#TraumaCenterNow Activists Rally and Die-In at University of Chicago Alumni Weekend to Conclude Week of Action
Press release via Trauma Care Coalition | @TraumaCenterNow
Where: President Zimmer’s House, 59th and University, Chicago, IL When: 11:30 AM, Saturday, June 6th
CHICAGO 6/6 — After a week of action that started with 9 peaceful protesters being forcefully arrested at a sit-in of the UofC administration building, Trauma Care activists continue to protest that community members are being denied medical care that could save their lives while the administration raises millions of dollars through alumni donations.
Following a huge show of support from Trauma Care activists and community members, the arrested protesters appeared in court and were released yesterday.
However, this is far from the end of the fight for the Trauma Center Coalition. “Seeing the community response to our arrests made me realize how powerful we are as a Coalition” said Victoria Crider, an activist with Fearless Leading by the Youth who was arrested on Wednesday, “We have been able to successfully organize the community around an issue that affects them, and that’s a threat to an administration that has consistently, systematically devalued black lives.”
At 11:30 AM on Saturday June 6th, around 100 supporters will gather at President Zimmer’s house on 59th and University and have a die-in to materially demonstrate the urgency for a Trauma Center on the South Side. Follow twitter hashtags #TraumaCenterNow, #NoMoreBusinessAsUsual and #StillWaitingUChi for updates.
On Friday June 5th, Trauma Care Coalition activists re-branded the University Of Chicago’s bookstore, putting t-shirts the group made onto manikins in the store’s windows.
Alumni Weekend marks a high-point for UofC fundraising for their $4.5 billion capital campaign. Trauma Center activists have been quick to point out that the University could use less than 1% of that money to build an adult level 1 trauma center on the South Side.
“The indifference with which President Zimmer and the rest of the administration treat black life and the South Side, even as they raise billions of dollars, continues to shock me” said Students for Health Equity member Sydelle Keisler, “In order to ever feel proud of the institution we are part of, we need to continue to demand that the UofC start putting people over profit.”
Trauma Care activists continue to demand that:
- UofC open a level one adult trauma center now
- UofC raise the age of the Level 1 pediatric trauma center care to 21
- UofC President Zimmer set a meeting with the Trauma Care Coalition by the end of the week
- UofC include community input in the current trauma center feasibility study
- UofC agree to a comprehensive community benefits agreement on the Obama Library.
The community’s demand for trauma care was sparked by the death of Woodlawn youth leader Damian Turner, and is led by the Woodlawn-based Fearless Leading by the Youth, along with the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, Students for Health Equity at the UofC, National Nurses United and many faith groups including the United Church of Christ.
The South Side is currently a trauma desert for adults, meaning that victims of shootings and other serious injuries must be taken over ten miles away, to the Near North Side or south west suburbs. The call for trauma care is also supported by a new study by the Illinois Department of Public Health which states that longer travel times to a trauma center increases the likelihood of dying, the study also states that the U of C is best positioned to expand access to trauma care, and that the U of C could further raise the age limit of their pediatric trauma center.
In the News:
“Here’s What U of C Should Do for the City” Crain’s Chicago Business
“Protestors link Obama library with #BlackLivesMatter,” Bloomberg
“UofC Wants to Raise Age Limit at Pediatric Trauma Center,” The Chicago Sun-Times
“UofC Aims to Expand Treatment at Children’s Trauma Center,” The Chicago Tribune
“Chicago Faith Leaders Sing, Pray For A South Side Trauma Center ,” Progress Illinois
“Religious leaders march for South Side trauma center,” Hyde Park Herald
“University of Chicago Alumni: No Donations Until Trauma Center Opened,” Progress Illinois
“Chicago needs help, not Obama Library,” LZ Granderson, CNN.com
“Activists protest university’s bid for Obama Library,” USA Today
“Trauma Center Protesters Arrested at University of Chicago” Chicago Sun-Times