Group Photo outside the Capital Building
We were so excited leading up to the advocacy days in Washington, D.C. to talk to Texas Congressional Representatives about funding the 21st Century Cares Act. In partnership with 2020 Moms and advocacy groups across the country, over one hundred and fifty fired up health workers converged on our nation's capital to reinforce the importance of proper maternal mental health.
Our very own Kay Matthews attended and we wanted to know what jewels she brought back to share with us, here's a quick de-brief of her experiences and where she sees The Shades of Blue Project going from here.
Kimberly Tennile: Welcome back, how was your trip?
Kay Matthews: Hi Kim Thank You My Trip To Was Great! A True learning experience.
KT: What lead you down this road and connected you with your partners on this trip?
KM: What lead me to Washington Dc was I connected with the Maternal Mental Health Coalition and through that partnership I was able to go and visit with 3 of our U.S. Congressional Representatives for Texas [Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, Sen Ted Crux, R-TX, Rep Ted Poe, R-TX] and talk with them about releasing funding for the 21st Century Cures Act. On this trip I truly learned the importance of advocacy work and how it is important in getting the help we need from the government
KT: Do you feel like your goals for this trip were met? How so?
KM: Yes I feel my goals for the trip were met and I actually exceeded what I initially wanted to achieve. I was able to make some awesome connections in several different states and I can utilize those resources to not only to help me grow the Shades of Blue Project but also help those I have met in ways they may want to grow.
KT: Who were you especially glad to meet on this trip?
KM: Honestly there were a few: Joy Burkhard, Maureen Daniel Fura, and Jamie Zahlaway Belsito; these are the ladies of Maternal Mental Health Coalition. I also got to meet someone that I follow and her name is Kelly Kittel. She is the author of a Book named “Breathe” which tells her story of delivering 2 babies stillborn and more. I didn’t know she would be there and I was elated to meet her.
KT: How do you believe this trip will change and inform the way you advocate for Maternal Mental Health going forward?
KM: The trip to Washington made me realize I have so much more work to do. I know now that I am not limited by any means. I can do anything I put my mind to. The trip let me know that change truly can happen you have to keep fighting for it.
KT: What's next for Shades of Blue?
KM: Ah..What next for the Shades of Blue? Well, we are definitely going to expand more into the advocacy aspect of Maternal Mental Health more trips to Austin and Washington, D.C. We also will be seeking to expand our reach through travel and offer more Maternal Mental Health resources. Our goal is to reach the masses and we are well on our way and after connecting with so many other women and men in different states I truly know more than ever know that “We Are Stronger Together Than We Are Doing This Alone”
Kay Matthews outside Senator John Cornyn's Office.
Kay Matthews outside Senator Ted Cruz's Office.
Kay Matthews Meeting with staffer of Representative Ted Poe's office.