Saturday music, sunshine, and volunteers from the DMV engulfed the national mall with the message of freedom.
The freedom to recover from what? Well they left that vague, and they wanted to. They wanted the first annual Walk 4ReCovery to be open to everyone.
“We are all included, so we are all out here, we are all recovering from something, everyone is recovering from something.” explained Kelvin Manurs.
Even Manurs has experienced recovery. The Herndon resident is veteran, former drug addict, turned dealer, who spent time in prison. Today he leads Arm & Arm: https://www.armandarm.org/ a peer to peer re-entry organization.
Saturday, he lead participants in a nearly three mile walk, in perhaps one of our nation’s most public venues.
“If we change the conversation, people will get help, we want people to understand they’re not alone.” said Walk 4ReCovery Founder, Rhonda Johnson.
“Community I think is key. In anything, I think we do in order to change, in order to educate the public, it’s really a community effort.” added Julia Wolhandler, public affairs specialist for the D.C. government office of disability rights.
Johnson said fighting the stigma is important, but meaningless without education. That’s why over a dozen booths were set up, with everyone from the metropolitan police department to John, an Arm & Arm a volunteer from Alexandria, who was formerly incarcerated.
“Recovery is not just an addicts problem, it’s not just an alcoholics problem, it really is a problem for anybody and everybody who has ever suffered trauma.” he said.