By Jude Monson
2017 was a heck of a year for people with disabilities, veterans, those of us 65 or older and, in general, people who care deeply about one another’s health and economic condition in Montana, the US, and worldwide. It was hard at times to find hope and think positively considering the many new challenges we have faced in the past year. I saw HOPE in your efforts & will see it again.
I will never forget the winter, spring and summer of 2017 when we all worked together to save the immediate, rapid attack on the ACA – our Affordable Care Act. “They” told the world how everything was wrong with the ACA and that it would be wiped out in America. We saw major new national players and heavy political artillery brought in to end the ACA as we knew it. Each of us who contacted the President and our Montana Senators and Representative to speak up about what is right about the ACA made a difference. Telling our personal stories about health prevention, immediate care and ongoing maintenance needs told the importance of ACA. We supported our neighbors’ right to health so every American can live quality lives in his or her chosen home and community. Our Montana band of rebels grew & nationally we became a stronger voice! We became a growing, bonded group who collectively kept the ACA in place!
Summit would like to thank all who made phone calls, wrote emails/letters and protested locally, across Montana, and in DC to our elected officials. Each of us made a difference in holding on to the ACA! Collectively our actions will be archived in disability history, culture and pride for centuries to come! A high five to both NCIL and ADAPT,
our national disability organizers who led the DC protests in July along with our 2000+ sisters and brothers with disabilities, veterans, parents, physicians and others who continue to speak up about what is right about the ACA. A huge Shout out to the two “Warrior Women” Senators from Maine and Alaska who bravely supported the ACA against their party line! And how about Senator McCain, our elder USA statesman and veteran and former POW, who understands dealing with the worst isolating challenges & degrading conditions? He came from the hospital and voted, essentially ending the battle to wipe out the ACA! Last but never least, thank you to Senator Tester who has diligently been a steadfast Montana champion for equal healthcare benefits and rights for Americans with disabilities, veterans and others who live on low and middle incomes. None of us could have preserved the ACA individually. However, we collectively we made a difference!
There will be many more challenges to come where we must collectively band together to protect the lives of our fellow Americans. I hear the Star Wars theme song playing in the background. I believe in the goodness of liberty and justice for all, not just the wealthy and privelaged. Summit asks you to continue to rise up when calle upon, as we did last summer and say NO MORE! We did it once, and we can do it again – each of us and collectively. For more information please check out and join Summit’s Action Alert system at: http://cqrcengage.com/summitilc/
Breathe in deeply, and “May the Force Be With You, ALWAYS!”
Jude Monson is Summit’s Program Manager