Poor People’s Campaign Action Toolkit

Download the Toolkit here: PPC Health Action Toolkit

Poor People’s Campaign Health Action Toolkit



Table of Contents

  1. About the Poor People’s Campaign
  2. Action ideas
  3. Planning your action
  4. Messaging
  5. Outreach
  6. Media
  7. Images and banner/sign-making
  8. Songs and chants
  9. Resources


This action toolkit was compiled by Health Over Profit for Everyone with additional materials and assistance from Perri Morgan of the Poor People’s Campaign and the good people of the Backbone Campaign. Some of the items in the kit were tested at the 2018 Spring Single Payer Action Camp held in Washington, DC from April 7 to 10.

The kit is intended for use during the Poor People’s Campaign week of actions that focus on health and the environment, which starts June 3. The kit has materials that center on health justice, the human right to health care, protecting Medicaid, which is a state and federal issue, and winning National Improved Medicare for All single payer health care, which is a federal issue.

The kit includes ideas for actions, useful information for planning your action, instructions for building various types of banners, images and handouts.

If you have questions about the contents of the kit, contact info@healthoverprofit.org.


About the Poor People’s Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has emerged from more than a decade of work by grassroots community and religious leaders, organizations and movements across the nation. We are united together to fight systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy, and to shift the nation’s distorted moral narrative. The Campaign aims to build a broad and deep moral movement – rooted in the leadership of poor people and moral leaders and reflecting our deepest constitutional and faith traditions – to put before the nation a moral agenda.

50 years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America, inviting people who had been divided to stand together against the “triplets of evil”–militarism, racism, and economic injustice–to insist that people need not die from poverty in the richest nation to ever exist. Together with poor people in communities across America–black, white, brown and Native–they responded by building a Poor People’s Campaign. We draw on the history, vision and unfinished work of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign and take as our task reigniting that campaign to unite the poor, disenfranchised, and marginalized to take action together and become what Dr. King called “a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life.”

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will necessarily be a multi-year undertaking. In the spring of 2018 the Campaign will launch by engaging in 40 Days of Moral Action across the nation. By engaging in highly publicized, non-violent moral fusion direct action, over a 6-week period in at least 30 states and the District of Columbia between May 13 and June 23, the Campaign will force a serious national examination of the enmeshed evils of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy during a key election year while strengthening and connecting informed and committed grassroots leadership in every state, increasing their power to continue this fight long after June 2018. During these 40 days of Moral Action, the Campaign will push forward a concrete moral agenda, and draw on art, music, popular education and religious traditions to challenge the nation’s distorted moral narrative.

Each week during the 40 days will focus on different themes:

Week One (May 13-19): Child Poverty, Women and people with Disabilities

Week Two (May 20-26): Systemic Racism, Voter Suppression and Immigration

Week Three (May 27-June 2): The War Economy, Veterans and Education

Week Four (June 3-9): Ecological Devastation and Health

Week Five (June 10-16): Systemic Poverty, Jobs, Income and Housing

Week Six (June 17-22): Challenging the Nation’s Distorted Moral Narrative

June 23rd – Mass rally in Washington, D.C. and Global Day of Solidarity

We humbly request that you join us in standing together as we make the demands of the poor and dispossessed known to our failing leaders everywhere. We anticipate that this season of moral action can be used by all of us to send a clear and powerful message that the destruction and degradation of this system knows no boundaries and that the poor of the world are coming together to stand against it and build something new and better.

Healthcare Demands

There are 32 million people who remain uninsured. Further, an estimated 40 percent of Americans have taken on debt because of medical issues, making medical debt the number one cause of personal bankruptcy filings.

We demand the expansion of Medicaid in every state and the protection of Medicare until the full implementation of single-payer universal health care for all.

