Arrested Trauma Center Protesters Go to Court Today

Community leaders, and University of Chicago students and Alumni and allies will hold a Press Conference, June 18, 2015, at 555 W. Harrison at 8:30 a.m.

CHICAGO, IL – On June 18, nine community leaders, University of Chicago Students and Alumni, who were arrested at a peaceful sit-in on June 3rd, will go to court. The University is charging the protesters with trespassing, mob action and resisting arrest. The protestors were demanding a meeting a University President Zimmer to discuss the University opening a needed south side trauma center.

The sit-in, at the University Administration building, lasted two and a half hours before the University called the fire department to ax through drywall, break windows, and saw through doors in order for police to arrest the protestors.

The arrested protestors will hold a press conference before the court date to explain why they engaged in a peaceful sit in and explain the movement that has come together to push for their charges to be dropped. It is rare for a University to pursue such strong charges, particularly against its own students and Alumni. “This campaign has been going on for five years. Instead of agreeing to a meeting, University President Zimmer had us arrested and detained for 45 hours, this goes completely against the University’s so called value of free and open dialogue” said Victoria Crider, a leader of Fearless Leading by the Youth.

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, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, University Church and Kenwood Church, and many allies.

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.