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For I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison and came unto you? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ~ Matthew 25: 35-40  

Friends,  

Many of us consider ourselves to be “good” people. We pay our taxes, donate to worthwhile causes, volunteer, attempt to live peaceably with our neighbors and, sometimes, attend religious services. While these are “good” things, we must ask ourselves, “Are we righteous? Are we standing on the side of God? Do we make righteous decisions?” We cannot evaluate ourselves, without first evaluating how we treat others, especially the sick and the marginalized.  

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, vulnerable seniors in nursing homes have been trapped inside flooding nursing facilities, and many people who need medical service are unable to access hospitals. Many individuals and families have lost their homes. Lives are on the line, and people of faith cannot afford to look away.    

PICO National Network federation, Faith in Texas, is doing all it can to help. Let’s make a righteous decision and help them as they help others. Please, put your faith in action and make a donation now

As Christian Hip-Hop artist Propaganda stated, “Righteousness is restorative. The only proof of righteousness is our treatment of others.” We continually seek right relationship with our neighbors, including our neighbors in Texas. Hurricane Harvey has forever changed the face of Texas and many communities are in dire straits. As of this writing, 450,000 people (and counting) need federal assistance. Some parts of Texas received 24.1 inches of rain in 24 hours. An additional 15 inches of rain is expected over the next several days.  

If there was ever a time to help, that time is now. Combine your faith with action, and donate today. Your funds will be used to help rebuild Houston. The restoration process will be most challenging for marginalized communities.

https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-3833118145683060992.

And if you’re in Texas or are in need of encouragement and support, join our special ecumenical prayer line on Wednesday, August 30 at 12pm CST. To join the call, dial (888) 394-8197 and use this participant code, 106668.  

In Power and Solidarity,    

Phyllis

Phyllis Hill
Southeast Regional Director
LIVE FREE

Friends,

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. I have fond memories of high school dances, dogwood festivals, and holidays filled with love and surrounded by family and friends. Charlottesville isn’t just my home; my mother is 79 and she’s lived there her entire life. It’s a simple college town, rich in history, and conveniently located close to Richmond and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is my hometown.

On Friday, the community I love was invaded by domestic terrorists. The Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and other ultra-nationalist groups descended on the streets of Charlottesville. They screamed racial and anti-semitic hate speech as they walked through the University of Virginia campus, carrying torches and semi-automatic weapons. Their dubiously titled “Unite the Right” rally was the largest in recent history. They wore no masks, and displayed no inhibition as they taunted and terrorized my city, going as far as to warn that they would return.

I’ve never been more frightened in my life. For the first time, I felt vulnerable in a place that has always felt welcoming and safe. While my community was tormented this time, yours may be next.

If you saw the throngs of angry white men and women descend on Charlottesville, it should trouble you that many of these unmasked men called themselves patriots. Some even claim to be people of faith—they will likely be in someone's church singing worship songs, planning a church conference, or worse, policing our neighborhoods or teaching our children. But we know that true faith is to comfort the sick and the afflicted and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

As people with a moral compass, we also know that “faith” isn’t faith unless it’s put in action. If there was ever a time to put our faith into action, that time is now. If you didn’t like what happened in Charlottesville, you have no other choice than to wage a righteous resistance. You cannot be on the sidelines. You must oppose the targeting of our Black, Jewish, Latino, Immigrant, Muslim, LGBTQ and poor siblings.

The men who stormed Charlottesville were crystal clear about their purpose, and we must be equally clear about our own. There are many things we can do to resist the spread of hatred including preaching, praying and acting against white supremacy. You could also contact your local police department and government officials to ask them what they’re doing to keep all people safe. Finally, if you’re a clergy leader looking for other ways to plug in, consider participating in our LIVE FREE campaign’s “Weeks of Righteous Resistance” effort by visiting www.righteousresistance.org

It is painfully obvious that our country is under assault. The assault isn’t carried out by persons we do not know; it’s from homegrown, domestic terrorists that have been permitted to run rabidly through our cities and streets. It’s time to stand up and speak out. We cannot wait for the next Ku Klux Klan or white nationalist mob to attack someone else’s hometown.

Use this toolkit to stand against white supremacy.

http://thisisworr.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/How-to-prepare-for-white-supremacist-events.pdf

In Power and Love,

Felicia

Felicia Yoda, 
Information Systems Manager  
PICO National Network


Leaders call on Representative Bobby Long of Springfield, Missouri to re-think his vote to repeal the ACA

Despite overwhelming public opposition, the House of Representatives voted to strip 23 million people of their health care, make radical changes to Medicaid that could cut health care for seniors, children and people with disabilities, and allow states to opt-out of covering essential benefits like newborn care, mental health care and prescriptions. The only winners are the wealthiest one percent, insurance companies, and prescription drug manufacturers who will receive $600 billion in tax breaks because of this bill.