Fundamental Principles of the Campaign

  1. We are rooted in a moral analysis based on our deepest religious and constitutional values that demand justice for all. Moral revival is necessary to save the heart and soul of our democracy.
  2. We are committed to lifting up and deepening the leadership of those most affected by systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation and to building unity across lines of division.
  3. We believe in the dismantling of unjust criminalization systems that exploit poor communities and communities of color and the transformation of the “War Economy” into a “Peace Economy” that values all humanity.
  4. We believe that equal protection under the law is non-negotiable.
  5. We believe that people should not live in or die from poverty in the richest nation ever to exist. Blaming the poor and claiming that the United States does not have an abundance of resources to overcome poverty are false narratives used to perpetuate economic exploitation, exclusion, and deep inequality.
  6. We recognize the centrality of systemic racism in maintaining economic oppression must be named, detailed and exposed empirically, morally and spiritually. Poverty and economic inequality cannot be understood apart from a society built on white supremacy.
  7. We aim to shift the distorted moral narrative often promoted by religious extremists in the nation from issues like prayer in school, abortion, and gun rights to one that is concerned with how our society treats the poor, those on the margins, the least of these, women, LGBTQIA folks, workers, immigrants, the disabled and the sick; equality and representation under the law; and the desire for peace, love and harmony within and among nations.
  8. We will build up the power of people and state-based movements to serve as a vehicle for a powerful moral movement in the country and to transform the political, economic and moral structures of our society.
  9. We recognize the need to organize at the state and local level—many of the most regressive policies are being passed at the state level, and these policies will have long and lasting effect, past even executive orders. The movement is not from above but below.
  10. We will do our work in a non-partisan way—no elected officials or candidates get the stage or serve on the State Organizing Committee of the Campaign. This is not about left and right, Democrat or Republican but about right and wrong.
  11. We uphold the need to do a season of sustained moral direct action as a way to break through the tweets and shift the moral narrative. We are demonstrating the power of people coming together across issues and geography and putting our bodies on the line to the issues that are affecting us all.
  12. The Campaign and all its Participants and Endorsers embrace nonviolence. Violent tactics or actions will not be tolerated.


Action Ideas

Structure of the Campaign:

  • Monday afternoons: The main actions will occur on Mondays, similar to past Moral Mondays.
    • Mondays were chosen because this is when office holders can be found in state capitals
    • Each Monday will feature rallies with speakers and music for about an hour, followed by direct action/civil disobedience by a few, with others there to support them. Only those who have volunteered and been trained will face arrest.
    • State Level Actions: Simultaneous actions in capitals in over 40 states and DC will amplify our impact
  • Tuesday teach-ins, with rest of week open for actions in home communities/churches, etc.
  • Final week: 24 hour vigils in DC, with MASS RALLY June 23.

Civil Disobedience is not a requirement to participate. Those who are interested in joining in civil disobedience must attend a training. Contact your state coordinator at state@poorpeoplescampaign.org.

White Coat Brigade

Health professionals and health professions students (physicians, nurses, PAs, social workers, etc.) in their white coats or other professional attire (scrubs, etc) will join each protest. Health professionals showing solidarity will be noticed, draw press, and inspire others.

  • With your help, we can muster a white coat brigade in every state and DC for each week of the PPC and also in DC for the culminating events on June 23. You are the leaders—mobilize your people to show up!
  • State white coat brigades planning extra actions should communicate with their state PPC so that they contribute to (and do not detract from) other planned activities.
  • Those willing to face arrest for their beliefs can do so—others will bear witness.
  • PPC needs volunteers to staff emergency/triage tents, especially in DC during final week.
  • Monday June 4 –has a health focus. White coat brigades might put more energy here, carrying out health-focused actions in concert with state PPC organizations.

Add your name to the White Coats Brigade so we can update you and connect you with others in your state. You can also contact Charles van der Horst cvdh@med.unc.edu or Perri Morgan Perri.morgan@duke.edu. Facebook page White Coats for Poor Peoples Campaign

The most important thing is showing up to support the actions. If you are interested in doing more in the way of planning and preparation, here is more information about how to do that.

Possible locations for actions

What makes sense in your area for a target? Is your member of Congress supportive of National Improved Medicare for All or not? Are people in your community aware of National Improved Medicare for All or not? Is there a large private insurer or private facility that is unpopular in your area? Is there something in the news that is relevant to the struggle to win National Improved Medicare for All – maybe a hospital closing or workers losing health benefits? Has your state expanded Medicaid? Perhaps you live in one of the eleven states that have applied for waivers to impose work requirements to receive Medicaid.

