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Changing Lives of Working Americans in Communities of Color

Joshua Gray is being honored as an Affordable Care Act Champion of Change.

Joshua Gray

Joshua Gray is being honored as an Affordable Care Act Champion of Change.

Last fall, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) reached out to friends, neighbors, and loved ones with the great news that the Affordable Care Act levels the playing field and gives them a fair shot at a longer, healthier life.

Thanks to the work of SEIU members and community partners, millions of working women and men – particularly in communities of color – are now waking up to a world in which there is no need to put off a doctor visit or skip medications. There is far less worry about mounting medical bills or missing work and subsequent paychecks.

Every day, I am honored to work with SEIU nurses, doctors, home care workers, and other union members to promote access to quality, affordable healthcare in African American, Hispanic, and Latino communities. I also build community partnerships that help close health equity gaps. But it is really the faces and lives of those who are touched that motivate me. I’ll never forget Ms. Thomas, a mother I met last February at an enrollment event in Philadelphia. I was able to help identify resources and walk her through the steps so that she could get her daughter covered. I didn’t think I’d ever hear from her again until she called to thank me two months later. Her daughter finally had healthcare.

This type of outreach is especially critical in reaching Latinos and African Americans, who are much more likely to be uninsured than the rest of the population and suffer worse healthcare outcomes as a result. That is simply unacceptable, and we must continue our fight to move our country’s healthcare forward. We won’t stop until we deliver quality, affordable healthcare to all working people, giving families a path out of poverty.

Joshua Gray is the Special Assistant to the Chair of the SEIU Healthcare Division.