Why we are Marching to the Finish Line for Melanie

Posted on February 13th, 2010 by Marc Stier

A group of Pennsylvanians are Marching from Philadelphia to Washington, DC between February 17 and 24 in honor of Melanie Shouse. This is why.

Recently, our friend, Melanie Shouse lost a long battle with breast cancer after missing out on critical treatment because she, like thousands of others, could not find affordable health insurance.

Melanie did everything she could to fight for health care, not just for herself, but for all of us. President Obama, who knew Melanie as a volunteer on his campaign, said: “She was fighting that whole time not just to get me elected, not even to get herself health insurance, but because she understood that there were others coming behind her who were going to find themselves in the same situation and she didn’t want somebody else going through that same thing.” It was a long road for Melanie, but she never gave up.

Open Thread: Car Pools to Melanie’s March

Posted on February 21st, 2010 by Marc Stier

I keep hearing from people all over the country–Georgia, Connecticut, New York, Missouri and places in between–who want to come to the final mile (or eight miles) of Melanie’s March in Washington, DC.  And our Philadelphia and Pittsburgh buses are both seriously over-subscribed right now.

So I’m put this open thread post up so that people have a convenient way to find people with whom to car pool to Washington.

And if any of you have deep pockets–or are very generous people with shallow pockest–please contribute to the march. If we can raise the money for additional buses, we can bring another 100 people from Pennsylvania–or even more.

Melanie’s March Final Event

Posted on February 26th, 2010 by Marc Stier

Press and blog coverage of Melanie’s March final event.

Posted on February 26th, 2010 by Marc Stier

John Judis, Where Was Barack, The New Republic

The Today Show

Washington Post

Aggressive  Progressive

True Majority

Nearing the End And Hoping Reform is Finished Soon Too!

Posted on February 24th, 2010 by Antoinette Kraus

Day 7! Here on the road, the marchers have stopped referring to time and dates the way the rest of you do. I can’t tell you what day of the week or what hour it is necessarily, but I can let you know that as I’m writing this it’s Day 7 and we’re paused for a minute .2 miles away from our College Park, MD rally.
We’ve measured time in days and miles. Mornings are successful if we only go through one package of blister bandaids and in the afternoon we’re counting how many bottles of water we’ve all had. Now, we’re left with dinner, a rally and then Day 8. It’s really hard to believe there is only one day and 7.6 miles left.
It’s almost as hard to believe that as we’ve been walking, getting cranky about blisters and snow banks, over 1000 people have died because they didn’t have health care.

This morning we had a breakfast meet-up where people showed up with stories and more carnations for us. The carnations we’ll lay less than 20 hours from now in memoriam of those who have died. The marchers are all excited about the final event, but more than excited we’re hopeful. With every step we take and carnation we lay we’re hoping this will end the delay. How many more weeks is Congress going to wait before passing reform? How many more thousands of people are going to have to die?

In addition to hopeful, we’re also reflective, not only thinking about all the work we’ve done, but everything the movement has accomplished thus far. With such a massive movement and all the phone calls, letter writing, lobby visits, marches, rallies, house parties, meet-ups…that have been part of this movement, we wonder..how much more will it take? We’re up for it, whatever it is (though we’re hopeful it involves less than 100 miles of walking).

Still we wonder, what more is Congress looking for from us as organizers and as citizens. We’ve demonstrated, time and time again, how the majority of Americans want and need this reform. Their own offices have proven the money it will save the American economy. They know the lives it will save and they’ve heard the stories of those lives directly from their own constituents.

So as we arrive in Washington, we’re hopeful, but we’re also asking, “What more are you waiting for?”

We made it to college park..

Posted on February 24th, 2010 by Antoinette Kraus

We made it to College Park!!It is hard to believe that we are only about 8 miles from our final destination. It has been a long journey and at some points very difficult. I got separated from the group today. I paused to do a radio interview and instead of running to catch up I took the time to walk along and think about what we had accomplished over the past 7 days. We have trekked through snow, mud and rain to deliver our message to DC. I realized we could not have done this without the support of our group from Pennsylvania but I also realized what kept me going was the unbelievable teamwork and the kindness of strangers we had never met. They all came together because they see the injustices of our current health care system. With every step we took another person came forward to share a health care story. Every day people died while we were walking down the highway. The emotion I felt at that very moment was real and it reminded me why I was on this journey. Today my muscles hurt, I got my first blister and exhaustion has set in but I knew that with every step that I took someone else was inspired and someone else felt that their voice was being heard.

When we finally got to the College Park rally we were greeted by our Philadelphia health care activists. They are the unsung heroes behind the phone calls, the visits to Congress and the energy behind what we in Philly call team health care. They came to support us in the final few miles of our trip. Peg was there and she brought letters with her that she had her students write to the Melanie’s Marchers. Pam, Christiane and Katy brought me a card. I can not thank them enough for their dedication to the health care campaign. As we walk the final few miles into the Capitol tomorrow they will be at my side but so will the spirits and the stories of everyone I have met over the past 8 days.

Rally at College Park

Posted on February 24th, 2010 by Antoinette Kraus

Rally in Baltimore..Day 6

Posted on February 24th, 2010 by Antoinette Kraus

Breakfast at Franks Dinner…Jessup Maryland.

Posted on February 23rd, 2010 by Antoinette Kraus

Marching with Liberty

Posted on February 23rd, 2010 by Antoinette Kraus

DC or bust..Day 7

Posted on February 23rd, 2010 by Antoinette Kraus

An inflection point in history: Health care and progressive reform in the balance

Posted on February 23rd, 2010 by Marc Stier

There has never been a time in the fifty four years of my life when political action is more important and can have a greater impact on our future. That’s why I’m marching to Washington today and urging you to take join Melanie’s March To the Finish Line.

Before I became a full time political organizer three years ago, I taught political philosophy and American politics for twenty five years.

Like most people trained in philosophy and the political and social sciences, I’ve always been somewhat dubious about the ability of people to bend history. Most of the time, I believe, the forces that shape history overwhelm what we do as individuals. That’s true for Presidents and Congressional leaders. And it’s even more true for citizens.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act politically. Historical forces act through us But, for most of my life, as someone who was an activist in the interstices of my intellectual work, I have not believed that I have helped shape events. Rather, I believe I have played my part in a drama that I did write. And for much of my life, since the late 1970s, I’ve not been happy about who or what forces wrote the political drama of our collective life in America. While we have made progress in some areas in the last thirty years—in moving toward sexual equality, in expanding opportunities for racial minorities, and in the growing acceptance of people in the LGBT community. But in most respects, and certainly with regard to growing inequality of economic opportunity in America, the last thirty years have been a time of retreat and disappointment.

In the last few years it has seemed that new historical forces had arisen and that a new dramatist would write the script for the next ten or twenty years of our common life.

I believe that still to be true. But even more importantly, I believe that what you and I do in the next few days and weeks will determine who and what forces will write the political drama of the next era in American history.