Chicago –(ENEWSPF)—January 13, 2015. Members of the Trauma Care Coalition will hold a die-in and make statements at a City of Chicago hearing on whether to transfer parkland for the University of Chicago to build the Obama library. The group of Woodlawn youth activists, UofC students, clergy, nurses, doctors, and community members will lie down outside Hyde Park Academy for four minutes before the start of the hearing to symbolize the four years that South Side activists have been pressing the UofC to provide level one trauma care for adults. Activists also plan to deliver comments at the public hearing itself. The event will take place on Tuesday, January 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyde Park Academy, 6220 South Stony Island, Chicago.
The central message of Tuesday’s action will be that the City of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel should not support the UofC’s bid to host the Obama library until the elite university commits to providing trauma care for all South Siders. “We are sending the message that the UofC does not deserve the honor of the Obama library until they recognizes the value of black lives by providing trauma care on the South Side,” explained Woodlawn youth organizer Veronica Morris-Moore. “The UofC is proposing massive redevelopment of Woodlawn and Washington Park, but they are still failing to respond to basic community demands.”
This is not the first time that trauma center activists have made the link to the Obama library. Last May, they organized a town hall to for community to share their perspectives on the UofC’s library bid and in December they delivered a letter to President Obama’s house in Kenwood, asking him not to place his library at the UofC until the university opens a level one trauma center for adults. Other groups on the South Side have also voiced their support for the Trauma Care Coalitions demands. Last Sunday, students at the UofC compiled a list of flaws in the university’s library bid, highlighting the lack of commitment to provide vital services, including trauma care, to South Side residents.
“The UofC stands to gain prestige and expand their property holdings if they are selected to host the Obama Library,” explained UofC student and trauma center activist Emilio Comay del Junco. “But they haven’t shown any willingness to provide trauma care for adults, a vitally needed medical service on the South Side.” 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.
Activists are optimistic that the attention they are bringing to the lack of trauma care is bearing results. In December, the UofC agreed to raise the age of its pediatric trauma center by two years, a move organizers had long demanded as a temporary measure. That decision coincided with increased public attention in the run-up to the deadline for proposals to host the Obama Library. “We’ve learned from experience that there’s one way that the UofC responds to public pressure, and that’s by bringing their racist and exploitative practices out in the open,” explained Morris-Moore.
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 call for trauma care is also supported by new research by Dr. Marie Crandall of Northwestern Hospital on “Trauma Deserts” which shows that longer travel times to a trauma center increase the likelihood of dying. The Illinois Department of Health recently released a report that confirmed that the UCMC is the only feasible host for a Southside trauma center.
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/487505448056934/
Recent stories on the trauma center campaign:
“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
“Trauma center protesters target U. of C. capital campaign,” The Chicago Maroon
“Chicago Faith Leaders Sing, Pray For A South Side Trauma Center ,” Progress Illinois
“Religious leaders march for South Side trauma center,” Hyde Park Herald
“South Side Hospital Patients Caught in Trauma Deserts,” (Feature Story), Chicago Tribune
“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
“Why This Hospital Turned a 18-Year Old Away After He Was Shot,” The Huffington Post
Source: Trauma Care Coalition