Rally to keep Obamacare draws more than 100 to Sherwood Cannery Square Plaza Saturday
About 115 people packed into Sherwood's Cannery Square Plaza Saturday – latter marching through Old Town Sherwood -- in support of keeping the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The "Hands Off Our Affordable Care Act" rally was organized by Sherwood residents Patrick Briggs and Maddie Gavel-Briggs as part of their recently formed organization, Our Indivisible Revolution Sherwood. The event coincided with other national events hoping to save the act, passed in 2010 to increase health insurance quality and affordability.
Saturday's events included participants carrying signs in support of retaining the act, which President Trump has vowed to repeal. They included: "Improve. Don't Destroy," "Obama Care worked because Obama Cared," Health care is a human right," and "350,000 Oregonians will lose their health care."
Before the rally began, West Linn resident Bruce Seymour walked up Pine Street with his homemade sign.
"It's inspirational that people come out and let their feelings be known," he said. While he voted for Hillary Clinton, he said he appreciated what Bernie Sanders did for the Democratic presidential candidate by moving her to a "more socially just perspective."
Co-organizer Maddie Gavel-Briggs told the crowd her sister is a nurse and noted that many women don't come into the hospital even if they are experiencing symptoms for lack of insurance. She said repeal of the care act would not be good for seniors and urged those gathered to get involved.
"Our motto is democracy only works when you participate," she said, latter adding that the event's takeaway should be to "become better citizens."
Others who spoke included Phoebe, a local nurse who asked that her last name not be used, who stressed the importance of keeping the Affordable Care Act, saying she fears what could happen to patients with ongoing critical health problems or medical problems whose conditions are diagnosed too late or don't receive needed treatment because of a lack of insurance.
"Nobody deserves to die because they are too poor," she said.
Meanwhile, Matthew Schantin, a Sherwood High School junior, spoke about the work he has seen as part of the Sherwood YMCA Youth and Government program, part of a statewide legislature program gives hands-on experience with the state legislative process.
He noted that the West Albany student chapter pushed through a new healthcare plan, something passed by the youth model legislature, showing that many students are supportive of healthcare as well.
Throughout the rally, others told stories of how health insurance, or a lack thereof, has affected their lives.
Before the event ended, Patrick Briggs lead rally-goers in a march through Old Town Sherwood, urging them not to block streets or pedestrians. Along the way they chanted a variety of slogans including "Who cares, we care."
Unlike some of the Portland rallies/protests, the Sherwood gathering was without incident save for the occasional passing vehicle where occupants yelled "Vote for Trump" and "You all suck."
"We need to take this kind of passion and creativity and take it to the ballot box," said Patrick Briggs shortly before the crowd dispersed.
Gavel-Briggs said she was pleased with the event's turnout
"People were really very positive and respectful," she said Gavel Briggs. "The crowd had a sense of having something that mattered."