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We can fix this injustice. Take action!
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Dear Friend,

This week in Learn, Love, Lead!, we'd like to share with you the story of a great bill in Congress that will improve health equity and fairness.

Senate Bill 1391/House Bill 2982 will fix a terrible policy that has denied many Pacific Islander Washingtonians access to health care for over two decades.

Urge your members of Congress to support this good bill! Take action.

In recent months advocates for kids have been fighting back (and winning!) against threats to kids' and families' health from the Trump administration and some in Congress. Now you have a great opportunity to speak up for a proposal that will improve kids' and families' lives.

Kids do better when their parents and caregivers do better.  When parents and loved ones are chronically or critically ill, or die young because of inadequate health care, children suffer. For kids whose families come from Pacific Island nations with Compacts of Free Association (COFA) with the United States, the scales are tipped unfairly toward this suffering.

Three nations (the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and Federated States of Micronesia) have Compacts of Free Association with the United States. The Compacts provide the United States strategic military access to the region. Residents of COFA nations travel freely to the US to live, work, pay taxes, and serve in the U.S. military. But since 1996, migrants from COFA nations in Washington State and all across America have been denied basic federal programs like Medicaid and food stamps.

Many Washingtonians from COFA nations suffer with life-threatening and chronic health problems resulting both from inadequate access to health care and the devastating impacts of U.S. nuclear testing in their homelands. The uranium used in those nuclear experiments was created right here in Washington State, at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Children’s Alliance member Jiji Jally recently testified in support of restoring health care access for COFA migrants:

"There were more than 60 hydrogen bombs detonated on our Islands, over 12 years. The radiation was equal to one Hiroshima bomb every day. Many people were forced to move.  Many people became sick. We lost our food and our land.

We didn’t choose our situation. We came to the U.S. under the Compact of Free Association because our islands are still under use of the military agreement with the United States. We work like you. We pay taxes like you. Many of our people serve in the U.S military. We raise our kids like you. But we don’t have health care. A lot of people face cancer, diabetes, thyroid illness. Those things are bad enough with health care. But for us without preventative care treatment, many people die young.”


In Washington State, advocates like you are pushing back to fix this unfair situation. Together with courageous parents and grandparents speaking up, we won and protected the State Food Assistance Program to ensure more equitable access to food assistance for kids and families in need. Hundreds of you supported efforts to pass state legislation to improve access to health care for Pacific Islanders. But that bill didn't pass this year. It's time for our members of Congress to act.

Children’s Alliance has been working with Pacific Islander Washingtonians and members of the Washington Congressional delegation on this issue. As a result, one of Washington's U.S. Senator's, Senator Patty Murray has just signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill! Advocacy works! Urge the rest of your members of Congress to do the same.

Action:

Tell your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to co-sponsor Senate Bill 1391/House Bill 2982 and stand up for Pacific Islander Washingtonians who are suffering without health care!
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Thank you for speaking up for kids.

Sincerely,

Jon and the Children's Alliance Team

Jon Gould
Deputy Director

P.S. Together we are powerful and can help all Washington’s kids have a happy, healthy childhood and reach their vast potential. Take action for healthy families today!
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