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Protesters demand town hall with Burr

Photos by Alphonso Abbott Jr.- Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the Winston-Salem NAACP branch, demands a town hall meeting with Sen. Richard Burr during a rally on Monday, July 10.

Protesters demand town hall with Burr
July 13
03:06 2017

For the second time in less than three weeks, hundreds of people gathered outside the local office of Sen. Richard Burr to protest the GOP health care bill.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate returned from recess and the protesters returned to the corner outside Burr’s office.

On Wednesday, June 28, more than 200 people gathered outside Burr’s office at 2000 West First St. to hand deliver a letter signed by N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. The letter demanded that the Affordable Care Act stay on the books. The day before the rally, Republican senators made the decision to delay the vote until after the July 4th holiday.

This week, on Monday, the followers of the Moral Monday Movement and other local organizations demanded a town hall meeting with Senator Burr to discuss the GOP health care bill and the impact it will have on the millions who rely on the Affordable Care Act.

“We are here to be heard and to not ask, but demand, that he vote ‘No’ to this new Senate health care bill,” said the Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the Winston-Salem NAACP branch.

“We will secure the largest church in Winston-Salem and hold a town hall featuring a large cardboard cutout of you if you are afraid to face the people you represent,” he said. “Too many lives are at stake. We can no longer continue to stand by idly while this extremist government continues to pass legislation that profits the rich and pushes poor people to the side.”

During the rally, Army veterans, doctors, faith leaders, mothers, fathers, and countless others voiced their frustration with the proposed health bill and Burr’s unwillingness to meet with his constituents. As more people joined the rally, members of the Winston-Salem Police Department and security from Wake Forest University, which owns the building where Burr’s office is located, made sure protesters stayed off the property. But, that didn’t stop the diverse group of people from delivering their message.

An Army veteran from Fayetteville, Shawn McMillian, said he was proud to stand in for veterans who may not be able to. He said there are thousands currently on military missions across the world and they deserve to know that after years of service, they can come home with access to all the aid that fellow Americans can muster.

Dr. Wesley Hsu, a neurologist at Wake Forest Baptist Health, said “Cancer patients need to worry about getting better and not crippling bills and sending their family into bankruptcy.”

While urging Burr to come to the town hall, he also demanded he meet health advocacy groups. He said he hasn’t seen any health advocacy groups who support the GOP health bill.

“Senator Burr always talks about how Washington fails to listen to North Carolinians. Well I invite them to come and talk with us,” he continued. “Nobody in North Carolina wants this health care bill.” 

Attempts to reach a spokesperson for Senator Burr were unsuccessful by the time of publication. Carlisle said they demand a response on the town hall meeting by noon on  Friday July 14.

  “This will be a place to start a national discussion for a health care plan for all the people.” Carlisle said.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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