The answers to these questions will help you to determine the appropriate target. Most of the time we are choosing actions that educate and inspire the public or gain media attention. Other times we are working to directly impact power holders like the Governor, the Department of Health or members of Congress.

State capital – This makes sense if your state capital is accessible to your community. Your state legislature may or may not be in session. If they are not, it is still possible to target the Governor by protesting in your state capital. If the legislature is not in session, you can target a particular state legislator at their in-district office, if they are appropriate to protest.

Federal legislators – Has your member of Congress or your Senators signed on to National Improved Medicare for All? Check the “Tools for Education” page on HealthOverProfit.org to find out. Do they support protecting Medicare and Medicaid? Visit their official website and check under the “Issues” section to find out. If not, you may want to plan an action at their in-district office. You will find the address on their official website, which is usually lastname.house.gov, and for your senators it is lastname.senate.gov.

Local health-related facilities – Perhaps there is a pharmaceutical corporation in your area that is price-gouging or stopping production of a necessary medication. Perhaps a local private insurance corporation is raising its rates, dropping coverage or preventing a patient from having access to necessary care. Is a private facility providing poor care? Maybe a hospital or clinic is closing. These are opportunities to raise awareness that health care shouldn’t be treated as a commodity. Health care is a public good.

Ideas for Actions

Visibility actions –  These are held in high traffic areas to reach a large number of people where they are rather than trying to get them to come to you. You might hand out flyers at a transit stop or set up large banners and signs over a highway. You might do a banner drop at a public event.

Rallies – Rallies are where people gather together and speakers rally others to take action.

Protests – Protests are where people gather to pressure a specific target with a specific demand. Protests take many forms from marches to legal pickets or vigils to sit-ins or die-ins or blockades. Locations are chosen based on the target. It could be outside their office or at a function where they are speaking. Sometimes political theater is used such as “billionaires for wealthcare” where people dress as billionaires and thank the target for making them rich. Others might hold a funeral for the victims of our broken healthcare system. For more ideas, see the “Tools for Action” page at HealthOverProfit.org.


Planning your Action

To plan your action, first reach out to people who are interested in working together to organize the action and schedule a meeting. In-person meetings are ideal, but depending on your circumstances, it might need to be a conference call.

Start with choosing the goal of the action. Is it to raise public awareness, get media coverage for your issue or influence a power holder? If it is for media coverage, consider what time of day is best for the media cycle.

Then think about your audience. Who do you hope will participate or see the action? What message do you want them to receive? What will make them receptive and sympathetic to your message and what will potentially turn them off to your message?

Next think about the location. Is it a place that the people whom you want to participate can easily get to? Visit the area to scout it out. Is it accessible? Does it have good visibility. Imagine that you are a photographer – does it have good visuals? Will people recognize it or does it have a sign that shows where you are?

And finally, consider your capacity. Do you have enough people and resources to do your activity? Sometimes we have to start with less ambitious plans and do them well. This gives you something to build from in future actions.

Once you have thought through and planned your action, use the tactic star to evaluate it.

If you are considering civil disobedience, then remember that you must first take an action training. Contact your state coordinator to find one. The email is yourstate@poorpeoplescampaign.org.

Next, it is time to assign roles. These are divided into pre-action, action and post-action. Not all roles are necessary for every action. Here are some suggested roles:

Pre-Action Roles

Legal team – consult your local laws to determine if you will need to apply for a permit. If you are considering civil disobedience, consult a lawyer so that you understand what risks you are taking. You can often find a local lawyer who is willing to assist you either through the National Lawyers Guild or through your local activist community.

Research – what do you need to know before your action? Maybe you need some local statistics or an investigation into the positions of your local lawmakers or what influences them.

Scout/Recon – look at the location to determine if it meets your needs for your action. Can you access it? What do the visuals look like?

Outreach and organizing – create an outreach plan for your action using social media, local media, flyering and your activist networks to let people know as much in advance as you can. Reach out regularly to keep the action in people’s awareness. You may have local radio stations or papers that have community events calendars. Maybe you can go to local community meetings and faith institutions to announce your event.

