As part of her 17 state, 8,500 mile, cross-country tour on a customized purple schoolbus, mother and healthcare advocate Kathie McClure visited Children's Bureau's Magnolia Place Family Center in Los Angeles to share her story with local mothers and advocates. On the Friday before Mother's Day, McClure was joined by speakers from Health Care for America Now coalition members, Health Access California and The Children's Defense Fund, as well as a local mother who shared her healthcare story.A crowd of advocates, mothers, and children listened as McClure told of her travels throughout the country.
"It was a true pleasure to speak with this phenomenal group of women," said McClure. "As I travel across the country, I've come to realize that I am not alone in this fight. There are millions of mothers, fathers, and families in situations just like mine. The healthcare crisis isn't a problem we can solve as individuals. We must come together to make possible the quality affordable healthcare that Americans deserve."
Prior to the event, mothers of preschoolers in the Magnolia Place Family Center programs worked with their children to create mothers day cards. Each card was decorated by a child and incribed with a message from their mother about the need for healthcare reform. During McClure's visit to the center, preschoolers and their families presented the cards to Elizabeth Delgado, a representative from Diane Feinstein's office.
"The Children's Defense Fund-CA is proud to honor mothers and their children this Mother's Day by standing with them and our HCAN partners to call for real healthcare reform that will give these amazing women the access and support that they need to raise healthy children and build healthy communities," said Saudeka Shabazz, Outreach Coordinator for the Children's Defense Fund California . "We all agree that the need for healthcare reform is urgent and these mothers, with their passion and commitment to their communities, have underscored the fact that our children and families"
McClure's Journey to Los Angeles began in Atlanta, Georgia. McClure, a mother and attorney, was faced with a terrifying situation too common among families across America. Her son, Chris, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, and her daughter, Caitlin, who suffers from epilepsy, were unable to buy affordable individual health care coverage because insurers refuse to sell reasonably priced policies to people with "pre-existing conditions."
After battling with insurance carriers for years, McClure grew incensed. She decided to stop complaining and take action. She left her law practice behind, fixed up a school bus, and began traveling the country to educate Americans about the nation's health care crisis.
McClure has logged more than 11,000 miles in her customized purple school bus. The "microspace" serves as office, bedroom, and campaign headquarters. Last year, the purple bus visited 13 states over three and a half months. McClure visited battleground states in the months leading up to the presidential election, delivering her non-partisan message about the importance of quality healthcare that is both affordable and accessible. On her journey, she heard stories from people from all walks of life regarding the heartbreak and frustration caused by the current health care system.
Â "This isn't an issue of republicans against democrats or rich against poor," said McClure. "Purple represents a mixture of the red and blue factions that are too often seen as dividing our country. The bus is painted purple because affordable, quality healthcare is something all Americans need."
In 2009, the Purple Bus will make its way to 17 states and travel more than 8,500 miles. McClure has already completed a tour of the Gulf Coast, visiting communities affected by Hurricane Katrina including Biloxi, Mobile, and New Orleans.
On the California leg of the trip, McClure will partner with the statewide consumer healthcare advocacy coalition, Health Access California and the Health Care for America Now campaign. She will travel from San Diego to San Francisco, meeting with community groups, students, and legislators at each stop. She will tell her story and inspire everyday Californians to become engaged in and informed about the health care debate.Â