PICO federations like ISAIAH in Minnesota aren't going to let Republicans who voted to put profits ahead of families off the hook. Federations are urging their Senators to reject the House bill through calls, letters and events.  Many groups are organizing demonstrations, rallies, vigils and other activities to educate the public about the alarming consequences of ACA repeal and permanent cuts to Medicaid.  

"It's shameful to see so many Members of Congress claim to be Christian, then vote to take away health care from God's children and let them suffer and die.  Our country needs to put families first, rather than putting big drug and insurance companies and the wealthiest 0.1 percent first," said Bishop Dwayne Royster, PICO National Network's political director.  "These votes have both moral and political consequences for politicians who play politics wiht people's lives and sow chaos in our health care system."

Read more »

 

 

Prayer Vigil Turns Up Heat on Rep. Paulsen for Health Care Vote 

PICO federation ISAIAH held a Mother's Day Prayer Vigil for Minnesota families who will be seriously affected if the AHCA becomes law.  Clergy and leaders from across Minnesota's Third Congressional District prayed for their loved ones, whose lives they say have been endangered by Paulsen's vote for the AHCA.

Read more »

 

Protests Held in Springfield Against AHCA

PICO federation Missouri Faith Voices, along with other groups in Springfield, Missouri, delivered a letter to Representative Billy Long addressing his support of the AHCA.  Other protesters took a more visual approach, playing dead in the streets. Says protester Suzanne Thomas, "I don't think a lot of Missourians know how much this will impact them."

Read more »

 

CNS photo/Dennis Sadowski

Disrupters and Rebuilders: What a Meeting in Modesto Says about the Francis Church

Joseph Fleming, PICO's national Catholic engagement coordinator describes the Modesto gathering as a two-way street.  "For the Catholic church, this meeting was an opportunity for evangelization, to share with a new genearation of faith-based and secular activists, the church's rich legacy of Catholic social teaching," he said.  "And... it was an opportunity for grassroots leaders to evangelize the bishops, to call them to prophetic leadership."

Read more »

 

Photo courtesey of NJ Advance Media/Aristide Economopoulos

Tobin calls Trump immigration policies "cruelty on innocent people"

 Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, issued a strong call to action to Catholic leaders to resist the immigration policies being implemented by the Trump administration, including musing aloud about the impact if every cardinal and bishop in the country were to accompany a potential deportee to his or her court hearing. 

Read more »


PICO IN THE NEWS

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As ICE Detention Continues, Movement Grows to "Free Rene"  

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Protest over landlord's massive rent increase

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Riverside church says it will house immigrants at risk of deportation

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POWER holds revival after "social justice" marathon 

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OC Human Relations honors winners of annual diversity awards

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A New Model of Leadership for Bay Area Pastors to Engage Current Social Problems

 

One thousand people of faith turned out at Sardis Missionary Baptist Church, a historically Black church in Birmingham, on Friday night for the Founding Convention of Faith in Action Alabama, the newest federation to join PICO National Network through our expansion program.

Faith in Action Alabama -- an umbrella organization with organizing hubs in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery and 60 congregations -- committed to address the state’s history of slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws and dismantle the policies that perpetuate systemic racism today, including mass incarceration, denial of voting rights, poverty, and inadequate health care.

Click here to watch a clip about their launch >>

In a short time, Faith in Action Alabama, with allies, has already racked up life-changing victories, including:

  • Secured a commitment from Birmingham’s mayor that the city will not use local police resources to enforce federal immigration policy, will not embrace the “Stop-and-Frisk” policy, and will support the issuing of municipal ID cards once state law is changed to make that policy legal;
  • Took a stand against President Trump’s Muslim ban at the Birmingham and Montgomery airports;
  • Protested ICE raids and stood in solidarity with 40 Latino brothers and sisters who were unjustly incarcerated;
  • Helped persuade legislators to end Alabama’s outlier practice of allowing judges to sentence a person to death when a jury has recommended life imprisonment;
  • Held people running for District Attorney accountable at candidates’ forums; and
  • Secured commitments from thousands of voters across the state to vote in the 2016 district attorney elections.

