Young people from Merced presented an art piece at the state Capitol on Tuesday afternoon they say advocates for accessible and affordable healthcare for everyone regardless of immigration in a campaign dubbed “Health4All.”
“Our community is under a harsh political climate and the message we want to say is we are all Californians regardless of our status,” said Claudia Gonzalez, program manager and editor for We’Ced Youth Media in Merced.
Three different banners of a California Grizzly were placed in the hallway outside of the governor’s office. Each grizzly bear was made up of puzzle pieces that were decorated by members of the youth groups who participated.
Members of the We’Ced Youth Media group in Merced created one banner that highlighted solidarity and the racial justice movement, Black Lives Matter. Nearly 50 people collaborated on the banner, she said.
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“I think it shows we are powerful as long as we stay loud, we can create change in our community,” Gonzalez said. “We can challenge and change the status quo.”
Youth groups from Sacramento, Brown Issue, and Stockton, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, also made banners.
All of the young people who gathered at the Capitol and were a part of creating the banners want to take part in solving the solutions of their local communities, said Maricela Rodriguez, senior communication program manager for the California Endowment, the group who funds We’Ced.
At times, Rodriguez said, young people in the community feel like their elected representatives don’t always show interests in problems they see in their communities and this was an opportunity to feature them.
“These young people know very well what it means when families don’t have access to healthcare,” Rodriguez said. “The narrative of the banner is we are all Californians and our health care system should be more inclusive.”
“Young people are the leaders of our future and it’s really important for us to make sure we get opportunities like this,” Gonzales said. “To be able to not only representatives for our community but also send a message that they’re woke. They’re resisting.”
The Merced Sun-Star partners with The California Endowment to provide coverage of health care issues affecting Merced County.
Monica Velez: 209-385-2486