Vision: Across the Country, People Are Rising Up to Fight for Change
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Watch video from the rally here.
-- On January 9, more than 300 people gathered in New York City to mark the second anniversary of the Israeli government's assault on Gaza, which killed over 1,400 Palestinians and wounded 5,300. The action was sponsored by more than 20 groups including The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine, and New York City Labor Against the War. The Socialist Worker was one of the few outlets to report on the action, which was held to bring attention to the ongoing and often forgotten siege of Gaza where 1.5 million people don't have access to basic necessities. More than 60 percent of the population is unemployed and 80 percent live in poverty, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs.
-- In San Diego, more than 100 people marked the anniversary by marching through the city’s tourist center and reading the names and ages of the 325 Gazan children who were killed.
-- On January 10, demonstrators across the state of California gathered in front of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown's offices to oppose his budget proposal, which calls for $12.5 billion in cuts affecting everything from higher education and healthcare for the poor and disabled to childcare and in-home supportive services.
California's Health and Human Services Network compiled links to local coverage of the rallies.
On that same day, over 1,000 grassroots activists joined 500 members of the California Health Professional Student Alliance for their annual lobbying day. They rallied on the steps of the State Capitol to call for a Medicare for All system, which would consolidate thousands of different health insurance plans into a single system run by the state government. The California Universal Healthcare Act passed the legislature in 2006 and 2008, but was vetoed both times by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Single Payer Now rally comes just a few months before Blue Shield of California plans to increase rates by as much as 59 percent. "I have California Blue Shield, I have private insurance, and now they have just raised, said they were going to raise rates this year by 50.5%, and I am now paying $2,800 a month for private insurance with a $1,500 deductible. I can’t do it anymore," said single-payer advocate Eleanor Clarke in an interview with KALW News.
Amanda Forman, an occupational therapist at the California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, told California Healthline that the national healthcare bill fails to address the problems she sees every day. "As a clinician, I see patients come into the ER all the time because that's the only way they can see a doctor. And of course, it's the most expensive."
Almost one in four Californians under age 65, or 8.2 million, have no health insurance, and 5.7 million Californians lack job-based health insurance, according to UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research.
See photos of the event.
-- On January 11, human rights activists gathered in Chicago, Washington DC, Berkeley, CA, and San Francisco to call on the Obama administration to close Guantanamo. On the ninth anniversary of the prison’s opening, activists wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods rallied in front of the White House to represent the 173 prisoners who remain in custody, then marched to the Department of Justice to hold a silent vigil. Sixty anti-torture activists blocked three entrances to the Department for an hour and a half. No arrests were made.
Organizers from groups including the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International, and September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows are calling on the Obama administration to either put Guantanamo detainees on trial in federal court or release them.