Logistics and support – decide who will gather and be responsible for the items that you need. Think about the weather. You will need to provide water and snacks if you will be outside for a while.

Transportation – choose someone to assist with transportation needs such as researching public transportation and parking or organizing car pools.

Fundraisers – if you need money for supplies, make a plan to raise the funds.

Artists – make a plan to create your visuals. Consider an art build on the weekends leading up to your action. This is a great way to gather and engage people.

Media outreach – create a media team to send out media alerts and contact local media by phone to encourage them to cover your event.


Action Roles

Arrestees – if you are engaging in civil disobedience and believe that arrests are beneficial, then determine ahead of time who is able to be arrested and who is not. Make sure you have a plan for those who cannot risk arrest to avoid it such as knowing where they can be, what they can do and when they should leave. Fill out jail support forms ahead of time for all potential arrestees (see resources)

Direct support –  if arrestees have specific needs or are going to lock down to something, make sure they have a dedicated support person to assist them.

Police liaison – determine ahead of time who will communicate with police during the action and make sure that everyone knows who that person is. It gets confusing quickly if many people take on this role. If the police approach someone during the action, they should refer the officer to the police liaison instead of talking to the police. The police liaison should understand the goals of the action and the needs of the participants ahead of time. The police liaison should know what decisions they can make as an individual and when they should speak to the participants in the action to convey their needs to the police before making a decision.

Media – have the media team in place and know ahead of time who will speak to the media. There should be a media liaison who speaks to any media that show up, collects their contact information and directs them to spokespeople. Always have your own media on site as well so that you cover the action from your perspective whether or not other media cover it. You will also need to decide who will do social media during the action and what hash tags to use. You may have someone off site with internet access who can push out any social media or live streams that you create to a wider audience online.

Photos, video and video support – have your own photographers, videographers and/or live streamers on site to cover the event. Decide ahead of time what visuals you want to cover and make sure you get them. You may need someone who can optimize the photos and edit the video quickly after the event.

Communication – have a few designated runners who can run messages during the action. They may need to convey messages to the media team, legal team, medic, action leaders, etc.

Scout – you may need a scout the day of the action to follow up on any last questions that arise or to assess the conditions on the day of the action.

Medic – have a medic team on site to keep an eye on participants and make sure that everyone is doing ok. It may be necessary to provide water, snacks and ways to keep warm or cool during the action.

Worker Liaison – if you will encounter workers during the action, designate a person to speak to the workers to explain what is happening, who the target is and to reassure them that they are safe.

De-escalator – designate a team to watch for counter-protesters or people who become activated during the action and will need to be calmed down.

Protest Rallier – designate a team who will lead the chants and songs. It’s better if it’s more than one person so that they can switch off and keep the energy where you want it, whether it a high energy or more somber event.

Handouts – choose a person/persons to bring flyers and hand them out during the event to passers-by to explain what the action is about.

Organizer – choose a person or more to have clipboards to gather contact information of people who attend the event. The organizer(s) can also direct people to take on roles during the event such as holding banners and signs or passing out flyers.

Signs – choose a person who is responsible for bringing the visuals.

Gear/food – choose a person to bring any necessary equipment, such as a megaphone or sound system, and food/water.

Facilitator – choose a person who knows the details of the action and can organize people to fulfill the action. The facilitator may make sure speakers are there and speak in order or make sure that the visuals are in the best location for photos and videos.

Decider – conditions often change and adjustments need to be made. Determine who will be the one(s) to decide what to do if you run into something unexpected.

Runners – decide who can go and get supplies if you need them the day of the action and run video to the editors if needed.

Legal team – have legal observers present if you are risking arrest. These are often found through your local National Lawyers Guild or law school. Have a lawyer on call in case unexpected events occur and you need to consult them about how to handle it.

Jail support – have a jail support team on hand who will track who is arrested and where they are taken. Jail support should have the jail support forms. They will communicate with designated family or friends if someone is arrested and advocate for the arrestee if they have specific needs. Jail support is also present at the jail with food and other needs such as transportation when arrestees are released.


