More than 200 protest GOP health care bill

Photo by Tevin Stinson- Hundreds of people gathered outside Sen. Richard Burr’s office on West First Street last week to demand a vote against the Senate health care bill.

More than 200 protest GOP health care bill
July 05
05:00 2017

Hundreds of people against the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act gathered outside the local office of Sen. Richard Burr last week to let the delegate know how they feel about the GOP health care bill under consideration.

Protesters held signs shaped like headstones to represent the millions that are at risk of losing their healthcare coverage if the proposed bill is passed into law.

On Tuesday, June 27, a decision was made to delay the vote until after the July 4th weekend because of lack of support.

Early numbers show if passed, 22 million Americans could lose health care coverage and countless others could see changes with the Medicaid coverage.

While speaking to more than 200 protesters gathered at the corner of Miller and West First Streets, Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the Winston-Salem NAACP, said the Senate health care bill is a prime example of the “self-serving” legislation that has been seen from the GOP during the Trump era.

“This is the kind of legislation that puts profits over people,” continued Carlisle. “We the people come to express our voice and let Senator Burr know to use his heart and vote against this Senate health care bill.”

After galvanizing the troops for about 30 minutes, the group of demonstrators tried to hand deliver a letter demanding Burr stand with the people and against the health care bill but, they were met by security at the door. Eventually, Rev. Carlisle and Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the N.C. Council of Churches, were allowed to take the letter inside.

While Carlisle and Spearman delivered the letter signed by N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, chants of “Pass universal healthcare now,” and “We the people will never be defeated” continued outside the building. Even after members of the Winston-Salem Police Department showed up, the cries for affordable health care continued.

Wanda Cocker from Durham said there shouldn’t be anyone in this country who must decide whether to pay their bills or get their prescriptions. Cocker, who needs a kidney transplant, said she made the trip to the Twin City to stand-up for herself and others in similar situations. She said, “It’s a shame that people are dying simply because they can’t afford quality health care.

“I’m here today because Senator Burr needs to do his job. Pass legislation that helps communities in North Carolina, not punish them for being poor. This is an issue of life and death for all North Carolinians, and we will not back down until you support a bill that will truly provide care to those who need it most,” Cocker said.

Rev. Dr. John Mendez, longtime activist and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, said he was glad to see so many people standing up for what’s right. He then encouraged the community to continue the fight.

“We’ve got to keep the pressure. We’ve got to continue to stand up,” he said. “This is not a one-day struggle. This is a progressive enhanced struggle and we have to stand and fight until we have the victory.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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