By, Nisha Agarwal, Director of the NYLPI Health Justice Program.
Right now, five hundred thousand immigrants and their allies are rallying in Washington, DC, having traveled from across the country in caravans of buses to demand humane and just immigration reform. Also right now, the votes are being tallied and negotiated on the most comprehensive health reform package in two decades. For those of us who aren’t in DC ourselves, Twitter tracks the movement on the ground for the immigration march:
From @thenyic: ‘Senator Schumer on conference call with 220 buses (11000 people!) heading from NY to DC for the March for… http://fb.me/vlRfj4w5
From @nakasec: We are here!!!!! Can you hear the sounds of drumming??? Yes we can! Hal soo it dah!! Si se puede!! #immigration #m4a #dreamact
Meanwhile, email lists and blogs are active, urging last minute phone calls and petition signatures to get Democrats to vote with their hearts on health care reform, and not from their fear.
Every day I work at this meeting point between immigrant rights and health equity, but it is not every day that I can see these issues reverberate on a national scale. Today, however, they echo and re-echo, and I listen in awe and gratitude to my fellow activists and allies. This is a progressive moment, and it is because we have made it one. In all the bickering about the details of the legislative packages and the concern about the eventual outcome of HCR and CIR—important arguments and worries to have—we shouldn’t forget what has already been accomplished: Both the push for health care reform, which is nearing its end, and the fight for immigration reform, which is just beginning, are strong, durable movements that progressives have built, with massive ground operations and multiple, coordinated perspectives tightly networked through cyber-space. We have shown that power can be built from the ground up, even in the wake of decades of reactionary national government and the collapse of the global economy, and in the face of a deep blue hate. I am optimistic that we will win health care and immigration reform, and I am proud of the structures we have created to do so. We here at NYLPI’s Health Justice Program are in full solidarity with all of our friends in DC right now. Si se puede. Hal soo it dah. Yes we can.