"Someday far in the future, people will remember the struggles of Deaf people fighting a world of ignorance and equate them to the likes of the great battles for civil rights and against slavery."
- Gio Manganelli
In the summer of 2013, GIO walked into St. Johns, world renown, mental health facility in Santa Monica, CA, seeking medical help. Gio had experienced his first “psychotic break event” which was preceded a month earlier by a Grand Mal seizure. Gio was turned away from St. Johns because he was DEAF. He was told that there were no services there for Deaf people. He was further told by the mental health doctor that to enter into their care would make his condition worse as there would be no sign language communication and he would be further isolated. This marks the beginning of a rapid and debilitating mental illness. Less than a year later, Gio would take his life after a tragic series of profoundly, apathetic and negligent actions by Gallaudet University.
The goal of the Gio Initiative is to establish legislation that will provide, enforce and hold accountable mental health training and education to all school officials and colleges. Develop peer reviewed programs as a tool for abolishing intolerance and stigmas so often the cause of the injustices to those suffering with behavior-related, mental health episodes so often discarded as behavior “problems.”
“By all measure, Gio was - like so many other gifted souls who die by suicide - a bright light among the stars. Gio committed his altruistic efforts to understanding the fantastically spiritual and physical properties of the universe and man’s place in it.
Please sign the Gio Initiative Petition here: https://www.change.org/gioinitiative
Rev. Michael Beckwith, Rickie Byars Beckwith and the Agape International Choir honor Gio
(watch until the end for a moving tribute to silence)