On Tuesday, when President Barack Obama signed the historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he was surrounded by Democratic leaders who helped him pass it and health care advocates and activists. Among them was Marcelas Owens, 11, of Seattle, Wash., who is prominent in photos with Obama. New America Media interviewed the young activist at an event organized by the Marguerite Casey Foundation's Equal Voice campaign. In the video above, Marcelas, who participated with the Washington Community Action Network, talks about his mother's illness and death and how her lack of health insurance created hardship.
Being in the spotlight, Marcelas has drawn fire from conservative news commentators Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin and right-wing activists who say he is being manipulated. But NAM staffers say Marcelas is just what he appears to be: a thoughtful, poised and smart youngster who believes strongly in the fairness of health care for people like his mother.