Tupelo Tea Party draws health care protesters

TUPELO – Even though the turnout at Saturday’s third Tea Party wasn’t as large as the previous two held at Fairpark, organizer Grant Sowell said the crowd was the most diverse one yet.
More than 400 people showed up in a peaceful protest of President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan.
Fox News’ Angela McGlowan and Memphis Gospel Singer Betty Owens were two of the African-American speakers at the event.
Other speakers were Kim Wade from the Jackson News, Les Riley of Personhood Mississippi, Meeke Addison of American Family Radio, Dr. Ed Holliday and Brian Eads of West Jackson Baptist Church.
Sowell said that despite the decreased attendance, passion among the people there still ran high.
“We had a very lively crowd,” said Sowell. “People spoke very strongly for what they believed in. We had a very diverse crowd too, and that is definitely a plus.”
The Tea Parties have been going on all across the country to protest the president’s health care bill. Martin Conley of Holly Springs has attended all three Tupelo Tea Parties.
“I believe in freedom of speech and I believe in actually using it to make a difference,” said Conley. “There is a lot of good in our country and this health care bill isn’t one of those things.”
Sowell said he wanted to get one message across to the crowd Saturday.
“History is going to record the successes of every past, present and future president,” he said. “But what will it say of you and I? That simply means that will the people just sit back and watch these failures, or will they let their voices be heard and speak up about them?”
Two other rallies focused on health care were planned for today in central Mississippi.
Another Tea Party event will be held in Brandon. Organizers say Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and some physicians are scheduled to speak.
On the other side of the debate, the Children’s Defense Fund is sponsoring a “stroller brigade” march, starting at 1:30 p.m. in downtown Jackson. The group wants Congress to extend publicly funded health insurance to a larger number of children from low-income families.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal