Elizabeth Markle, Ph.D.
Dr. Markle is a licensed psychologist, professor, and chair of Community Mental Health at California Institute of Integral Studies. She is also Founder and Executive Director of Open Source Wellness, a clinical-community integration initiative offering experiential behavioral health and wellness via a “Behavioral Pharmacy” approach for individuals and families. She recently served as a project director with Well Being Trust, a new foundation focused on the mental, social, and spiritual health of the nation, and lead the Youth Peer Initiative, focused on uplifting and spreading the Youth Peer Hotlines model across the nation. Formerly, Elizabeth served as a postdoctoral fellow at the San Francisco VA. Dedicated to multitheoretical and multi-level approaches to individual and community health and healing, her research and entrepreneurship are focused on systems design to generate social support, social capital, and social sustainability in health and healthcare.
Tolbert Small, MD
I worked with the Black Panther Party from 1970 to 1974. If we had a government that truly served the needs of the people, we wouldn’t have had a need to exist. But we don’t have a government that serves the needs of the people….
I was born in Mississippi. In 1955, I was in Mississippi when Emmett Till was savagely murdered. I often followed my grandfather with his mule, plowing the red clay in Mississippi. While in medical school, from 1963 to 1967, I worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1965, the first Black Panther Party that I supported was the Lowndes County Freedom Party in Alabama. I even had a Black Panther bumper sticker on my car. Lowndes County was a stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan; the Lowndes County Black Panther workers carried guns to protect themselves from the Ku Klux Klan. 90 percent of Lowndes County was black; yet, no black folks could vote. When Huey [Newton heard] about the Lowndes County Black Panther Party, that’s where [he] got the conception of the Black Panther Party.
In 1968, I came to Oakland to intern at Highland Hospital. In 1970, I went by the Black Panther office and told June Hilliard, “If you ever need a doctor, give me a call.” Within days, the FBI attempted to contact Dr. Malcolm Nelson, the medical director of Highland Hospital, to inform him that Dr. Tolbert Small had agreed to work with the Black Panther Party. However, who did the FBI talk to? They didn’t talk to the medical director; they talked to my intern, David Nelson, who shared the same last name as the medical director. Through COINTELPRO, the FBI planted 67 paid agents into the 45 Black Panther Party chapters. COINTELPRO and contradictions within the Black Panther Party played a significant role in the demise of the party….
But let’s go back to the time when the Panther Party was founded. In 1966 racism firmly ruled this land. Our televisions portrayed the traditional black actor’s role as a servant, such as Beulah. Northern inner-city police terrorized the Black communities. Southern Black travelers faced the dilemma of either sitting in the back of the bus or facing the threat of a lynching. Northern medical schools satisfied their quotas by admitting one or two Black students in each class. Southern medical colleges traditionally admitted no Black students. Thus the ghetto’s health care mirrored the institutional racism of our society. Bobby Seale was aware of racism in health care. It was his idea to set up our national Sickle Cell Anemia Program. As national chairmen of the Black Panther Party Sickle Cell Anemia Project, we dramatized the American government’s neglect of sickle cell anemia. [Today] every major city in this country [has] a sickle cell anemia project.
I think we have to remember that although the Black Panther Party has come and gone, its spirit still lives. Unfortunately, racism and poverty have not come and gone. As we begin this century, racism no longer struts on the front porch of the White House. It crawls through the back door of our ruling circles.
I am the Great grandfather of one, a Grandfather of nine, a Father of six, a Brother of nine, an Uncle of too many to count. For all my relations I have joined my mother protesting and healing from 500 years of Generational Trauma. I have responded with 51 years as a Conscientious Objector to war and a Community Activist in the MeChicano Human Rights Struggle.
To help our people heal from Generational Traumatic Oppression I have added the following to what my mother, our Medicine Woman and Oral Historian, taught me:
For the past 45 years as a Social [Justice] Worker developing my Traditional Healing Praxis (Lo Siento Trauma Recovery). I have also responded with 29 years’ service to the National Compadres Network, 23 years as a Temachtiani, Temazcalli-Sweat Lodge Leader of my Mechica-Family Lodge; 15 years as a Mitotiani, a Mexica Ceremonial Dancer with the Palabra Cuauhtonal, Ascending Eagle; and a Sun Dancer for five years with the Northern Paiute at Fort McDermitt.
For 39 years I helped develop CASA de Sol and CASA CHE at La Clinica de La Raza; the first community based Crisis Emergency Response Services using a Cultural Strength Based Model for a Health Wellbeing, and Community Health Education program. Then for four years I applied this model to Victims/Survivors of Crime. I am currently providing my Traditional Healing Praxis with Street Level Health Project.
I have documented all of the above in five books and a number of power point/graph presentations. I am currently working on short story activities that teachers can use in class rooms to help children with emotional/social and restorative learning.
Diana Martinez is a native of El Salvador. She lived for a while in Mexico City where she graduated from medical school. She worked as a community doctor in rural Mexico and later in villages affected by the war in El Salvador. She has been part of innovative research projects in health education, reproductive health, pesticide exposure, and chronic disease among Latino immigrants and farm workers. Through her use of multimedia in education interventions, Diana became passionate about radio production. Currently she is senior producer for Letters and Politics program at KPFA radio in Berkeley, California.