What could POSSIBLY go wrong???
So, just to recap because that’s a lot of acronyms, USA Dance and WDSF are the regional and international bodies that govern amateurs. NDCA and WDC are the regional and international bodies governing professionals.
Another side note -- along with this division of power, came a difference in style. WDSF/USA Dance has become much more stylized, faster paced, and flashy. Its critics say their dancers’ forms are bad, causing the moves to look sloppy in their attempt to “go big.” Meanwhile, WDC/NDCA has remained more conservative, sticking more closely to the “correct” forms as found in the syllabuses, and it is therefore more boring, according to its critics. Check out here and here for some videos and some uh -- interesting -- sylzizing found in WDSF.
The Olympic Quest
As you can imagine, getting a new sport into the Olympics is no easy feat. There are a TON of hoops to jump through, so even though WDSF/USA Dance started their drive to get ballroom dance into the Olympics back in 1965, it was only in 1997 that they finally made some tangible progress. After decades of negotiations, the IOC declared that they recognized WDSF as the sole governing body for competitive ballroom dance worldwide. This meant that if ballroom dance ever made it into the Olympics, it would only be competitors registered with the WDSF -- and by extension, USA Dance.
That was fine though -- everyone was pretty chill about that since most everyone was registered to both organizations anyway! Amateurs competed in the WDSF/USA Dance while their judges and coaches were registered through WDC/NDCA.
But it wasn’t good enough for the WDSF. To play it safe, its board members said, "you know, we should REALLY show the IOC that we are ballroom dance’s ONLY amateur governing body. So why don’t we make sure our dancers are completely and totally loyal to us and only us!"
To prove to the Olympics that they really were the only governing body for amateur dance, they banned their members from dancing in competitions that are not registered by the WDSF (or USA Dance in America).
These unregistered competitions are the first casualties in the long war of DanceSport. Unregistered competitions include things like collegiate competitions and dance festivals like Blackpool (which the WDSF didn’t DARE ban its members from competing in; it was one of a few exceptions. So that was safe for a few years). There are a ton of these unregistered events, so this had the potential to wipe out a massive outlet for dancers to do what they love.
The WDC/NDCA saw a need (and an opportunity) so they responded by creating their own amateur division obligatory “with blackjack and hookers!”. Some say this was a deliberate move to drive WDSF out of business, others say they were filling a void left by the WDSF making a dumb rule that hurt dancers. It doesn’t really matter, because things got worse from there.
The WDSF/USA Dance saw this as a direct challenge to their Olympic authority. So they retaliated by also challenging their rival on their own turf. The WDSF started their very own professional division in 2007. Sorry to throw another acronym at you but they did this by creating the IPDSC -- despite being created by the WDSF, this organization was actually independent. The IPDSC was also a program to license new judges. Before 2010, all dance competitions were pretty much judged by those certified with the WDC (or the NDCA in America), since they were the only professional league.
Once again, the war in competitive ballroom dance reached a standstill. At this point, the only people really hurting were the WDSF dancers who couldn’t compete at unregistered events. For professional judges, this just meant getting certified by two governing bodies and making money from multiple leagues.
But then, in 2010, the WDSF absorbed the IPDSC. In doing so, they put pressure on their amateurs to “stay in the family” and go pro with them and NOT the WDC. With this move, the ballroom dance civil war came to America.
Also around this time the WDSF seems to have increased their bans. In response, disgruntled dancers banded together to create the "Freedom to Dance" movement. More on them later.
The Ballroom Dance Civil War Comes to America
So let’s back up just a little. The NDCA is America’s professional league. They carved out their turf a long time ago with USA Dance. Both parties agreed at the time that the NDCA would cover professionals and USA Dance would cover amateurs. Until now, I’ve sort of been lumping USA Dance and the WDSF together, but really they are separate bodies. USA Dance is an independent organization affiliated with the WDSF. Similarly, NDCA is independent but affiliated with WDC.
When the IPDSC came along, instead of USA Dance joining them, the NDCA did. After the WDSF absorbed the IPDSC, the NDCA got nervous. Since the WDSF is primarily the amateur league, they are run by people who are not professional dancers. The NDCA was afraid that these big wigs out in Europe would start handing down dictates to American dance professionals about how to run their studios and competitions. So, the NDCA began to distance itself from the WDSF.
The WDSF then started to put pressure on their branch in America: USA Dance. With pressure mounting to join the darkside and launch their own amateur division, USA Dance broke ranks. In 2012, they teamed up with a bunch of other organizations including the US Olympic Committee to push back on WDSF. They released a statement criticizing WDSF’s policies that banned dancers if they compete in other organizations’ events. It read, in part:
>. . . athletes should not be used as pawns in disagreements between sports organizations. Stated in another way, athletes should not be used as a way to gain an advantage by one organization over another. This not only is in violation of the athlete’s right to practice sport, but merely causes retaliation by both organizations against athletes who compete in the other organization’s events, placing the athletes in the middle, without recourse and without having committed any wrong, except fulfilling their desire to compete. It further ignores that competition among organizations can be beneficial to sport.
They went on to say that this threatened the WDSF’s compliance with the Olympic bylaws.
With pressure continuing to mount, the WDSF caved and rescinded their bans in 2012. USA Dance also complied with the WDSF’s request to create a professional league.
So yay! The war’s over! Good guys won, pack up your bags, go home!!! However, once everyone simmered down over the next couple years, the WDSF had themselves another meeting...
PulledALittleSneakyOnYa.jpg
With everyone satisfied -- and probably some new lawyers better at drafting dumb rules -- the WDSF reinstated the bans in 2014! However, they left it up to the national bodies to implement, which allowed them to sneak around the IOC’s less than concerned eye. USA Dance has declined to adopt this rule.
Going Nuclear
Before the dust settled on the 2014 rule change, the NDCA took the war to another ring on the escalation ladder. They went full nuclear in 2014 and prohibited any judge they certified from judging USA Dance competitions. A few judges tried to call their bluff and were summarily executed by the NDCA.
The extent of their ban is huge because the NDCA had a total monopoly on the professional league in America for years. Judges (who are usually other coaches) make money at competitions throughout the year. By threatened to blackball any judge that adjudicates a USA Dance event, the NDCA effectively threatened to deprive these judges of a lot of income. Sacrificing their non-NDCA judging circuit meant giving up about 2/3rds of their income as a judge (if one forum post is to be believed). So if you were a professional instructor and wanted to put food on the table and dance shoes on your feet, you had to comply.
The WDSF then moved to protect their allies in USA Dance by banning NDCA judges from WDSF events, even removing a panel of judges a week before a major competition in New York. The NDCA responded again by ending all co-hosted events with the WDSF.
This is one area I’m a little fuzzy on. Evidently there was a lot more cross pollination going on than it seems when I intuitively started researching all this. So like, the NDCA would fairly often have joint events with the WDSF to bring in professional competitors from abroad. Similarly, the WDSF relied on NDCA certified adjudicators for their events in America. All that ended with this round of broadsides.
USA Dance, however, was fed up with the war. They now have to import judges from overseas -- since literally every single American judge is banned from their competitions. This raises the cost and likely reduces the number of comps held by USA Dance. In 2015, USA Dance wrote another letter criticizing the WDSF and NDCA, saying that all of this is in violation of the Olympic spirit and that the US probably needs to pass legislation granting people the right to compete so long as they qualify athletically.
