On Saturday August 29, 2009, over 3000 people came together in Time Square to rally for health care reform. NLIRH joined the Women’s Walk for Health Reform along with 14 other women’s health organizations led by Raising Women’s Voices. The march not only symbolized a cry out for change in our broken health care system, but also demonstrated the importance of keep women’s health in the forefront.
We marched alongside a diverse group of women, including women from the Violence Intervention Program, Inc., who specifically reached out to NLIRH to march together. Our march started at Roosevelt Hospital and ended at Times Square. We encountered all type of folks on the way to join the rest of the people in Times Square, some supportive others not so supportive, insisting that they were ‘working hard so that ‘you people’ can get a handout’. It was precisely these types of barriers that we marched to breakdown, these myths and misconceptions that we marched to de-bunk, all while remembering that the most important goal is to get comprehensive, available, affordable, accessible, good quality health care for all. As one of our supporters, Veronica Smith, so eloquently expressed:
Access to affordable health care is not a privilege, it is a basic human right!
Being in the midst of 3000 people chanting for the same goals, whether it be a single payer system in place or a public option, we all stood together as one collective group demanding our voices to not only he heard, but listened to. Yes, we caused attention and people saw a big crowd, but time will tell if our presence and personal stories are truly listened to when it comes to health care reform. Our fight does not end at this march, nor did it begin with it, it continues on until all people can access quality health care.
By Stephanie Alvarado, National Field Organizer