CONTACT: Shiro Wachira, 773.656.9466, shiro.wachira@gmail.com
CONTACT: Helena Bassett, 575.779.9253, helena.r.bassett@gmail.com

Where: 6054 S. Drexel Ave, UCPD Headquarters
When: 8AM, Thursday 4th June

#TraumaCenterNow Activists Demand No Charges Against Protestors Still in Police Custody

CHICAGO 6/2 — A group of South Side activists, joined by UofC alumni and current students occupied the University’s administration building yesterday evening. After being forcibly removed by the University police and the Chicago Fire Department, the activists were taken into custody, and now, nearly 12 hours later, are still being held by the police and have not been official charged.

Trauma Care Coalition activists and supporters will be coming together outside the UCPD’s headquarters to demand that no charges be held against the protestors. “The activists should not be punished for affirming the value of black lives,” said Students for Health Equity member Natalie Naculich, “The University has a long history of being a bad neighbor and now they are being held accountable for that.”

Last night, members and supporters of the coalition maintained vigil over the UCPD with the hope of accelerating the processing of the arrested activists. They will continue this vigilance with this morning’s actions by demanding that no charges are filed.

The sit-in launched a week of actions coinciding with the UofC’s Alumni Weekend celebrations, which marks a high point of fundraising. The activists were demanding a meeting with President Robert Zimmer this weekend but the University felt it more fitting to destroy their own property and risk the safety of protestors, than agree to a half-hour meeting with the activists. This year’s alumni weekend also coincides with the UofC’s $4.5-billion capital campaign.

“We want to make sure alumni know where their donation dollars are going,” expressed arrested activist Veronica Morris-Moore before the action, “We are going to make it clear that they should be ashamed of being associated with a racist institution that continually blocks out community voices.” Morris-Moore has been arrested for civil disobedience at past trauma center protests.

This morning, trauma activists are demanding:
• UofC file no charges against trauma care activists
• UofC pursue no disciplinary action against arrested activists
In addition to re-stating the demands of the sit-in:
• UofC open a level one adult trauma center now
• UofC raise the age of the Level 1 pediatric trauma center care to 21
• UofC President Zimmer set a meeting with the Trauma Care Coalition by the end of the week
• UofC include community input in the current trauma center feasibility study
• UofC agree to a comprehensive community benefits agreement on the Obama Library
“The actions of the University yesterday 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 Lighfoot, “The University showed itself to be a brutal and hostile institution.”

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 and many faith groups including the United Church of Christ.

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.

In the News
“Here’s What U of C Should Do for the City” Crain’s Chicago Business
“Protestors link Obama library with #BlackLivesMatter,” Bloomberg
“UofC Wants to Raise Age Limit at Pediatric Trauma Center,” The Chicago Sun-Times
“UofC Aims to Expand Treatment at Children’s Trauma Center,” The Chicago Tribune
“Trauma center protesters target U. of C. capital campaign,” The Chicago Maroon
“Chicago Faith Leaders Sing, Pray For A South Side Trauma Center ,” Progress Illinois
“Religious leaders march for South Side trauma center,” Hyde Park Herald
“South Side Hospital Patients Caught in Trauma Deserts,” (Feature Story), Chicago Tribune
“University of Chicago Alumni: No Donations Until Trauma Center Opened,” Progress Illinois
“Chicago needs help, not Obama Library,” LZ Granderson, CNN.com
“Activists protest university’s bid for Obama Library,” USA Today

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