This is actually a common refrain among dancers in the “freedom to dance” movement that rose up in response to the initial bans back in 2011. They say that competition and athletic events are human rights, denying access to these is a violation of basic human dignity. Remember kids -- mustard gas, targeting civilians, and dance bans are among the greatest human rights violations of our time!
For the average ballroom dancer, though, none of this really meant a whole lot. They just wanted to dance! They didn’t care if it was with the NDCA, USA Dance, WDSF, WDC, WWE, NAACP -- whoever! Though a lot of dancers complained on forums, they didn’t take action. That was the case until 2015.
2015 -- The Year to End All Years
Picture it. You’re on the board the the WDSF. You’ve spent the better part of your career trying to get ballroom dance into the Olympics. The war you fought to get there has bled the community dry -- in fact, your very own regional bodies are now revolting against you. But surely, if your aims were accomplished, all this tumult would be worth it to stand on that podium with the gold medal from a KILLER samba!
Well, in 2015, the Olympic committee declared they would accept a total of six new sports into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo! This could be the moment ballroom dance has waited for! Dancers around the world lept into action and put pressure the IOC. Thousands signed petitions and posted on social media. A lot of that took place in the "Freedom to Dance" Facebook page that was started as an anti-WDSF group in the early 2010s. This petition had an uphill battle though, since DanceSport was competing against 26 other noble, historic, and culturally significant sports like bowling and skateboarding.
That same year, the Toronto Pan-American Games requested that ballroom dancers perform during their closing ceremony. This small, micro Olympic exhibition probably added some momentum to dancers’ hopes of getting to Tokyo.
But things got even more complicated in 2015. You see, the Association for International Sports for All (TAFISA) was in secret talks with the WDC at the Blackpool Dance Festival in May. TAFISA is also an Olympic recognized body. TAFISA and the WDC announced during the Blackpool Dance Festival that they formed a new partnership and that TAFISA agreed to declare the WDC -- NOT the WDSF -- the sole governing body of ballroom dance in the world. This meant that the IOC now officially recognized both the WDSF AND the WDC as governing bodies over DanceSport!
But hey, if you’re back at the WDSF, that’s chill. You’ve been working with the IOC for decades now and finally they’re about to add another six sports to the Olympics, so surely, they’d recognize all your hard work and efforts and give you the one thing you’ve destroyed your sport over.
The WDC, however, was on a roll. The "Freedom to Dance" Facebook group switched from petitioning the IOC to admit DanceSport into the 2020 Olympics around early June to starting a whole NEW petition to strip the WDSF of their IOC recognition in the middle of that month!
Since this Facebook page was established as an anti-WDSF group, it has a lot of WDC board members actively participating in it. So it's no wonder that, though the petition only had 661 signers, it was shared by a world Latin dance champion and PRESIDENT of the WDC. Some on Facebook appeared to support the WDC president, others came down hard on him saying that “bullying” rivals should be above such a professional.
Two weeks later, however, the big day came. The IOC announced their decision on who would make the next round of considerations for the 2020 Olympics!
\drum roll**
The IOC declared that, of the 26 sports petitioning to enter the 2020 Olympics -- they were cutting ballroom dance first.
Once again, dancers’ dreams were crushed and the WDSF proved themselves inept at making sacrifices for “the greater good” of getting us into the Olympics. The WDC president -- the same one who got slammed/hailed for sharing the petition -- roasted the WDSF, saying that after 60 years, kicking DanceSport off the short list of new sports has a better chance of becoming an Olympic sport than ballroom dance itself!
Response
It’s been a while since that tumultuous year, and for the most part, the dance community seems to have just eased into a level of learned helplessness. Some people called for a boycott on a prominent dance forum, saying we need to quit being “rhythmic passivists” and do something. So far, the most anyone has done has been to share petitions, complain, and create a “Freedom to Dance” coordination body back in the early 2010s that hosts a few competitions here and there. No one really talks about them, so I Just assume they're small and not very influential. As long as the governing bodies provide a service that would cost thousands of dollars and hours to do without them, it’s unlikely anything will change.
Ironically, in their bid to get dancers into the Olympics by removing the competition, the WDSF has actually doubled the amount of governing bodies and made a mess of competitive ballroom dance. To sum up this two decade long war, one professional wrote, saying “20 years of policy making and tinkering by the WDSF so they could get there, not only has drastically changed the format, the ethics and shaken the very soul of our beautiful art, but has deeply divided our world. For what? To get leapfrogged by bowling.”
~~~
Hope you enjoyed this one! There’s probably a bunch of details and stuff I haven’t found, but this at least is an overview of the fight. I’m adding some sources at the end because this feels like a research paper. You might be able to get a few more nuggets that way.
USA Dance has had some problems recently and there’s been a kerfuffle with a major competition called the “Ohio Star Ball” because it was one of those joint events that had to pick a side. There’s a really, REALLY good story about USA Dance’s problems in New York that I’ll share later. Also, I spoke with one of the Great Old Ones in my dance club so be on the look out for an update to the drama that unfolded in our club a few years ago.
Sources
Overview of the Olympic bid plus problems caused by applying IOC rules to dance
Overview of the blood feud between NDCA-USA Dance and WDC-WDSF
Details on the debacles of 2015 -- including WDC's new recognition by the IOC, the petitions, and Facebook groups.
Reactions to the NDCA's judging ban
Some forum posts from between when WDSF banned dancers from going to unsanctioned events to them pawning that off on their regional bodies.
submitted by RonTheSpear to HobbyDrama [link] [comments]

Who Here Went To 2nd Nature in Utah or Oregon? Reviews Are of Course Terrible. Here Are Just A Few I Found On Yelp!

Second Nature
Christen V.
Northborough, MA
4/15/2020
“Child abuse child abuse child abuse that's all this place is about I can't tell you how many counselors should be put in jail for child abuse this place is terrible children should never be kidnapped this place should be shut down Did you send your kids here they will be permanently traumatized for the rest of their lives and never trust you again I did have a first-hand experience.”
Allie F.
Bloomington, IN
8/17/2019
Updated review
“I haven't been on Yelp in a long time and saw the response from Andrea. Well, there is another program called "Second Nature Entrada Wilderness Therapy Program" that is also located in Utah. These two organizations have the SAME logo. I'm certain they are affiliated.
Anyone considering attending this program should really do their research.
Here is a link that provides information about how shady these programs are. It also includes investigations completed by the Government Accountability Office.
astart.fmhi.usf.edu
I want to emphasize that wilderness therapy programs are COMPLETELY UNREGULATED. It has been shown that the "educational consultants" and "after-care" programs get kickbacks for referrals.
Again, please message me if you'd like to hear more about my experience. I will be checking my account.
I'm very fortunate that I'm healthy, have a loving family, and am educated. Many people who participate in this program are not as fortunate and are therefore less likely to talk about their experiences.
4/14/2016Previous review
I had a horrible experience in this program. The reason I decided to go is that I had gone through a traumatic experience and I started seeing a therapist who recommended it.
I was expecting to feel supported and get to know the staff and other people in the program. Instead I was treated like a criminal even though I've never done drugs or broken the law.
