An exclusive video shows protesters gathered outside hospital being handled roughly by police using batons. The protesters were there to say that a massive investment in new a hospital building, amid a critical lack of trauma care, shows a lack of concern for the lives of youth of color
BREAKING NEWS:“I just wanted to be apart of a peaceful demonstration with some other youth and I was treated like a thug!” said one protester as police assaulted the peaceful protesters, arresting several organizers in a clear strategy to discourage other protesters. A sit-in by young people and the mother of a young person shot blocks from U of C, but treated 10 miles away, was held today at the University of Chicago’s new hospital at 57th st and Maryland Ave to demand the hospital do its part to save the lives of youth on the south side. Police were called as security threatened the protesters with arrest. More protesters gathered outside in support those inside. Protesters refused to leave until the University commits to extend the age limit on its children’s trauma center from 16 to 21 as an initial step towards providing trauma care on the south side. Currently there is no trauma care whatsoever for anyone over the age of 16 anywhere on the south side of Chicago.
After several years of trying to get the University of Chicago – the richest and most subsidized single hospital in Chicago – to re-open its level 1 trauma center to help save lives of trauma victims in the violence-plagued neighborhoods that surround it, members of Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) and their allies reached a breaking point today and decided to occupy the U of C’s new $700 million building. They say the new $700M research building ignores the immediate needs of the low income communities of color which surround it.
Community, students and alumni joined a sit-in demanding the University invest in trauma care. The first simple step the University could take to address this need is to raise the age of their children’s trauma center from 15 to 21.
“Its unfair for this community not to have a trauma center, for all the incidents going on… Its heartless,” says Sheila Rush, whose son Damian Turner was caught by a stray bullet in 2009 four blocks from the U of C but was taken 10 miles away to Northwestern where he died.
Protesters claim the University has a responsibility to its surrounding community which it is ignoring. There is a gun violence epidemic in communities of color which is making national headlines and the University to ignore the immediate needs of the largely low income communities of color surrounding them, say protesters. They point to white privilege and greed as the causes for the U of C to ignore communities of color in crisis around it and say that posture of elitism and racial privilege should be unacceptable for an institution of higher learning.
“There needs to be attention brought to this, a $700M research building versus however many millions it would take to care for the children who are dying,” explains Fearless Leading by the Youth member Veronica Morris-Moore, one of the sit-in participants.
The University of Chicago Hospital opened The Children’s Comer Hospital in 2006 which has a children’s trauma center but only take children up to age 15. Even though they sit in the middle of a gun violence epidemic claiming the lives of dozens of children every year.
In 2011 on the South East Side there were around 120 children aged 17 – 18 in need of trauma care due to gunshot wounds. 30 of these children died. Aged 17 – 21 there were over 200 children in need of trauma care due to gunshot wounds and 72 of these children died. These are lives the U of C Hospital could have saved, say protesters.
Those who are sitting in include:
Sheila Rush, mother of Damian Turner who was shot four blocks from the U of C hospital but died 10 miles away at Northwestern
Victoria Crider a south side high school student and member of Fearless Leading by the Youth
Alex Goldenberg, a University of Chicago Alumni
Veronica Morris-Moore a youth organizer with Fearless Leading by the Youth
Nastasia Tangherlini a University of Chicago student.
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