Hotflash will have a longer post with more details (her video camera is better than mine,) but I wanted to share some observations from last night’s Organizing for America rally for health care reform at the IBEW Hall in south St. Louis.
Somewhere between 1500 to 2000 people showed up to express their support for health care reform. Not a bad crowd when you consider that no program was announced ahead of time. I had no idea who would speak, if anyone. The lineup was pretty strong, actually, with St. Louis Labor Council Pres. Bob Soutier, St. Louis Board of Alderman Pres. Lewis Reed, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, and Congressman Russ Carnahan as the headliners. All of the speakers were extremely passionate and articulate speakers with the exception of Russ, who presented his case rather coolly. And I mean no disrespect to Carnahan – he’s improved his public speaking considerably since his first congressional campaign and did a fine job Sunday evening.
They shared the stage with a woman who is fighting to pay for her son’s epilepsy and leukemia treatments, even with insurance, an OFA volunteer who has been organizing for the past several months in the St. Louis area, and OFA Deputy Director Jeremy Bird, who reminded us that we’ve come farther in the fight for universal health care in the last six weeks than the previous sixty years.
The rally wasn’t the endpoint of what Organizing for America is doing for health care reform in the area. Every speaker emphasized the importance of talking to friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family. And OFA is formally organizing rallygoers and OFA contacts to help out with events like phone banks.
Here’s Jeremy Bird: