January 23, 2017

Retirees a Key Part of Protest Marches

Retirees were a key part of the worldwide movement that Saturday’s protest marches represented. For Alliance members, like many of the activists, the protests were about a wide variety of issues.

In Tallahassee, Florida, state Alliance Recording Secretary Barbara DeVane joined a 14,000-person protest march and rally. Together with Florida’s chapter of the National Organization for Women and others, marchers sang different words to a great old labor song. They chanted, “We gonna roll our movement on, and if Donald Trump gets in the way we gonna roll right over him.” The last verse was, “If Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell try to take our Social Security and Medicare away, we gonna roll right over them!!”

Alliance members in Columbus, Ohio waved signs that expressed their top issues. “Heal America, Tax Wall Street,” “I worked 50 Years for my Medicare – Hands Off,” and “Hands off Social Security and Medicare – Healthcare Not Warfare!” were held up by an energetic intergenerational crowd.

In Hartford, Connecticut more than 12,000 activists came together at the protest march with signs that included, “Social Security – Protect. Preserve. Pass it on.”

In Ft. Worth, Texas, one of the signs read, “Hands off Our Health Insurance” – a clear reference to Trump signing his first executive order Friday within hours of taking office. It directs U.S. agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of provisions of the Affordable Care Act deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals.

During the Inauguration itself, the Arizona Alliance hosted a forum in Tucson with Rep. Raúl Grijalva. Retirees discussed their concerns about the new president keeping his promise to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“Saturday’s rallies were about making a commitment,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We are going to hold all elected officials accountable for protecting and respecting American values. We are especially going to hold the current administration to their commitment to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. There is a new movement afoot that includes millions of seniors and their allies, some of whom I met this weekend.”

He added, “Retired union members, supporters of keeping jobs in America, and defenders of women’s rights, voters’ rights and LGBT equality are all coming together to protect retirement security. And the Alliance for Retired Americans is going to be a key part of that movement going forward.”

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