Democratic grassroots movements led by those most impacted by injustice are key to social change. In order to create a just economy and society that enables everyone to meet their fundamental needs and live with dignity, our movement must be much bigger than any one campaign, organization or constituency. Guided by a shared vision grounded in principles and sustained by mutual learning and collaborative initiatives, HCHR campaigns build long-term relationships that unite people and groups across divisions and challenge oppression at all levels. The following resources offer strategic and tactical lessons learned from efforts to build a Healthcare Is a Human Right movement as part of a broader human rights movement.
Building a Healthcare Is a Human Right Movement
- Reviving Progressive Activism: Vermont Case Study: This case study of Vermont’ Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign presents the history of the campaign and its 2011 success, analyses the rationale, strategy and tactics of the campaign, and offers lessons learned for developing transformative grassroots campaigns.
- The Vermont Breakthrough: Grassroots Organizing Moves a State Towards Healthcare for All: This article tells the story of the grassroots organizing that led to the passage of Vermont’s universal healthcare law by changing what is politically possible through a mass organizing campaign.
- The Struggle for Healthcare at the State and National Levels: Vermont as a Catalyst for National Change: This article describes the Healthcare Is a Human Right organizing model, and explains why a campaign based on values and on grassroots organizing is necessary to achieve change.
- Lessons from the Single-Payer State: The Vermont Workers’ Center puts forward five key lessons from its campaign to pass a universal healthcare law, which can be applied to movement building efforts more generally
- Healthcare Is a Human Right: Confronting the Immigration Wedge in Vermont – Case Study for Communications Strategies for Community Organizing: This article describes how Vermont’s HCHR Campaign used the human rights principle of universality to preempt division over immigration status and prevent the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from universal healthcare.
- Now More Than Ever: Growing the Movement for the Right to Health Care and Economic Justice: In this statement, NESRI reflects on why Vermont Governor Shumlin abandoned public healthcare financing and offers lessons and ideas for next steps for the movement in Vermont and elsewhere.
- VT Breakthrough! How the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign Is Winning a Healthcare System that Puts People First: This video tells the story of a successful grassroots campaign organizing for our human rights. This video is co-produced by the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) and the Vermont Workers’ Center, with thanks to Media Mobilizing Project, Nate Adams and Mindi Mumaw.
- Healthcare Is a Human Right Roundtable Discussion Video – Human Rights Day, December 10th, 2013: On Human Rights Day in 2013, NESRI and the Poverty Initiative held a public event in New York City to honor Peg Franzen, a leader of Vermont’s Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign, and reflect on the growth of the movement. In this video of the event, Laura Flanders of GRITtv facilitates a dialogue between James Haslam of the Vermont Workers’ Center, Drew Christopher Joy of the Southern Maine Workers’ Center, Sergio España of United Workers in Maryland, Nijmie Dzurinko of Put People First! Pennsylvania, and Anja Rudiger of NESRI.
Building a Broad Human Rights Movement
- Vermont Declaration of Human Rights: Vermont’s People’s Convention for Human Rights, held in September 2012 with over 40 participating organizations, adopted this declaration of human rights, which outlines the current human rights crisis, its root causes, and a vision for realizing human rights.
- The People’s Recipe: This fact sheet lists the ingredients fundamental to the Vermont Workers’ Center’s Healthcare Is a Human Right model, which has since been adapted and adopted by the HCHR Collaborative.
- Community Voices on Causes and Solutions of the Human Rights Crisis in the United States: This report summarizes the discussions and conclusions at two community-based human rights convenings, at which a broad range of grassroots organizations developed a critical analysis of the human rights crisis in the United States, defined common goals, and identified common strategies.
- A Strategic Vision for the Human Rights at Home Campaign: This statement was created by a grassroots coalition to describe a collective vision for a society guided by human rights. It describes how human rights arise from people’s struggles for justice, how governments are accountable for upholding human rights, how principles must guide struggles, and how a human rights vision builds unity among people and communities.