Last Saturday was no ordinary one for the Children’s Alliance.
At their Bloom Gala Saturday night, International Community Health Services (ICHS) honored us with a Bamboo Award for “tough, resilient” advocacy for children’s health. We were humbled to be receiving the award from and among such stellar advocates who have taught us, informed our work and joined the fight to cover all kids in Washington state.
Children’s Alliance’s executive director Paola Maranan delivered our acceptance speech:
“Organizations like ICHS teach us and inform our advocacy through your on-the-ground expertise and work to ensure all of Washington’s families receive appropriate care.
“We are grateful for this recognition of our work to ensure that all children have access to health care. The Children’s Alliance’s commitment to cover all kids — no matter where they were born or where their parents came from — is as strong today as it was when Apple Health for Kids formed in 2007.
“Nearly 1 in 2 kids in Washington use Apple Health for Kids to keep them healthy so they can continue to learn, thrive and grow. That’s 720,000 children across our state. The advocacy we have done together has helped more children in Washington have health coverage than ever before. We’ve built a critical lifeline for families as they’ve struggled through the economic challenges of the past few years."
Among many highlights that followed — including a heart-warming speech by awardee Fred Yee, and the $40,000 ICHS generated for health care services from their “raise-the-paddle” — advocates in the room were graced by a video honoring the work of ICHS providers, and inspiring words from ICHS's CEO, Teresita Batayola.
Batayola heralded the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and acknowledged our nation’s difficulties: “For the last two years, our country has been gripped by the struggle of who gets health care, who pays for health care, and whether or not people have the right to health care.”
Our work ahead with advocates revolves around a common struggle. Our acceptance speech concluded:
“All of us in this room know that racial inequities harm children and damage their potential…In some communities of color in the state, families are uninsured at rates that are two-to-three times higher than that of the general population. … While federal health care reform will give thousands of people in our state their first chance to buy affordable health coverage, it excludes many immigrants. We must ensure that we sustain our commitment to the health of all communities by making sure that opportunities for health care are available to everyone.
“We look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen Washington’s health care system so that it serves all of us well, including those who have historically been left out of the conversation to shape their futures. It is an honor to continue our work together to cover all kids, to serve all families, and fight for the care they deserve.”
Photo above right (Children's Alliance staff and board from left to right): Deborah Bowler, Siobhan Ring, Beth Lovelady, Jon Gould, Josephine Tamayo Murray, Paola Maranan, Christina Twu, Tom Rembiesa, Emijah Smith.
Photo above left (from left to right): Tom Rembiesa, Paola Maranan, Josephine Tamayo Murray