San Jose Peace & Justice Center


The Rise Up for Justice march and rally organized by a broad coalition of 50 local organization took to the streets of San Jose on January 20, surrounding the Federal Buildling and hosting speakers at the start and end of the march.

The following is the speech by SJPJC Coordinator Michele Mashburn at Rise Up for Justice rally at San Jose City Hall on January 20, 2017.....

    Two in 10 people are disabled in the US. The hardest part is that disability transcends class, age, gender, and race. Disability Rights include issues of accessibility and safety in transportation, architecture, and the    physical environment; equal opportunities to live independently, employment equity, education and housing; and freedom from discrimination, abuse, neglect.

In many other countries, they live within a model that supports disability as a part of the normal life process. They plan using a concept called Universal Design, enabling all people to take part in society from birth to death however they wish.     

The way I see things, most people are only temporarily able bodied with very few not feeling the impact of some impairment on their body in their lifetime. According to the Social Security office, just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.   

I have a unique view into the lives of many seniors as I live in a senior housing complex. I see their struggles to remain independent and receive the assistance they might need. The average retirement payment from Social Security for retired workers is around $1350 per month. And those at this figure, live a life where they either barely qualify for the programs to help or they make too much for those programs. So out of that $1300, come rent, food, medical copayments, insurance premiums and often-times very little else.

Between 1977 and 2009, the percentage of household income for seniors increased from 12 to 22 percent. I’ve seen the struggle for seniors having to cherry pick the medications they can afford while in what Medicare calls the donut hole. 

Every person living in the US has the right to a roof over their head (if desired), a warm meal on their table and most importantly equal access to healthcare. It is time for a single-payer health system, granting the guarentee of health care to all Americans.     California needs to set the trend in the next 4 years and establish this program, serving as an example against the fearful word to many americans of Socialist medicine. Which we already have in the form of Medicare and Medi-caid programs.
    But housing, healthcare, and even food are not treated as a right. Instead they are privileges that are to be earned.
    All Americans are at a scary crossroads right now, especially on this day in 2017 with a Republican Congress and a impulsive businessman in the most powerful office of this country. But this isn’t about Trump as he is just a symptom of a much larger disease: Capitalism, and I would add Greed and Arrogance of perceived power.
    I’m afraid of the changes in the many programs I depend on for my quality of life through the cuts to state funding and the federal programs directly.This is a fear I live with regardless of who is in office. The unfortunate reality is that America as a whole no longer believes in taking care of their own. Charity and welfare have become dirty words.


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