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Children join Capitol rally for health care coverage

Resource type: News

The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) |

Children’s Defense Fund is an Atlantic grantee.


Carrying signs and chanting “We want health care now,” nearly 100 children and adults demonstrated for children’s health care coverage Monday outside the state Capitol.

The rally was part of a national effort by the Children’s Defense Fund to petition state and federal lawmakers to provide more accessible health insurance for children. Federal lawmakers are looking at a national health care reform plan.

The rally included children, most of them students at the Freedom School summer program at Wildewood Baptist Church, 60 NE 63.

They carried teddy bears with bandages and signs that read “Health is Wealth” and “Kids need a bailout too.”

Jackie Royal Gray, director of the summer program, said although strides were made to get more children insured in Oklahoma, many children are still going without coverage.

“There are 119,000 children without health insurance in this state,” Royal Gray said. “All children should be on a level playing field. For children to succeed in school they need to feel well.”

Senator adds voice

The school gets funding from the Children’s Defense Fund, which organized Monday’s rallies.

Children in the FreedomSchool program have written letters to lawmakers urging them to increase insurance for all children. Several students from the program read their letters at the rally.

“Kids should be able to go to the doctor when they need to,” student J.R. Gray said.

Sen. Connie Johnson, D-OklahomaCity, urged the students to continue advocating for changes in Oklahoma’s Republican-led Senate and House chambers.

“You’re adding your voice to this issue. The party in charge agrees that insurance companies are more important than people,” Johnson said.

After leading the children through a series of chants and cheers, Johnson told the crowd to continue asking for change.

“This is the kind of noise necessary to get their attention. We need to add volume,” Johnson said. “You have the power to speak up and talk about what you need.”

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