Whole Washington to host ‘March for Healthcare Justice’ Saturday in Seattle


Shane Ersland


A grassroots organization working to establish a state-level universal health care system in Washington will lead a march supporting health care reform on Saturday in Seattle.


Stay one step ahead. Join our email list for the latest news.



Whole Washington filed Initiative 1471 to the Secretary of State in March, and members have been gathering signatures to put the proposition on the general election ballot for residents to vote on. The initiative would create an insurance program that would cover all health care services for Washingtonians regardless of citizenship status. 

Whole Washington sponsored a Seattle march last year on July 24th, which was part of a national campaign in which Seattle joined several different cities in hosting a March for Medicare For All. Whole Washington Campaign Director Andre Stackhouse said the organization has been working with the national Medicare for All Everywhere campaign to organize this year’s march, which will be called the Seattle March for Healthcare Justice.

“We wanted to expand it this year,” Stackhouse said. “A lot of organizations out there right now are focused on Medicare privatization. They’re less focused on Medicare For All, and more focused on privatization. We wanted to create a slightly more inclusive space. And we will include other issues like women’s reproductive rights, which will be a theme. We wanted to broaden it out.”

The cities of Portland, San Francisco, and Asheville, North Carolina, will join Seattle in hosting Marches for Healthcare Justice on Saturday.

Last year’s Seattle march started at Westlake Park and participants marched to Seattle Center. This year’s march will start at Othello Playground, located at 4351 S. Othello St. Participants will march on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, stop at a Starbucks for a couple speeches, then march back to Othello Playground. 

“It’s good to try something different,” Stackhouse said. “You want new people to see you.”

The new venue also allows Whole Washington to save money. The group did not have to pay any permit fees to use Othello Playground, Stackhouse said.

“Last year’s march in Seattle was very expensive to book,” he said. “And the stage last year was a little far from shade. And Seattle Center was kind of touristy; a lot of people there didn’t take much interest in the march. We wanted to do something a little cheaper and simpler, and the new venue has bathrooms and an amphitheater.”

Speakers lined up for the event include:

  • Stephanie Gallardo, who is campaigning to represent Washington’s 9th Congressional District
  • Rebecca Parson, who is campaigning to represent Washington’s 6th Congressional District 
  • US Green Party co-Chair Margaret Elisabeth
  • Seattle Transit Riders Union Recording Secretary Matthew Lang
  • Scott Desnoyers, a health care activist from New York

Whole Washington will host a sign-making event for the march on Thursday at 906 N. 77th St. in Seattle at 6 pm. The organization has collected more than 36,000 of the 400,000 signatures necessary to put Initiative 1471 on the ballot, Stackhouse said.

“There’s been good growth every week,” he said. “We continue to bring more people in, and a lot of people who sign later become volunteers. We’re getting a lot of attention.”