I got back from a fast and fierce trip to Washington DC on Thursday evening and I’m still tryna settle in (and I just got back from an 18-hour trip to Charlotte). As I posted on Monday, I was in DC for the White House Youth Summit, and for the holiday tour.
The White House Office of Youth Engagement invited 150 youth leaders from around the country to talk about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and other issues. I didn’t know who else would be in the room, besides Franchesca (Chescaleigh), Nikki (Nikki and the City) and Eunique (Because of Them We Can) but it was so exciting to be a part of it.
When we all got past security and got into the room where the Summit was in the Eisenhower Building, the energy was high and we started taking pictures because WE’RE ON WHITE HOUSE PROPERTY! EEEEEE!!! And YAYYYYYYYYY!!!
It was important for me to be in that room personally and professionally, with the work I do with The Red Pump Project.
The issue of healthcare is deep because insurance is MAD EXPENSIVE, yo, especially if you’re self-employed. I’ve been working for myself for three and a half years and the road to financial independence is long and treacherous, like Myra from Martin’s toenails. It’s an uphill battle I’m still on and because of it, I haven’t been able to afford insurance. So anytime I’ve gotten sick, I’ve either had to put some tussin on it, or just deal. We’re not e’em gonna talk about the time I needed to get all my wisdom teeth taken out in 2011 and I had to pay $3,000 out of pocket for it. I JUST finished paying that off this year. GOOD GAWD.
With The Red Pump Project, we raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Part of what we do focuses on empowering people and reducing the stigma associated with the epidemic. Thousands of people who are infected with HIV are uninsured because companies don’t want to be liable for it as a “pre-existing condition.” Long story short, this healthcare struggle is MEGA REAL.
Needless to say, I’ve been a proponent of Obamacare because a G needs to be covered without having to eat mayo sammiches every day. And that’s why on October 1, I was one of the ones on Healthcare.gov tryna see What That Insurance Do and when the site failed terribly, I hadn’t tried since. WOMP!
At the Summit, senior White House officials briefed us on the Affordable Care Act to clarify the point for us and to let us know that the website is up and running. And then, we got the surprise of our week when Valerie Jarrett introduced President Obama! When he walked in, people went nuts. We all fangirled!
This was my first time ever being in the same room as POTUS! My fave line from his talk? “I know people call this Obamacare. And that’s ok cuz I do care.” Come on, Baptist Barack! He acknowledged the epic failure of the site launch, but promised that it was fixed now.
Well, he’s right because I just signed up for Insurance today on Healthcare.gov! EEEEEEEEEEEE!!! *does the “I got insurance” scoot* Chile, because it’s scary to feel like you don’t have a safety net. So I really encourage y’all to sign up now if you’re uninsured. You have until December 31, 2013 if you want to be covered starting January 1. And if you don’t sign up, you will be penalized for it. PLEASE GO GET INSURANCE, YALL!!! Your income will determine how much you have to pay so it’s finally within reach.
Anywho, the Summit was day long, we did other stuff (that I’m too lazy to recap right now). But it was such a great space to be in. And I met some dope folks.
I even got to do an Olivia Pope strut down the hallway of the Eisenhower Building.
I’m going on vacation tomorrow so this is a quick post. I just wanted to update y’all and tell you how it all went. I also went to the White House Holiday Tour. Pics are on my Instagram account, so go check there!
Off to pack! Oh and one more pic: