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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Mothers of Hope Marks 20th Year With Walk for Recovery

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"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.

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Credit Earlene McMichael | WMUK
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Gwen Lanier

"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.

WestSouthwest is produced by WMUK, the public radio station licensed to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. It airs Mondays & Thursdays at 7:34 a.m., 9:34 a.m. & 4:20 p.m. You can subscribe to the WestSouthwest podcast through Apple podcasts and Google Music. There you can leave a rating and write a review.

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The Mothers of Hope's Walk for Recovery starts at 8 a.m. July 27 at Allen Chapel AME Church, located at 804 W. North St. in Kalamazoo.

Earlene McMichael was WMUK's local host of NPR's Morning Edition from August 2012 through October 2021. A former, long-time Kalamazoo Gazette editor, reporter, and columnist, she was a news anchor at WHCU-FM when it was owned by Cornell University, her alma mater.
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