The Power of the Purple Sash
I expected the electricity of a 1000 delegates gathered at the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Forum. I expected the excitement of visiting our Senators and Representatives. What I didn’t expect was the power of a purple satin sash.
While visiting the Capital Building for a meeting with a Senator, my partner and I were asked to stand aside for a moment in the hallway and were privileged to be present as the entire Senate walked by. Many of them acknowledged us with a smile, a nod of the head, a raised hand, a brief wave. It was a highlight of the Capital Hill experience. But the power of the sash was only just beginning.
With time to spare between visits, we walked to the National Botanical Gardens and the National Gallery of Art. We were approached by volunteers, museum guards, a brain researcher, and countless ordinary Americans asking about the Alzheimer’s Association, why we were in Washington D.C., eager to share their personal stories. We talked, we hugged, we cried together. Meeting ordinary citizens who had been touched by this disease, encouraged by their comments and good wishes, I began to realize the power of the purple sash.
Advocacy isn’t just meeting with other advocates or elected representatives. It’s spreading the word wherever we go. It’s lending a shoulder to all who are hurting. It’s listening with our hearts. And it’s spreading encouragement. That is the true power of the purple sash. And for me, meeting and talking with ordinary people touched by this disease was the true highlight of this experience.
– Cathy Maupin, advocate
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