The staff you interact with on a daily basis are not trained therapists. They were often emotionally abusive. I was told that if I left the program early my parents wouldn't want me back. I have a very close relationship with my family and knew that was bull****. At the time I was on disability at my first job out of college and had moved back home.
We were often bullied and treated with disrespect. We hiked in over 100 degree weather most days . I was on a lot of anti anxieties bc I would get panic attacks which made me extremely tired. Sometimes when I needed a break from hiking (which btw i love hiking and used to do that most weekends before I was mentally I'll) I was told I was lazy and that I could not take a break.
During most of the program I was not allowed to talk to my parents. The therapist kept telling them I needed to stay longer. Btw they charge something like $5,000 per week which isn't cheap so they have a strong incentive to make you stay longer.
Finally in order to leave the program I would just flat out lie to the staff and say everything they wanted to hear. When I finally was allowed to go home my parents were very upset and I was very depressed for months. When I was finally able to communicate with my parents during the program I was terrified to tell them about what the program was like. The therapist was on the phone line and told me what I needed to tell my parents if I wanted to leave any time soon.
I'm happy to say that now I'm doing very well . I'm a full time grad student and work 20 hours a week at a university. If anyone wants to talk to me about my experience I welcome it and am more than happy to answer questions.
Of course this is only my experience and I know there are ppl who benefit from it. If your kid has serious behavioral problems or addicted to drugs they might benefit. If your kid is feeling depressed or anxious I wouldn't recommend it. It could make their problems worse.”
Kate B.
San Rafael, CA
1/26/2019
“Parents: probably good to read some kids reviews as you'll have very little insight into the day-to-day at 2N...
I attended second nature from September-December 2007 when I was 15. Few things after reading some reviews: - I will always hold a very special place in my heart for some of the field staff there. Emily R, Erin, and I think his name was Dan. You don't build much of a connection with the therapist that comes out once a week, so you keep your fingers crossed you get good field staff. - I can verify that I was blindfolded when being transported from the mountains to the high desert when we relocated for winter weather. No big deal, they don't want us running away. - The food was terrible when I was there. I gained about 10 unnecessary pounds from eating all carbs and fat, with very scarce opportunities for animal protein. I remember we had "meat Friday's" which was a gallon freezer bag of mystery meatballs for us to share. We had oatmeal for breakfast every morning, tortillas and peanut butter for lunch, and the famous dehydrated beans and rice for dinner. - Society is different now. Kids don't play outside, they're on their phones. We were sent out on "solos" pretty soon after I arrived which I was NOT prepared for. You have a campsite alone in the woods, with absolutely no one else around. You have your notebook and any books your therapist gives you and that's it...for several days. This was before smart phones and Instagram and I was still uncomfortable beyond belief. I did not have the coping skills or self love to be able to be on my own without any distractions so soon into my stay, which made the experience fairly traumatic for me. - I hiked 11 miles in a snow storm carrying an ~80lb pack with two ingrown toenails that I ended up having to get surgically removed. Did this make me tough? Hell yeah it did. Did it make me stop breaking rules, lying to my parents, and manipulating my way through life? Nope. I did 2 years at boarding school after this which is where the real progress happened.
I'm almost 27 now and have been very successful in my life. 3 stars because second nature taught me to work hard, don't complain, and that things can ALWAYS be worse. Star deductions because it was pretty shitty at times, and if I was put in the position I would not send my child here to learn those lessons.”
📷
Connor N.📷
7/25/2016
“Don't buy into the positive reviews, this place is terrible. You are a monster if you go through with sending a child there. What this place does to people is comparable to rape or molestation in the shame and how it outcasts you permanently from ever really feeling back at home again. When you are out there, the staff have no problem letting you know this is a business and that they are using the willingness and trust of confused and frustrated parents with money, and feeding you into an expensive system where therapists and professionals convince the parents that their child needs expensive boarding school, or other "after-care" programs. I was there summer of 2010 Group4 and I wish this never happened to me. Never have your child kidnapped people. That's what mine did. That's what this program may have you do, many in my group did. They had two huge Richmond gangster African American men burst into my room at 4am and drag me out of my room, threatening to handcuff me if I resisted at all. Others in my group had been beaten bloody by their "escort service" for resisting. Do not listen to the positive reviews. Maybe for a few this might work, but this has made my life hell in unimaginable ways. I'll never forgive my parents for what they put me through with this, and I wish I could organize a joint lawsuit and get together with former "clients" and sue the hell out of this place for the damage they have caused us. You are a monster if you send your kid here. Don't buy into the recommendations of professionals. This is not how you should treat any sort of problem. You are sending your child to a marching internment camp where they could be eaten by a bear because someone else brought food in their pack to bed. Which there aren't tents here people. Just a boat tarp you string up with paracord, so rats run over you in the night, mosquitos swarm you in the hundreds, so loud their buzzing is what wakes you in the morning. Where if you don't make a fire with sticks successfully, you can't sit by the group fire or eat group food, forced to eat cold tuna envelopes while everyone else eats. Where they make you walk miles without water on "dehydration hikes". Where staff members taunt you that you aren't going home and that the therapist will convince your parents to send you to a boarding school. I was just a kid with depression who smoked some weed. A psychologist and his recommended "educational consultant" convinced my parents to have me kidnapped the day after I finished my school year and spend my 16th birthday and the next 3 months in the custodial care of this abomination of a program. Please. I beg of you. For your child's sake don't go down this road if you care anything about having any what of a normal relationship with your child. I can answer more questions if you'd like.”
Sim G.
New York, NY
2/19/2014
“Worst place in the universe. The staff are almost abusive and the program is terrible. I would not recommend this for anyone. It s nothing more than a business, and the place should be shut down. The only reason I'm writing this review, is so no one else will make the same mistake I made, which was to go. I only hope the viewer of this will weigh their options heavily before even thinking about this place.”
Roxanne B.
Los Angeles, CA
📷4/16/2015
“I highly doubt that anyone researching programs will look here.. on Yelp, but I would be remiss not to warn parents and families at every turn of this abusive program. Second Nature makes fantastical claims of it's success rates, safety, and the qualifications of its staff but a little intensive research yields the truth: Second Nature programs are no more effective, and absolutely no different than programs like Utah's now-closed North Star Expeditions/Challenger Foundation. In fact, wilderness programs and boot camp-style "tough love" treatments have zero peer-reviewed studies which show they are effective. I am 100% fo' serious (research it!). I am a former camper, and I ended up swept through the system, and away from home for a bit more than two years. Second Nature refused me my inhaler while hiking despite the fact that I have had documented athsma my entire life (claiming that although I take asthma medication, that I was "lying" about my condition). 2N also espouses isolation as a successful form of therapy (most campers will spend 6-7 days on "Solo," not a single person in sight, completely alone with no idea where staff is located). Please read any literature related to the recent Kelief Browder tragedy if you're curious about whether or not isolation/solitary confinement is an effect form of treatment. 2N Counselors (who hold no degrees, certification, and are often 20-somethings with sleeves or tattoos and no career aspirations) were often incredibly cruel, telling a sick campmate of mine that she was "disgusting," or calling young girls brats, fools, manipulative liars if they were sick, "idiots" and more. Worst of all, the program is recklessly-run and thus, dangerous. Our group was lost one afternoon with no water and no food, and 1 of my fellow campers fainted from dehydration.
