Members of 1199SEIU Massachusetts gathered with hundreds of workers, immigrants and community advocates for a rally Feb. 21 under the banner of “We Will Persist.” The event highlighted Commonwealth residents’ dedication to standing together for quality jobs, affordable healthcare coverage, immigrant rights and a voice in important decisions that affect the state. U.S. Senator Ed Markey and Representative Joe Kennedy III joined the event at Boston’s Irish Famine Memorial.

“As the birthplace of our nation’s democracy, Massachusetts knows how to fight and win,” said Sen. Markey. “We are home to the Abolition movement, the suffragette movement, the universal healthcare 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.”

Workers, advocates and Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation publicly reaffirmed their support for immigrants, the LGBTQ community, Muslims and all those targeted by the Trump administration’s policies. Speakers shared their hopes for the nation as a land of opportunity for all individuals.

“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 Rep. 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.”

1199SEIU member Julie Gonzalez spoke passionately of the need to protect those covered under the Affordable Care Act. Congress’s thencurrent plan jeopardizes the healthcare coverage millions of 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 Gonzalez, a PCA. “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in Massachusetts, and I’m worried about what will happen—not only to my family, but also to my consumer—if the ACA is repealed.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.”

1199 Magazine | March/April 2017