Calling systemic racism, a “sin,” Faith in Action Alabama closed the convention by laying out next steps to dismantle it through short- and long-term strategies, including:

  • Prayer vigils on May 21 to end mass incarceration at all four Faith in Action Alabama organizing hubs.
  • A Rally on June 17 at the Alabama State House calling on the Governor and state legislators to address Alabama’s mass incarceration crisis.
  • Trainings in all four organizing hubs in preparation for the launch of local work on issues such as voter engagement, reforming district attorneys’ policies to help address the mass incarceration crisis, and a campaign to create a public defender’s office in Mobile County.
  • In late 2017, the kickoff of a statewide campaign to end mass incarceration that will focus on the 2018 state legislative session and November 2018 gubernatorial election.

“During a time of unrest in our nation, Faith in Action Alabama stands in witness with people, across race and faith lines to declare that our God is the God of Liberation,” said Pr. Marvin Lue, Jr., Chairperson, Faith in Action Alabama and pastor of Stewart Memorial CME Church in Mobile. “Our faith calls us not only to undertake individual acts of charity, but to join together as a community to address injustice.”

Welcome Faith in Action Alabama to the PICO National Network and connect with Faith in Action Alabama on Twitter and Facebook.

Posted In: Racial Justice

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world—higher than China, higher than South Africa under apartheid, higher than any of the most oppressive and authoritarian regimes you can think of.

As we consider this fact, it is important to note that 63% of those in jail have not been convicted of a crime. On any given day, there are half a million people in the U.S. who rot in jail because they cannot afford bail for even the lowest-level offenses. The main victims are poor and working class individuals who sit in jail for months, often losing their jobs, custody of their children, or the ability pay their rent or feed their families (even if they are innocent!).

Not only are money bail systems ineffective in ensuring that people will show up to court dates, but they create a drain on public funds. The only ones who gain are the insurance companies that profit off the bail bond system!

Watch this engaging 3-minute video on the facts about bail.

Do you know how many people sit in your local jail because they cannot afford bail? Wondering what you can do about it?

Help organize your local community in order to ensure that there are fair and effective bail practices--the results can be striking! In just over two months, the community of Hudson County, NJ decreased the local jail population by 20% by reforming their bail practices.

Email LIVE FREE today to learn more about how to make a difference.

Posted In: Live Free, Racial Justice

We did it!

We did it! President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to take away health insurance from 24 million of God’s children and together we stood up and said no. Our families come first, not big insurance and drug companies and CEOs.

Many of you showed up at town halls to share your stories, spoke from the pulpit, called and visited your Congress Members. Together with the broader movement, our prophetic resistance helped mobilize the nation against this mean-spirited effort, which could have caused 53,000 million people to die prematurely each year.

We won, but this fight to protect the health and safety of our families is just beginning: Medicaid and Medicare will be threatened again by upcoming tax and budget cuts.

We must also continue to stand with our neighbors facing deportation, our sisters and brothers suffering from mass incarceration, and the least among us who will be hurt the most by massive tax breaks for the rich.

Help us continue to hold politicians accountable today: Chip in $7 dollars or more to help PICO provide support for people of faith and their allies on the ground who are fighting – and winning.

https://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/2115/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=13711

With your help, no one will stand alone.

Thank you for all you have done – and all you will do in the months ahead.

CALIFORNIA
San Diego Organizing Project

150 leaders from SEIU, SDOP and other allies in San Diego told Congressman Issa “Don’t Take My Health Care”. Sr Maureen from SDOP was one of the delegation that met face to face with Congressman Issa to deliver the message.

Watch more >>

 

COLORADO
Together Colorado

Faith leaders in Denver urge officials to fight GOP plans for immigration, health care
During a meeting of the Fifth Episcopal District of the AME Church, organizers provided attendees with names and phone numbers for a number of Republican members of Congress, including Ryan, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora.

Read more >>

 

INDIANA
IndyCAN

PICO affiliate IndyCAN organized dozens of diverse clergy and ACA recipients for a prayer vigil on the floor of Eskenazi Hospital, calling on newly elected Senator Young to protect over half a million Hoosiers who will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed.

See photos >>

 

LOUISIANA
Micah

Obamacare supporters: Call representatives, let them know implications of repealing program
“We need people to start tweeting, emailing, writing and calling their representatives to let them know the implications of repealing,” said state Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D-Baton Rouge. She spoke at a rally for supporters on the State Capitol steps.

Read more >>

 

MICHIGAN
Michigan Faith in Action

Calling for “a season of civil disobedience,” [Rev. Dr. William] Barber says Flint is “the Selma of the 21st Century”
“No matter how much money or power you have, you’re not going to wage war on the poor without a fight back,” [Rev. Barber] said. “Somebody always lifting truth. The coverup will be uncovered. Truth, Mr. Trump — murder is not just shooting somebody with the guns that you keep giving the people, but murder is a governor in your party signing on a policy to poison the water and the lives of the community.”

