A national grassroots organization will host an event in Vancouver this weekend to advocate for a single-payer healthcare system.
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March for Medicare for All (M4M4A) will host its Single Payer Picnic at Vancouver’s Hazel Dell Community Park, located at 2300 NE 68th St., on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Event organizer Elizabeth Meyer told State of Reform it will be the organization’s first event in the city.
Meyer has been a national event organizer for M4M4A since 2021. She has helped organize 56 events throughout the country, including two demonstrations outside of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s—an opponent of Medicare for All—San Francisco homes. Meyer was raised in Oregon and lives in Vancouver, and said the city will be an ideal location to reach supporters in both Washington and Oregon.
“This year, I decided I wanted to build holistically in this community. We cannot do this at the state level. It has to be done nationally for everybody.”
The event’s location is also significant because it borders the Clark County Poor Farm, which was tied to early 20th century poor farm relief programs. The event will feature speakers from both Washington and Oregon, including:
- Portland’s Kamil Khan, executive director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
- Northern Washington’s Martha Schmidt, JD, from National Single Payer and the National Lawyers Guild
- Portland’s Lukkah Churchill, a transgender health advocate, author, and vegan chef
- Eric Kestner, a member of the activist group Real Progressives
- Monica Zazueta, from Stand Up to Oil in Vancouver
“Every one of them will be talking about healthcare as a human right,” Meyer said. “Khan has experience working with refugees, so he’ll talk about it in relation to that. Monica will be talking about how healthcare is connected to the environment.
Lukkah will talk about healthcare from a trans perspective, which is important as we see what’s happening in Florida right now. Kestner will talk about the monetary perspective, and how our federal government can pay for us to have healthcare, just as they pay for us to go to wars.”
The event will feature food, games, and activities for children and adults. Meyer requests that attendees bring donations of new school supplies, which will be dispersed with new backpacks purchased by M4M4A at an August mutual aid event.