'They don't see the humanity in us': Dior Vargas on mental health activism, racism and social change

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Dior Vargas

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

A couple of years ago, Dior started an online photo project looking at immigrant, people of colour communities and mental health. Since the launch of her project, Dior has been touring the country as a sought-after speaker at numerous mental health advocacy conferences and has been honoured at #BlogHer15: Experts Among Us Conference and was the keynote speaker at the Suicide Prevention Week gathering this past Monday at the University of Texas, in Austin. Most recently, Dior was honoured as a Champion of Change for Mental Health and Disabilities at the White House in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I spoke with Dior in her home city of New York over the summer where she shared her own personal struggles with depression, and the intersection of mental health, racism, sexism and more.

BIO

Dior Vargas is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She is a CrisisTextLine crisis counselor and a facilitator for the Young Adult Support Group at NAMI-NYC Metro. She is also a member of NAMI-NYC Metro's Young Professionals Advisory Board.

​For the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Dior was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations. She was chosen as a Voices of the Year honoree at #BlogHer15: Experts Among Us Conference for her online photo project, People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project. She holds a B.A. in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.

​Dior lives in New York City.

DiorVargas.com

Thanks

Fiercest thank you to my guests, Dior Vargas and Sharon H. Chang, as well as to Elysse Cloma, whose talent and generosity made this episode possible.

And of course, thank YOU fierce listeners and supporters. Without your ears, MsRepresent wouldn't be here for a second season.

MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman can also be found at msrepresentpodcast.com

Music

Intro/outro music: "Rainbow" by Emilie Simon. Remix from the original.

Additional music: "Black Bear Kolo" by Black Bear Combo. "Watcha Doin'?" by Monk Turner and Fascinoma. "Call to Action" by Tickle. "Real Swing Shet" by Menage Quad. "A tua choradeira é meio salário em lenços" by Stealing Orchestra & Rafael Dionísio. Remix from the original. "I Guess So" by Steve Combs. Remix from the original. "Mr. Trumpet" by Ketsa. "General Mixup March" by the Arthur Pryors Band. Remix from the original.

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

 

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.