This afternoon I received confirmation from the Grassroots Empowerment project that my registration was approved for Empowerment Days. This event is an effort to contact policy makers in Madison from April 29-May 1. I went to Empowerment Days several years ago but this one will be my first major advocacy effort since I became a certified peer specialist a few weeks ago.
As such it is an important step forward. The last time I went, Jim Doyle was Governor and there were democratic party majorities in both houses of the legislature. Now things are radically different, with Scott Walker as Governor facing a recall election along with five republican state senators. The republicans have instituted many policy changes that I don’t like, which is why I signed the recall petition against Walker. However, simply shifting back to democratic control will not automatically solve all of the problems for people with mental illness.
We need to expand the funding available for consumer run services, which was an issue that Jim Doyle inherited and failed to correct . Similarly, the problem of inadequate Medicaid reimbursements for dentists and psychiatrists developed over several years and many administrations. In addition, since Grassroots Empowerment Project is a non-profit organization, there is a possibility some of the participants in Empowerment Days will be republicans. Otherwise, they could run the risk of losing their tax exempt status. This non-partisan effort seeks support from across the political spectrum.
I’m going to Empowerment Days to make a difference in the lives of the consumers where I work. I want to see change because people can’t wait. We are in a critical time where the misplaced priorities nationally and statewide are damaging thousands of vulnerable citizens. In the days ahead, I will be blogging my observations from Madison. Always remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with first step.
The Free Dictionary: To take part in something: participated in the festivities. →