You might have noticed that we here at Active Minds’ national office haven’t commented much on the political climate here in the United States over the last few weeks and months. There’s one particularly compelling reason for this. As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization, we generally have to stay out of politics. For example, we can support getting out the vote, but we can’t endorse a candidate. Make sense?
All that said, we are an organization composed of more than 10,000 students who have been impacted in one way or another by our country’s politics and policies over the last several months, and there are a few things we would like to make clear to each and every student who follows us online, participates in our programming, leads our chapters, or just wants to make the climate friendlier for people with mental health issues.
Every student should be able to pursue their education without harassment.
No matter their country of origin, race, ethnicity, or religious belief, every student deserves a quality education. No matter their gender identity, sexual orientation, or political leanings, every student belongs on our campuses and in our democratic society. We hear reports of students being kept from returning to campus, harassed for who they did and did not vote for, and discriminated against for their backgrounds. Yet, there isn’t time for that kind of division when we’re all working so hard to make sure quality mental health care and quality education is accessible to everyone.
Every student has the right to speak up without retribution.
You likely don’t even have to scroll down on your feed or look beyond the door of your classroom to find people entrenched in controversy around recent issues. We understand controversy, but we support civility. People have stories to tell, they have beliefs to share; we do not have to agree, but we do have a responsibility to remain civil. If a conversation gets too heated, you’re allowed to remove yourself from the situation. Excuse yourself and walk away. Get off of social media. You’re allowed to do that; give yourself that permission. And don’t forget, the people you disagree with have the exact same rights. We should all be doing what we need to do to practice self-care in these contentious times.
Active Minds is for everyone.
Everyone has mental health. So, no matter your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, country of origin, citizenship status, political affiliation, diagnoses, etc., we welcome you here. We are an organization of inclusion, and we will continue to be so with one caveat: We Will Not Tolerate Hate. Discrimination, slurs, hate speech, and any behavior that threatens our values of inclusion and controversy with civility will not be tolerated in our chapters, in our staff offices, or on any of our online outlets. To support and ensure everyone’s right to maintain their mental health, we’ve always reserved the right to mute or block users and/or delete comments that perpetuate hate and intolerance.
We express our solidarity with and support for anyone seeking to pursue a quality education that prepares them to be better citizens, better students, better teachers, engineers, doctors, nurses, business people, researchers, psychologists, politicians. For anyone seeking to make quality mental health care available to all members of our society. For those on the margins—who feel they’re being discriminated against and need a place to call home.
When it comes to taking sides, our stance is simple. We side with kindness. We side with justice. We side with truth. We side with better access to care for all.