  1. Any program that monitors, censors, or severely limits the contact you have with your child raises a big fat red flag. Your child should be able to have unmonitored contact with you, in the case that they are being mistreated or are in danger. 2N censors written letters written by campers, and phonecalls (which are a privilege granted before one leaves) are always in the presence of 1 or more staff member.
  2. A program that deals with frightened, sick, or abused children and teens as "manipulative, liars, entitled brats," and more is also a red flag. "Being immature," is not a reason to send a child to treatment (a child or teen, by definition, is "immature").
  3. Programs that do not require staffers to have advanced degrees, and years of experience in the field= red flag. Qualified individuals should be a first-priority of any program which conducts it's "treatment" in conditions as extreme as 2N's.
  4. Programs which ask you to waive your power of attorney over to their staff and ask that you not sue in the case of severe illness, major injury, or death= red flag.
Essentially, there are far too many horror stories but the bottom line here is: do your research. Now do more. The troubled teen industry is just that- an industry (not-so-fun-fact: supported by Romney's venture capitalist firm, Bain), and their first and foremost priority is to make money for themselves and their friends at therapeutic boarding schools, "escort services," and "educational consultants." Profiting off a family's vulnerability, confusion, fear, or even worse abusive and dysfunctional dynamic is morally reprehensible. Torturing teens doesn't make anything or anyone better, it makes things worse. In the best case scenario, you will be exorbitantly wealthy and able to send your child to a "therapeutic boarding school," a program which I can only describe as abuse-lite. Parents- you have options! Please, please, please arm yourself with facts/peer-reviewed and unbiased statistics and studies regarding troubled teen programs, and not sales propaganda. Best of luck to you!
Essential Reading: helpatanycost.com/questi… (Questions to ask of any program a family is considering) sia-now.org ttp://www.sltrib.com/news/ci\_7139316 heal-online.org/secondna…"
Max G.
Miami, FL
3/3/2020
“I was sent here 2 years back and I can openly say if you plan on sending your kids here there are so many better options. Don't even think about sending your kid away. If you don't want to deal with your child and send them elsewhere do be dealt with you don't truly love them or deserve to be their parent and this is how it will look to the child for the rest of their lives after. It's been two years and I can say I will never truly forgive my dad for sending me to Second Nature. It makes me hate that he's my dad. Yes I was struggling but I wasn't on the verge of death and therefore such intense measures shouldn't even be considered. The only beneficial skills I learned from second nature were survival skills and a general understanding of my emotions. But this doesn't matter whatsoever because the trauma from that experience has caused me more anxiety and depression than ever! I am not just an angry kid who was sent to Second Nature. I happened to enjoy my stay in many parts. But that's simply because I learned that I love the outdoors! but most children sent here are not so fond of their situation and in the end this program causes more problems than it solves. Everyone who was in my group has relapsed or gone back to old habits unless they DECIDED to change themselves. CHANGE DOESN'T WORK WHEN ITS FORCED.”
Zac H.
Asheville, NC
📷
8/21/2019
“You are hiking in rain, feet of snow if you are injured they tell you to suck it up. I am not anti-wilderness, as I think it is a great experience. But this place is truly not therapeutic, the schoolwork is very hard to get help with. This program often leaves you hungry at night and staff will get aggressive over small things such as exchanging phone numbers, whispering, etc. I got my wrists grabbed to the point of bruises after exchanging phone numbers, and I got no apology until he met my parents. Send your child to another wilderness program this is miserable for all parties. My therapist was nice but the staff does NOT CARE except for a select people. Just remember this is your child.”
Cooper S.
Laguna Beach, CA
📷
6/30/2019
“This review goes out for all parents thinking even for a second about sending their child here. It's not worth it. You think your child will learn and grow from this? Well then you are probably just as delusional as the people who run the place. You think, "oh wilderness therapy, sounds like a good way to get my child out of the scene of day to day life and have them step back and work on themselves." Yea if your child was Bear Grylls. Everyday is a grueling fight for survival. I was there in the winter of 2018-2019. I suffer from permanent nerve damage in my feet from the harsh cold and not enough warmth. The staff are harsh, cruel, selfish, and are solely focused on the objective of leaving the next week. The staff are all you have. the only connection to the outside world. Your solace and comfort in a time of stress. A kind staff, someone you could connect with was rare. Shout to the homie Corbin. One of the only real staff I met. Along with Ian, two of the nicest staff. The only way I made it through was because of them. I was in the G9/G3 group. I prayed every week to heaven or hell that I got these guys as staff. The therapist, Tracy, was nice. She was kind and counseling but only came out once a week. Making a true connection difficult. You can go to a therapist at home once a week, for an existential lower price. Shouldn't you be seeing a therapist more at a wilderness therapy program? My story is similar to any child sent her. Messed around, did some drugs. Nothing to harsh, nothing to severe. Diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was truly struggling. All it would've taken was a shoulder to cry on and a pair of ears to listen. No one ever understood or tried to understand without anterior motives. My home life became so bad I resorted to living on the streets. Some time into living on the streets I was picked up by police as a juvenille runaway and taken to the hospital. After waiting hours for my parents to come and get me. I thought hey, maybe this is on me. Maybe i need to open up to my parents more. Im gonna try to change. Im gonna try to make things better. Finally my parents showed, with two very large goons. They told me i was going with the men to utah for a few days. In the car they forced me into the small seat in the back of an SUV. Being 6'4 this was extremely uncomfortable. I was stuck back there for 12 hours. After arriving at the program, being stripped and searched, they proceeded to do a series of medical tests as if i was joining the army. They large hiking boots, and put me in a truck. They drove me out to the middle of nowhere and dropped me off. I proceeded to go through hell. A living hell. Days of coldness. Forgetting warmth. Writing about warm things in life just to get a taste of what i knew was never to come for quite some time. I fought at first. refusing to do what they told me to do. Begging my parents to take me out. Begging them and pleading to show i had changed. All to no avail. All to find out i was stuck for 12 weeks. Maybe more. In a living hell. I learned to lie. You have to lie if you want to get out of there. I lied and got home. Im very successful at home now. Im sober, im happy, and healthier than ive ever been. I have a steady job and true friends who are good and are their for me. Can't say second nature is the right choice for anyone. Unless you truly just want your child to suffer. no one needs to go through this. parents i beg you if you are debating on sending your child here. Just try to listen to your child. forget trying to accomplish anything. just listen. i was forced to spend thanksgiving and christmas out there. In freezing temperatures. Im going to have to stop there because theres just so much more wrong with this program. If you have any questions about my story, experience, or views on second nature feel free to message me.”
Gerald B.
Los Angeles, CA
4/12/2019
“If there were an option for zero stars, that would certainly be my choice. The following is stated exclusively from personal experience. Others may have had better or worse experiences, but the following is what I went through...It is my feeling that the entire operation should have been shut down years ago. I can confirm from personal experience that a significant amount of what other negative reviews had stated are true. For example, it is absolutely true to my experience as well that the 'counselors' required that children created a fire by themselves with sticks, string and a rock each day in order to eat anything cooked on a fire. Otherwise, we were forced to vile dehydrated beans and rice with a little bit of cold water, which I can tell you through personal experience does not re-hydrate them. They are practically inedible and still crunchy and tasteless. That was a daily occurrence. Also, being sent on 'solos' were a real thing - these counselors actually took children to remote places, where they were then left alone for days at a time (wouldn't know exactly for how long, as they had a rule that children were never allowed to know what time it was). We were left with nothing other than minimal food to get by, some water, and our blue tarp and strings to sleep under in a sleeping bag. Yes - that is the same type of blue tarp that would be laid over the back of a pick-up truck to cover up lawn equipment, for example. No insulation, and nothing close to a tent that one can enclose.
