When a Virginia Organizing intern first stopped in Gerie Fatundimu’s consignment business in uptown Martinsville, Gerie was happy to talk with her and fill out a survey. Five years later, Gerie has become an active leader in the Martinsville/Henry County Chapter (and so has Ellen Cabiness, the former intern who first recruited Gerie!).
“It’s my civic duty to make a difference. There are so many battles in this world. You have to pick and choose what is important enough right now to fight for,” said Gerie.
As a cancer survivor, Gerie knows a thing or two about fighting. After ignoring symptoms and delaying treatment for years due to a lack of insurance coverage before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Gerie was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Thankfully, she survived, but many of the women she met through treatment didn’t. That’s why Medicaid expansion is so important to her.
“Everybody in the organization did so much work to win Medicaid expansion. It was a dream that we didn’t give up on,” said Gerie. “Even now, we’re fighting to protect it and the whole Affordable Care Act from this administration. We can’t ever sit down. Who would have thought that right now, during a pandemic, the president would be trying to get rid of people’s health care?”
In the last few months, Gerie has spoken at a virtual roundtable to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare, helped record a Get Out The Vote PSA with her local chapter, and attended the Grassroots Gathering.
“If you don’t fight, you’re saying YES to whatever happens. It’s my responsibility to say something and do what I can. So many people have done much, much more than me before, and future generations are depending on us to do something.”
On behalf of the entire organization, thank you for fighting for what you believe in—and helping to build power to make real change in Virginia, Gerie. We couldn’t do it without you!