Through March and April, JCUA staff and members are presenting at congregations across Chicago on the Trauma Care Campaign. We are sharing the lessons we’ve learned on putting Jewish social justice values into practice through organizing the Jewish community. On Friday, March 11, JCUA Community Organizer Daniel Kaplan and Member Avra Shapiro made this presentation at KAM Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park.
Why are we talking about the trauma center campaign tonight? Since 2010, black youth in the Woodlawn community have led a campaign for the University of Chicago to remedy the decades-long absence of a trauma center on the South Side. These organizations include Fearless Leading by the Youth, Southside Together Organizing for Power, and Kenwood Oakland Community Organization. Too many people in this area have lost their lives in ambulance rides, bypassing the University of Chicago for distant trauma care. In particular, the lack of south side trauma care has impacted the security and quality of life of black south side Chicagoans.
Over the past year, the Jewish community has played a significant role in this campaign; and your congregation in particular has been instrumental in our involvement. In November 2015, more than 200 people from across Chicago came to your synagogue to attend “L’Chaim” – a Jewish community meeting in support of trauma care on the south side. Click below to see highlights from “L’Chaim”.
On this day, 15 rabbis and cantors signed a statement in favor of the University of Chicago taking a lead role in opening a south side trauma center. L’Chaim was a tremendous moment for Chicago’s Jewish community. Our public meeting for the trauma center campaign was an unprecedented show of support for a local social justice issue. A little more than a month after this event, the University of Chicago announced that they would build a trauma center on the South Side. We think it’s important to reflect on what this campaign has accomplished, what we have learned, and where we are now. Read the rest of this entry »