#HolyWeekOfAction ends in silent resolve for uninsured

It is Good Friday.

It is the first day of Passover.

Today, we were silent.

Today we marched in silence.

Today we stood in silence outside our senator’s office.

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We are a group of about 30 people in Chattanooga, a mix of faith communities, activists and people desperate for health care. We have assembled many times over the last several weeks to raise the voices of the thousands of people in our district who need to be able to see a doctor when they are sick.

We have not been heard.

Today was our final #CompassionateFridays event to try and convince our politicians to allow thousands and thousands of poor Tennesseans to be able to see a doctor when they are sick.

Despite hundreds of people across Tennessee protesting, chanting, preaching, writing, singing, chalking, and praying — despite vigils and services and gatherings at the capitol — the people were not heard. The people’s voices were drowned out by the money of the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity.

So, today, we were silent in our protest and our service.

We taped dollar bills across our mouths before we marched.

We stood for seven minutes of silence outside Sen. Todd Gardenhire’s office. Sen. Gardenhire represents Hamilton and Bradley County, where thousands of people could have seen a doctor if Insure TN had passed. Sen. Gardenhire has twice been part of denying Insure TN in committee.

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Sen. Gardenhire has two insurance plans. One is provided by his private employer (Morgan Stanley, where he is vice president for wealth management). The other is subsidized by his constituents. Those are the constituents with whom he has refused to talk, who he has refused to hear, and who, when confronted by them with a direct question, he has cursed. (See Video Here.)

It appears that for all the organizing, demonstrating, marching and meeting, we have failed.

Only a miracle could revive Insure TN in this session of the General Assembly.

While we hope for a miracle, today’s action had a finality about it.

The 30 people who were part of today’s #CompassionateFridays that ended our #HolyWeekOfAction to support Insure TN, planned to take some time to rest, but vowed to meet again in a week and talk about next steps.

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It is likely over for this session, but we will continue to work toward ensuring that all of our sisters and bothers, no matter their income bracket, have access to medical care. Despite the resolve to continue the fight, we also know that in the meantime, people will die for lack of medical coverage. People will die who would have lived had Insure TN passed. Their blood is on the hands of the senators who denied them coverage.

Song from today’s #CompassionateFridays to support #InsureTN as part of Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center’s #HolyWeekOfAction:

Were you there …

Were you there when they voted coverage down?
Oh were you there when they voted coverage down?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they voted coverage down?

Were you there when they crucified the poor?
Were you there when they crucified the poor?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they crucified the poor?

Were you there when they nailed the coffins shut?
Were you there when they nailed the coffins shut?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they nailed the coffins shut?

Were you there when they put them in the graves?
Were you there when they put them in the graves?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they put them in the graves?

Well, will be there when the people rise again.
Well, will be there when the people rise again.
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Well, will be there when the people rise again.

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