Flowers spur health care talk
By Matt Okarmus • Montgomery Advertiser,
March 4, 2011
[From Advertiser Video]
Healthcare issue blooming on Huntingdon College
Student members of the Huntingdon College Democrats are using flowers as a symbol of lives lost in the U.S. for lack of healthcare. See the first flower placed at midnight Thursday, March 3, for the 24 hour event on campus in Montgomery.
Huntingdon College student Zachary Turner
places a flower in the ground Thursday, as the Huntingdon College Democrats
perform a 24-hour demonstration to show reverence for people who have died
because they lack sufficient health care.
Flowers spur health care
By Matt Okarmus • Montgomery Advertiser, March 4, 2011
Flowers placed near a walking path on the campus of Huntingdon College all day Thursday did exactly what Russ Barnwell intended. They got people talking.
Barnwell, a member of the Huntingdon College Democrats, helped coordinate the demonstration in which participants placed white carnations upright in the ground every 12 minutes to symbolize those who have died because they didn't have proper health care.
"We are aware as a campus that there is a loss happening, but we really wanted to do something about it," Barnwell said.
The organization used statistics from a Harvard study to determine that 120 people in the United States die each day because they have inadequate health care or no health care. The group began placing flowers at midnight Wednesday as part of a 24-hour demonstration.
Barnwell said the white carnations were used because they commonly are seen at funerals and because white represents peace.
Daylan Woodall, also a coordinator and member of the organization, placed a flower about 3 p.m. at the Grove near "The Hut," which houses the office of student life. He said the idea came about because the organization, which has 10 to 15 active members, felt the current issues surrounding health care were becoming too political.
"The current health care situation is too partisan," Woodall said. "The issue has more to do with people than politics."
Woodall said even though the students are Democrats, the demonstration was meant to represent a "people issue," not to have a political stance.
"This is not a Democratic statement, but a human statement," he said. "Human life is precious. This shouldn't be a divisive issue."
Anna-Camille Hale, who placed the first flower at midnight, also tried to downplay the political elements of the demonstration.
"Poverty has no partisanship," she said.
Barnwell said it felt special to symbolize someone's life with a flower. With plans to stay at the Grove the entire 24-hour period, Barnwell talked to a variety of visitors.
"People of all political stripes have come out," he said. "I've seen the most liberal to the most conservative."