Radical Action Thursdays (RATs) are back! But because we aren’t fond of rats, we tweaked the name a bit.
So what’s this whole RAW thing, anyway?
Writing for a cause
Radical Action Writing is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a letter writing campaign designed to offer the GLIDE community a way to take ACTION in demanding that our politicians are accountable to us, the people. What we mean by radical is:
(especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
We ask for change. We demand that we have a stake in what happens to us and our communities. We allow ourselves to disrupt the status quo.
The letters we write hold our stories and put faces to the issues grappled with by our elected officials. Budgets, ballot measures, federal policies and local government issues—the sky’s the limit for subject matter. We write about whatever’s on our minds.
Through RAW, we can have our voices heard regarding issues that acutely affect residents of the Tenderloin and our own communities. It’s important that we take a stand together, to defend and support policy that affects our program participants. Lately, we’ve been focusing a lot on health care.
What’s up with health care?
There’s been a lot of talk about repeal-and-replace for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). First, it was the American Health Care Act in the House, then the Better Care Reconciliation Act in the Senate. Thankfully, neither passed, but the fate of the ACA still hangs in the balance—some people still want to see it go. This is where we step in, and tell our officials that we don’t want this to happen.
The ACA isn’t perfect by any means, but its impact on GLIDE’s program participants is significant. The poor and homeless populations that we serve have medical needs just like anyone else, and in the pre-ACA period most of them were uninsured. That all changed under the passage of the ACA, when many of them received coverage for the first time. Repealing the ACA could lead to as many as 23 million people losing access to affordable health insurance (1). Additionally, the ACA’s repeal would weaken Medicaid due to slashed funding, affecting coverage for another 70 million people (2). Finally, proposals to impose an “age tax” on older Americans would unjustly increase their costs for health care relative to that of younger folks. The terrible ramifications of repealing the ACA lead us to the ever-important question: How can we stay silent? (3)
We can’t afford to go backwards here; GLIDE’s community members deserve the right to affordable care, decent coverage and the certainty that their needs will be addressed under appropriate and effective healthcare policy.
So, we write.
Help us spread the word. Many voices are better than one. When we unite as a community for a common cause, our voices are that much louder.
Katherine Sham is a junior at UC Berkeley majoring in Public Health and minoring in Public Policy. This summer, she worked as the Advocacy Program Intern for GLIDE’s Center for Social Justice. She loves interacting with GLIDE’s program participants and listening to their feelings, needs and stories.