There were way too many activities that went on that are so unethical and so horrible to put children through. All children (and I say children because I am referring to the under-18 program, in which children are sent there involuntarily, compared to the adult version), were required to carry on their backs their incredibly heavy backpacks each day on long hikes in all weather conditions. These backpacks held tarp materials, clothing, a week's worth of food, a rock, fire making materials, notebooks, and other items. We were even forced to place heavy rocks in our packs as punishment to make them even heavier. They were very heavy, and not all kids are the same size. They all, however, carried the same backpacks - even the smaller kids. We would have to wake up each day, pack the contents of the bags, then go on long hikes for unknown amounts of time and unknown distances. Counselors refused to ever tell children how long hikes were, how much longer the hikes would be, or what time it was. As a kid, this caused incredible feelings of fear, powerlessness, and that of what a prisoner likely feels.
Upon arrival, children are blindfolded, taken to a remote place in the mountains, then isolated from the group for days until they finish writing their 'life story' with zero guidance or instruction. Then, once they present it they are first told that their life story needs to be one with full accountability or they were forced to be isolated for days more and re-write it. This also comes at a time when children are most fragile, scared, lonely, powerless, and terrified - when they FIRST arrive, typically at night, having no idea what is about to ensue. Imagine this as well - the entire time in the program, children are outdoors. Whether in a snowstorm, windstorm, rainstorm, or any other weather. We were outside 24/7 in the middle of winter, and slept in nothing other than a sleeping bag and a blue tarp over our heads, for which we were responsible figuring out each day how to find a location in the mountains and hang it properly in order to not wake up soaking wet. One pair of underwear for each week. Weekly "showers" consisted of taking a couple of old dirty coffee containers, filling them with water, then stripping in the middle of the woods in the freezing cold and pouring that water on oneself. Not a good time, and very hard to do.
The counselors, who spend days with the children, seemed to have no backgrounds in therapy, no credentials, no schooling or degrees for it. I cannot confirm this but can only speak to personal experience. On what planet should young, inexperienced, uncredentialled adults be physically and emotionally responsible for taking full care of sometimes very emotionally damaged, addicted children, some of whom had psychological disorders. These poor kids should be in the hands of incredibly qualified, trained psychologists and psychiatrists, not counselors looking to make a couple bucks.
I want to review their financials to see if there is an expense item for 'referral fees paid.' I would be very curious to see if they are paying people around the country to refer parents to send their children to this place, creating a bias and moral dilemma. I have spoken with many, very scholarly, successful and brilliant psychologists and psychiatrists, all of whom have said they cannot believe that some people actually send their children to this place. It is shameful. Much more to say but limited character space.”
Andrew C.
Scarsdale, NY
📷
3/19/2019
I went here in September of 2019, and it was one of the most traumatic experience of my life. The therapists there are not people you can sit and talk to about your feelings, they are sarcastic, rude, and insulting. If you don't behave the staff will restrain you by pulling your wrists down and it hurts like hell. If they think you will hurt yourself they will restrain you. If you are too close to the fire, they will restrain you (happened to me twice). If your child is going to grow up and become this very troubled criminal, maybe this place could be beneficial. But if your child is struggling with anger issues, anxiety, depression, skipping schools, etc. This place is just over all not helpful and is not what you need to be spending tens of thousands of dollars on. I have been home for about 4 months now because my parents pulled me out due to harsh staff and rude therapist that my mom was fed up with. I am doing much better now thanks to some medication and I am so grateful my parents decided to pull me out of there. (By the way, if Second Nature is reading this, my therapist was Steve Debois)
Persondude H.
Houston, TX
📷
6/25/2018
“I wrote a review that was once on the top of this list and then it was removed due to the age restricting policy. Well Im 18 now and I'm finally old enough to not get this taken down lol.
Don't send your kid here if you care about your relationship with them. Also don't trust educational consultants or aftercares. Since being a victim of this horrible business model I have seen kids mental well being deteriorate into oblivion. I attended second nature in the summer of 2017 and have never been in a worse mindset than I was put through at this place. I "as well as others" became extremely depressed and suicidal and lost complete respect and trust in our parents. Usually educational consultants will get a commission from sending you here, so when they tell you "Oh your Son/Daughter would really excel here." they are 90% of the time speaking out of their ass and just want that sweet sweet commission.
When I first came to second nature I was extremely mad at my parents and thought I would never forgive them for such a traumatic experience. "Being Gooned/Transported." And to tell you the truth I have not forgiven them. Afterr all of this time. I want to kill myself and have horrible trust in all adult figures because of this place. And I am not the only one.
I'm not really sure what Im trying to do by posting this review but I just want to warn parents that this can severely mess up your kids relationship with you. From what Ive witnessed this is just an expensive business scam directed towards desperate parents that have money to throw away. 99% of the time the therapists and educational consultants will recommend your kid go to aftercare and you will end up spending a-lot more money than you initially thought. All of the kids I knew faked their progress so that they could impress the staff and parents just so they could leave sooner. Please just use this as a last resort and really try hard to think about what you are doing and try to talk with your kid about it instead of just blindly violating human rights and traumatizing them by waking them up to transports. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep thinking about this and I feel so alone now.
I hope you as a parent can help your kids, but do it from a better approach instead of Gooning them and forcefully sending them to shit in a hole for 3 months.
Thanks, Former 2N student.”
Fred X.
Jacksonville, FL
📷
12/3/2016
“They took off my pictures like many other people here I got PTSD from going there along with acute intermittent porphyria. A 1:100 disease for life. I throw up blood regularly I go to the bathroom and see blood in the toilet im now on 10 pills just for anxiety and sleep and 15mg a day of oxy. This place gave me nightmares and health problems for the rest of my life. I moved out never spoke to my parents again. I had pictures that were taken down part of porphyria is you get sun blisters my face back and chest have scars from the sun sores that will never be healed or covered up. I experience pain everyday I've had seizures as a result of the PTSD my last seizure dislocated my shoulder and tore my rotatir cuff. I came out worse than I went in. They refused to bring me to the hospital and I was told if I didn't stop throwing up i couldn't go home. I was so sick there from the salmonella I was throwing up daily one night I was so dehydrated I passed out half way to my tent and passed myself. Sending your kid here could kill them my doctors told me im lucky to be alive and what I have (porphyria) could be passed onto my kids. It mutated my gene. Screw them if you send your kid they will hate you. Im not the only one who came out worse than when they went in. If I got sick I was supposed to carry extra weight while hiking to metaphorically reflect the weight the group had to carry from dragging me by my backpack while I was unconscious on hikes. Luckily the staff although they were told not to bring me to the hospital they atleast didn't force me to carry extra weight after they found me unconscious when I passed out and passed myself. They knew I want faking but the therapist believed I was. I was also mocked because I read the bible cause I knew I was dying. I debated hanging myself while there because I knew I was dying I wanted to go out on my own terms. I had my will written inside my boots telling my parents to get an u/autopsy done. I also told my friends in my group to tell my parents what REALLY happened to me and why I died. I HOPE THIS PLACE BURNS TO THE GROUND. Therapist lu vaughn was my therapist. The staff I had knew something was wrong but they were helpless because of her orders. I been to jail and jail was better than that place. Imagine sending ur child somewhere worse than jail they will never be the same. I don't trust anyone and cut off my entire family because of this place. Look at the other reviews more ppl left with PTSD I wouldn't wish PTSD on my worst enemy!”
