May 2019

We The People - MI supports the Northern Michigan Alliance for Healthcare Justice!

What do a farmer, a doctor, a cancer patient, a student, a reproductive justice advocate, a social worker, a nurse, a member of the disability community, an Indigenous leader and a migrant rights organizer, have in common?

In the case of the Northern Michigan Alliance for Healthcare Justice, the common thread is a conviction that healthcare is a human right.

We The People rural organizer Betsy Coffia has been working since January with this newly formed grassroots group based in the Grand Traverse Region.

The Alliance for Healthcare Justice membership includes all of the above folks and more, and came together in winter 2019. Its official mission:

Northern Michigan Alliance for Healthcare Justice champions healthcare as a right, with the goal for all people in northern Michigan to live in healthy communities and environments. (The Alliance) takes specific actions so that all people in northern Michigan can receive comprehensive medical and public health services equally, with equity and dignity, and without financial burden.

In early May, the Alliance for Healthcare Justice preliminarily selected a pair of concurrent projects, pending approval of the full membership.

The first project is a Rolling Jubilee inspired Medical Debt Buy to help with and raise awareness of the crushing burden of medical debt borne by too many in rural northern lower Michigan.

A second project includes a rural mobile health clinic to serve people in their own communities, farm fields, churches, schools and other gathering spaces. Harkening back to the times of a family doctor accepting chickens as payment for setting a broken leg or delivering a baby, the mobile health clinic hopes to accept old fashioned barter for services where desired. “This is about people and treating people with dignity and making sure they have the care they need,” one member, a retired nurse, explained. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.

A delegation from the Alliance for Healthcare Justice will participate in the upcoming May 17-19 We The People organizing workshop in Charlevoix, with the intent of using the tools and strategies offered to build its campaign for healthcare justice.

Third workshop coming to Northern Michigan

The Rural Organizing Team is SO looking forward to hosting the third community organizer workshop in Northern Michigan, this time in Charlevoix!

We’re spending the weekend with teams from across our region that are working for access to reproductive care, migrant rights, criminal justice, healthcare, environmental and climate care, and more, and we’re honored to be building a movement with such a powerful group of people working on diverse issues!

We’re gearing up for an intense weekend. And we’re excited to share lessons learned and fun photos from the weekend in our newsletter next month!

Megan Collier Hess