By Deana Kobrynski and Salina Greene
On Friday, October 16, this D’var Torah was presented at Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston, by Deana Kobrysnki and Salina Greene. Both are members of Beth Emet and active members of JCUA. They connected last week’s parsha, Noach, to the Trauma Care Campaign and L’Chaim: JCUA’s upcoming community meeting. Join us November 1!
The story of Noah falls after the high holy days and continues the theme of renewal and return to G-D. In Noach, the Earth has become corrupt before G-D, the earth was filled with violence. Noah is chosen, the ark is built and then rain came for 40 days and nights. As water possesses the ability to purify; the earth is renewed; humanity can begin again.
So humanity begins anew, as do we after the high holy days each year. What promises have we made to ourselves and each other to begin anew? What is our flood during these times? Is it the violence that confronts us here and abroad? Thousands flee war torn areas in the middle east to safer ground. Here in the states poverty and despair drive chamas, or lawlessness. I cannot help but make parallels to the gun violence in Chicago and the lack of infrastructure to take care of our most needy communities. This is our flood, the senseless killings. So what can we do to find higher ground?
As a person who is interested in making the world a better place I have sought groups that furthered social justice. In 2011 I found a home at Beth Emet, and this year I joined Jewish Council of Urban Affairs.
Since joining our synagogue, I’ve seen how Beth Emet works to build authentic relationships with Evanston’s Black communities. I’ve also learned from JCUA’s organizing campaigns how the Jewish community can play a meaningful role in addressing structural racism. And both have demonstrated that as we build these bridges, we should actively listen to and act on what communities of color are calling for.
In 2010, 18-year old Damian Turner was shot by a stray bullet. He was an activist and a Woodlawn community youth leader, the co-founder of Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY). An ambulance took him 7 miles away to Northwestern Hospital, the closest Level-I Adult Trauma Center. He died on the way. The horrible irony is that Damian was only 3 blocks from the University of Chicago Medical Center. Victims of gun violence are much more likely to die when more than five miles from a trauma center. There are eight adult trauma centers serving Chicago, but none are on the city’s south side. People living in some of Chicago’s most gun violence-prone neighborhoods lack nearby trauma care. Large sections of the South Side comprise Chicago’s only “trauma center desert.”
JCUA is a proud member of the community-led Trauma Care Coalition. The coalition calls on University of Chicago – the South Side’s most well-resourced hospital – to play a leading role in providing trauma care to the South Side.
Recently, we had a significant victory – on Thursday, September 10, 2015, the University of Chicago and Sinai Health System announced that they are partnering to open a Level-I Adult Trauma Center at Holy Cross Hospital in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. This is a victory for the South Side, and a testament to the power of community organizing.
However, there is still work to be done. The University of Chicago is backpedaling on its previous commitment to raise the age of admittance to its pediatric trauma center to up to age 18. It has demonstrated a lack of accountability and transparency to the community in implementing the new trauma center proposal. The University of Chicago previously operated a trauma center in the 1980s, but closed it after only two years. This time around we want U of C to demonstrate a long-term commitment to sustaining the new trauma center.
The Public Meeting:
On Sunday, November 1 at 2pm, JCUA is hosting “L’Chaim!” A Community Meeting for Trauma Care, at KAM Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park, to call on the University of Chicago to uphold all of its commitments to trauma care on the South Side of Chicago.
This is an opportunity to:
► Celebrate the growing momentum of this campaign, and be a part of the next victory.
► Hear from the youth leaders that started the campaign for trauma care.
► Take action so the University of Chicago keeps all of its commitments for trauma care.
We invite you on November 1st to celebrate the coalition’s progress with us and take action to ensure the South Side will have comprehensive trauma care.
Of all our Jewish values, our obligation to preserve life supersedes nearly everything else. G-D instructions to Noah is that life is precious as human beings were made in the image of G-D.
So we hope that you join JCUA and Jewish leaders on November 1st at 2pm as our community comes together to take a stand for comprehensive trauma care. L’Chaim is an opportunity to play a unique role in one of the most important racial justice issues facing Chicago today. You can RSVP at jcua.org/lchaim. or let us know today if you will attend.
It has been said that Noah was G-D’s vehicle for his persistence in beginning again. This is your chance to be a vehicle in renewing our part of the world.