May , 2018

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Week of Action will Demand University of Chicago Open Trauma Center

CHICAGO, IL – As the University of Chicago prepares their bid to host the Obama Presidential Library the Trauma Center Coalition will hold protest rallies every day next week to demand the University of Chicago open a trauma center. A press conference will be held May 19 at 9.a.m. at 58th St.and S. Maryland Ave. where speakers will urge the University to open a trauma center and announce protests they will hold later this week.

Speakers will include a Pastor will speak about a prayer vigil to be held on Tuesday 5/20. A representative from National Nurses United will speak on a nurses action on Wednesday 5/21, and a Doctor will speak on a doctors action to be held on Thursday 5/22. A University student, and a mother of a victim shot just blocks from the University, will speak about the community protest march to be held Friday 5/23 where she will deliver a personal letter to President Obama asking him to urge the University to open a trauma center.

Victoria Crider, a high school senior, who goes to school just seven blocks from President Obama’s house, says “we are marching this week because we want the President to know that the University of Chicago should not get the honor and prestige that comes with the Obama Library when they are neglecting the needs of black and brown communities on the South Side.”

Ms. Crider notes that “President Obama has tried to stop gun violence and create opportunities for young black men, meanwhile the University of Chicago sits in the center of a gun violence epidemic on the South Side and has shown that it does not value black life, by refusing to open a trauma center and save the lives of the young black men dying at their door.”

The week of action also comes after the University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer, the highest paid University president in the country earning $3.4M per year, last week announced that the University has launched a $4.5 billion dollar capital campaign. Despite this capital campaign and the University of Chicago Hospital’s $782 million dollar endowment, they claim they do not have the resources to open an adult trauma center. Exactly one year ago Kenneth Polonsky Dean of the University of Chicago Hospital said that the University hospital would support a regional solution to the lack of a south side trauma center, however, they have done nothing to make this happen.

“We are protesting this week because its unfair for this community not to have a trauma center, 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. The community’s demand for trauma care was sparked by Damian’s death. 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 your likelihood of dying.

The Week of Action is being organized by the Trauma Center Coalition, which includes of Fearless Leading by the Youth, Students for Health Equity and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and allies.

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