Occupy Health Care Portland

A giant pair of blue hands extended skyward as I ran through Portland’s Waterfront Park Saturday morning. Curious, I adjusted my route to get a closer look. A group of 50 or 60 people gathered around a 20 foot tall representation of a nurse. The giant blue, gloved hands were hers.

Giant Representation of a Nurse at Water Front Park, Portland, OR

The people carrying the towering nurse wore white lab coats. Interspersed among the crowd were men and women wearing scrubs.I counted four Portland Police officers talking amicably with several protestors.They wore regular uniforms. No riot gear in sight. I joined the crowd.

A young woman held a sign which read, Nurses for Single Payer Health Care. She explained the demonstration was part of the Occupy Portland movement, focusing on the need of single payer health care in the United States. She is a twenty-two year old nursing student working with a group of community health nurses promoting health care services for the under served. “I’m the youngest one in the group,” she told me, “but I feel this is really important.” 

I shot the above video on my iPhone. Following the presentation, demonstrators peacefully marched along Salmon Street to Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Nurses, doctors, and patients working together. Protestors and police officers sharing a city park peacefully. Everyone working together with a clear message and a focused goal. Hope and change, they begin here.

Occupy Portland Health Care photo: jparadisi 2011

I am a nurse. I am not Twenty feet tall, and my hands are not blue, but I raised them skyward too.

photo: jparadisi 2011