'Shame On You!': Protesters Confront Paul Ryan During Visit To Harlem

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House Speaker Paul Ryan thought he'd take a break from dismantling health care and tour a Harlem school. However, angry citizens had different plans.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, then President-elect Donald Trump, and soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence in November, 2016. Wikimedia Commons: Caleb Smith

Amidst a busy schedule of upending the lives of millions of Americans, House Speaker Paul Ryan was expected to take a tour of Success Academy, a charter school in Harlem, New York. Reeling from Trumpcare's recent win, furious citizens organized a protest to welcome Ryan to the neighborhood.

"We do not want Paul Ryan in our city visiting a school on Malcolm X Boulevard, a school with mostly minority children to have a photo op," Margot Becker, a resident of New York City, told am New York.

The protest was a collaborative effort between a number of organizations advocating for education, health care, worker's rights, and other progressive values. In a Facebook event, they called for citizens to join them on Tuesday to "make sure Paul knows exactly what we think of him."

"Paul Ryan is fresh off the House passage of his health care plan that would take coverage away from 20 million people," Joe Dinkin, National Communications Director of the Working Families Party, one of the groups behind the protest, told Mic. "He's showing on health care and education that he and President Donald Trump and [Success Academy CEO] Eva Moskowitz and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos believe in a market fundamentalism that creates winners and losers out of our patients and students."

Dozens of protesters took to the streets to shame Ryan and President Donald Trump's administration for their greed and disregard for humanity. Mic reported that some carried signs of treatable illnesses that could turn fatal if health care coverage took a blow. Others chanted, "Die quick if you get sick," "My body, my choice. Her body, her choice," and "Health care for all — not just for Paul."

Ryan's plan to visit Success Academy stems from the current administration's ties to its principal, Eva Moskowitz.

Moskowitz was once under consideration to become Trump's education secretary, eventually throwing her full support behind the desperately unqualified Betsy DeVos. While Moskowitz is a longtime Democrat and reportedly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, she seems to have reconciled her politics to work with an administration devoted to charter schools. She welcomed Ivanka Trump to Success Academy in November 2016, shortly after her father's win.

“What Moskowitz, Ryan, and Betsy DeVos share is misguided market fundamentalism that believes students and patients need nothing but more competition,” explained Dan Cantor, the national director for Working Families Party, another organization behind the protest, to am New York. “But that competition guarantees some people will lose, and that's the wrong way to treat public goods like education and healthcare. It's a dystopian agenda that every leader in New York must reject."

If Trumpcare is voted into law by the Senate and DeVos achieves her education policy dreams for American school children, there should be no doubt about Ryan's part in throwing our nation's most vulnerable to the wolves. He must not be allowed to ignore the consequences of his actions or to forget that there are those that see him exactly for what he's done.

 

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