04/18/2012 04:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Montgomery and Stonewall of the Mental Health Movement?

Mental health activists supported by young people are engaged in a direct action to prevent the closing of public mental health clinics in Chicago. You can watch it live here.

For the past year, mental health advocates in Chicago have been opposing the closing of public mental health clinics. Their struggle is captured in this YouTube video:

As you can see, their concerns and messages are thoughtful and clear.

23 people opposed to the clinic closings occupied a clinic and were arrested on April 13, 2012.

Right now, hundreds of people in a tent city supporting the protest are risking arrest. And it's all happening live on-line.

This is the first direct action that I am aware of by those who are affected by mental health service cuts who are putting themselves on the line to oppose the cutbacks. At this moment, protesters are readying themselves for the Chicago police to move in and arrest people. After decades of mental health advocates waiting for those affected by failed mental health care in this country to take direct action, this could well be the Stonewall and Montgomery moment of the mental health movement.

The protests are poised to build until the scheduled closing of the clinics on April 30. It's happening live here. For those who care about the issues for which they are fighting, and are impressed by their courage and tenacity, think about what we might do to publicize or support what is happening in Chicago. It's not every day you see dedicated, articulate and thoughtful people in need of mental health treatment and mental health advocates take to the streets and put themselves on the line to fight against community treatment and care cuts.