AUGUST 1, 2015

The Healthcare Justice March was the result of over a year of envisioning, planning, applying, calling, emailing, inviting, posting, and tweeting. There were times of deep despair, frustrating stagnation, surprising celebration, just as deep satisfaction, and exciting exhilaration. To those who thought it was a stupid idea not worth supporting, thankfully, we didn't listen. No, we didn't raise as much money as we needed. And the numbers weren't what we hoped. But the people who were there were great and the day will always be one of DUH's proudest. None of it would’ve been possible without the people who donated, endorsed, and volunteered; the 200-some who showed up out of 1,200 who registered (where were the rest of you??) and most of all, Donna Ellington, who was Sue’s right arm every step of the way…


          Donna, Camille, and Ryan talk about how to keep                                                                                  Sue & Donna
          Sue sane!

Sue's day started at 6:00 a.m. when David Plevan and the Electrum Productions crew arrived to load in stage and sound equipment.


It was a beautiful day – not too hot or as humid as we’d expected - but as people arrived, two things became evident: we weren’t going to see the 1,270 people who filled out our registration form AND the people who were showing up (from as far away as California and Washington!) were gravitating toward the shade. The guys from Electrum adapted the seating plan and set up chairs under the trees with sound and podium adjusted accordingly.

Soon after, porta-potties arrived, the National Park Service visited and gave us their seal of approval (thanks to Marisa Richardson, friendly and helpful throughout), cold water had been distributed (thanks to George and Capitol First Aid) and the DUH team, including sister, nieces, and Ryan, as well as our great line-up of speakers showed up.

While we prepared to begin, Sue was interviewed by a reporter from HispanTV; Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein spoke with budding journalist (and Sue's niece) Camille Smith; and effervescent Texas activist Cathy Courtney led the crowd in some rallying chants before introducing the legendary Anne Feeney who opened the program with some of her classics -- Cathy and Dr.Margaret Flowers joined Anne for a rousing chorus!



                                                                                                                                                                        Anne, Cathy, & Margaret

Speakers included David Ball who also introduced Sue, activists Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, PNHP president Dr. Robert Zarr, Pastors Neil Jones and Thomas Dixon, Leslie Boyd, and Bernie’s Chief of Staff Michaeleen Crowell. For entertainment, Dr. Bill Honigman performed his rendition of Silence Is Consent, the Raging Grannies delighted us with some of their hits, and Dr. Lou Klein brought down the house with his comedic version of a doctor’s call to an insurance company.



                   David Ball                                                 Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese                           Dr. Robert Zarr with a Raging Granny





                            Dr. Bill, ROCKS!                                          Dr. Louis Klein (our own "Louis K")         Michaeleen Crowell, Bernie's Chief of Staff                                                                                                                  

About the crowd – final count had the total at 271 people. Though there were many familiar faces, they weren't all the people we usually see, our “choir.” There were new people; young people; people of a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds; people who traveled from 19 states, including the farthest away on the West Coast, and will perhaps become the new front line leaders, the most effective activists, and even run for office so they can plead our case where it matters most - in legislatures, state or federal, where the law will be passed.


Debbie Silverstein, Bill Davis, and a family from SPAN Ohio -- they brought their dog, too!
 We were sorry that Donna Dewitt, wise woman and sister rebel, and Peter Robbins, steadfast, focused master of lists, couldn’t be with us in body, but they were very much present in spirit. The gratitude we feel for them and the whole DUH team is boundless.

The day ended with a celebratory dinner at Buca di Beppo – at the “Pope’s table” no less! Kathy and Cathy didn’t get in the picture and Ryan was taking it. 

The “takeaway?” We've learned valuable lessons, some of them very disheartening. We will not be so naive again. We've made many valuable connections and good friends both within and outside the single-payer community. We will nurture those connections and not waste time trying to break through barriers built by ego and petty politics.

Over the course of the year in which we tried to raise money, appeals were emailed or sent more than 10 times to over 5,000 people and organizations, not counting the multitudinous postings of each appeal on our social media sites which were seen by tens of thousands. Thanks to the six organizations and 92 people who donated, especially Daniel Gilbert, our one monthly donor.

