Reports, pictures and video are coming back from Melanie's March, the 8 days, 135 mile trip insurance company survivors are making from Philadelphia to DC in honor of Melanie Shouse, a health care activist and Obama volunteer who died because she didn't have affordable insurance.
They're marching to send a simple message to Congress: Listen to the people, not the insurance companies. It's time to get health reform done and get it done right.
Hundreds of supporters rallied in Philadelphia yesterday to kick off the march:
Hit the jump for tons more photos and video from the march and from other rallies around the country.
The marchers and supporters all got red carnations as a symbol:
Cliff Frasier, who played an important role in planning the march, explains the symbolism of these carnations and what we are hoping those of who can join us on this march will do as part of this action.
"Every 12 minutes, on average, a person dies in our country for lack of health insurance, according to a recent study released by Harvard Science. This results in approximately 1,000 deaths every 8-days.
March to the Finish Line for Melanie is an 8-day march from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. As our elected leaders continue debating reform, we are losing the voices of those most in need of affordable and accessible healthcare.
Marchers will carry 1,000 carnations into Washington and lay them on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, memorializing the mounting human cost of doing nothing. These flowers will also represent community support for March to the Finish Line for Melanie, as volunteers from advocacy and religious organizations will donate bouquets of carnations along the route.
Please donate a bouquet – or several (preferred color: red, but any color will be appreciated). We need to gather 1,000 stems of carnations over the course of the 8 day march.
Meet the marchers at one of the rallies or meet-up locations along the route, and add your donation of carnations to March to the Finish Line for Melanie. For more information on how to donate carnations, call: 917-359-9281. "
From Philadelphia, the marchers headed out of town and held a candlelight vigil at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park, PA last night:
Today, the march continues with rallies in Delaware. Stay tuned for more pictures!
Meanwhile, around the country, thousands more were taking it to the streets to send this message. Folks were out with pitchforks and torches in Connecticut:
And hundreds rallied outside of Aetna's headquarters in Chicago:
In Los Angeles, hundreds rallied outside of Anthem Blue Cross's offices, which just increased rates in California by as much as 39%:
In Missouri, a memorial and rally was held in memory of Melanie Shouse:
In New Mexico, hundreds came out to ask Senator Udall to support reconciliaton as a way to finish health reform right:
Out west in Oregon, hundreds rallied:
And up north in Washington, almost ten thousand people rallied on the steps of the state capitol to send a clear message - we want health care done now, and done right:
In West Virginia, hundreds gathered to hear Senator Rockefeller and urge him to get health reform done and get it done right:
I'll have more photos from Melanie's March and other events around the country as they come in. Click here to find an event in your area and attend - we need you to raise your voice with us to win real health care reform!
(also posted at the NOW! blog)
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