Laura Valderrama

We are living in a time where we need each other more than ever. Countless people have contracted the Coronavirus, lives have ended or dramatically changed for the worse. In most industrialized countries, a job loss does not lead to becoming uninsured. Such is not the case in the US, where millions of Americans will continue to lose their insurance because they are losing their jobs. Not only is this immoral and illogical, in the time of the pandemic, it is dangerous and deadly.

 

In 2017 when my mother revealed her cancer diagnosis to her employer of almost 20 years, she was fired. In addition to having to fight for life, she also had to find a way to cover the costs of her medical treatment. Between having to bear witness to the cruelty in my mother’s situation and my experience living in Austria - a country with a single-payer healthcare system - I am a strong advocate for Medicare for All. Bernie Sanders elevated the concept of healthcare as a human right to the national stage and his movement has inspired the masses.

 

My mother - originally from Colombia - was not a politically active person, but she believed in Bernie’s mission and in 2016 committed to making the phone calls I couldn’t while I was living abroad. The level of love, compassion and selflessness my mother had is one I can only aspire to.

 

In 2018, she passed away just weeks after my daughter was born. The pain of losing the person who made infinite sacrifices to single-handedly raise my sister and me immediately after becoming a new mother myself is still unspeakable. The whole experience opened my eyes to how precious life truly is and made me reflect deeply on how I want to spend mine. Eventually I found the strength to build and lead Wisconsin for Bernie. Our team organized trips to Iowa, phone-banks, button-making sessions, a statewide coalition event and more.

 

My aim in life is to follow Bernie’s footsteps in leading by example and seeking ways to bring people together to fight for one another. Whether it’s through serving as the lead organizer for Wisconsin for Bernie, as an executive board member of Dane Dems, a newly-elected public official for the Village of Shorewood Hills, or as “just” a human being, I will always fight for justice and I will always fight for you.

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