FASDAY 2003 Regina, Saskatchewan
Well, we awoke to the first significant rain in 3 months, but by 8:30am it was dry - which is just as well because we'd planned to be outside for the bellringing. We gathered outside a downtown church... about 50 people I'd say. We started at 9am with a prayer by an Elder, then the deputy mayor read the proclamation of FASD Awareness Day that the city had passed. We had our bell ringer in place, and were rather sneaky (to put this MC's mind at rest) and gave her the cue to ring by having someone call her on a cell phone! Following the bells, 2 young women with FASD spoke. They were well prepared and did a fantastic job...quite moving.
Politicians followed, then the Exec. Director of Mental Health and Addictions Services from the Health Authority, and the Chief of Police. We ended with First Nations dancers and a piper.
Plenty of media were there, and we made the news on 2 TV channels (the 3rd had footage from Saskatoon). Clips were also on at least 2 radio stations. The media chose to focus on the 2 young women, and although they'd been warned that they'd be asked all kinds of questions, and both had said they didn't want to speak to the media, they did, at length! Today there was a good article in the newspaper (a little inaccurate, but not bad) - and a large picture of the dancers, on the front page, directing readers to the article inside. In the afternoon there was an awareness walk involving 3 classes of schoolchildren from different schools, and at the end of the walk they co-operated to tie a huge knot. Some of them had practiced so it went well, but it wasn't as visually interesting as we'd hoped.
In the evening there was a public information session given by Dr. Mavis Olesen, talking about her book, Living In Limbo. The book addresses issues of transracial adoption, including FASD, RAD and PTSD. This was well attended (about 40 people I think), and was most interesting. It's an excellent book, especially for those of us who are adoptive parents. Mavis also sent posters and knots to every public school in Regina - 67 packages altogether I think. There were posters in all the libraries, and knots in a variety of places - over 2000 in total.
What a long day, but well worth it. My friend in the post office saw us on the news and commented this morning on how important it is that people know about FASD and what a difference diagnosis makes. I think we're making progress.
I haven't heard yet much about what went on in the rest of Sask., except that the walk was rained out in Saskatoon, so they had lunch at 10:30am! The walk will happen later this month, which may not be a bad thing if it stretches out the publicity.