Kings Island Smearfest

A favorite quote of mine states that the measure of a great civilization is how it takes care of its least fortunate members. Tonight I met Markos of and was inspired by his rousing talk about the people-powered movement. This hit home with me deeply as I want to reclaim the Democratic Party and work to represent politically those I also dedicate my life's work to, as a social worker. However, later this same night I was appalled to learn that in our so-called modern society, not only are we not taking care of those less fortunate than ourselves, we are also perpetuating a stigma and making entertainment out of the suffering of innocent people: those with mental illness.

I wrote to the heads of Kings Island and Cedar Point to tell them that I am heartbroken and deeply offended that they would put forth a horrible and backwards portrayal of the mentally ill through their exhibits entitled "Aslyum" and "Psychopath." As the family member of a brother with mental illness, to even see these words is deeply offensive and hurtful. Having visited my brother in the hospital when he was very ill, and knowing how he has been judged and rejected because of his mental illness, these horrible stereotypes that these theme parks are reinforcing only serve to perpetuate a backward and harmful perception that stigmatizes a very real, MEDICAL illness. What if there were an exhibit of people with no hair due to chemotherapy or people shaking from Parkinson's disease? This is precisely the equivalent of what they are doing with mental illness. Mental illness is a real MEDICAL illness, controlable with medication and help and understanding from the public and professionals. People with mental illness suffer from a biological brain disorder involving an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. They are not scary, insane, murderous or Halloween psychopaths or attractions. THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS THAT DESERVE OUR UNDERSTANDING AND RESPECT. We desperately need MORE understanding from the public, not less, and certainly not these horrible images.
Not only does my brother have a mental illness (and with medication is now attending college, works full-time and is an incredibly loving and productive individual), but I also work full-time as a licensed social worker here in Cincinnati. Every year our organization has the opportunity to attend Kings Island on the United Way Day, as part of Catholic Social Services. I work on a daily basis with people who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses and it pains me deeply to see this used as some form of "entertainment."

I asked KI and Cedar Point to remove these exhibits or I will be participating in protests organized by the National Association for the Mentally Ill. With your help (just an email that takes a few minutes) hopefully we can remove these horrible exhibits!

Please, if you care about the dignity of all human beings, take the few minutes to send an email re: banning these horrible exhibits to;;;

Thank you!

Any questions or comments regarding mental illness are more than welcome. I would like to do anything I can to shed more light on this issue!

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