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Board members

Tina Minkowitz looking into the camera with a neutral expression on her face. She has fair skin, short grey hair and is wearing glasses and a brown shirt. There is greenery in the background.

Tina Minkowitz is the President of Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. She is a licensed attorney and holds a master’s degree in public international law from the University of Oslo. She represented the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in the drafting and negotiation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in which she played an influential role in formulating provisions that changed international law. Her work since the adoption of the Convention has contributed to further developing the norms of legal capacity, liberty and security of the person, and freedom from torture, to require the complete abolition of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and treatment, she is currently working on the application of a social model of disability to replace the reliance on mental health systems. She conducts capacity-building and networking activities as well as advocacy and conceptual development.

See writings at https://uio.academia.edu/TinaMinkowitzhttps://tastethespring.wordpress.comhttps://www.madinamerica.com/author/tminkowitz/

Emmy looking to the camera and smiling. She is Chinese-presenting and has chin-length black hair. She is wearing glasses, a brown and orange plaid dress and a scarf.

Emmy Charissa identifies as Mad, as a survivor of psychiatry, and as a person disabled by psychosocial norms and associated practices. Her background is in legislative advocacy, disability studies, Deaf studies, anthropology and sociology. In addition to her activism at both the international and national levels on issues concerning Mad people, she has been engaged in various social justice projects at the national level in her country, Singapore. These include research and advocacy on the issues confronting disabled women and girls, pan-disability advocacy, cross-disability solidarity-building, and civil society coalition-building. She believes in the power of solidarity, movement-bridging and coalition-building. Having advocated for and coordinated sign language interpreters for multiple civil society events in Singapore, she is keenly aware of the importance of language justice. She is the secretary of the Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.

Celia Brown in profile, smiling while giving a speech at a podium. She is a Black woman with black hair, and is wearing a white blouse with blue and grey watercolor blocks on it.

Celia Brown is a psychiatric survivor and a long time advocate for people with psychiatric disabilities. Celia was one of the first Peer Specialists in New York. She was instrumental in developing and implementing the Peer Specialist Civil Service title for the New York State Office of Mental Health. She currently works in the position of Regional Advocacy Specialist for the Office of Consumer Affairs at the New York State Office of Mental Health. Celia provides technical assistance and support to people with psychiatric disabilities and their families. She is a certified peer specialist in New York State. Celia is a long-time leader in the peer movement. She is the Board President of MindFreedom International. Celia was the main representative to the United Nations for MindFreedom International, an organization that unites thousands of individual members and groups to win human rights and alternatives for people labeled with psychiatric disabilities. She collaborated with other Disability organizations on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Celia is the founder of Surviving Race: The Intersection of Injustice, Disability and Human Rights, a coalition comprised of people of color, psychiatric survivors and allies to fight for the elimination of police brutality and systemic racism. She has recently participated on two panels, Disability Justice panel organized by the National Lawyers Guild and the second panel, Why Defunding the Police in Favor of traditional mental health systems is Not the Answer to Police Brutality organized by the Open Society Foundations Human Rights Initiative. She continues to present nationally and internationally. She is the the treasurer of the Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.


We honor Sonjinetta Cooper Searight "Sonji" who passed away unexpectedly on August 20, 2014.  Sonji was a board member of CHRUSP and a valued and beloved member of many communities including the peer/anti-psychiatric abuse community.  


"Human Rights like Oxygen is our birth right. It's not rocket science ."

Sonji is an avid Human Rights Activist. Civil and Human Rights Activism were standard practices in Sonji's home while growing up. Her fervor for Civil and Human Rights Activism was further ignited in the early eighties during her teenage years, when she was an undergrad studying Criminal Justice at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield CT. Her Criminology professor / mentor encouraged her to research her cultural history. This process not only reintroduced her to the movement, it offered her confirmation within the crux of who she knew herself to be. The message of the civil rights struggle aligned with her core beliefs. This was an extremely enriching and self-validating experience. It was life changing for her. She became empowered to be a confident and bold advocate for herself and eventually others.

Sonji has held many different positions in the Human Service Field: Counselor, Case Manager, Project Developer, Advocate, Trainer and Mentor. She is a former Jr. Olympic Girls Basketball Coach, and also coached girls basketball at several schools throughout New England. Sonji served on a friendship team that worked with Bhutanese refugee teens in Loudonville NY. As a certified researcher, she has conducted research for Peer Run Programs and the Nurturing Family Network. In 2012 Sonji received endorsement for a Human Rights Fellowship at the Urban Justice Center (Working With Women of Color). Current projects include studying for her CASAC certification and working on establishing The Genesis Network program, of which she is the Founder. The Genesis Network is a membership group of multicultural business owners, entrepreneurs, students and community members. The objective is to create leaders, build businesses, develop programs and partner with existing agencies which provided services that correspond with The Genesis Network's Philosophy of Strengthening Communities and empowering families.

Sonji's Proclamation

"I am not a survivor. I am an Overcomer I am More than a Conqueror______"