On Wednesday afternoon, on the eve of the University of Chicago’s Alumni Weekend,Â members of the Trauma Center Coalition began aÂ 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 violenceÂ on the South Side ofÂ Chicago.
Within hours of the group presenting their demands on Wednesday afternoon,Â Â the University of Chicago Police Department and Firefighters cut through drywall with axes,Â brokeÂ through the windows of the administration building, and forcibly removed and arrested the protestors.
Since the arrests,Â Allies and supporters haveÂ maintained a constant presence at the jail and have held a prayer vigil, where this petition was circulatedÂ in solidarity with the arrestees.
The Trauma Care Coalition’sÂ week of actions disrupting UChicago’s Alumni Weekend celebrations,Â launched by the sit-in on Wednesday, willÂ continue with even greater community supportÂ throughout the weekendÂ as activists demand theÂ meeting with President Robert Zimmer.
“The actions of the University on Â 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:
- UofCÂ file no charges against trauma care activists
- UofCÂ pursue no disciplinary action against arrested activists
In addition to re-stating the demands of the sit-in:
- UofCÂ open a level one adult trauma center now
- UofCÂ raise the age of the Level 1 pediatric trauma center care to 21
- UofCÂ President Zimmer set a meeting with the Trauma Care Coalition by the end of the week
- UofCÂ include community input in theÂ current trauma center feasibility study
- UofC agree to aÂ comprehensiveÂ community benefits agreement onÂ the Obama Library.
The communityâ€™s demand forÂ traumaÂ careÂ 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 South Side is currently aÂ traumaÂ 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.Â The call for traumaÂ careÂ is also supported by a new study by theÂ Illinois Department of Public Health which states that longer travel times to aÂ traumaÂ center increases the likelihood of dying, the study also states that the U of C is best positioned to expand access toÂ traumaÂ care, and that the U of C could further raise the age limit of their pediatricÂ traumaÂ center.
In the News
â€œHere’s What U of C Should Do for the Cityâ€Â Crainâ€™s Chicago Business
â€œProtestors link Obama library with #BlackLivesMatter,â€Â Bloomberg
â€œUofC Wants to Raise Age Limit at PediatricÂ TraumaÂ Center,â€Â The Chicago Sun-Times
â€œUofC Aims to Expand Treatment at Childrenâ€™sÂ TraumaÂ Center,â€Â The Chicago Tribune
â€œChicago Faith Leaders Sing, Pray For A South SideÂ TraumaÂ Center ,â€Â Progress Illinois
â€œReligious leaders march for South SideÂ traumaÂ center,” Hyde Park Herald
â€œSouth Side Hospital Patients Caught inÂ TraumaÂ Deserts,â€ (Feature Story),Â Chicago Tribune
â€œUniversity of Chicago Alumni: No Donations UntilÂ TraumaÂ Center Opened,â€Â Progress Illinois
â€œChicago needs help, not Obama Library,â€ LZ Granderson,Â CNN.com
â€œActivists protest universityâ€™s bid for Obama Library,â€Â USA Today
“U of C Barricade Torn Down, 9 Arrested at Trauma Center Protest,” DNAinfo
“Trauma Center Protesters Arrested at University of Chicago” Chicago Sun-Times
Follow @TraumaCenterNow and hashtags #TraumaCenterNow, #FreeTCC9, and #StillWaitingUChi on twitter for updates.