Post Action Roles

Legal Team – the legal team continues to support arrestees through the legal process after the action.

Debrief – meet as soon after the action as possible to go over it – what worked well, what problems arose that you didn’t anticipate, how could things be improved, what potential do you see for future actions.

Party – consider taking time to celebrate your action and build community after working so hard together to pull it off.

Documentarian/media– send out a press release after the action with video and photos, follow up with the press who attended to thank them, and gather any media coverage of the event to share with participants.

Fundraisers– after the action, more people will know about you and be inspired by your action. This is a good time to send out a report on the action and ask for donations.



When you develop your messaging for your action, think about the audience you want to reach. Most of our actions are designed to either grow our capacity by reaching more people or to influence a decision-maker.

Keep your message on point – it is easy to go into the weeds on issues and bring up side issues. During your action, this is not the time for that. What do you want people to take away?

Keep your message simple – don’t use jargon that the public won’t understand. Use simple terms that convey your message and appeal to people’s values. Facts, while helpful to you to make your case, are not persuasive. Reaching people at an emotional level and in a place that they can relate to is more effective.

Make your message clear – don’t assume that the media will accurately convey the points you are making. Create your visuals so that a picture of your action will deliver your message. It could be on the clothing you wear or the signs you carry.

See the Resources section for links to basic information on National improved Medicare for All, the conservative argument for single payer health care and information about the attacks on Medicaid.

Here are some basic messages:

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put healthcare at the top of his list of shocking injustices. The healthcare statement was made in Chicago on March 25, 1966, to the second convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights. His quotation has been used as a powerful sign:

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King followed that statement with a sentence calling for civil disobedience to correct these injustices saying, “I see no alternative to direct action and creative nonviolence to raise the conscience of the nation.”

When you organize creative nonviolent protest for healthcare we suggest the following messages for your signs, tee-shirts or other methods of communication:

Healthcare is a Human Right

Everybody In, Nobody Out

Health Justice

Medicare for All

People Over Profit



Put an outreach timeline in place well before your action.

Start with free media. Perhaps your local newspaper or radio station has a community calendar. Perhaps a friendly reporter would do a story in advance of the action. Use letters to the editor to mention your action if there are relevant stories in the newspaper. Call in to local radio talk shows if they are relevant. Maybe you have a contact at a local radio station wo would create a public service announcement for you.

Advertise your action. Perhaps you can pull funds together for an ad in your local newspaper. Post flyers at friendly businesses and public places where it is allowed. Hand out flyers at places where people gather, especially community meetings, churches and local fairs, farmers markets or festivals.

Do online outreach through social media and email blasts. Encourage supportive organizations to post your event on their website and social media and to include it in their email blasts.

If you have phone numbers for people, do phone banking a week or two out from the event to encourage people to attend. Ask local organizations to do the same and to commit to bringing people.

Always remember the name of the action, where and when it will be, transportation or parking information, what people should bring, whether the action is family-friendly (we hope it is!), who is organizing the action and where people can get more information on all your outreach efforts.



Let the media know about your action well in advance so they can put it on their schedule to cover.

Send a media alert to local media several days before your action. Also, call local reporters ahead of the action to urge them to cover it. Let them know that this is part of national actions for the Poor Peoples Campaign and give them a sense of who will be participating and if there will be interesting visuals. Ideally you will have people who are impacted by the current health system from patients to their family-members to health professionals and they will have stories to tell that highlight the failures of the current healthcare system and why we need to protect our public insurances, Medicaid and Medicare, while we fight to win National Improved Medicare for All.

Send a press release out the day before the action that has more information about the action and quotes from people who will speak or participate in the action.

On the day of the action, after it is complete, send out the press release again with any updates about what happened, such as if there were arrests and who was arrested, as well as what happened to them. Include photos and videos. Reporters will be more likely to run it if it is structured like an article that they can copy and paste.


Here are samples for you:

Media alert: This should be brief. Limit the who, what and why to one paragraph each.

