By Daniel Kaplan
JCUA Community Organizer
On August 18th, 2010, community youth leader Damian Turner was shot less than four blocks from one of the best hospitals in the world, the University of Chicago Medical Center. Damian died en route to the nearest trauma center, more than 9 miles away at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Damian’s death highlighted the south side’s vulnerability to gun violence because of a lack of emergency medical care. South Side organizations began a campaign for a Level I trauma center at the University of Chicago.
For five years, the University of Chicago’s neighbors have called on the University to open a trauma center for the south side. Five years later, the south side is still waiting for the University to give serious consideration to the needs of the community. The community members can’t wait any longer. That is why JCUA is joining the trauma center coalition for a week of action on the University campus.
Jewish teachings forbid us from standing over the blood of our neighbors, and command us to do everything necessary to save a life. As temperatures rise for the summer, so will gun violence fatalities. Now is the time to take action. We must prioritize saving lives and ending the trauma center desert on the south side.
Why should the University of Chicago host a Level I trauma center? The university is currently raising $4.5 billion for its capital campaign. It would take less than half of one percent of this to open a Level I trauma center. And, in a recent study, The Illinois Department of Public health identified the University of Chicago as the best candidate for hosting a Level I trauma center on the South Side.
Having recently received the nomination to host the Barack Obama Presidential Library, the University of Chicago has an even greater responsibility to also host a trauma center. This weekend, Father Michael Pfleger wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “Wouldn’t it be both hypocritical and shameful to bring the library of President Barack Obama, who championed and fought for national health care (a part of his presidential legacy), to a university that fails to provide emergency care to those most in need on the South Side of Chicago?”
We are not waiting one minute longer. Join us in action.
Thursday, June 4th at 6:30 pm: Interfaith Vigil for a Trauma Center at 58th and Maryland
Saturday, June 6th at 10:15 am: Action near the University campus quad
Saturday, June 6th at 11:30 am: March and die in on 59th and University
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