Brandi and Jezy Gray would not say they were completely on the sidelines before Donald Trump’s election in November, 2016. But their approach to activism has changed since.
“This administration has brought me out,” said Brandi. “Before the 2016 election, I wasn’t much involved in activism.”
And then came election night when she and husband, Jezy were “shocked” at the outcome.
She said that now they are keen to engage in activism against what the Trump administration is attempting to do, especially when it comes to health care.
Free Press talked with the couple who are in their twenties at a rally Wednesday night.
They were one of about 75-100 who were at the Candlelight Vigil for Life OKC on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City.
The event was sponsored by Indivisible Oklahoma and was focused on the problems with the Republican Party health care bill in Congress some are calling “Trumpcare.”
The bill is structured to reduce coverage for ordinary citizens and use the savings to give tax cuts for health care corporation executives and the wealthy.
Several leaders who have been holding rallies against Trump since the first weeks after his election were present at this rally.
“We are here because we are concerned about the Republican Party health care bill,” said Brandi. “I think it’s just a tax break for the wealthy at the expense of the sick and the poor.”
“I didn’t think I lived in this world that I live in. But I do now. So, I need to do something,” Brandi said.
Jezy said that before Trump, political activism was not something they considered much.
“It was not all that important to us,” Jezy said. “It didn’t get us out in the streets.”
He did say that they went to the Black Lives Matter Rally in 2016 where they first became familiar with Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson’s leadership then and at this night’s event.
They both said they were inspired by what they saw and heard.
“So, it’s not like we were completely asleep to everything,” said Jezy. “There really was such a divide between the night before the election and the day after.”
Now they believe they “have no other choice” than to engage in activism.
A key point Jezy made was that before the election in November, he thought of Democracy as “something that was in place, and just happened regardless.”
But both are convinced now that they need to be seen and heard in this current political climate.
Right to health care
The Grays both believe that universal health care and a single-payer health care system are needed “one hundred percent.”
And that was the red thread that ran through most of what politicians said throughout the evening.
“We are here because we live in the only civilized country in the world that does not guarantee health care to its citizens as a matter of right,” said Drew Edmonson, a candidate for governor from the Democratic Party.
State elections for governor and other executive positions will be this November.
Another candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for governor is Connie Johnson.
“Oklahoma is in a race to the bottom when it comes to a lot of things, but most especially good health,” said Johnson.
She said that Oklahoma is consistently in “the bottom 10 percent” when it comes to a variety of health issues because the state has favored protecting corporate profits over protecting its citizens.
Representative Forrest Bennett from Oklahoma City said that people in Oklahoma have long experience in fighting the same concepts that are now common at the national level.
“The people of Oklahoma have been training for the Trump era for years and years,” said Bennett. “You are experts on this.”
Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson closed the gathering by urging those who came out to continue to fight for what they know is the right thing.
“It’s time to do the work,” Dickerson said.