Update: After this blog was posted Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 10 into law, a measure that will take California closer to making health care coverage available to all Californians. Read the full release here.
I was excited to meet Young Invincibles, a group that shared the same enthusiasm as me on the issues that affect such a large part of California’s working class. As a resident, student, and advocate in California, I was eager to join the fight for something that matters to our community and economy: supporting Senate Bill 10, which expands access to the healthcare marketplace for thousands of Californians regardless of their immigration status.
Californians face incredible barriers when it comes to finding quality health care, especially for more than one million of the state’s undocumented residents. Language in the Affordable Care Act prevents undocumented people from receiving financial assistance to get covered, which leaves a significant demographic at risk, and also cuts entire families–some mixed status, some not–out of options to receive the medical care they need. SB 10 is a step in the right direction, enabling Californians to shop for health care, an option that is a luxury to millions. To me, passing SB 10 grants many of California’s families a necessary safety net.
The Health4All Coalition leadership and training conference met in Sacramento, where I came across many other students, both undergrad and graduate, who all had their own stories about health care and sense of social responsibility. Through my activities and participation, I realized that social changes all come step by step with large groups of support; it takes an army of advocates to move even an inch forward. Being a part of something that is bigger than myself, organizing with people dedicated to opening up access to health care for all Californians, was a great inspiration. With my eyes open and ears active, we marched to the Capitol. During the walk, I came out of my comfort zone and I felt my strength build up. As I approached the Capitol building, I saw one or two people holding signs for other causes, and I couldn’t help but think they needed young advocates to represent them and advance their own missions.
Our rally was peaceful, yet effective. We weren’t fighting, but rather passionately supporting a decision that needs to be made by state government. We weren’t breaking down walls or asserting our aggression; we were walking into the offices of elected officials from our regions that mostly support the health care equity that comes from this bill. If you look at the dedication, sacrifices, and successes of this cause, you see that the time is now to support SB10. We have seen this bill pass in our Senate, and we will continue to advocate until we see all of California’s families get access to care. With continued support, critical thinking, and great enthusiasm, we can mobilize movements–even just an inch–to improve our future for generations.
Alyssia Hogue is an economics student graduating from Los Angeles City College in June 2016, and transferring to University of California Davis in fall 2016.