Are we defeated? NO! Are we disappointed? With the numbers, yes, but with the end product? NO! Why not? Because, no matter what obstacles we had to clear or climb over, no matter the betrayals or needless drama, no matter the long days, sleepless nights, and constant stress about money,



​November 2016

After the April trip to SC, Sue reached out to SPAN Ohio’s fearless leader, Debbie Silverstein to discuss working together to present the Ohio premiere of Laurie and Terry’s new film, Now Is the Time. Ater the election seemed the right time to act to keep healthcare in the minds of the

                           Debbie Silverstein
SPAN Ohio, under Debbie’s leadership, has always impressed Sue and Donna with their obvious success in organizing throughout Ohio. They have also been, from the start, allies to DUH who always show up and do what they say they’ll do. This impression was re-confirmed and solidified by the team of SPANners who worked to make these screenings possible. Unlike most conference calls, Sue actually looked forward to talking with Debbie, Ted, Bob, David, Marlene, and NNU representative Michelle (when her busy schedule allowed). It was clear that SPAN had reliable, dedicated members who knew how to get things done!


Columbus and the Ohio State School of Medicine was our first stop. It was great to be reunited with Laurie and Terry, who traveled overnight on a bus to get there! Thanks to Kurt Bateman for providing taxi service and Connie Hammond for graciously supplying solidarity housing for them!

Dan Brook, head of the OSU chapter of Students for a National Health Program, helped to get us an auditorium and quite a spread of food. Dan also participated in the discussion after the movie. The enthusiasm of young people, especially med students, is crucial to our success!

Cleveland Heights

Cleveland Heights and the Cedar Lee Theater was next.     

The lobby filled up fast after Michelle Mahon on National Nurses United led a march outside the theatre. Many thanks to Michelle and NNU for mobilizing the nurses to attend.
Between NNU's mobilizing and the great activists of SPAN's publicizing,
it soon became clear that the theatre we'd originally rented would be too
small. The helpful staff at the theatre helped us move to the larger space.

It was exciting to see a crowd of over 100 interested in finding out more
about single-payer!


Working with Debbie and SPAN Ohio was a great experience. We hope there will be more opportunities to collaborate in the future!




April 2016

 Charleston, SC

On April 18, Sue, Donna, and  David Ball, activist extraordinaire and Healthcare for All- SC's (HFA-SC) national liaison to PNHP, collaborated to present two screenings of: Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point that explains why single-payer would benefit business as much as society. The screenings took place in the library in lovely downtown Charleston.


Dr. David Keely, President of HFA -SC, joined us for both screenings and in the morning, a group of medical students from the Medical University of S. Carolina showed up and shared their interest in starting a student advocacy group. We all had lunch together and it was great to see such enthusiasm from young people who were already overloaded with school and other commitments. As with the young Berners, they give me hope for a more humane future!


Also joining us at the morning screening was U.S. Congressional candidate Dmitri Cherny. He is running for Mark Sanford's seat, representing the 1st District. It was a delight to meet him and
hear about his planned upcoming bike/boat tour of his entire district!
[NOTE: He DID it!]

Though DUH endorsed him months ago, it was good to see he's the real deal!
We encourage all SC 1st District voters to vote for Cherny on June 14!
[NOTE: Though there weren’t enough smart, progressive SC voters to enable
Dmitri to beat Sanford in the primary, he got more votes than any Democrat in
recent history. DUH hopes he’ll be running in 2018 and, after two years of idiocy
with Trump’s Congress, maybe there will be a majority who won’t vote for the
guy who took his job so seriously that he said he was in Appalachia when he was
in Argentina with his mistress. Seriously, SC – that’s who you want representing you???]

At the evening screening, we were joined by several physicians, including Dr. Marta Hampton,  HFA-SC's Lowcountry Regional Ambassador, who will be stepping up to continue the good work David Ball has done when he moves to Boston in July. She rpovided a feast of refreshments!

Our post-screening discussion was lively and the one semi-skeptic
in the group seemed to be open to learning more.
All in all, it was a good trip and Sue got to meet Donna’s dogs,
Pecan and Noelle.


                                                                                                                                                                                  Dr. Marta Hampton

The Southeast Tour– Georgia, the Carolinas

March 2016

Though we’d intended to tour the South, including San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Birmingham, Alabama, we couldn’t raise the money to fund such an extensive trip, so we were forced to limit the tour to the Southeast.

Atlanta, GA

​We started by reuniting with activist Lisa Parsons who Sue had met atthe Houston Single-Payer Conference in 2012, where she also met Laurie and Terry. Lisa was also the one who'd invited all three of them plus Donna Ellington, our future Deputy Director and social media genius. One could say that DUH was formed in large part by the connections we all had to Lisa!

It seemed like a natural progression that Lisa and her husband Pete would host a DUH event at their lovely co-op  community, East Lake Commons, right outside Atlanta. Not only did Lisa provide the venue at their community
center, But Pete lent his cooking skills to great meals and ​they provided housing for Laurie and Terry.


                                                                                                                                                                                       Lisa and Pete

The crowd was abundant and included Dr. Neil Shulman of Doc Hollywood fame, 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.



