Trip to Washington D.C. "Walk the Walk"
Spring time in Washington is most wonderful of the year with full blooming flower bushes, Cherry blossom trees and the bluer than blue sky.
One mile walk begun at Freedom Plaza near White House May 2/98 at 11 am. Sponsored by Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. About 4000 consumers and supporters from all over the country demonstrated that recovery is possible. The purpose of "Walk the Walk..for lives touched by mental illness" is to dispel misconceptions about mental illness, gain equal treatment for people with mental illness and celebrate mental health. I proudly walked waving an Alaskan flag which was loaned by Senator Murkowski's Office. Many former Alaskan consumers, supporters and tourists stopped me and asked me about Alaska.
There were about 25 governments and non-governments mental health organizations opened display and information booths at the Freedom Plaza. I volunteered at the NAMI Booth and signed up new members and answered questions about mental illness. The exhibit places were packed with information seeking consumers, it was hard to move around.
After the walk, NAMI members got together at a park, south side of White House and then ate lunch together and exchanged ideas. Next day, I was privileged to be invited to NAMI National Board Meeting at the Arlington Hilton. I could eyewitness hot actions of decision making at the national level. I came back to Alaska with the board members and the staff's heart warm welcome. They really care about us.
Upon visiting Senators Steven, Murkoswki and Congressman Young's offices, their press secretaries prepared information for me with three day's notice how they stand on mental health issues and answers.
If anyone would like to share tons of information I brought back, please contact me.
This article is also appeared on NAMI Anchorage May Newsletter
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