On Saturday, March 8, in honor of International Women's Day, hundreds of 1199 caregivers and New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) members came together in a march and rally on the Upper East Side to tell the Koch brothers that all New Yorkers need quality healthcare. They were joined by community activists and elected officials including Senator Adriano Espaillat, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Council member Ben Kallos and City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.
The rally began at the site of the David H. Koch Center, a new healthcare facility that is part of the New York Presbyterian system, with a price tag of $2 billion. Participants then proceeded to the Chase Bank branch at the corner of York Ave. and 72nd St for presentations by 1199SEIU, NYSNA, NAACP, Health GAP, NY Communities for Change, NOW-NYC, and elected officials. Participants' culminated the event outside of David Koch's residence, the luxury apartment building 740 Park Avenue.
The Koch Brothers spent an estimated $235 million over the last several years to fight against women's reproductive rights in states across the country. Additionally, while there are six hospitals beds per 1,000 Manhattan residents, there are only two hospital beds per thousand residents in Brooklyn.
"This International Women's Day, we've focused on the Koch Brothers and their multi-million dollar campaign against women's right to reproductive health," said Jill Furillo, NYSNA Executive Director. Closing the chapter on women's inequality is key to ending the Tale of Two Cities, a story being told across the country. It's a story for the history books."
"If there isn't going to be any justice, there isn't going to be any peace," said Minerva Solla, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU. "Today we are standing up to tell the Koch Brothers that all New Yorkers deserve quality healthcare, not just the super-rich. The campaigns they fund are harmful to women and all working people."
Endorsing Organizations of the event included: 1199SEIU, New York State Nurses Association, NAACP New York State Conference, African Services Committee, ALIGN-NY, Bailey House, Center for Popular Democracy, Community Voices Heard, Doctors for the 99%, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, Healthcare-NOW! NYC, GABRIELA-NYC, Healthcare for the 99%, Interfaith Coalition, La Aurora, Left Labor Project, Make the Road New York, Met Council on Housing, Metro New York Healthcare for All, National Dominican Women's Development Center, National Action Network, National Organization of Women-NYC, New York Communities for Change, PhilForum, Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro, Rockaway Wildfire, Strong Economy For All Coalition, VOCAL-NY, Washington Heights Corner Project, Working Families Party.