THE DRIVE FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE (DUH) travels across the country to promote and help establish a tax-supported, fully comprehensive, non-discriminatory healthcare system for all residents of the U.S. Here’s a map of purple states where we’ve been (plus Minnesota and Missouri, which are both on our “Wish List,” and Texas, where we’ll be in May):The Southeastern Tour The Southeast held some surprises and the opportunity to make connections with great local advocates who are fighting for their Republican governors to expand Medicaid, as well as pushing state bills and supporting H.R. 676. We were consistently inspired by their dedication!
The tour started in the lovely Eastlake Commons Community in Decatur, GA, near Atlanta. The event was hosted by the wonderful Lisa Parsons and she and her husband Pete also provided lodging for DUH-sters Terry Sterrenberg and Laurie Simons. Pete put on his chef’s hat and cooked two great meals for all of us,as well! The crowd included Dr. Neil Shulman, his wife Zoe, and their 8-year-old son Myles, who has already made his mark as an advocate for treating others with respect and acceptance. He brought a copy of his poster book, Make the World Happy!, and he has donated more copies to help raise money for the cause.
From Decatur, we traveled to Savannah, home of healthcare hero Philly Meyers. Not only was Philly the first to donate on a monthly basis, but his tireless efforts resulted in the event happening in an auditorium at Armstrong College; he provided information on train travel to Washington; he’d had buttons made; and he welcomed Laurie and Terry into his home. Though the crowd may have been smaller than we’d hoped, NC activist Leslie Boyd joined us to tell her personal story of losing her son to lack of access to care and the discussion after the screening included viewpoints we hadn’t heard before, which was really helpful for us. The next morning, Philly dropped Terry and Laurie off so we could continue to Columbia, SC.
Columbia turned out to be quite a surprise! Donna had warned us that the movie had been shown there to very small audiences without much success. But obviously, for those screenings, Dr. Emilio Perez-Jorge wasn’t on the job! Not only was the crowd at the Unitarian Universalist church there larger than any on the tour, they took full advantage of the wonderful panel Dr. Emilio had organized, asking great questions. There were even some there from other countries who’d experienced universal healthcare and, like the Canadians in the film, loved it. I was honored to be on the panel with Donna Dewitt, president emeritus of the SC AFL-CIO; Neal Jones, pastor of the church where the event took place; Dr. David Keeley, president of PNHP – SC; Dr. Allan Brett, internist and professor at USC; and the courageous David Ball, author of the new singe-payer bill in the SC state legislature. I only wish we’d videotaped it!
Uh-oh, putting a microphone in my hand can be dangerous!
The delight of Columbia was topped off by a marvelous Italian dinner at Il Giorgione, which stayed open late just for Pastor Neil who is a regular there. Best spaghetti carbonera EVER!
Next stop, Asheville, NC, home of my spiritual sister and artistic goddess, Lee Anne Smith and former boss and current friend, Luule Vess. The irrepressible Leslie Boyd was our hostess both in Asheville and Charlotte. Lee Anne shot some video (FINALLY! We got some thing on tape!) and has thankfully agreed to be our videographer at the March, as well as editing footage that’s been sitting around since last year.The clip she shot in Asheville is available at https://youtu.be/ZGI2OblUUfQ - just me on my soap box!
Back in Raleigh again – unfortunately, not at the Hilton Garden Inn where Donna and I stayed when we were there for the HKonJ march, but when there was finally a knock on our Best Western room door and Joshua Lowe was standing there, it was the absolute best place we could be! After over two years of emails and phone conversations, I finally got to hug him and, best of all, hear him perform live the songs I love with nothing more than a guitar and a mic, humillity, and joy in the making of music.
I have been captivated by Josh’s beautiful song, Silence Is Consent, since 2012 when I first heard it at the end of The Healthcare Movie. Since then, he’s released his first album, (which I’m proud to say I supported via his IndieGoGo campaign). He is a fabulous musician producing the album, Inimicus, completely on his own, using various technology to make it sound like he had a full orchestra and a rock band behind him! This is his anti-war album and he performed one of the tracks, Need, at the Raleigh event. You can buy the track or the whole album at http://loweboy.bandcamp.com/releases. Silence Is Consent (along with some of his earlier songs) is available at http://www.soundboard.com/sb/joshua121, and the video for it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhO480lKyiY.