                                                         Myles and his Dad 

Savannah, GA

From Atlanta, 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.


                                                                                                                                                                                            Philly, Laurie, and Terry

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 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.  

Dr. Emilio Perez-Jorge, one of the doctors of Lexington Infectious Diseases, did a marvelous job organizing the evening and acting as MC.


 Sue 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 single-payer bill in the SC state legislature.

                                                                            Dr. Keeley, Sue, Dr. Brett, David Ball
 The audience of 40-some made for a lively and interesting discussion and we left the church wishing they could all be that way!

The delightful evening in 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!

Asheville, NC

Next stop, Asheville, NC, home of Sue’s former boss and current friend, Luule Vess. The irrepressible Leslie Boyd was our hostess both in Asheville and Charlotte. Sue’s friend Lee Anne Smith shot some video.


Charlotte, NC

Charlotte was pretty much a non-event, with the only audience members being the two folks who came to unlock the church, but it was nice to get to the motel early and regroup for our trip to Raleigh the next day.

Raleigh, NC

Back in Raleigh again – unfortunately, not at the Hilton Garden Inn where Donna and Sue stayed when they were there for the HKonJ march, but when there was finally a knock on their Best Western room door and Joshua Lowe was standing there, it was the absolute best place they could be! After over two years of emails and phone conversations, Sue finally got to hug him and, best of all, hear him perform live the songs she loves with nothing more than a guitar and a mic, humillity, and joy in the making of music.
ISue has been captivated by Joshua’s beautiful song, Silence Is Consent, since 2012 when she first heard it at the end of The Healthcare Movie. Since then, he’s released his first album, Inimicus, producing it 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, along with Sience Is Consent, at the Raleigh event. 

You can buy the track or the whole album at
Silence Is Consent (along with some of his earlier songs) is available at, and here's the video for it:  

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, Joshua’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 – Donna, Terry, Laurie, me, and Josh -  just a bunch of nuts!

From there, Josh fired up his van to return to Virginia, Laurie and Terry flew off to Sacramento to work on their new project about villaging, and Donna and Sue headed for the nation’s capital and our meeting with the National Park Service about the Healthcare Justice March. 


The West Coast Tour April - May, 2014 - California, Oregon, Washington

After the success of the East Coast Tour in 2013, we began to get requests to tour the states of the West Coast. This was a huge undertaking - financially and logistically - and wouldn't have been possible without the backing of Sue's and Donna's credit cards and Sue's family, Laurie's expertise at oranizing, and the generosity of the people in each place providing solidarity housing.

Below are some pictures taken throughout the tour. 
Dawn Dersham (and companion Tinkerbelle, or "Tink," as she's called) were wonderful organizing our first stop at the U of C Medical School in San Diego and providing housing. Now they have matching DUH t-shirts!

During our visit, Hillary Clinton was scheduled to appear at the Convention Center in San Diego. Daawn and other healthcare activists staged a protest outside and
​were covered by Fox News
​Dr. Bill Honigman, a hero in DUH's eyes, joined us and led us to the Orange Coast Unitarian Church in Costa Mesa. Here we had the biggest crowd we'd had before - over 100!

After the panel discussion, Dr. Bill andProgressive Democrats of America (PDA) hosted a reception for us and Donna arrived.
Sue and Peg on the set of "We're All in This Together" ​​
We hope you’ve heard by now from Facebook and email that our first journey forth was a memorable, joyful, busy, challenging one. Was it a “success?” For those who may be watching expecting us to fail, you might say no – we raised minimal money, did not have crowds of thousands, weren’t covered by MSNBC or a major newspaper, and have had no measurable effect on the healthcare situation in our country.

But for us, the people who drove the windy roads of Maine and Vermont without ever seeing a moose (despite the abundant warnings), experienced our first press conference and taped our first TV show, met dedicated local advocates wherever we went, interviewed people on the streets of each city, got lost in Boston, talked to audiences big and small, had a flat tire on the way from Columbus to Chicago, and got back to our homes in various places, it was truly a glowing success.

Joining us on this first tour were Bob Sisler – H.R. 676 Expert, Doris Vojtala – Petition Queen, and Ryan Splitt – Assistant Extraordinaire.​

Bob and Lynda joined us in Vermont. Bob is known for his songs
promoting social justice. Lynda acts as the “road crew” as well as singing occasionally Lynda and Bob Wickline .

Augusta, Maine

First stop was Augusta where Julie Keller Pease of Maine AllCare arranged a press conference (our first), which was covered by the local NPR station, the Bangor Daily News, and the Kennebec Journal. She also helped us conduct our "Street Talk" man-on-the-street interviews.

