The End…and the Beginning
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. 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 with me every step of the way…
David Ball, who may have come late to the dance, but was a steady, strong partner who never let me fall…
Dr. Bill, who gave me the gift of a song (and his unshakeable confidence)…
And Donna Dewitt, wise woman and sister rebel, and Peter Robbins, steadfast, focused master of lists, both of whom couldn’t be with us in body, but were very much present in spirit.
The gratitude I feel for this team is boundless and if there is ever to be a Healthcare Justice March/Rally/Demonstration II, I’ll be calling them in from the start!
And to those who thought “What a stupid idea,” or “They’ll never be able to raise the money,” or “We’re not even going to acknowledge that it exists, let alone help to make it successful in any way, because they’ll never be able to pull it off,” well, we didn’t raise the money we first wanted to raise and thanks to you, no email blasts went out to your members saying, “Let’s make the HJM a huge success! Be there on August 1 and show everyone how strong we are!”
But 200 people walked their talk and got there. And though there were many familiar faces, they weren’t all the people we usually see. There were new people and young people there; 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.
So the next chapter begins. The only uncertainty is how we will proceed. We’ve learned valuable lessons, some of them very disheartening. We will not be so naive again. We’ve made many valuable connections 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 thousands. Six organizations and 92 people donated. So we will now look for other funding streams.
Are we defeated? NO! Are we disappointed? With the numbers, perhaps, but with the end product? NO! Why not? Because, no matter what obstacles we had to clear or climb over, no matter the betrayals, broken promises, and needless drama, no matter the long days and sleepless nights and constant stress about money, we
Did. Not. Give. Up.
And whatever’s next? You can count on us not giving up on that either.