College Democrats rally in front of White House

Clad in blue T-shirts and carrying handcrafted posters, about 100 students rallied in front of the White House South Lawn on Friday to show support for the public health care option. The group, organized by the College Democrats, boasted representatives from GW, Georgetown, Catholic and the D.C. Federation of College Democrats.

The group of students gathered in University Yard and marched to the White House, where they advocated for affordable health care and a public option for Americans. Presidents of the different CD chapters spoke before the group and led the students in a chant of “Health care now!”

Freshman Vanessa Marshall said she joined the protest to garner attention for the health care debate.

“We think that we need to get people’s attention to the issue of a public option in health care,” Marshall said. “Democrats in Congress need to pick up the pace and get something done. I think any little thing we do can make an impact because people will look at us and take notice; hopefully what we’re doing will make a difference.”

Though students of all ages attended, a large percentage of the GW group was comprised of freshmen. Ryan Ashley, a GW freshman representative for CDs, said he participated because he felt he could make a difference.

“History has shown us that students organizing for a cause is one way to bring about social change,” Ashley said. “Hopefully we can make an impact.”

Armed with megaphones, students called for President Obama to “come home from Copenhagen and focus on this issue.” In addition to rallying, participants also shared personal stories with the group about people who have suffered due to a lack of health care.

“Health care isn’t something that only the rich should have,” junior Maggie Butler said.

Fitz Lufkin, the president of the Federation of College Democrats and a junior at Georgetown, spoke at the event, highlighting what he said are the benefits of health care reform.

“There is a complete lack of stability, security, and affordability in our health care system and the Democratic proposals in Congress are an effective means of solving the problems we face. They will create a more competitive marketplace, end discrimination by insurance companies, and assure that all Americans have access to health insurance,” Lufkin said. “President Obama has affirmed that health care is a human right. No American deserves to remain sick, be refused treatment, or die because they cannot afford health insurance.”

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