Up in the northern California city of Richmond, an exciting movement took place last month. Neighbors, friends and community members united to spread the word about addiction within the Native American community. To help gather charity funds and media attention, the group organized a very successful Walk For Sobriety; which emphasized the struggles certain tribes face.
The United Urban Warrior Society (UUWS) was the main org behind the Walk, building flyers and YouTube videos to spread the message. The beauty is that this group is not just made up of Native Americans. They reflect local Richmond residents from all walks of life, who were proud to unite for this important cause.
Throughout the event, participants carried large awareness signs and marched in organized fashion across several blocks in the main stretch of town. As we mentioned in our blogs before, drugs and alcohol have become more commonplace in tribes across the U.S. California happens to be impacted too, partially because of the struggles that many Native Americans continue to face.
“Mass extermination and ethnic cleansing of Native Americans over centuries has Indian Country’ suffering from historic trauma. And for many of us, unsolved grief has led to alcoholism.” UUWS chairperson Mike Kinney explained on TheFix.com. “The most important goal of the Native Walk for Sobriety [are] the ideas of self-empowerment, self-worth and self-esteem.”
As mentioned in the quote, recovery and awareness were also big goals of the event. Kinney added that many tribespeople around Richmond aren’t always aware what a common issue this is and how many treatment resources are available for them. The Walk makes a point to de-stigmatize addiction and build a welcoming environment where people can seek out help.
Many local businesses got involved in the event too. A particular nod of the cap went to the Richmond retail store Rebecca Marlin Pet Care, which donated meals for participants and a gathering place for Native Americans looking to learn about treatment.
As Kinney concluded, the Walk was born out of prior marches that helped bring awareness to Native American issues. The hope is, that this too will gain national exposure and steer struggling tribe members away from drugs and alcohol.
“Historically, Indian Country has always had social marches throughout the United States to bring awareness to mainstream society to better educate them about our conditions and how we were living both then and now,” he said. “Native Sobriety Walks are a direct outgrowth of that.”
You can see some highlights from last month’s Walk For Sobriety below…