Monday, January 16, 2017

Richmond Protest 1/15/17 called for Bernie supporters to work with Democrats across the country for a series of protests against pending GOP cuts to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, as well as potential cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Planned Parenthood.

My friend, Mary Anna White, and I traveled to Richmond to listen to speeches and to raise awareness of the need to preserve or even expand health care. I learned over 20 million people will lose health insurance coverage if the ACA is repealed without replacement. This would negatively affect working families, children, those with pre-existing conditions, and others. It affects whether people can afford to work at jobs they love and can even lead to life-or-death decisions if people can't afford health treatments or medications they need. The statistics and personal stories the speakers shared were similar to those in this special report, "Why Medicare Matters," by AARP.

Ashley Hawkins with her Baby, Zoe, tells a story about the personal impact of the ACA

We also heard moving speeches by Ralph Northam, who is Lieutenant Governor (running for Governor), Tom Periello, who is also running for governor, Justin Fairfax and Gene Rossi, who are running for Lieutenant Governor, Gene Rossi, Doris Crouse-Mays of the Virginia AFL-CIO, Representatives Don McEachin and Bobby Scott, and Governor Terry McAuliffe. And saw some great signs.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (running for Governor)

Northam speaks as a doctor

Tom Periello (running for Virginia Governor)

Justin Fairfax (running for Lieut. Gov.)

Gene Rossi (running for Lieut. Gov.)

Doris Crouse-Mays, head of Virginia AFL-CIO, stands for affordable healthcare

Representative Don McEachin

Representative Bobby Scott

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

Senator Tim Kaine

Mary Anna White and I, representing Southside!
My only disappointment was that there was lots of Democratic pride in Virginia turning "Blue" for Hillary Clinton in the last election, even though she lost. A few speakers called for universal healthcare as a right, but not one politician mentioned Bernie by name. It's a shame, because Bernie and his organization definitely turned out me and Mary Anna, and I'm sure others in the crowd, which we guess numbered about 2,000 people on a cool February Sunday on a holiday weekend.