Hundreds of Workers and Advocates Join Senator Markey and Congressman Kennedy for ‘We Will Persist’ RallyFebruary 21, 2017
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Hundreds of Workers and Advocates Join Senator Markey and Congressman Kennedy for ‘We Will Persist’ Rally
Workers, immigrants and advocates stand together to send a clear message to Washington that Massachusetts will fight to protect its residents and communities
Boston, MA (February 21, 2017) – Hundreds of workers, immigrants and community advocates joined U.S. Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Joe Kennedy III for a “We Will Persist” Rally to highlight how Massachusetts will continue to fight to protect and advance key issues.
During an event that took place at the Boston Irish Famine Memorial in Downtown Crossing, participants rallied together to send a clear message to Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration that the Commonwealth will fight for quality jobs, affordable healthcare coverage, immigrant rights and a voice in important decisions that affect the state.
“As the birthplace of our nation's democracy, Massachusetts knows how to fight and win,” said Senator Markey. “We are home to the Abolition movement, the suffragette movement, the universal health care movement and the same-sex marriage movement. As a Commonwealth and as a people, we will persist. And when there is inequality and injustice, we will resist. I am proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with workers, students, immigrants and their families in this fight to protect our time-honored democratic rights and values.”
The “We Will Persist” rally was also an opportunity for workers and advocates to stand with members of Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation to reaffirm their support of immigrants, the LGBTQ community, Muslims and all those unfairly targeted by the Trump administration. Immigrants spoke about what this country means to them and their hope that the nation will remain a land of opportunity for all individuals under the new Administration.
"No single person has experienced every struggle or learned every lesson, but united, the American people have the insight and dogged determination to confront this nation's greatest challenges,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Our diversity is our ultimate strength. We cannot close our doors to immigrants and refugees, erode the rights of our fellow workers or deny health care to our neighbors. At today’s rally, people of all faiths, identities and backgrounds raised their voices to send a clear message that we will persist and we will prevail.”
During the event, participants also discussed how they plan to fight a system that appears increasingly rigged against working families under the new Administration, particularly as it relates to rising income inequality and efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“We are proud to join Senator Markey, Congressman Kennedy and our entire Congressional Delegation to stand up, speak up and rise up for the issues that are important to us here in Massachusetts – quality jobs, affordable healthcare, civil rights and protections for all communities,” said Tyrék D. Lee, Sr., Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “Our message is clear – our voices will not be silenced. We will fight back, and we will push back. But we will never sit back.”
Participants also provided Senator Markey and Congressman Kennedy with a box of notes and messages from Massachusetts constituents highlighting the steps they are taking to ensure that workers continue to have a say in our economy and our democracy. Messages included encouragement to the Commonwealth’s Congressional Delegation to keep up their fight to protect affordable healthcare, personal stories from families affected by the Trump Administration’s initial travel ban proposal and commitments from rally attendees to organize and mobilize friends, family and members of their communities.
“We stand together as immigrants and are united in our tremendous hope for the state and country we call home,” said Sadya Mohamed, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Sudan and a Logan Airport worker. “This past month has been challenging for many in our community as we face new threats to break up hardworking families, separating parents and children, brothers and sisters. Fortunately, Massachusetts is a state that fights together, a state that understands that immigrants contribute to the economy and our communities. We will not be silenced.”
In addition to attending the Tuesday rally, Massachusetts healthcare workers and advocates are participating in phone banks throughout the week to call voters in swing Congressional districts. Workers and advocates are encouraging voters to contact their own Congressional representatives and demand a plan to keep and improve affordable healthcare before taking away the healthcare of 30 million Americans.
“My family depends on MassHealth, and I’m thankful that we’re able to gain access to quality and affordable insurance because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Julie Gonzalez, a personal care attendant. “As a personal care attendant, I provide vital care to vulnerable residents in Massachusetts, and I’m worried about what will happen – not only to my family, but also to my consumer – if the ACA is repealed. That’s why we will persist and demand that Congress create a viable plan that preserves care.”
Massachusetts’ “We Will Persist” rally is one of hundreds of actions occurring across the country during this Congressional recess week to push back against an extreme Trump Administration agenda that hurts working people.
“In Massachusetts and all across the country, individuals are standing up together to ensure their rights are protected,” said Kathleen Paul from the Mass. Senior Action Council. “We stand united against fear to keep our families together, to ensure our healthcare is not stripped from us, and to keep our cornerstones intact. Repeal of the ACA or Medicaid block grants would put Massachusetts seniors and families at risk. Today we send a clear message: seniors will persist and we will fight back.”
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PCA and proud 1199er Julie Gonzalez speaks out at the We Will Persist rally: "As a personal care attendant, I provide vital care to vulnerable residents in Massachusetts, and I’m worried about what will happen – not only to my family, but also to my consumer – if the ACA is repealed. That’s why we will persist and demand that Congress create a viable plan that preserves care."