2500 Alhambra Avenue
Supporters in Alameda County are welcome to join us
– Learn about our successful movie showings (see the article Increasing Diversity in the Single Payer Movement below). You find the draft agenda here.
Increasing Diversity In the Single Payer Movement
By Jonee Grassi
As has been evident for many years, the movement for obtaining universal, single payer health care has lacked ethnic diversity. The documentary “The Power to Heal” presents an opportunity to collaborate with communities of color to discuss the history of achieving health care justice in our country and how to continue the process. Recently, the Health Care for All � CA, Contra Costa and Alameda County Chapters, co-sponsored a showing of this film in El Cerrito. The co-sponsors included the NAACP, El Cerrito Branch and John Gioia, District One Supervisor, Contra Costa County Supervisors. This collaboration resulted in one of the most diverse audiences and panels that we have had ever. We will review in this article how the event was planned and executed.
First, nothing is more important than having personal contacts with the organizations or people with whom you are trying to collaborate. It is our good fortune in the Contra Costa County Chapter of Health Care for All – California (HCA) that HCA member Betty Brown has been a member of the NAACP, in addition to many other organizations, for a long time. Betty was able to secure the co-sponsorship of the local NAACP. She also worked with the NAACP president, Cora Ward, to assist in securing one of the panelists, Myrtle Braxton, for the Q & A session following the film. Ms. Braxton is a well-respected member of the community and holds several important positions such as Chair of the Richmond Commission on Aging, Vice President of California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA), and a Chair at Easter Hill United Methodist Church. Once this co-sponsorship was in play, the members of the NAACP assisted in advertising the event throughout the African-American community through the churches, newspapers such as The Post in Richmond and Oakland, the Bay Area Black Nurses Association, word of mouth, etc. Betty also attends Concilio Latino meetings and helped advertise this in the Latino community.
Free use of the Rialto Cinemas Cerrito was obtained by HCA�s Nel Benningshof through her prior community work and connection with Supervisor John Gioia and El Cerrito Mayor, Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto. John Gioia agreed to be a co-sponsor and that gave us the advantage of his office�s ability to spread the word about the event. Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto is not only the current mayor of El Cerrito, she�s a nurse with a long history of supporting single payer health care. She, too, was able to use her contacts to advertise the event. We invited her to introduce the film and be a panelist. Through Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), we were able to secure Dr. Alireza Rezapour, an internist, for the panel.
We created the flyer for the event and included the logos of all the co-sponsors. The entire HCA team from both counties divided the duties of delivering hard copies of the flyers to local libraries, City Halls, meetings of the El Cerrito Democratic Club, CARA, etc. Electronic versions were disbursed widely by members to their personal contacts, on NextDoor, Facebook, and social media of all types. The event was also listed on the HCA Facebook page on the HCA Contra Costa County Chapter website page. To keep track of the number of attendees, a Brown Paper Tickets event was established online and was monitored by HCA. Two weeks before the event, the number was only 18 attendees! HCA and the co-sponsors did a massive push in the last two weeks by phone, email, newspapers, and social media resulting over 75 attendees.
On the day of the event, we set up tables in front of the theater to take the �reservations�, distribute information by HCA and the NAACP, and provide membership forms for either organization. We used the HCA �insurance cards� describing single payer health care as the tickets. Once inside the theater, the audience members were given index cards and pens to write questions following the movie. The panelists were given time to describe their reactions to the film before taking questions from the audience. Following the Q & A period, we stayed at the theater to talk with anyone who was interested in showing the film to other organizations. The feedback on the film and the panel was overwhelmingly positive. We have several new leads for film events to homes, organizations, and possibly the local high schools and junior college. It has also lead to a closer working relationship with our local NAACP.
Our panelists from left to right Dr. Alireza Rezapour, El Cerrito Mayor, Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, Ms. Myrtle Braxton.