Reverend Fred Shaw joined forces with the NAACP to pass resolutions designed to protect African-Americans against psychiatric abuse and electroconvulsive therapy.
Reverend Fred Shaw, Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Inglewood/South Bay branch and the Director of Public Affairs for Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) International, began working to reform the mental health field over 25 years ago.
With the American Psychiatric Association (APA) appealing to the US Food and Drug Administration to reclassify the electroshock machine to the same safety category as contact lenses, and with the high amount of drugging of Black America, Shaw was compelled to do something.
And do something he did. He went to the media. He spoke on more than 19 radio shows, as well as on TV and through numerous press releases running in print and online, ultimately reached 4.9 million with the facts on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and psychotropic drugs.
But it was in 2016 that he upped the ante, first joining CCHR’s protest march of more than 500 during the APA’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The message of the march and subsequent CCHR traveling exhibit was the need to ban ECT. Joining him were not only fellow NAACP members, but members of Black Lives Matter, 10,000 Fearless, Concerned Black Clergy and the Nation of Islam.
Then Shaw dialed up the pressure once again, this time personally leading a march of 600 protesters during APA’s next annual meeting in San Diego, joined by the city’s NAACP chapter and again with the message, “Ban Electroshock—It’s Torture, Not Treatment.” Following on its heels were Psychiatry: An Industry of Death exhibits in Harlem and in Washington, DC, where the exhibit was on display for US Congress members at the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Conference.
Shaw also did a series of lectures to groups including Southern California Cease Fire, Southern California Against Forced Treatment, the psychology faculty of Southwest College, Los Angeles Police Department’s Clergy Council and the NAACP. In total, he reached more than 12,000 through lectures and exhibits.
Shaw’s work culminated with proposals of two NAACP resolutions, one to ban ECT and another to oppose the mass psychotropic drugging of children. Both were unanimously passed by the NAACP national office and distributed to all 2,000 NAACP chapters in the US.