Press Release: Huge May Day Healthcare March & Rally To Be Held In Montpelier

Contact: James Haslam, (802) 272 0882,

This May 1st at noon, thousands from all over the state will gather at the Statehouse lawn for biggest rally in Vermont's history

MONTPELIER - US Senator Bernie Sanders will join Vermonters from across the state on Saturday, May 1 at a huge "Healthcare Is A Human Right" march and noon rally at the Statehouse. The Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign was launched in 2008 by the Vermont Workers' Center to build a grassroots network across the state that's strong enough to change what's "politically possible" in healthcare reform.

Last year the Campaign held the first "Healthcare Is A Human Right Rally" at the Statehouse. With over twelve hundred people participating, it was the largest weekday rally in the state's history. Building on that momentum, the campaign held eleven People's Forums on the healthcare crisis around the state. Almost eighty state legislators attended the forums with over eight hundred participants testifying about the healthcare crisis. The forums laid out the practices and principles of healthcare as a human right: universal access and coverage, be comprehensive and affordable, be transparent in design, and must ensure public participation in the design, implementation, evaluation, and accountability.

These principles were included in S.88 "Healthy Vermont" Bill, a comprehensive healthcare bill that passed 28-2 on April 7th in the Vermont Senate and passed 92-41 on April 23rd by the House of Representatives. The bill calls for the hiring of consultants to design three health care models. One of these three must be a single payer system that is publicly financed and is completely decoupled from employment. All three of the models must meet the "Healthcare is a Human Right" principles outlined above. The designs also have to include implementation timelines beginning no later than July, 2012. The bill is being finalized by the Senate and the House in a conference. This year's May 1st rally will both be a celebration of the campaign's accomplishments and a show of strength by the thousands of Vermonters who support making healthcare a public good.

"The May 1st Rally is so important because we need to make sure we get the strongest version of this bill. A huge turnout for the May 1st rally helps push to strengthen the final version of the bill and make Governor Douglas think twice about vetoing the bill, said Faried Munarsyah, a campaign leader from Burlington. "Even if a veto does happen, thousands of Vermonters at the Statehouse this Saturday will help us push the Legislature to override his veto while also building momentum for the road ahead."

Busses, vans and carpools have been set up statewide for transportation to the rally. In addition to Senator Sanders, the celebration rally and march will include performers from Bread & Puppet, Sambatucada, a fife & drum marching band and other local musicians and artists. This family event will have a kids tent on site and sign language interpreters available.

The "Healthcare Is A Human Right" Campaign has local leaders and organizers spread throughout the state in every community and they are available for interviews by any news organization. More information is available at