 

Read more >>

 

MINNESOTA
Isaiah

Metro area clergy unite against Medica withdrawal, demand public health care solution
“Over 312,000 Minnesotans — all of whom are low-income, many of whom are poor, children and pregnant women, as well as people struggling with mental illness — among what Jesus called ‘the least of these’ will be forced to change their health insurance plan as a result of Medica’s withdrawal,” the clergy letter reads. “Many will lose access to the doctors and hospitals of their choice. Most will face additional agony of confusion and frustration with navigating complex systems.”

Read more >>

 

MISSOURI
Missouri Faith Voices

Obamacare supporters rally at Congressman's Springfield Office
Missouri faith voices and Springfield’s NAACP are teaming up to also pray for better healthcare and to send the letter. The letter asks the congressman to help repair and expand Obamacare rather than get rid of it.

Read more >>

 

OHIO
Ohio Organizing Collaborative

At march in Warren, forum in Youngstown, participants pan move to repeal Obamacare
Whether they peacefully marched near one of the Mahoning Valley’s major hospitals or sat around a table and talked, participants’ worries were the same: Repealing the Affordable Care Act without offering a replacement will be detrimental to millions of Americans.

Read more >>

Posted In: Health Care



**UPDATE** Great news! We now have 60 faith communities officially signed on to the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network, from 17 religious traditions (including Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Christian) and 18 municipalities.


TAKE ACTION

Join us as we launch the DMV Santuary Network with more than 60 sanctuary congregations in the DC/MD/VA region working to provide support and solidarity to neighbors, friends and family who fear being detained, deported or profiled.

We'll start with a vigil at 11:45 at Foundry United Methodist Church on 16th and P street NW, and will end with a march to the White House for a collective prayer.

Will you join us to ensure that no one in our communities stands alone? RSVP on the Facebook event page and invite your friends!

WHEN: Tuesday, March 21 at 11:45 AM to 1 PM

WHERE: Foundry United Methodist Church - 1500 16th St NW, Washington DC, 20036 


NEXT STEPS

GET YOUR CONGREGATION INVOLVED: If you are a congregation interested in joining the network, please sign up here and and indicate how your congregation can participate.

SHOW UP WITH US AT ICE: April 4, 8:30 AM at the Baltimore ICE Office, 31 Hopkins Plaza, Baltimore, MD

DMV SANCTUARY CONGREGATION NETWORK MEETING: Wednesday, April 26, 6-9pm, All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard St, Washington, DC

FIND US ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow us on Facebook @DMVSanctuaryCongregations

WEBSITE: Go to www.sanctuarydmv.org/congregations/ for more information about how to get involved


PARTICIPATING CONGREGATIONS

Name of Congregation

Denomination

City

State

All Souls Church, Unitarian

Unitarian

Washington

DC

Assisi Community

Catholic

Washington

DC

Calvary Baptist Church

Baptist

Washington

DC

Calvary Episcopal Church

Episcopal

Washington

DC

Capital City Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

Cleveland Park Congregational UCC

UCC

Washington

DC

Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community

Catholic

Washington

DC

Dumbarton United Methodist Church

UMC

Washington

DC

Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Episcopal

Washington

DC

First Congregation UCC

UCC

Washington

DC

Foundry United Methodist Church

UMC

Washington

DC

Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Catholic

Washington

DC

Inspire DC

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

Memorial United Methodist

UMC

Washington

DC

Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal

AME

Washington

DC

Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist

UMC

Washington

DC

National City Christian Church

Disciples of Christ

Washington

DC

National Cathedral

 

Washington

DC

New Community Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

New York Avenue Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian

Washington

DC

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Catholic

Washington

DC

Seekers Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

St. Alban's Episcopal Parish

Episcopal

Washington

DC

St. Stephen and the Incarnation

Episcopal

Washington

DC

Temple Sinai

Jewish

Washington

DC

The District Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

The Sanctuaries

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

The Table Church

Non-denominational

Washington

DC

Washington Ethical Society

Unitarian

Washington

DC

Western Presbyterian

Presbyterian

Washington

DC

Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Unitarian

Adelphi

MD

Inge Benevolent Ministries dba Muslimat Al Nisaa Shelter

Muslim

Baltimore

MD

Bethesda Friends Meeting

Friends

Bethesda

MD

Bethesda Presbyterian

Presbyterian

Bethesda

MD

Cedar Lane UU Church

Unitarian

Bethesda

MD

River Road Unitarian-Universalist Congregation

Unitarian

Bethesda

MD

Westmoreland UCC

UCC

Bethesda

MD

Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW)

