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MakerFaireKC: Geeks and Depression
Maker Faire KC: The Untold Story - A Perspective From The Sidelines
Mitch Altman and Jimmie Rodgers participated in our 2010 Kansas City Mini Maker Faire by conducting soldering workshops. I heard Mitch talk about his problems with bullying when growing up. About a year and a half ago a friend of Mitch took his own life and Mitch wrote this blog post. I've thought about Mitch several times since then but finally reached out last month and learned that he was getting ready to go to a Geeks and Depression support group that he helped organize. At the 28c3 Chaos Communications Congress (CCC) last year, Mitch conducted a Geeks and Depression panel discussion along with Jimmie. Mitch told me that lately he's been struggling with his own attacks of corporate bullying. It helped just knowing I am not alone.
This is the hardest thing I have ever tried to write down, I've been wrestling with my own demons and talking with Mitch helped put them into perspective. In 1995, my wife and I suffered the greatest loss any parent fears when our son was killed by a hit-and-run driver. One of the library books I found describes a very thin line between grief and depression. At my age I know how much of a stigma is associated with being labeled with Depression. But I also know the pain from days when you wake up in the morning just to go back to bed hoping that tomorrow will be better. My wife and I hid out in Southwest Missouri for 10 years trying to rebuild our lives. In 2005 we moved back to Kansas City to help our youngest daughter raising three boys on her own. I started turning my attention to mentoring high school teams in FIRST Robotics. In 2009 I founded Make:KC and it became my crutch, focusing attention on Maker activities, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) events, and trying to bring a Maker Faire to the Heart of America region. Our 2010 Kansas City Mini Maker Faire was a great highlight in my life.
What do you do when something you are so passionate about begins to start tearing you apart? The mention of MakerFaireKC and those who caused so much harm was having a profound effect. Talking with Mitch helped me realize I had to make some changes in my life. By writing these accounts, this “perspective from the sidelines” is my attempt at recovering (again). I have been fighting back against corporate bullying from the Maker Faire KC partnership of Kauffman Foundation and Union Station for over three years now. I believe what the Kauffman Foundation allowed one of their employees to do to Make:KC and myself is illegal. I have tried resolving this amicably among those principally involved but realize the best way to battle too many secrets is to shine a light on the problem.
More to come...
(c) 2013 - Vince Thompson (aka SomeoneKnows)
Events & Activities
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