Stepping Onto the Bus of Equality
October 8, 2009 - 3:36pm ET
Congressional leaders must seriously ponder the following before making a decision on the health care bill that is pending in Congress….
Communities of color throughout key swing states (Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas) are now banding together in the fight for health care reform and guess what…they make up a significant portion of the electorate! To “Democratic lawmakers who are facing tough midterm elections next year, the outcome of the health care debate will be a litmus test for how African-Americans and Hispanics vote.”
On Monday, the NAACP National Voter Fund, the National Council of La Raza, the Campaign for Community Change, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights joined together to mobilize African American and Latino communities in the fight for health care reform. They contend that people of color “have a special stake in health care reform.” While they have higher rates of heart disease and cancer, they also have the highest rates of uninsurance.
The groups say they are seeking from lawmakers a public option, an end to health care racial disparities, coverage for all legal residents, as well as programs and plans to promote “cultural and linguistic competence” in the nation's health care system.
They “have joined forces for an ad buy of $250,000 to $500,000 that will appear on minority-oriented cable networks such as Black Entertainment Television and Univision in Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas and in African-American and Hispanic newspapers in those states.”
These communities of color are arguing against the ludicrous attempts of insurance companies to instill Congressional leaders with the belief that health care should be about profit as opposed to human life. As NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous states, "We’ve seen 880,000 black people die unnecessarily in the 1990s. We've had hundreds of thousands in this decade and it's time to stop." (CNN) Jealous presents a startling fact that Congressional leaders should NOT attempt to ignore.
A large portion of these communities of color includes destitute immigrants and migrants that are unnecessarily dying because they are unable to obtain the basic human right of affordable, quality health care. It is disheartening that a country founded by immigrants may be willing to turn its back on this group involving a life and death matter.
What do Andrew Carnegie, Madeline Albright, Albert Einstein, Peter Jennings, Yo-Yo Ma have in common?
All were immigrants who left an indelible mark on our “melting pot!”
As a reminder, a majority of American citizens are also the descendents of immigrants or migrants. Even our recently sworn in Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the daughter of migrant parents from Puerto Rico. But how can many other Latino-America’s focus on realizing their full potential and making their contribution to American society when 32.2% of the non-elderly population (elderly qualify for Medicare) are first denied the basic right and necessity of access to quality, affordable health care?
Hence, not passing Obama’s Health Care Plan in Congress would not only severely limit those lacking access to care but also us as a nation.
Moreover….the U.S. Constitution stresses the promotion of GENERAL WELFARE for “We the people” and the establishment of justice. This must include the basic human right to health care for ALL of our citizens!
Wasn’t our country founded upon the principle of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” But how can that be when many people of color that could be cured by modern medicine are unnecessarily loosing their lives and their pursuit of happiness is stifled by the inability to properly care for their health?
Most importantly, this campaign powerfully compares the battle for health care reform to the Civil Rights Movement. Without access to the most basic human right and need, people of color are not even able to step onto the bus!
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