The Walk for Democracy part 1
Jeanette Wallis became an activist during the WTO Ministerial Protest in Seattle, WA on December 1, 1999, when she was tear-gassed and chased by riot police in her Capitol Hill neighborhood while walking home from the store. She began organizing because she believed in the right of the people to express their opinions about decisions that affect their lives - and has consequently been tear-gassed, beaten, pepper-sprayed, shot at with rubber bullets, and arrested while defending this right.
When the election debacle of 2000 occurred, Ms. Wallis decided to take the First Amendment literally. She began gathering "grievances" (hand-written letters to the President) on Inauguration Day from citizens who felt their votes and voices weren't being heard, and promised to carry them across the United States -- gathering more along the way -- to hand-deliver to the President in Washington, DC. With her black Lab, Sherpa, she left Seattle on foot on April 1, 2001, and touched the lives of thousands of people along the way with her dedication, tenacity, and hope for the future. She spoke at schools, churches, union halls, picket lines, rallies, and to countless passers-by about the importance of using our voices in a participatory democracy. Being a good citizen is more than those magical few minutes spent in a voting booth every couple of years. Politics is more than what we hear about from those dull people on the television its the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the jobs we toil in. We must be more involved!
2 years, 4,000 miles, and five pairs of shoes later, Jeanette and Sherpa completed their walk on June 13th, 2003.
Read about their White House experience.
Before deciding to walk across America, Ms. Wallis had worked as a psychiatric counselor for over ten years. She is a proud practitioner of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.