6/13/2019
“I attended Second Nature from September to December of 2017. I've thought a lot about writing this review because I didn't want others to think that I was writing this because I was pissed about what had happened. Second Nature did not help me what so ever. Before being sent to Second Nature I was in the middle of a depressive episode and my parents didn't know what to do. Someone recommended this place so off I went. As soon as I got there you are strip searched and examined. I was extremely uncomfortable being thrown into a new environment with no one that you know and being forced to do this. The staff members as a whole were very nice and caring and tried to do whatever they could to make Second Nature seem more enjoyable. However, the therapist that I was assigned did little to help me. She tried to stick so many disorders and diagnoses on me that weren't correct. (Since coming home, I see a therapist weekly and both my therapist and the psychologist I see strongly disagree with the treatment option that was made.) She told my parents that I shouldn't be brought home and that I wouldn't be able to last at home for a while without having another episode. She told my parents that I was unwilling to participate in therapy and that I needed more and more time in the Program. I was willing to participate, I just didn't agree with the diagnoses she was making. None of them made sense for me. While I was there, I had hurt my hip. The doctor on staff decided to provide me with a very strong pain killer that I easily could've been addicted to without checking with my parents first. Not only that, he diagnosed the wrong thing and I would up having to get knee surgery when I got home. I won't argue that Second Nature is not effective, because it is. But before you send your child there, see if that is really the right option for them. If it is the last resort, try it. But if there are other options, try those first. I proved the therapist wrong and I am thriving at home, two years later without being sent to another therapeutic program and have a great relationship with my family due to my current therapist.”
Kalep T.
Chicago, IL
📷
10/19/2017
“Second Nature helped me. How? I still do not know. However I struggle greatly with PTSD from being transported in the middle of the night. My first week I almost killed myself, not intentionally but just out of pure fear of being in the middle of nowhere. Not having contact with my family still haunts me, as now my communication skills are poor. I just wanted to get out of second nature. Once i got in the group i enjoyed it, along with the staff. I reached air phase and was able to go back home after 9 1/2 weeks. My motivation was simply to get home. When i got home no one seemed to understand the trauma i had just been through. I still struggle. All my close friends I made during a very hard time in my life all separated ways. Flashbacks are frequent and make me sad. Second Nature is a good program but my life was better off before going here. Just love your child and try to understand them. Do not send them to second nature. It will only do your child harm along with yourself. Just my opinion. If you are going to go with a wilderness therapy then I do recommend Second Nature.”
Max G.
Miami, FL
3/3/2020
“I was sent here 2 years back and I can openly say if you plan on sending your kids here there are so many better options. Don't even think about sending your kid away. If you don't want to deal with your child and send them elsewhere do be dealt with you don't truly love them or deserve to be their parent and this is how it will look to the child for the rest of their lives after. It's been two years and I can say I will never truly forgive my dad for sending me to Second Nature. It makes me hate that he's my dad. Yes I was struggling but I wasn't on the verge of death and therefore such intense measures shouldn't even be considered. The only beneficial skills I learned from second nature were survival skills and a general understanding of my emotions. But this doesn't matter whatsoever because the trauma from that experience has caused me more anxiety and depression than ever! I am not just an angry kid who was sent to Second Nature. I happened to enjoy my stay in many parts. But that's simply because I learned that I love the outdoors! but most children sent here are not so fond of their situation and in the end this program causes more problems than it solves. Everyone who was in my group has relapsed or gone back to old habits unless they DECIDED to change themselves. CHANGE DOESN'T WORK WHEN ITS FORCED.”
Zac H.
Asheville, NC
8/21/2019
“You are hiking in rain, feet of snow if you are injured they tell you to suck it up. I am not anti-wilderness, as I think it is a great experience. But this place is truly not therapeutic, the schoolwork is very hard to get help with. This program often leaves you hungry at night and staff will get aggressive over small things such as exchanging phone numbers, whispering, etc. I got my wrists grabbed to the point of bruises after exchanging phone numbers, and I got no apology until he met my parents. Send your child to another wilderness program this is miserable for all parties. My therapist was nice but the staff does NOT CARE except for a select people. Just remember this is your child.”
submitted by KillerSpaceBunny to troubledteens [link] [comments]

Chinese Tech's Godzilla Vs. Kong: How the Battle Between Alibaba and Tecent Will Shape the Future of Technology

Although most listeners to the Wealth of Nations podcast are only vaguely aware of Chinese technology giants Alibaba and Tencent, the two companies play a dominant position in China's technology ecosystem. Alibaba and Tencent both have market capitalizations over $500 billion, a market capitalization more than 8 times greater than their largest domestic competitors. As a result, Alibaba and Tencent have the power to shape how the internet feels and operates in China far greater than Apple, Facebook, Amazon or Google in the United States. It is vital to understand Alibaba and Tencent, and the rivalry of these two corporation to understand how technology in China works. In part one, I will describe the business models of Alibaba and Tencent, and how they compare to their nearest American counterparts. In part two, I will describe how both companies are creating rival technology ecosystems by financing networks of startups across many fields. Finally, in part three I will discuss how the rivalry between Alibaba and Tencent has accelerated the development of health technology in the face of COVID-19.
Alibaba is often described as the Amazon of China, but such a description is incomplete. Unlike Amazon, which is primarily a business to consumer company, Alibaba is first and foremost a business to business companies. Although Alibaba has branched into all areas of e-commerce, including Ali Express which sells low cost goods in the United States, it's most important business, Tabao.com, is a market that connects small businesses and factories to each other. Unlike Amazon, Alibaba does not own any of its own stock, or charge commissions for sales through its platform. Rather, Alibaba, like Google, will promote firms that pay to rank higher on their search engine. Total turnover for Tabao was $474 billion in 2020, and for Alibaba as a whole is $922 billion. Gross merchandise volume for Alibaba is more than three times what it is for Amazon. Alibaba has further extended its business into digital payments. Concerns about customer security forced Alibaba to create Alipay, a digital wallet. The data Alibaba gathered through Alipay gave Alibaba a wealth of data that banks do not have access to, allowing Alipay to become a major lender and Alibaba has loaned over $290 billion to mostly small businesses, embedding Alipay deeply into everyday life.