****Media Alert*****

Contact person(s): Name  Email  Phone number

Title of Action – example “Poor People’s Campaign Rally for Our Health”



Who is involved

What they are doing

Why they are doing it

Let them know if there will be interesting visuals


Press release:

****For immediate release****

Contact person(s): Name  Email  Phone number

Title/subtitle – make it active and interesting. For example

Patients, Nurses and Doctors Protest Against Health Injustice for Poor People’s Campaign Nationwide Day of Action

Call Preventable Suffering and Deaths “Shocking and Inhuman”


One page about the action that describe the who, what and why. Work quotes by participants into the description. For example

Raleigh, North Carolina – Patients and health professionals are protesting the failing healthcare system in the United States as part of a nationwide day of action organized by the Poor People’s Campaign. This is the fourth of six weeks of actions highlighting the lack of progress on addressing the needs of poor people since the first Poor People’s Campaign fifty years ago.

The protest will be held in front of Governor Roy Cooper’s mansion because he rejected the Medicaid expansion allowed under the Affordable Care Act. Participants will hold tombstones marking the 500 preventable deaths that occur in North Carolina each year simply because patients lack access to health care. Nationally, there are 32 million people without health insurance and at least 30,000 preventable deaths a year. This constitutes a public health emergency.

“My father had chest pain for several months before he suffered a serious heart attack last year,” said Joan Brown. “Even though he worked full time, he could not afford health insurance and he did not qualify for Medicaid. He was afraid to seek help for the pain because he didn’t want to put our family at risk for high healthcare bills. Now he is unable to work, and my siblings and I are pitching in to care for him and my mother. This wouldn’t have happened if we had a universal healthcare system, National Improved Medicare for All.”

“I am here today risking arrest because I can no longer remain silent about the cruelty of our healthcare system,” said Mark Miller, a nurse at West End Hospital. “The severity of health conditions that I see every day shouldn’t be happening in one of the richest countries in the world. And I worry about the patients that we send home because they may not be able to afford the medications or follow-up treatment that they need. It’s time to join the rest of the civilized world and have a national universal healthcare system.”

Dr. Patel added, “The tombstones that we are carrying memorialize the high number of preventable deaths that occur in the United States, more than any other industrialized nation. Life expectancy in the U.S. is declining for the first time since the 1960s when the first Poor People’s Campaign set up Resurrection City in Washington, DC. As a pediatrician, I am particularly distressed by the high number of infants who die and mothers who die in childbirth. What does this say about us as a nation? We need to get the profits out of our healthcare system and the focus on health back in.”


Images and Banner/Sign-making

Images are one of the most critical elements of your action. They let the passer-by know what you are doing and convey your message in the media. Your images can range from very simple to more elaborate depending on your resources. They should reflect the tone of your action.

Some people will create props to support their action. Simple ones are tombstones made out of boxes. Crosses or wreaths can be used to represent the number of people who die from preventable causes. We recently used a 12-foot tall inflatable ball and chain to represent the burden of the healthcare system. We also used large “Health Security Cards” to represent what we want to see – that every person in the United States has healthcare card from birth to death that gives them access to all necessary care without financial barriers.

Here are the images that we used:

We printed these images using a large-format printer and adhering them to coroplast using spay adhesive. You could also attach them to cardboard or foamboard. We printed smaller versions, 2 inches by 4 inches, to pass out to people.

Another image is a large death certificate. You can add in the data for your state. Here is the basic image:

Types of banners and signs

There are a variety of eye-catching banners and signs that you can make. Here are a few ideas.

Deer Net Banners

These are large and can be held high during a march or used as a backdrop during a rally. They are also useful for highway overpass visibility actions and as blockades.

Banner toolkits with pre-painted Typar for letters, letter templates and netting all are available from the Backbone Campaign for a modest donation to cover the material costs. Contact Bill@backbonecampaign.org.


Tools​ ​/​ ​Materials

Scissors—heavy duty


Small wire cutters or utility knives for snipping zip ties off of the poles

Drill for making holes in PVC pipe

About​ ​30​ ​black​ ​zip​ ​ties​ (sometimes called tie wraps or cable ties) (at least 7” long) or equivalent number of sections of repurposed used bicycle tire tubes.

