Five Minutes With UNITE To Face Addiction’s Campaign Director, Greg Williams
CASAColumbia sat down with Greg Williams, Campaign Director of UNITE to Face Addiction, to discuss the organization’s work to reduce the human and social costs of addiction.
What is UNITE to Face Addiction?
UNITE to Face Addiction is an event to raise awareness and demand solutions to the addiction crisis. The event is taking place on Sunday, October 4th, 2015 from 4:00 – 8:00 pm on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The gathering will feature a rally that is free and open to the public. It will be a collaborative effort that will bring together diverse groups and individuals to advocate for the more than 22 million people currently addicted, stand up for the 23 million more people in recovery and urgently try to save the more than 350 lives lost each day because of addiction. It is being built from the energy of the emerging grassroots addiction advocacy movement that has taken shape over the last 20 years.
How many partner organizations are you working with and how are they helping you reach your goals?
We currently have more than 390 partner organizations, including CASAColumbia, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Legal Action Center, Treatment Research Institute and American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). You can find a list of all of our partners on our website. This diverse collaboration of prevention, treatment, recovery, criminal justice, research and other impacted groups is unprecedented. While each partner is helping in whatever way they can, most of our partners are primarily focused on encouraging people to attend the rally and create a historic turning point for addiction.
How can organizations and individuals help you if they can’t attend the rally?
This is a historic moment. We need all the support we can get. Anyone can help by making a contribution here if they cannot join us. People can also show their support by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter at @FacingAddiction. That way, even an organization or person that can’t attend the rally, can still help us spread the word about this important event. There will be many social media campaign opportunities the day of the event for those around the globe to participate.
What do you hope to ultimately achieve with UNITE To Face Addiction?
The UNITE to Face Addiction Rally will not only create awareness around the addiction crisis, but it will bring together a grassroots constituency to collectively demand action from our policymakers — similar to the turning point the unveiling of the “AIDS Quilt” signaled. By standing together in Washington, D.C., we can finally end the silence around this public health crisis. We will help this country realize that we can no longer passively ignore the issue that is tearing millions of families and communities apart. There are real actions all of our communities can be taking to support progress and healing.
Where can people go if they’d like to learn more about UNITE to Face Addiction?
People can visit FacingAddiction.org to learn more about the upcoming event in October. Later this month, we’ll be announcing specific details about the event itself, which is expected to include major entertainers, public figures, athletes, health care professionals, faith leaders and policymakers.