Tencent is often compared to Facebook, but it's business model differs dramatically from Facebook. Unlike Facebook, Tencent does not rely on advertising revenue. Instead, it's most important product is WeChat, a messaging service similar to WhatsApp. WeChat monetizes primarily through games and other services. Although I have described WeChat as a messaging app, it pervades social life in China to a far greater extent than any American messaging app. The reason this is the case is that WeChat has a payments platform fully integrated into the system. As a result, one can, via text message do everything from hailing a cab, ordering take-out, paying ones utilities, to hiring a masseuse. Moreover, Tencent has WeChat Moments, a Facebook like service and WeChat offers tools that allows stripped down websites to be embedded in WeChat. The result is that the average Chinese phone user spends nearly half of his time on WeChat affiliated apps. WeChat and Alibaba's competition on digital payments has dramatically expanded the use online payments. The total value of digital payments in 2018 was $40 trillion, double the amount from the previous year. More than one third of all payments are digital, much higher percentage than in the United States, with payments accepted everywhere from malls to street vendors.
Alibaba and Tencents' rivalry extends beyond digital payments. Both companies have set up cloud computing, retail, food delivery and many other industry. Tencent and Alibaba have taken their conflict outside the boundaries of China, with both companies using venture capital to finance firms in India, Indonesia and other countries throughout the world. One area where conflict between the tech giants has been the most fierce is in food delivery. The dominant player, Meituan is backed by Tencent, while Alibaba is backing Ele.me. Both countries have invested, and lost billions in building the infrastructure and gaining the market share to succeed in food delivery, and glimmers of profitability have only recently emerged. Before the crisis, China had 406 million use food delivery every year, making $66.3 billion of orders and food delivery is substantially more common in China than the United States. As a result, the Chinese food delivery system was prepared to deal with the surge in demand caused by COVID-19 lockdowns. Demand for frozen food increased 600% and for pet supplies by 500% during the height of the lockdowns forcing Meituan and Ele.me to innovate. Both companies have built relationships with farmers to supply neighborhoods with fresh produce, with neighborhoods and local governments cooperating to get essentials without excess contacts. Both companies have even experimented with high tech tactics such as self driving vehicles, and sci fi-esqu exoskeletons to help gig workers climb stairs.
Alibaba and Tencent have both played a major role in directly combatting COVID-19 as well. One of the most striking features about life in China today is the ubiquity of color coded apps that act are scanned via QR codes. Individuals must report whether they have a cough, fever or other COVID symptoms, and whether individuals have been in close contact with people with COVID-19. Users are given red, yellow and green statuses based upon their response to the app, which gives a QR code necessary for everything from entering grocery stores to using public transit. The health QR codes are for from perfect. They are not true digital tracing apps because they rely on self-reporting, and give massive amounts of information to unaccountable and oppressive governments.Although this might feel like a massive government overreach to Western ears, it marks a simplification of overlapping systems of surveillance maintained by community groups, security guards and police. Health QR code systems got their start when the local government of Hangzhou, the city in which Alibaba is based, commissioned it creation. Local governments, noticing the benefits of the system, commissioned Alibaba for similar systems. Tencent, unwilling to let Alibaba pull ahead of it in any field, created its own system. Both companies are competing, and innovating to build more advanced digital tracing systems.
The rise of technology in China raises the massive question of how long the United States will retain its technological superiority. The Chinese government has been used its digital power to censor social media abroad, and Tencent has a long history of working with the Communist party to censor internal opposition. Technology and censorship is a topic I wish to explore in much greater detail in a future episode. At the same time, it is important to recognize the innovation and entrepreneurship happening in Chinese technology. Although one normally assumes innovation flows from Silicon Valley to China, American companies are borrowing and copying from their Chinese counterparts. China's technology sector has the potential to be a massive positive force in economic development in not just China, but the world. But it will only be able to play such a positive role if the government of China allows it to play such a role.
www.wealthofnationspodcast.com https://media.blubrry.com/wealthofnationspodcast/s/content.blubrry.com/wealthofnationspodcast/China-Tech.mp3
submitted by gnikivar2 to geopolitics [link] [comments]

LBC net profit up 600% on... not losing so much money this time (Thursday, July 2)

Happy DAY_OF_THE_WEEK, Barkada --

The PSE closed up 2 points to 6210 ▲0.03%.

Daily meme

COVID Update

WW: 10597196 PH: 37514 

Top 3 MB indices:

 Fast Food ▲1.95% #COVID-19 ▲1.26% Media ▲1.02% 

Bottom 3 MB indices:

 2019 IPOs ▼1.92% Logistics ▼1.73% MiddleClass ▼1.15% 

Main stories covered:

  1. Q1 earnings season extravaganza, Part II
“The start of 2020 was not auspicious at all as first, markets were put into turmoil when Trump killed an Iranian general in a drone strike. Oil spikes 5% and USD/PHP goes from 50.60 to 51.20. Next was the Taal Volcano eruption, closing down cities as far as NCR. All of this happened in January. Also we get the first reports of a killer virus in Wuhan. This eventually spreads from China to all over the world, eventually sending the globe into lockdown. As the coronavirus spreads, US Treasury yields start falling. From around 1.8%, the 10y UST hits a low of 0.318% before eventually settling around 0.50%. The 30y UST yield hits below 1%, the first time in recorded history. Equity markets fall 3%, the worst declines since the Great Depression. The Fed has to go into crisis management and swiftly announces it will do everything to support the economy. They slash interest rates by 1%, essentially driving rates down to zero. It also promises unlimited asset purchases, with a wide scope of bonds that it can purchase, including MUNI bonds and junk bonds. Here in the Philippines NCR and Luzon is put under lockdown, with business grinding to a halt. After closing for a few days, PSE reopens and is promptly down 20% to 4000 but eventually recovers some of its losses. As liquidity becomes scarce, fixed income markets are hit hard, with banks seen liquidating their holdings. From trading at 3.125%, the benchmark 10-64 was sold to as high as 5.575 before BSP calmed markets by announcing its own bond buyback program. BSP also promptly cuts 50bp in an unscheduled meeting, and cuts RRR by 200bp. The 10-64 and bonds across the curve start being bought, with the yield down to 4.7%.”
Yes. You just just feel the writer there, can’t you? Love it.

About Merkado Barkada

Merkado Barkada is a daily email newsletter covering all the stocks, bonds, companies, characters, and issues that make up the Philippine Stock Exchange. I don't make any money from MB, I don't use affiliate links or anything to trick people, and I don't sell email addresses for quick pesos. I simply like researching news and writing about current events in a way that helps my friends, family, and barkada to understand more easily what is happening.

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submitted by DuncnIdahosBandurria to phinvest [link] [comments]

35 F With a lot of questions. Sorry for the long post.

I am joining this "adult" self harm sub because I feel the problems I am having with self harm are in the realm of grown up problems. Simply put, I can't find a doctor to help me and I just dont know what to do, where to go, or how to manage this sickness. This is long, and you don't have to read it! But if you are a grown up living successfully with a self harming habit, can you maybe give me some advice? I'm feeling trapped and out of options.
I have called more than 30 therapists leaving some version of the following message:
"Hi... uh....my name is ______ and I was referred to your office by (my insurance provider). I am 35 and am seeking immediate therapy for bereavement counseling and swlf harm. Two years ago I would have told you I am a healthy, normal, active 35 year old woman. But after the loss of my mom, my world sort of fell apart and I have started hurting myself and I don't know why and I just can't stop on my own. I need help. Please call me back to schedule a consultation. If you aren't accepting new patients, please call me back to tell me that you received this message. If you know anyone in network who is accepting new patients I would really appreciate the information. Thank you so much for your time." I list my phone number at the beginning and twice at the end.