Raleigh was a wonderful place to end the tour, with the beautiful, soaring architecture of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, the warm welcome of Social Justice Director Ticie Rhodes and her husband Tom, Josh’s music, the good crowd, and the final morning’s breakfast at the charming Big Ed’s (great food and unparalleled decor!)
Tom was good enough to take this shot of us by the biggest acorn ever – just a bunch of nuts!
From there, Josh fired up his van (courtesy of Angel, one of the world’s best bosses, in my opinion!) to return to Virginia, Laurie and Terry flew off to Sacramento to work on their new project about villaging, and Donna and I headed for the nation’s capital and our meeting with the National Park Service about the Healthcare Justice March.
I admit to having a lump in my throat and dueling theme music (West Wing vs. House of Cards) in my head when I first caught a glimpse of the Washington monument and the Jefferson Memorial as we drove in from Alexandria.
But the next morning, after our meeting with Marisa Richardson, the Park ranger who has been with us since the first incarnation of DUH back in 2012, it was almost overwhelming as Miles and Dan from National Events, our production company, met us at the site of the pre-March rally, West Potomac Park. This is Dan providing scale – the flock of geese were just curious!
The theme music in my head was replaced by a concrete vision of that field teeming over with people, signs, banners, as well as the mountainous task that lay before us to get them there, to pay for it, to find sponsors who would donate water and other goods and services, volunteers to help direct the crowd, the logistics of parking, transportation, and accessibility, the “talent” and speakers not yet acquired…and then suddenly all that chaos went away and I stood in that field, knowing – not just thinking or believing, but knowing - that no matter how many attended or how all those other things were done, this IS happening. This barren ground is my “field of dreams” and together, we’re building it and the ones who are supposed to be there will come, despite all the reasons the nay-sayers give them for staying home silent, consenting, clinging complacently to the status quo.
In Need, Joshua sings,
“So close your eyes and look inside,
Take a breath and a moment and try to define
What it is you truly need in life,
And in the process, you might find out what you really are.”
Will YOU be there?
If you want to know more about the HEALTHCARE JUSTICE MARCH, visit healthcarejusticemarch.org!
SHOW US YOU GIVE A FLYING BUCK! CLICK THE ‘DONATE’ BUTTON OR CONTRIBUTE TO OUR CROWDRISE CAMPAIGN!
DUH is incredibly fortunate to have forged a wonderful alliance with The Healthcare Movie and its creators, Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg. They have made DUH events on our East and West Coast trips fun, well-organized, and successful! We’re all looking forward to the next adventure – a visit to Texas in May.
The costs involved in taking DUH and the movie on our advocacy journeys come out of our own pockets, along with money we raise from various funding efforts and our supporters along the way. Fundraising for the 2015 demonstration will need to be more successful than ever before – think hospital-bill-sized! PLEASE consider making any donation you can afford! There are many ways to help!
- Scroll up or down on this page to find the DONATE button and make a contribution through PayPal. You can do this with a credit card whether you have a PayPal account or not.
- You can also donate via PayPal on our Facebook page.
- Contribute to our CROWDRISE Campaign!
- And if you don’t trust the Internet, you can send a check made out to Healthcare Justice March, 517 S. Park Ave., Springfield, IL 62704.
- FINALLY! You can watch The Healthcare Movie online for only $4.99 and DUH will get 10%! WATCH HERE!
- For folks who may not have any extra money, we still have a solution: BUY4. It’s a way to shop for things online HERE that you need and would buy anyway. It won’t cost you a penny, but DUH gets a portion of every purchase!
- Order a DUH T-Shirt They’re available in Small to 5X,100% cotton, generously sized, and the perfect way to get a conversation started!
- Check out all our DUH and HJM merchandise on Zazzle! Everything from keychains to watches to doggy and baby wear!
We’re looking ahead to our BIG plans for 2015, but we’re really going to need your help. We’re not stopping until we’ve driven single-payer healthcare forward onto the president’s desk to be signed into law!
DON’T LET US RUN OUT OF GAS!
Join us by hosting a DUH event, helping to fund our trips and the Healthcare Justice March, by registering to attend the March or by volunteering! Check the “Get Involved” page to see other things you can do to help.
We CAN do this, but, like true universal healthcare, we need
EVERYBODY IN, NOBODY OUT!
September, 2013 East Coast Tour