Activists lead car caravan urging single-payer healthcare

About 25 cars plastered with signs and slogans weaved through downtown Petaluma Saturday afternoon, in conjunction with 22 other California cities demonstrating for legislative action on single-payer healthcare.|

A line of honking cars plastered with homemade signs snaked through downtown Petaluma Saturday afternoon, in coordination with cities and towns across the state demonstrating in support of statewide healthcare for all.

Organized by the California Nurses Association, participants bundled in about 25 cars and paraded down central thoroughfares, starting at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds parking lot at 12:45 p.m. and ending at City Hall.

Similar scenes descended on 22 other California cities Saturday, including Sonoma, San Rafael and San Francisco, as health workers and advocates urged state legislators to take action on single-payer healthcare, referred to as “CalCare” by caravan participants.

The event’s local organizer, Hilary Smith, said the action is focused on advancing a CalCare bill this legislative session.

Cries for a single-payer system have increased in recent months, due in part to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently-debuted commission devoted to exploring an overhaul of the state’s health care system.

Santa Rosa resident Leslie Graves said she found out about the event through the Sonoma County Democratic Party.

“At this time, I think it’s important to continue to do the work in support of CalCare in a visual way,” Graves said as she taped signs to her yellow Nissan. “During COVID, I think it’s important for everyone to realize why we need healthcare for all.”

(Contact Kathryn Palmer at, on Twitter @KathrynPlmr.)

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