For Immediate Release
Martha Wallner, 510-273-2264
Hundreds of Nurses Will Join Million Student March Action at U.C. Berkeley Thursday
Nurses Say: Student Debt is Bad for Your Health, Education is a Human Right!
Berkeley, CA - Hundreds of nurses from throughout Northern California will join a student rally at U.C. Berkeley Thursday as part of the Million Student March national day of action, the California Nurses Association announced today.
The national day of action was inspired by Sen. Bernie Sanders' idea that the goal of free public college and university could be achieved if one million students took to the streets and continued to march until it was won. The Million Student March is taking place on over 100 campuses' across the U.S. and is focused on three key demands:
1. Tuition-free public college.
2. Cancellation of all student debt.
3. $15/hr campus-wide minimum wage at every college in the country.
"We are joining the students because we see firsthand how the student debt crisis impacts the health of our patients," said CNA Boardmember, Katy Roemer, RN. "When they are overburdened by debt they can't pay for medication, they can't pay insurance premiums, co-pays or deductibles so they delay and avoid treatment that they need. The stress alone of having a lot of debt contributes to people's poor health," said Roemer, an RN at Kaiser Oakland.
"Student debt also harms nurses and their families directly, " said Roemer. "My oldest son is attending U.C. Santa Cruz and he is taking on student loan debt and my husband and I had to take out a second mortgage on our home to finance part of his education. We should be saving for retirement but we also have a younger son to put through college. Many of my colleagues are faced with the same difficulty and we know that many talented, deserving young people are forgoing college altogether.”
"The solution to the student debt crisis is simple, it's called the College for All Act (S.1373) and it was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders in May," said CNA Co-president, Malinda Markowitz, RN. " Wall Street created the economic crisis that devastated education funding and made tuitions skyrocket. This bill calls on Wall Street to pay its fair share of taxes, in the form of a wafer thin financial transaction tax (aka Robin Hood Tax), so that all students can attend public colleges and universities for free. "
Currently, according to government statistics, more than 40 million Americans owe more than $1.3 trillion in student debt, at an average balance (as of 2012) of $24,803. Some students owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans. Defaults are on the rise, and many expect student loan debt to be the next bubble that bursts and implodes our economy.
The student walk-out at Cal is endorsed by numerous campus groups including ASUC/Associated Students of the University of California, the Black Student Union, UC Berkeley Students for Bernie, Muslim Student Association (UCB), and 15Now Berkeley.
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National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.