Walk A Mile In My Shoes!

About 2000 people gathered at the Capitol Steps in Lansing on Wednesday, May 11 for the 7th Annual Walk A Mile In My Shoes Rally. Here are a few pictures from this year’s Rally. To see more pictures, check out our Shutterfly page and “View Album 2011-05-12.”

Excellent weather this year boosted the participation. Mary Beth Evans, Certified Peer Support Specialist and the NLCMHA Recovery Coordinator, was the emcee this year. Justin Rankins, proprietor of Just In Time Productions, was the DJ, providing inspirational music that got the everyone at the event rockin’. Cadillac’s Patriots Choir, which had its roots at Northern Lakes CMH, did a beautiful job as part of the entertainment.

At the beginning of the rally, a proclamation recognizing the efforts of the state and advocates in creating and sustaining a community-based system of care was read and presented to Michigan Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo. Cynthia Kelly, interim director of the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities division of DCH, and Senator Bruce Caswell, who helped sponsor the resolution, also participated in the recognition.

Thanks to all of the people traveled to Lansing to fight stigma and raise their voices in support of persons with disabilities and to all the NLCMHA drivers that helped make it happen!

Here are the statements made by people from our 6 counties:

Roscommon County – Christine with Flag Bearer David: “We are easily forgotten to some people, but we won’t go away.  We will put a voice to our needs. We’ll shout until we are heard.  We don’t ask for much, we just ask for respect and understanding.  Walk a Mile In My Shoes!”

Crawford County – Kim with Flag Bearer Heather: “CMH services are our safety net. I hope our lawmakers hear me when I say that protecting our safety net services is not only the right thing to do but is good business – and will save the state money in the long run. No more cuts! Walk A Mile In My Shoes!

Wexford County – Frank with Flag Bearer Malinda: “I am more than my illness. Don’t put labels on me. Walk A Mile In My Shoes!”

Missaukee County – Kelly with Flag Bearer Deanna: “We believe that every single person in the world has value. We also believe it is right and good to help people who are less fortunate. The poor, the lost, and the wounded all need our support. Walk A Mile In My Shoes!”

Grand Traverse County – Richard with Flag Bearers Lee and Brandalyn: “In Grand Traverse County there is not enough affordable housing for people with mental health issues or low income families. We need more housing options to support people’s recovery. Walk A Mile in My Shoes!”

Leelanau County – Toni with Flag Bearer Susan: “Times of stress are NOT times to cut mental health funding. If anything, mental health funding should be INCREASED to help people even more. Walk A Mile in My Shoes!”