I always had a lifelong dream of becoming a physician who made great changes in people's lives. I have been involved in numerous situations where I saw how politics would affect my future role. I learned so much in hospitals, campaigning, and university/community involvement. Dailykos helped me lift my drive to broader levels. Netroots Nation will do the same and that is why I applied for a scholarship that I hope you all will vote on.
Throughout my years of volunteering at Maryland hospitals, I learned how the current for-profit health care system, comprised of corporate health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, has created immeasurable barriers for patients and physicians. Patients, for example, had to worry about expensive prescription drug costs and whether they would get necessary procedures needed to live well. Those procedures were at the mercy of insurance companies putting profits over lives and health. Physicians meanwhile had to worry about an extremely important role as part of their career: being the number one patient's advocate. If insurance companies were not in the way, they would easily be able to care for their patients. Ultimately, the big picture of the medical industry, big money, and politicians started falling into place for me. My father, who was insightful about how politics and society worked, always emphasized that the rich always find ways to keep things the same with everyone else struggling. It made a lot of sense. Universal health care bills died under each Democratic president because of the influences of the medical insurance industry and drug industry.
Republican presidents of course never believed in universal health care.
However, progress (such as Medicare) happened under Democratic Presidents over time. In 2007, I believed in Barack Obama's ability to inspire young people to fight for a better world. He believed in my future where patients would not have to suffer from terrible health or medical bankruptcy because of a corrupt business desire. He believed in putting physicians in charge of health care and making sure their profession (and my future role in it) is respected. I wanted to play a role in making him President and being a part of the fight in universal health care. Therefore, I tried to find a way to get involved in the campaign. Given that I used the internet often, I had a feeling there was a website named Barackobama.com. I was correct. Upon opening the website, I was impressed at how Barack Obama was connecting people from all walks of life on the blog to talk about their plans to knock on doors, spread the truth, let people share their stories, plan events, and phonebank. I met many young people who shared the same beliefs, hopes, and sense of community as I did. We were all in this together to fight for a better world for our generation. We felt proud on election night hearing that Barack Obama won.
However, we knew that was not the end point. I was more empowered as a freshman at undergraduate school to extend my community activist involvement with college students (who are typically apolitical) to push for the health care law, raise awareness of the for-profit system's effect on young people, and fight for cancer research funding (something the drug industry is obviously against for obvious reasons). I regularly participated at my college's relay for life to raise the research funds. I have worked to raise awareness of youth cancer (starting with a facebook group after my leadership camp finished). I did an important job of connecting survivors with each other and encouraging them to tell their stories to college groups lobbying for health care reform (HCR) and raising awareness. They were key voices that needed to be heard in the HCR debate. Ultimately, HCR was signed by President Obama. Ever since, I have been active in defending the health care law and spreading the progressive truth to other people. Dailykos has provided me a platform to do that.
Check out my most rec'ed, liked, and tweeted diary on the magnitude of the Affordable Care Act.
As a trust-user kossack and blog administrator of Maryland and Youth Kos groups, I meet with Maryland Kossacks monthly to stay active in local politics. I also specifically involve myself at a free clinic that tends to the uninsured Hispanic population. For example, I translated for patients (I am fluent in Spanish) and played a key role in empowering Latinos to spread the word about the clinic and get more people covered by it. I have learned a great deal about how medicine creates huge barriers against Hispanics. I am working to break them down. I hope to meet with Latino activists at NN2013 to connect more with this underserved community.
This year and scholarship are my best chances to go to Netroots Nation. I will be busy with medical school starting in August. Most importantly, I want to grow as an activist and broaden my activism nationally. I was able to make a difference locally through college, volunteering at hospitals, and free clinics. Netroots Nation is the ideal next step and place to grow and learn with new people. They will provide me with new opportunities and challenges. I will make new friends and allies. I will inspire them while they teach me a lot. I have already inspired people on Dailykos, Obama campaign volunteers, and people suffering the wrath of the insurance industry.
Thank you all on Dailykos for shaping me as a person and activist. Please take just 30 seconds to vote for my scholarship. Click on this link and click on the blue button to vote. Easy. Please spread my application to as many people as possible.