South Los Angeles County Residents Rally for Healthcare for all in California

26 Feb

Crowd rallies at Harvey Milk Promenade Park in downtown Long Beach healthcare for all in California, Friday,  Feb.24.  Photo by Barry Saks


About 150 people, mostly local residents, rallied at Harvey Milk Promenade Park, at 185 E. Third Street, Long Beach, on Friday, Feb.24, in support of the newly introduced California State Senate Bill 562, which will provide healthcare for all California residents, and listened to California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D, Long Beach-Huntington Park), Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and others who spoke for the bill.

The bill was introduced by Senator Lara and Senator Toni Atkins (D, San Diego).


Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia speaks, Friday, Feb. 24, at healthcare for all in California rally.  Photo by Barry Saks

Mayor Garcia emceed.  During the rally behind the speakers, a contingent from the California Nurses Association, one of the primary backers of the bill, held their banner.

The Mayor acknowledged the other elected officials who were present from Long Beach were 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, 7th District Councilman Roberto Uranga, as well as the former 7th District Councilwoman Tonia Uranga. Other elected officials from other jurisdictions were Long Beach Community College District Trustee Sunny Zia, Signal Hill Councilman Larry Forester, as well as representatives for Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn and United States Congressman Alan Lowenthal.


Myron Wollin speaks to crowd, rallying, Friday, Feb. 24, for healthcare for all in California.  Photo by Barry Saks

The first speaker the Mayor introduced was Myron Wollin, the President of the Long Beach Gray Panthers and a member of the California Alliance for Retired Americans.  Wollins said, “We need healthcare that is guaranteed, not healthcare based on what you can afford…. We’ve have enough of the insurance industry trying making a profit off our health.”


California Nurses Association contingent to rally for healthcare for all in California, Friday, Feb.24.  The woman with her fist in the air, is retired nurse Marjorie Keenan who spoke representing, CNA.  Photo by Barry Saks

Garcia then introduced Marjorie Keenan, another Long Beach resident and a retired local leader of the CNA.  She said, “Care delayed is care denied.” She pointed out that healthcare in the U.S. is rationed because “people are cutting their pills in half, they’re not going to the doctor, they’re not going to the hospital when they need to go.”


Shannon Ross speaks at healthcare for all rally, Friday, Feb. 24, in downtown Long Beach.  Photo by Barry Saks

The next speaker the Mayor introduced was Shannon Ross, an Assembly District 70 delegate to the California Democratic Party.  Ross said this issue was close to her heart.  Her sister was diagnosed yesterday with cancer.  Three years before she went to the hospital with pains in her stomach but she could not afford to follow up with a doctor.

Before introducing California State Senator Lara, Garcia said, “As I know that we’re here to support universal coverage, I know we’re also together united in all those other issues that matter, whether it’s standing up for the LBTGQ (Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community, whether it’s standing up for women’s rights to make choices about their own bodies, whether it is standing up for workers’ rights … whether it is standing up for our brothers and sisters all across this country that are black and brown, that are gay.”


California State Senator Ricardo Lara speaks at rally, on Friday, Feb.24,  for healthcare for all.  Lara was one of two State Senators who introduced Senate Bill 562 in legislature.  Photo by Barry Saks

Lara spoke last.  He said, “This is the first rally outside of the Capitol (Sacramento).  Lara pointed out Garcia was the first mayor to endorse this bill.  Regarding healthcare for all, Lara said, “Canada has done.  Europe has done it.  Countries around the world have done it.”

One of the people who attended the rally was Terry Beebe, who lives in Long Beach’s first district.  Beebe, who is 72, said he was a retired teacher from the Los Angeles Unified School District and is lucky to have healthcare for the rest of his life and said, “I don’t understand why they (the Congress) wants to repeal the ACA (Affordable Care Act).”

Another person at the rally was Karen Reside.  Reside said she lives in Long Beach’s 1st District, is the Secretary of the Long Beach Gray Panthers.  She estimated that about 12 Gray Panther members were at the rally.


Bill Grisolia Band plays, Friday, Feb. 24, before the rally for healthcare in California for all.  Photo by Barry Saks

Before and after the rally, the Bill Grisolia Band played, setting the festive mood of the rally.


Before the rally, a some people decide to face traffic, on Friday, Feb.24,  on Third Street with their signs for healthcare.  Photo by Barry Saks.

Some of the people were dancing to the music, while others stood on the sidewalk with their pro-universal healthcare signs facing the one-way traffic on Third St.

California State Senate Bill 562, titled California for a Healthy California Act, states, “It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would establish a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state.”

The link to the text of Senate Bill 562 is.

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