And here is a photo of one of the high points of the whole trip – Maine LOBSTER!
Ryan had never had lobster and Sully’s in Winthrop was the only place we could find on Labor Day that had lobster and Sully was true to his word when he told us on the phone that he had some “monsters!” Not only were they HUGE (he gave Sue two because they were “small” – Red Lobster should be so lucky!) and delicious, but the waitress, the patrons (two of them) and the place itself were welcoming, friendly, and we got all of that for less than you’d pay for one anemic lobster in Chicago!

Montpelier, Vermont

In Vermont, the unstoppable Betty Keller hosted Terry, Laurie, and Sue on her public access TV show We’re All In This Together. Peg Franzen of the Vermont Workers Center sponsored the show and was a guest in the second segment – it was an honor to meet her!

We also did a Street Talk on the grounds of the lovely Montpelier Capitol. All of the people interviewed except one were for single-payer healthcare.

Albany, NY

Graeme McKenna provided one of the most charming venues for a screening of The Healthcare Movie -- The Linda in Albany. It was a pleasure to be in a theatre so well run.

Street Talk in Albany was quite a bit noisier (lots of traffic!) than in Maine and Vermont, but again, people expressed their support and willingness to pay higher taxes to have universal healthcare.

Boston and Natick, Massachusetts

Sue and Donna missed the screening in Boston due to getting lost on the way and regret not meeting Rachel Nardin, who provided housing for some of the troupe in Boston. The next night, David Ball and his wonderful parents graciously hosted a screening in their home in Natick, outside of Boston – David is a founding member of the S. Carolina chapter of PNHP and we look forward to visiting there in the future.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Donna and Sue unfortunately missed the screening in Philadelphia, again due to faulty GPS directions, but luckily met Kay Lasker and Lynn O’Connell and her husband Gerry the next day – Kay arranged a presentation at the Ethical Humanist Society and they all joined us for Street Talk afterwards. Lynn is an example of iron-willed persistence in her appeals to MSNBC’s Lizz Winstead to cover single-payer and DUH.

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore brought us to Sergio España of PNHP’s vigorous Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign there. He arranged for a screening in a lovely old church where we had one of our biggest audiences.

​Rod Ryon and his wife Joan treated us to a homemade meal at their lovely home afterwards and also provided housing for Laurie and Terry. Sergio is and has one of the things the single-payer movement needs most – youth! He and his group are doing great work, informing Marylanders about single-payer.

Columbus, Ohio

In Ohio, the fabulous Debbie Silverstein, Kurt Bateman, and Alice Faryna set us up in the IBEW hall for a screening with a lively discussion afterwards and a breakfast the next morning that made Sue wish they were spending more time there so she could pick their brains! SPAN-Ohio is one of the strongest, most active state organizations in the country, even with their Republican governor.

Chicago, Illinois

In Illinois, Sue's home state, thanks go again to Ryan Splitt who, in addition to driving Sue's car from Chicago to Maine, carrying heavy things, and running errands, he also arranged our screening at the Little Black Pearl on Chicago’s South Side. Unfortunately, the screening there was not well-attended by the community (which was our hope), but Illinois Single-Payer Coalition members showed up in force.

Springfield, Illinois

Sue's sister Kathy gets kudos for all the work she did in Springfield. A political campaign veteran, she got press releases to the right people, arranged a screening at the library, and put up six of us in her house. She was also pressed into service as an ambulance driver when one of the group had to go to the ER with a leg problem. Her cool head, wise advice, unrelenting perkiness, and unconditional love have kept Sue going at the worst times and in the best times, having her there to celebrate with makes them even better.

Last but not least, the rest of Sue's family gets more heartfelt thanks than she could ever express. Her sister Kerry, Kerry’s husband Chris, and daughters Camille and Tess provided unwavering support and encouragement and Kerry came to Springfield to help make sure Sue's parents got to the DUH events. Her parents, unwavering in their support, financed about 90% of this trip, making it possible for us to print materials, buy equipment, for Sue to fly to Maine and have a real bed to sleep in every night, and pay part of other people’s expenses. Without them, there would have been no DUH.

The End
So that was the first DUH tour. Many valuable lessons were learned, fellow activists met, and memories made. For Sue, it was a welcome change from her nine years touring the world as Hubbard Street Dance Company’s first Wardrobe Supervisor – no nine loads of laundry every day! But everywhere we went, we were encouraged by the number of people who were enthusiastic supporters of H.R. 676 and single-payer healthcare. The Healthcare Movie is an invaluable tool that reaches both the head and the heart and we look forward to taking it across the country!

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