As with so many other grassroots organizations devoted to human rights and social justice, we at AMPHS are trying to anticipate the consequences of this presidential election. These are uncertain and frightening times—especially for the community members we serve, who are particularly vulnerable to a number of proposed policy changes, both in terms of their healthcare and their immigration status.
In recent years, we’ve seen a great deal of progress on these fronts. Thanks to the tireless efforts of activists across the country and the bravery of those who risked deportation by coming out of the shadows, President Obama unveiled his executive actions on immigration, providing deportation relief and authorization to work for nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. With the passage of President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (ACA), barriers to healthcare were beginning to fall, and many who could not previously afford insurance were finally able to realize what we at AMPHS have always deemed a human right—access to quality care.
These successes were not easily won, and their opponents were quick to dismantle them. In June, the Supreme Court, locked in a 4-4 ruling, effectively deemed President Obama’s immigration action unconstitutional. And earlier this month, we saw the election of not only a president but a Congress (and with them the likely appointment of numerous right-leaning federal judges) poised to repeal the ACA and staunch the rights and security of undocumented immigrants and their families.
With these developments, how can we help but feel defeated? All of this progress just to be thrown swiftly back to zero?
But we have to remind ourselves that the political landscape, as turbulent as it seems, is not all that different now than it was when we began our fight. In fact, in many ways, it was worse. We didn’t begin by defending rights already afforded to the marginalized; we began without rights to defend. We began without visibility, without a network of support. We began without a movement.
From the start, AMPHS’ mission was to empower “individuals and communities to create their own local and culturally-sensitive health and wellness paradigms.” And it still is. We were founded on the principles of advancing healthcare to those in need, regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. It’s what we’ve always done, and we’re learning how to do it better and better every day.
Yes, we may be disappointed, and we may be scared, but this is not a reset. We are not starting from scratch, because from the beginning, we’ve taken nothing for granted. All these years, and what do we have to show for them? We have a stalwart—and a visible—network of support that persists not because of the ACA, not because of DACA or DAPA, not because of any elected official. We have it because we built it ourselves. So we persist, so we continue to build on what we have, and we already have so much. We have each other.
We at AMPHS are closely monitoring these new developments, and we promise to keep our communities informed of their rights and resources. Please go to this link for a list of key updates on AMPHS’ programs and the president-elect’s policies, and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. Call us at (212) 256-9036 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are here for you.
President & CEO, AMPHS