Tag Archives: disability

Facing the Shadows: Mental Health and the API Community

by Sunli Kim, ’15

Mental_HealthDuring May, API (Asian Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, the Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC) will be hosting a month-long issues series on mental health in the API community context, titled Facing the Shadows: Mental Health and the API Community. The workshops are open to all interested students, regardless of ethnic background. Not only will we be covering specific issues within the realm of mental health, but also we hope to raise overall campus awareness of Stanford’s available resources and evaluate the effectiveness of those resources to accommodate minorities’ narratives and cultural differences.

Mental health has been and continues to be an understated, unaddressed issue. We seek not only to raise awareness and critically analyze the root causes of mental health issues, but also to encourage our communities to directly confront these issues by exploring how an individual’s cultural context and larger institutional systems, such as education and law, influence mental health and promote a culture of stigma and silence. Continue reading

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The Dignity in Disability

by Vivian Wong, ’12

“I learned that good always invariably triumphs over evil; that having brains is often better than having brawn; and that underdogs in all situations of life need to have unlimited patience, resiliency, stubbornness and unshakable hope in order to triumph in the end.” – Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy

Unlimited patience.
Resiliency.
Stubbornness.
Unshakable hope.

Each of these words alone holds no grand importance, but strung together in such a delicate order, they are the flags I proudly wave. This is the creed of Mark Mathabane, author of Kaffir Boy, a firsthand account of apartheid in South Africa. Understatedly, apartheid is a serious tragedy, and for me – a Rapunzel recently toppled from her ivory tower – to say I identify with the underdog … well, I mean no disrespect. I share my thoughts not to play oppression Olympics or to flash some badge of courage. I’m sharing, because the alternative is silence – and now is not the time for that.

I am a young, disabled woman. It’s taken years for me to sit comfortably with that identity (in fact, years of literally sitting uncomfortably prompted a back spasm sophomore year, oops). My disability translates to a forward-curving spine, a truncated torso, and limited neck rotation. I am a petite 4’2’’ and I have never hit my head entering a doorway. I’ve spent countless days with nameless doctors, poking at me and scanning my body as if it were an equation to solve, a problem to fix. Continue reading

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