HARLEM — About 100 demonstrators gathered across from a West 118th Street charter school Tuesday to protest a visit by House Speaker Paul Ryan, on the heels of his successful push to pass a Republican-backed health care plan that threatens to leave 1 million New Yorkers without coverage.
Ryan was reportedly invited to visit Success Academy Harlem 1 by the charter network’s CEO Eva Moskowitz — an invite that immediately sparked outrage among education and health advocates.
Demonstrators at the protest took aim at the healthcare issue, chanting, “How do you sleep at night? Health care is a human right” and “greedy, cruel, selfish, too. Paul Ryan, shame on you.”
(Credit: DNAinfo/Dartunorro Clark)
Police cordoned an area on West 118th Street near Lenox Avenue for the protesters to gather.
“Since he is the architect of this plan, it’s important to show how much we disagree with this plan,” said Harlem resident Erendira Tristan, 37.
“Not all of us get the chance to go to Washington every weekend to protest.”
Demonstrator and Harlem resident Stacy Parker LeMelle, 42, said she came out to show her frustration.
“It’s like we’re being trolled in the worst way. These are people who have no policy of caring about children,” LeMelle said. “It seems like he only cares about the small percentage of Americans — the white, wealthy Christian men. He should be back in his district holding town halls.”
Another protester said she was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation at age 22 worried she would not get the coverage she needs under the proposed health care plan, which would allow health insurance companies to restore pre-existing conditions as a basis for more expensive or rejected care.
“Trumpcare is devastating for 1 million New Yorkers, including me,” said Harlem resident Joy Williams. “I still have Obamacare, and I’m at risk.”