Sunday, April 11, 2021

Comments by Ron Bassman, PhD

Showing 2 of 2 comments.

  • Leonard, I can’t believe you’re gone, you were invulnerable, invincible. A paragon of self –discipline, principles, and intolerance for injustice, with an unhesitating willingness to speak truth to power. I will miss our conversations, your bubbling excitement about a new book that you discovered and your sharing of some new insight and a recommendation of something for me to read. So much I learned from you and so lucky was I to have you as a friend. Whenever I wrote anything, I asked for your opinion and you were always willing to give me your honest assessment and some prodding to add or change an expression or a word. One of your first edits was to point out that I should not write psychiatric medications, but to instead call them what they are, “psychiatric drugs.” Many similar clarifications were suggested (strongly) through the years. Yes, Leonard had strong opinions or should I say values and didn’t mince words.
    Some memories: I met you in 1994. Rae Unzicker invited/convinced me to attend my first NARPA conference. There, she pointed out to me a tall, angular, full bearded man who could have passed for John the Baptist. She said that like you, he had insulin shock treatment – you should get to know him. I walked up to you, said hi and told you that Rae thought that I should meet you. When I told you that I had insulin comas and electric shock, I saw your eyes light up. You asked me tell you anything I could remember about it. We then pieced together our fragmented memories of it and the aftermath of struggling to overcome the lingering effects. That was the start of our 20 year friendship.
    I remember David Oakes introducing you for a keynote address at a conference, “Leonard is the Gandhi of our survivor movement.”
    I brought you to The American Psychological Association meeting in San Francisco about 15 years ago and we attended an address given by Bert Karon where he was given an award for his work. There, I met Bert and his wife Mary. Bert was very excited when he realized that you were there – he was an admirer of your work.
    Leonard was always open to having new and old activists for social justice come to his small efficiency apt. in San Francisco and respond to requests for knowledge and direction. Leonard’s apartment was amazing with books all over. Food cabinets and closets had layers of books rather than food or clothing.
    I have many memories of you and a belief that your life’s work will continue to inspire and benefit those who fight for justice for all people. COURAGE, INTEGRITY AND SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER were the pillars of your life. May your spirit continue to SOAR!
    Ron Bassman

  • Hi Sera,
    Thank you for writing this very important piece. We do need to keep trying to get this information out as widely as possible. Some published research articles that I have cited in the past by a very credible sociologist researcher, Athena McLean. In her work we see the history and context. And in the words of Miles Horton of the Highlander Center: We have to be in this for the Long Haul.

    Keep up the great work.