"Up with hope, down with dope! Hugs, not drugs!'"
These chants will echo down a few Kalamazoo streets on July 27. It's part of the Walk for Recovery that Mothers of Hope is trying in its fight to help people with drug addiction as the grassroots nonprofit marks its 20th anniversary, says Co-Founder Gwen Lanier. She hopes like-minded allies will come out.
"We're looking forward to this wonderful unified turnout of people, from all over coming together, and walking through the neighborhood and giving hope to the neighborhood," Lanier says today on WMUK's WestSouthwest news and public affairs show.
The free walk starts at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of Allen Chapel AME Church, located at 804 W. North St. in northern Kalamazoo. First, a recovering drug user and a youngster from a home affected by substance abuse will briefly address the crowd. Then the walk will begin.
It will be followed by the Celebration of Recovery, a week later, for recovering and active drug users and their friends and family members. The celebration is planned for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the group's headquarters at 603 Ada St. in Kalamazoo.
One tent there will be for relatives and friends; the other for those in recovery or still using drugs. Each tent will have speakers with personal lived experiences similar to those they will address.
Lanier, 65, says she herself used to be on drugs, but has been clean for 30 years and now is convinced recovery is possible for others.
That's why Mothers of Hope plans to hold its new outreach projects, the Walk for Recovery and Celebration of Recovery, every year.
"I don't think there's any kid that their dream is to be a drug abuser," Lanier says.
Hear the shorter, aired interview here.
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