Non-denominational

Cabin John

MD

Shirat HaNefesh (Song of the Soul)

Jewish

Chevy Chase

MD

College Park Church of the Nazarene

Nazarine

College Park

MD

College Park United Methodist

UMC

College Park

MD

University United Methodist

UMC

College Park

MD

Church of the Ascension

Episcopal

Gaithersburg

MD

Mowatt Memorial

UMC

Greenbelt

MD

Hyattsville Mennonite Church

Mennonite

Hyattsville

MD

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church/Iglesia San Mateo

Episcopal

Hyattsville

MD

Episcopal Church of Our Savior

Episcopal

Silver Spring

MD

St. Camillus Catholic Church

Catholic

Silver Spring

MD

Vedanta Center of Greater Washington, DC

Hindu

Silver Spring

MD

Covenant Shepherd Church

Non-denominational

Waldorf

MD

Beverley Hills Community UMC

UMC

Alexandria

VA

Great River Tendai Sangha

Buddhist

Arlington

VA

Kol Ami:  Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Jewish

Arlington

VA

Rock Spring UCC

UCC

Arlington

VA

Wellspring UCC

UCC

Centerville

VA

Temple Rodef Shalom

Jewish

Falls Church

VA

Herndon Friends Meeting

Friends

Herndon

VA

Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston

Unitarian

Reston

VA

United Christian Parish - Reston

UCC

Reston

VA

All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)

Muslim

Sterling

VA

 

The DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network is a partnership between Sanctuary DMV and PICO National Network

 

 


Posted In: Immigration, Racial Justice

MRM Pull Quote

By Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, PICO National Network

"Inauguration"

and so it began
again…
the chaos, the void, the formlessness

we felt the night falling
kith and kin threatened by the darkness
bottles and epithets lobbed from passing cars
court police pursuing the peaceful prophets

but Jubilee got it right:
this darkness “is not of the tomb, but of the womb.”

hovering over the uncertainty is a presence, a voice
calling in the Light

the people sitting in darkness
will see a great Light,
and for those who sit in the region and shadow of death
Light is already dawning…

las morenas,
clothed with the sun
prepare to march in the Light
crying out lest hope unborn dies

houses of faith
shod with moral courage
rehearse songs of resistance, prayers of hope
forging acts of revolutionary love

Kindred:  We are light.
Now is the time to shine with abandon.
Now is the time to inaugurate the light in others.

In the Light, we can defend and protect the vulnerable.
In the Light, we can nurture Beloved Community.
In the Light, we can cultivate Prophetic Resistance.
In the Light, we can be fearless in our hope, daring in our vision.

Yes
It begins
Again
In love, in hope, in faith, in the Light
The Resistance

Inspired by Genesis 1:2, Matthew 4:16, Revelation 12:1-4, Valarie “Jubilee” Kaur, James Weldon Johnson, and the prophets of the Resistance.

IndyCan leaders participate in a recent prayer vigil calling on Sen. Todd Young to protect the Affordable Care Act. (Photo courtesy of IndyCan)

PICO National Network, through its Center for Health Organizing, is working to stop is working to stop efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. PICO federations across the country are calling on strategic legislators to protect the ACA and the millions of Americans who rely on it for health care. Below are just a few of the affiliate-organized actions that have happened over the last few months.  

San Diego Organizing Project

Roughly 150 leaders from the San Diego Organizing Project, SEIU, and other ally groups recently gathered to tell Rep. Darell Issa (CA-49), “Don’t Take My Health Care.” Sister Maureen Brown from SDOP was a member of the delegation that met face-to-face with Rep. Issa to deliver the message. Both Univision and Telemundo covered the event.


IndyCAN

IndyCAN organized a diverse group of clergy members and ACA recipients for a prayer vigil on the floor of Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, where participants called on newly-elected Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) to protect more than half a million Hoosiers who will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed. IndyCan leader Shelly Dykstra, who called herself an ACA “success story,” shared what would happen to her family if they were to lose their health care coverage.

ISAIAH

PICO Affiliate ISAIAH, along with Take Action Minnesota and other allies, organized 40 leaders for two actions, one at the office of Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), and another at the office of Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03). Their message: “Keep your hands off our health care."
 Video footage of the actions can be seen on ISAIAH's Facebook page

*

For more information about what a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would mean for millions of Americans, read PICO National Network's recent statement decrying efforts by House Republicans to repeal the ACA, and a recent op-ed offering guidance to those working against the repeal published on The Huffington Post

Posted In: Health Care

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