Young Vincentian Yugge Farrell was released on bail, after spending three weeks at a Mental Health Center (MHC) in St. Vincent undergoing psychiatric evaluation and receiving unwanted medication for having cursed the Finance Minister’s wife. [See previous post, Yugge Farrell Granted Bail, and the Solidarity with Yugge Farrell: Regional Statement by Red for Gender.]
When news of Farrell’s forced hospitalization broke, artist Susan Mains (Grenada) said, “When I read about her, this painting came pouring out.” [See painting above.] She explains her motivation on her artist’s page, “Sometimes an issue becomes so urgent that you just have to say something. I am not a lawyer or a politician, so I use the best way I can to draw attention, and that is through art. Her story is heartbreaking, and is now all over social media.”
Ronelle King (Barbados)—activist and director/founder of Life in Leggings: Caribbean Alliance Against Gender-based Violence—told Loop Barbados: “Once again, Caribbean women in the region and the Diaspora have taken the initiative to mobilize and engage in impactful transnational activism, which could be described in Audrey Lorde’s own words, ‘I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.’”
She added, “Stand in solidarity with Vincentians and—by extension, the region—as we call upon the government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to protect the fundamental rights of Vincentian citizens by amending the Mental Health Act to prevent further misuse of mental health policies and legislation.”
Holly Bynoe (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) also shared a heartfelt statement via Facebook, calling us all to take action:
“This is how we can continue to fight for Yugge.
[. . .] In our times it is hard to listen to our gut, our intuition that deep part of ourselves that knows before our brains do, what injustice, inequity, corruption, fear mongering and abuse looks like.
Over the past few weeks and in particular in over the last days, as a nation, we have been deeply troubled by the course of action taken against Yugge. From indigent litigation in court to the blatant disregard of due process and procedure. Through it we feel a nation enraged, a country violated and in deep pain. We also feel the affliction, as women as citizens of this country and every act of wrongdoing against Yugge is a move against us.
This is personal.
This is close.
She and all women and men are the heartbeats of this nation.
This profound cry has been heard near and far, but we need more allies to the cause. And even though Yugge has been granted bail and her case dismissed till the end of the year–which is an even greater injustice–we need to keep the story of Yugge in the public domain and keep focused on the actual crime at hand; the gross misuse of the justice system and the levels of top-down corruption which have now been revealed in an explicit manner.
[. . .] Yugge’s case feels different and that is because this SEASON is like no other. As we have all noticed, a new day is on the horizon and justice is rearing its head in a small and large ways. Our voices continue to be magnified, echoed across the Caribbean and throughout the diaspora and the vibration coming back says so much about this current moment that we are existing in. We will no longer be silent.
[. . .] Let us not distract ourselves and keep the reminder close that the issue at hand is Yugge and her wellness. May we find the commitment in our hearts to fight, may we find the decency we need as Vincentians, as Caribbeans, as people of a great community of humans to rise above this situation of politicking and pettiness to raise this young woman up and to hold ourselves accountable for her present conditions. Her continued wellness, assessment and healing are paramount.
So this is how you can continue the fight for Yugge.
Continue to work with local allies. Continue to rally and call on our Caribbean partners. Continue to draw on your diaspora, and on your journalists and activists. Continue to lobby and pressure our politicians to revise and update current laws, like the Mental Health Act, and others that are antiquated and out of time which lead to persecution of others which may exist on the fringes. We must continue to fight for transparency.
And finally, continue to keep Yugge’s name in your mouths and hearts. I call on all feminists, goddesses and warriors to—now more than ever—show your light. Show your strength, to keep determined and to acknowledge that you are not only fighting for your right to be, but the fight is for all Vincentian citizenry to have equal access to justice, wellness, respect and parity.