A Gathering of Wings and Stories in the Darkness: The Icarus Project Reaches a Decade

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This coming September will be the 10th anniversary of our Icarus Project journey. It started with a crazy story that a bunch of people read in a San Francisco newspaper that generated a meeting of Sascha Altman Dubrul and Jacks Ashley McNamara, two strangers with big ideas, who envisioned Icarus. What followed is that a bunch of brilliant and intense folks found each  other, and helped build a community amidst the darkness perpetrated by the mainstream psychiatric model of the early 21st century. Because of what we inspired, we’ve managed not only to survive with our scar songs, mad wisdom, and crooked beauty, but by 2012 to grow into a community of more than 10,000 Icaristas!With your participation, we will be celebrating this milestone anniversary. We are asking each of you to reflect back on your own personal journey with The Icarus Project.  We want to celebrate our victories and learn from our mistakes, as well as look forward to what we envision The Icarus Project to be over the next 10 years. Currently on the agenda: re-designing the website; revising and updating all of our publications; creating a 10th Anniversary story sharing archive; as well as some organizational restructuring, including getting an advisory board into place.Yes, it's true, we're also raising money to accomplish the above. We already have raised over $40,000 from foundations and some very generous personal donors to fund these projects. We are asking our members to come up with the other $7,500 neccessary to accomplish these goals. Please note that we are one of the most efficient organizations out there -- all money goes to pay direct expenses and projects, we pay no salaries nor rent for office space.  Now is the time to show your appreciation and committment to The Icarus Project with a donation of however much you can afford! Donate now and help us reach our $7,500 goal?Updates!Collective Narrative GatheringDid you once stumble across a copy of Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness and suddenly realize that you weren’t alone in the world? Did you ever participate in weekly meetings in your hometown and discover that there were so many visionary and empowering ways of thinking about mental health and illness? Have you ever found support and comfort in the layers of complex conversations on our online discussion boards? Did the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psych Drugs help inspire you to get off the meds you thought you’d be on forever? Do you have any long-term friends that you made from being involved in the Icarus community? Share your story with us!We’re planning to weave together a collective narrative by September, and what we receive will determine the shape it’s going to take. But it’s surely going to be beautiful. We’ll be accepting writing and audio and visuals. Get in touch if you have questions or ideas or are interested in being part of our little team.Stay tuned for the official call for submissions. (But if you can't wait, post your story on our forums.) 10th Anniversary CelebrationsAt this point, there are multiple generations of Icarus folks living and organizing all over the world. We want to invite you to organize an event in your town or region to co-incide with our 10th Anniversary. Currently,we are planning on having a day-long ten-year anniversary gathering in San Francisco with a radical mental health skill share during the day, a big mad arts performance at night, an art show at a local radical bookstore, a film screening, and a winged Critical Mass bicycle contingent. Are you interested in bringing together folks in your hometown? Get in touch and we’ll help you figure out how to do it and mail you postcards and stickers and things like that: anniversary@theicarusproject.netNew Decision Making Body/Advisory BoardAs we mentioned in our winter newsletter, there have been no paid staff members and only a small core contingent of folks doing national-level Icarus organizing for quite some time now. Currently, there are four of us working on the main organizing of the Icarus Project: Sascha DuBrul, Jacks McNamara, Jonah Bossewitch, and Eric Stiens. We are intent on using our tenth anniversary as an important jumping off point to connect with a wide and diverse variety of Icarus allies and former Icarus-affiliated people and begin to develop a base of people from which to develop a new and sustainable decision-making body for Icarus as an organization. If you are interested in participating in a conversation about this, please get in touch. Mindful OccupationThe Mindful Occupation working group has put out a fantastic zine thanks to the hard work of a whole bunch of folks and generous kickstarter donors. The booklet focuses on radical mental health, the #occupy movement, and mental and emotional support for people in action/protest/occupation situations. Icarus members were key in the whole process which also saw radical social workers, street medics, and many other healers involved. You can download the booklet for free at their website. We hope it will kick off a lot of much needed conversations around mental and emotional wellness in activist spaces around the country.http://www.mindfuloccupation.org    Publication UpdatesWe are planning on both revising and reprinting our old publications and developing an updated system for distributing our material (on-demand! ebooks!) We are especially excited about revising our support manual for starting local groups, Friends Make the Best Medicine. We’re looking for feedback from Icarus members on how to make it better and more useful.Specifically, we want to know about challenges your Icarus group came up against, and what advice you would share with other people who are starting Icarus groups.Do you have thoughts about how Icarus groups have successful or could do a better job the inclusion of folks  - people of color, queers, folks dealing with disabilities…? How did your group deal (or not deal) with internal conflict? What lessons do you have to share for new groups emerging? Email us at anniversary@theicarusproject.netWeb Re-DesignWe've raised the money to do a complete website overhaul after many years of loving duct tape and patches on the one we have. Our plans are to make the site as a whole much easier to navigate and more organized. We also want to make it easier for all of you to contribute content. Our ideas are much more along the lines of what we wished we could have done 5 or 6 years ago, but the technology just wasn't there yet. Now it is. We want to be a "radical mental health" hub, with more frequently updated content, more contributors, more links and discussions about what is happening around the world. Of course our forums and private messaging aren't going anywhere. Want to read more about our current plans for the website? If you have thoughts, criticism, wishes, etc feel free to be in touch with our web coordinator.New Decision Making Body/Advisory BoardAs we mentioned in our winter newsletter, there have been no paid staff members and only a small core contingent of folks doing national-level Icarus organizing for quite some time now. Currently, there are four of us working on the main organizing of the Icarus Project: Sascha DuBrul, Jacks McNamara, Jonah Bossewitch, and Eric Stiens. We are intent on using our tenth anniversary as an important jumping off point to connect with a wide and diverse variety of Icarus allies and former Icarus-affiliated people and begin to develop a base of people from which to develop a new and sustainable decision-making body for Icarus as an organization. If you are interested in participating in a conversation about this, please get in touch