Duct Tape

Fine Sharpie for tracing letter templates onto Typar

Poles – use bamboo or pvc pipes at least 2 inches in diameter


Typar House Wrap for the letters, but at local hardware store, 4.5 feet wide

Orange paint (use a bright orange in exterior latex acrylic flat) and paint roller

Twist ties or green wire

Deer fencing – you can get it from Deerbusters. Get the heavy duty flex C fencing, 7.5 feet high.


Constructing ​the ​Banner – You will need an area that is at least the length of the banner.

1​ ​–​ ​Make the letters:​ ​First you need to paint the Typar. It is easiest if you lay the Typar out on the ground and use a roller to paint it. Prime it first and then use the orange. Allow the paint to dry between each coat and before before using it. This may take a few days.  To make the letters, you will find stencils here: http://www.backbonecampaign.org/banners. Project the letters onto a wall. Make sure they are the size you want (at least eight inches, but ideally 16 to 17 inches) . Tape your letter material onto the wall so the letters are projected onto it. Trace the letters onto the material and then cut them out. Keep track of how many letters you need and make sure they are all facing in a consistent direction. After you cut them out, use the hole punch to make holes on the edges of the letters to attach them with twist ties to the deer fencing.

2 – Make your twist ties (if you don’t have them). Cut 6 inch lengths of wire. Loop one through each hole on the letters and fold them in half. Now you are ready to attach the to the deer netting.

3 – Put the letters onto the deer netting. Lay the deer netting on the ground. Cut the desired length, leaving some on each side for the poles. Lay out the letters in it with the spacing that you want. Then, use the twist ties to attach the letters. Remember that it may be windy, so attach them in a way that they are unlikely to move (use the corners of squares). Make them secure but don’t overdo it. You may want to remove them later to create a different message.

4 – Now you are ready to put the deer fencing on the poles. You may need two, three or more poles depending on how wide your banner is. Attach the poles using the zip ties and put them through the holes in the pvc to secure them. It helps to roll the deer netting around the banner at least once before attaching it.


Canvas banners

A simple inexpensive banner to make is a canvas banner. We purchase canvas drop cloths from the local paint store. They often also have paint that was returned that they sell at a discount.

The first step is to prime the canvas with a coat of paint and allow that to dry. The canvas will really soak up that first coat.

Create your message on the computer on a word document. You will probably need to do it on the landscape view.

Attach your banner to a wall and project your message on it. Then trace the message using a fine sharpie pen. Take your banner down and fill in the letters with paint. We prefer to use small foam brushes that you can find at a paint store.

Allow your banner to dry and you are ready to go. Consider using a grommet kit from the hardware store to place grommets in the top of your banner and then use zip ties to attach it to a pole. This makes it easier to carry and keeps it straight so the message is clear.


Vertical banners

These really stand out in a crowd and you can use colorful fabric for a festive feel.


Fabric that in pieces that are six feet tall and two feet wide.

PVC poles – 1.5 inches in diameter and cut into one ten foot length and one 18 inch length per banner. You will also need one elbow joint per banner.

Nylon adhesive material

Blue tape


Thin sharpie pens


Iron and a towel

Duct tape


To construct:

  1. Sew sleeves into the fabric that are 4 inches on the left vertical side and 4 inches on the top. It’s easiest to connect the poles if you create an open space in the top left corner.
  2. Attach the nylon to the wall with blue painter tape and project the letters onto it. Trace with the sharpie. Take it down and cut out the letters.
  3. Lay the letters out on the fabric. Make sure that the sleeves are on the left and the top. Then iron the letters onto the fabric. Cover the letters with a towel so that you do not iron on them directly.
  4. Assemble your banner. Put the long poll through the long sleeve on the left and the short pole through the short sleeve on the top. Attach them with the PVC elbow. Tape the elbow onto the poles with duct tape to secure it.



Handmade signs are fun to make and have a more individualized feel than printed signs. Get poster board or cardboard and markers. Here are some tips.

Sketch your message lightly in pencil before using the markers.

Print clearly.

Make your letters thick so they can be seen from a distance.

Consider making a double-sided sign by attaching two pieces of poster board with tape. This means that your message will be seen no matter which direction you are facing and makes it easier to attach a pole to your sign for holding it. We use large paint sticks for handles.