You know how many have returned my call? Not a single one. I went through this same battle a year ago in January. By March I had gotten one person to finally return an email, but none of the 27 calls I had made. I wasn't totally thrilled with the experience, but I trusted this young man with a LOT. Six months into therapy he relocated. We continued online sessions until he just stopped asking me to schedule them. It's like the care plateaued and he had other, more important clients to deal with. I'm sure that is the, "crazy woman who lives in my head" talking but... I felt like an inconvenience to him. He was tired of hearing the same problems and symptom week after week. He never reached out again to see how or if I even was anymore. It has taken me a year of procrastinating to start the process again. I hate it. Almost as much as I hate me.
What do you do, when you share such an intimate part of yourself with someone and they don't care/don't respond? How are you guys keeping it together? How do you get affiliated with professional help when no one will return the repeated calls for help?
I'm not a cutter. (No shade... it's just not something I have ever done) Instead, I repeatedly and forcefully punch, scratch, and slap myself in fits of fury and rage. In the middle of a normal day, seemingly out of nowhere, I will realize some stupid fucking thing that I did or did not do that I should have and I totally lose my shit at myself. I use foul language either out loud or to myself. I flagellate until marks appear which sort of brings me back around to myself again. Then I am despondent and tired for hours or through the next day. I have gained 60 pounds in a year. I will have weeks or months where I am normal and then it starts up again. I am sad a lot, but mostly I am just really, REALLY pissed off.
My partner knows. My immediate family knows now, because it's pretty hard to hide. I often have a black eye hiding under many layers of makeup. I currently have two large scratches on my cheek that when asked by outsiders, I'll blame on the cat. My thighs have bruises all over them from digging my nails into them through my pockets when the feeling overwhelms me in public. I have permanent ringing in one ear from a really good punch last summer. There are light scars from scratches that drew blood on my forehead and neck. I know this is wrong. I know that it is ridiculous. I know that I am jeopardizing my job, my relationship, and my friendships. I just don't know how to control it.
I have sought professional help. I really, truly have. But none has come through yet. I made the terrible mistake of sharing the problem to my PCP last summer when I came in for a weird lump in my neck and she would not stop lecturing me about my weight gain (it was about 25 pounds gained then in the wake of my mother's recent death.) I explained that I had other more pressing issues to deal with than my diet, but that I acknowledged and understood the health risks of being obese and knew how to go about losing the weight. (I weighed more than 300 pounds during my 20s, and successfully lost 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. I was about 190 lbs at 5'9 during this appointment) She wanted me to join weight watchers immediately. I declined. When she asked what could be more important than my physical health I explained that I was going through some mental health issues after a debilitating injury that resulted in recent spinal surgery and losing my Mom unexpectedly was traumatizing and that I was worried starting a new diet would lead to new bad behaviors like starvation and deprivation. I broached the topic by saying I was having hard time being kind to myself and that a diet wasn't going to help things at present. I was open to exercise, which I was doing at the time. I explained that I knew how to count calories, owned a beautiful food scale from William Sonoma, had a fitbit to track my activity, but that I just wasn't at a mental place to get going yet. I did not deny that the weight gain was bad, I expressed that I was more overwhelmed with other aspects of my mental health.
She wrote me a prescription for Zoloft and said I was clinically depressed. She matter of factly said that once I got over my little bout of depression with this medication I could "start on that weight watchers program pronto." I left the office quietly stunned. When I went to have the script filled, two things happened. 1) the pharmacist pulled me aside because I also filled my script for meloxicam (an anti inflammatory for injury related pain) and 2) she asked me some disturbing questions. The pharmacist said that taking the zoloft with meloxicam would totally destroy my kidneys. She also said that if I had any history of suicidal thoughts or self harm this medication could increase the risks of suicide ideation. Greeeeat.
I then talked with my therapist (still local at this time) about deciding between the medication for my pain or the one for my brain... and he said loudly to toss the pills out and that depression was NOT my issue. I have a lot of ups. I have a regular range of emotions. I make my bed every morning because I have ambition. I look forward to many things. I am sad and angry at myself a lot, but not what you would describe as "clinically depressed". He said my symptoms were more similar to coping with ptsd than anything else and that Zoloft was not only NOT going to fix the self harm behavior it was probably going to add the risk of suicide when my ups were no longer so "uppy" from the medication.
At a follow up two weeks later with the PCP she became irate when I admitted to not taking the zoloft. I explained the pharmacist's warning about the meloxicam and the advice from my shrink. She asked what I was so afraid of by taking the meds? Upset and overwhelmed, I began to cry. I said, "I don't want to kill myself and I am afraid that taking this medication will be the thing that tips me in that direction." She asked what I meant. I showed her the bruises and explained that I had been self harming for several months and seeing a psychologist for it but that I would prefer any medications for mental health to come from an actual psychiatrist or specialist whom I could talk with regularly, not my general physician I see only once a year. I begged her to just give me any referral if she thought I needed depression meds and asked if I could just please, please have an ultrasound on the weird lump I made the appointment for in the first place?
She dropped me. She fucking dropped me as a patient. Amid my sobs pleading for the care I came in seeking she told me that I obviously had no faith in her as my doctor and that she could no longer trust me as her patient because I would not follow her advice. I asked if there was anyone else in the office I could see and she said she did not feel comfortable referring me to anyone else there. I asked about the psychiatrist and she scoffed that no one was taking new patients and the waiting list would be months long, which was why she had tried to help me with a script in the first place. I understood all of that too well and begged her to reconsider. I told her I would take the medication if that was the problem. It had taken me years to find an office where I could see the same doctor each time and I didn't want to start using urgent care for maladies again. It made no difference. I didn't even know that my doctor "firing" me as a patient was an option before then.
It was 3 months later when my psychologist stopped scheduling me. I have no urge to contact him and I dont really trust him for leaving me out at sea. I probably am depressed now. I have gained all that weight my doctor was so afraid of. My boyfriend of 6 years has been great through it all, but he is exhausted from doing damage control. It's like he's living with an abusive partner... but instead of me abusing him, he has to watch me do it to myself.
I teach 10th grade English. I look like a normal put together adult. My friends think I am just your average 30 something woman who loves gardening and her pets. I refer students who show signs like mine to see professionals all the time. But I can't seem to get help for myself. I am trying to handle it on my own in the interim but am busting at the seams. Working from home is a whole mental clusterfuck. I feel like a lazy piece of shit for sitting on my ass in front of a computer all day while my house is in shambles around me. When I try to do housework, I feel like I am neglecting my students who need (and deserve!) constant attention. The district I work in canceled our Spring break because they were worried about losing engagement. I have been in disaster mode for months and am frazzled and tired and especially hard on myself. We get one week off next week and then summer school begins. The program is even more rigorous than the last 13 weeks and I'm just not sure how I'll do it.
If you made it this far. Thanks. Thanks for listening. Not sure what I'm looking for or why I'm here, but it feels kind of good sharing my secret. I don't want it to be a secret because I want to stop. I am trying. But I am not succeeding. How are you doing it? How are you getting better?
submitted by orangejuicenopulp to AdultSelfHarm [link] [comments]

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