Leslie Matthews |
On Tuesday morning, the five of us who got to Detroit early met with members of the Chinese Progressive Association from San Francisco, for the first-ever VWC/CPA exchange.
The CPA's Youth Movement of Justice Organizing (Youth MOJO) program organizes high-school age youth to take leadership for social justice. Over the past year, they have selected organizing for single-payer healthcare as their main issue. The VWC has shared some of our resources, including our original healthcare human rights survey, but this was the first chance we have had to meet in person.
The CPA delegation to the USSF included not only a dozen or so youth leaders from the Youth MOJO program, but also leaders from their Workers' Center and single-room-occupancy (SRO) hotel resident organizing programs.
We were incredibly inspired by their organizing, especially by some of the workers' stories of courageously confronting bosses in non-union workplaces where they were paid below minimum wage or, in some cases, not at all. We will be coming back with all kinds of new ideas for worker organizing, youth organizing, and moving the struggle for healthcare as a human right forward both in Vermont and nationally.
We were also inspired by how much we have in common with folks who, on the surface, seem so different from us. Every member of the CPA spoke about how important healthcare was to their membership, and how important it was for us in Vermont to have taken the lead and actually changed what is politically possible around healthcare. And, of course, to truly secure the human right to health we will need a national — and international — movement; building these strong bridges with the CPA is a great start to that.
This is what the US Social Forum is all about — making people-to-people connections so we can build the kind of movement that can overcome injustice, poverty and oppression and build a world of peace and justice for all.