Over 100 California District 39 constituents held a chain of 2,400 origami paper cranes during a demonstration in front of Congressman Ed Royce’s Brea offices March 23. The event was hosted the volunteer activist group Indivisible CA D39.
“We are hoping to persuade him. His constituents want him to vote ‘No’ (on the new Republican Health Care bill) despite the pressure from Speaker Ryan and President Trump to vote ‘Yes,’” said Shana Charles, assistant professor in the department of Health Science and co-chair of the action committee for Indivisible CA D39.
The origami cranes were intended to represent how many people would lose their healthcare under the Republican Healthcare bill, Charles said. Each crane represented 10,000 Americans and 22 CA District 39 constituents, estimating that 24M would be affected nationally and 52.8K locally, she said.
Charles said she invited Congressman Royce and his staff to join the event held on March 23, as well as several other events the group has put on.
Demonstrators carried the crane chain from Representative Royce’s Brea offices on Birch Street to the intersection of Brea Boulevard and Imperial Highway. The thousands of cranes were mixed with anti-Trump and pro-Affordable Care Act (ACA) signs.
The group chanted “Don’t take away the ACA!” and “Help us save the ACA, don’t let this moment fly away!”
“I feel like it’s important that we keep (the ACA) because a lot of people are solely dependent on it and if we repeal it, a lot of people will lose their insurance,” said Cal State Fullerton political science major Phyillis Macharia. “If this does pass, a lot of people are going to be in trouble, and it’s scary because Trump claims to want to ‘make America great,’ but what he’s doing is just poisoning us.”
Macharia, a 23-year-old member of the CSUF College Democrats, said she was born and raised in Fullerton and believes it is important to represent the millennials of the district.
A handful of the demonstrators spoke about how the ACA positively affected them since it went into effect in 2011.
“About three years ago, (my sister) had a stroke and we almost lost her … She was able to get Obamacare and went to a very good rehab hospital and she is now functioning almost as good as before,” said Debbie Langenbacher, member of the Indivisible group. “Had she not had that care, she might have died.”
The Republican Health Care bill did not have enough votes to pass on March 24.
“Southern Californians are struggling with rising healthcare costs, and today’s events leave this fact unchanged. I want to thank those–on all sides of this debate–who’ve reached out to share their stories. Rest assured, I will continue to work in a bipartisan and constructive manner on solutions to increase access to quality, affordable health care,” Royce said in a statement on March 24.
The Indivisible group for California District 39 is a volunteer group that has been gathering since January 2017. Charles said the group has held town halls and plans to put on other events in hopes of creating more conversation with Royce.
Charles said the group is bipartisan, all-volunteer and actively ensures that everyone in District 39 is represented.
“We’re going to be heard in this district and we’re going to be heard nationwide,” Charles said to the crowd.