CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—June 5, 2015. It has now been two days since nine Trauma Center activists were brutally removed from a peaceful sit-in of the U of C administration building and placed into police custody. Trauma Care Coalition members and supporters will be gathering in solidarity to support the nine activists as they face bond court this morning at 155 W 51 St.
On Wednesday afternoon, on the eve of the University of Chicago’s Alumni Weekend, members of the Trauma Center Coalition began a peacefully sit-in in the University of Chicago Administration Building, with the goal of procuring a meeting with University President Robert Zimmer, who has refused to meet with the group for over 5 years despite repeated appeals from a variety of local groups and a deepening healthcare crisis and increasing violence on the South Side of Chicago.
Within hours of the group presenting their demands on Wednesday afternoon, the University of Chicago Police Department and Firefighters cut through drywall with axes, broke through the windows of the administration building, and forcibly removed and arrested the protestors.
Since the arrests, Allies and supporters have maintained a constant presence at the jail and have held a prayer vigil, where this petition was circulated in solidarity with the arrestees.
The Trauma Care Coalition’s week of actions disrupting U of Chicago’s Alumni Weekend celebrations, launched by the sit-in on Wednesday, will continue with even greater community support throughout the weekend as activists demand the meeting with President Robert Zimmer.
“It continues to amaze and frighten me that the U of C administration would go to such lengths to avoid meeting with Trauma Center Activists,” said Coalition member Danny Kaplan, “President Zimmer’s actions make it clearer and clearer that he doesn’t value black lives on the South Side.”
“The actions of the University were profoundly disturbing and made it clear that the ‘reasonable discourse’ that they are always promoting is a myth,” commented Fearless Leading by the Youth member Darrius Lightfoot, “The University showed itself to be a brutal and hostile institution.”
Trauma activists are demanding:
U of C file no charges against trauma care activists
U of C pursue no disciplinary action against arrested activists
In addition to re-stating the demands of the sit-in:
U of C open a level one adult trauma center now
U of C raise the ageof the Level 1 pediatric trauma center care to 21
U of C President Zimmer set a meeting with the Trauma Care Coalition by the end of the week
U of C include community input in the current trauma center feasibility study
U of C 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 U of C, 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.
Source: Trauma Center Now