Songs and Chants


Stand by Amy Carol Webb (additional lyrics by Margaret Flowers)

I will stand with you – Will you stand with me
We will be the change that we hope to see
In the name of love – in the name of peace
Will you stand, will you stand with me

When injustice raises up its fist
And fights to stop us in our tracks
We will rise and as one resist
No fear nor sorrow can turn us back

When we are sick or have an accident

We need health care without delay.

No one should suffer or die from lack of care

Simply because they cannot pay.


For every mother, child and human being

We sing this song to ease your pain

We have a plan – improved Medicare for all –

We will not stop ‘til we prevail


In the name of love – in the name of peace
Will you stand, will you stand with me


I Went Down to the Rich Man’s House

Well I went down to the rich man’s house and I took back
what he stole from me
took it back
took back my dignity
took it back
took back my humanity
well I went down to the rich man’s house and I took back
what he stole from me
took it back
took back my dignity
took it back
took back my humanity
Now he’s under my feet, under my feet, under my feet
Ain’t no system gonna walk all over me!


Other verses:

Well I went down to the Insurance Man and I…

Well I went down to the HHS


Somebody’s Hurtin’ My Brother

Somebody’s hurtin’ my brother

And it’s gone on far too long (repeat twice)

Somebody’s hurtin’ my brother and it’s gone on far too long.

And we won’t be silent anymore


Other verses:

Somebody’s hurtin’ my sister

Somebody’s hurtin’ our people

Somebody’s denyin’ our health care



Everybody in, Nobody out

If you need healthcare, shout it out


Forward together, Not one step back


What do we want? Medicare for All

When do we want it? Now


Hey ________ you can’t hide (could be a person or a company)

We can see your corporate side


Health care is a human right

We need you in this fight


___________ get off it (could be a person or company)

Put people over profit


What do we want? Medicare for All.

When do we want it? Now.


Hey, hey, ho, ho

Healthcare greed has got to go


Health care is what we need, Medicare for you and me


The people are rising, no more compromising


We want justice, you say “how?”

Medicare for all now.



Jail support forms – you will find  pdf for printing here: http://fistsup.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/jailsupportform.pdf

HR 676 hand outhttp://healthoverprofit.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HR676-one-pager.pdf

Conservative points for single payerhttp://healthoverprofit.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Seven-conservative-values-of-sps.pdf

Information on Medicaid attacks – Find resources at the National Health Law Project here http://www.healthlaw.org/issues/medicaid/defending-medicaid

Handout on Medicare for All as “Better Medicaid”http://healthoverprofit.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Final-Medicaid-Flyer-3-27-2018-WEAP-HOPE.pdf

Find more tools, ideas and information about National Improved Medicare for All (single payer) on the Health Over Profit tools pages here: http://healthoverprofit.org/tools/

Find more ideas and instructions for actions at the Backbone Campaign here: https://www.backbonecampaign.org/diy_tactics



Sample Email blast for the White Coat Brigade

SUBJECT: Join me in the White Coat Brigade of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

I am writing to you because I think that you share my belief that health and healthcare are moral issues.

In state capitols and Washington, D.C., policies that promote systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation are threatening our democracy and decaying our national morality. As a health professional, I refuse to be silent in the face of such injustice.

I am joining one of the largest waves of nonviolent direct action in U.S. history this spring. I hope you will join me in the White Coat Brigade, composed of health professionals dressed in our professional clothing (can include scrubs, nursing uniforms, etc.) who attend and support Poor People’s Campaign rallies and actions.

I will join with Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival co-chairs, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, activists, clergy, and impacted people in over 40 states to show that I believe every human being has a right to thrive.

We will protest in state capitals and in DC every Monday from May 14-June 18, with a final mass rally in DC on June 23.  Will you join me?

Join the Poor People’s Campaign today.

Also join the White Coat Brigade to receive updates on plans for health professionals’ actions and to be connected with others in your state.  For questions contact Charles van der Horst cvdh@med.unc.edu or Perri Morgan. Perri.morgan@duke.edu

Please let me know if you have questions!

Thank you for your support,


Recent News

Single Payer Resources