welcome to this collection of my and others' ideas to improve the world.
explore my brain:
occupy everywhere but find me in Chicago
Occupy Chicago needs housing for NATO protestors!
Those requesting housing are quickly out-numbering our volunteered host spaces. Smaller spaces and larger ones are both great. Help us host those who travel to stand in solidarity from all over the world!
If you can host or need housing email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773-536-9634. Please include dates, number you can host/need housing,
phone, email, and name.
Watch it unfold on Livestream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/markidemery
Follow @Plussone on Twitter for livetweets. Follow @STOPChicago @occupychicago for updates and search #SaveOurClinics #WoodlawnClinic #MentalHealthMovement
Call Mayor 1% Rahm Emanuel 312 744 3300 and tell him to Save Our Clinics
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Mental Health Movement Occupies Mayor’s Office
** BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Patients, healthcare providers, and advocates from the Mental Health Movement have occupied the lobby outside of the Mayor’s Office. One demonstrator has been arrested so far. They say they are prepared to stay for days to draw attention to the crisis clinic closings have precipitated, and to demand a stay of execution for the clinics from Mayor Emanuel, Governor Quinn, and President Obama. **
Mon 4/30: Mental Health Movement Demonstrate at Obama Campaign HQ, State of IL Building, and Mayor’s Office to Demand All Chicago Mental Health Clinics Remain Open Speakers at 5:15pm Mayor’s Office press conference to include Dr. Quentin Young National Director of Physicians for a National Health Program former doctor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and therapists from all City mental health clinics
10:15am-Busses depart from Woodlawn Clinic 6337 S. Woodlawn or from 2339 N. Milwaukee
11am- Rally at Obama Campaign HQ 130 E. Randolph
12pm- Rally outside State of IL Building (Randolph between Clark and LaSalle)
5:15pm- Press conference on 5th floor of City Hall 121 N. LaSalle
CHICAGO 4/30 — On Monday April 30th, at 11am, the Mental Health Movement will visit Obama Campaign Headquarters to deliver what is now a global call to President Obama demanding a stay of execution for Chicago’s mental health clinics. Six of Chicago’s 12 public mental health clinics are currently being dismantled and are scheduled to be closed this month.
At 12pm the same day, the group will rally at the State of Illinois building to ask Governor Quinn to pardon the City Clinics and stop Medicaid cuts, and at 5:15pm dozens of City therapists will be joined by notable doctors including Dr. Quentin Young at a press conference at City Hall outside the Office of the Mayor to denounce the disastrous repercussions of clinic closings and health care cuts. Patients and advocates will join them to share their stories, bringing the life-and-death struggle to save Chicago’s clinics to the Mayor’s doorstep, and demanding he serve the people of Chicago by providing vital public health services to his neediest constituents.
The Mental Health Movement’s demands are to keep all 12 Chicago public mental health clinics open, fully funded, and fully staffed, and to keep Chicago’s seven primary care neighborhood clinics open and public. Patients, healthcare workers and advocates say cuts planned by Mayor Rahm Emanuel are undermining President Obama’s goals of expanding access to healthcare.
“There will be no African-American males left to provide care and therapy to that particular population after the layoffs and clinic closures. That will leave the African-American male population disconnected. It’s a difficult time already coming to therapy because of the stigma. We welcome them in, make them feel comfortable, that they did the right thing, talk about their problems and provide medication if they need it. There are a lot of uninsured people who come to the clinic and this is their last resort, but there will be nobody there to connect with them that knows their cultural background. I know the people I see, I know what they’re going through, I know this transition is already a disaster and that people need the safety net that is the City of Chicago public mental health centers,” says Steven Dyson, LCPC, a speaker at today’s press conference and a therapist at the Woodlawn Clinic who has spent 26 years with City of Chicago Mental Health Clinics.
On April 12th, 23 people - mostly patients of Chicago’s mental health clinics - were arrested barricading themselves into one of six mental health clinics that Mayor Emanuel aims to close by April 30th, 2012. Protesters have gathered 24-hours-a-day since then to call attention to the tragic consequences of closing mental health clinics. To date, 35 demonstrators have been arrested in the fight to save Chicago’s mental health clinics.
To donate to the Mental Health Movement, visit: www.tinyurl.com/mhmdonate
Dena Killacky, her husband Patrick and their four children (ages 9-to-18) will be evicted from the home that Dena’s father built in 1978. They are vowing to resist eviction by the Will County Sheriff. Their home is located at 13929 S. Kickapoo Tr. Homer Glen, IL 60491 between 131st & 143rd Street (north-to south), South Bell Road & Parker Road (east-to-west).
Call DG Enterprises and tell them they are complicit in the bank’s deceit and that they should renew their original offer to rent the home to the family until they can arrange a way to buy it back.
Tell them you support the demand for a moratorium on foreclosures & evictions nationwide.
Show support to the family by being present at the house when the sheriff comes.
I crawl out of my tent to an overcast sky and wet, trampled earth. The air is brisk but the wind has fallen quiet. A Teflon pot of hot water is already on the propane stove, billowing steam toward the sky. Young people in thick winter coats gather around, dancing to stay warm, as they wait to prepare some donated instant oatmeal. My neighbors greet me with smiles and waves which I return.
Instinctively, I feel the need to beautify our new campgrounds. I bend and pick up any trash I find on the empty lot; candy wrappers, broken glass, cigarette butts. As I carry items back and forth to the trash can, I gaze up the yellow brick wall of the adjacent building. Pastor Brooks’ green tent can still be seen on the rooftop above us, resolute and serene. I wonder if he is awake yet.
Corey Brooks has been on the rooftop for over a week and intends to stay up there yet till the New Year. He is the Pastor of New Beginnings Church in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, an area fraught with gang violence. Pastor Brooks had to perform 10 funerals at his church this past summer, all people under the age of 25. The youngest was a sixteen year old boy. At the boy’s service, Pastor Brooks swore to the family that he would make sure to protect his community from further tragedy. Shortly after, people were seen shooting guns from the motel rooftop across the street from New Beginnings. Pastor Brooks knew he had to do something. He arranged a contract to buy the motel across the street. The motel had been shut down a while back to rid it of the gang members and drug dealers it harbored that contributed to neighborhood violence. However, the issue clearly was not resolved. Since the shooting incident, Pastor Brooks decided he wanted to acquire it and develop it into a community center that could provide jobs and resources for community improvement. The building cost about $450,000. Seeking a way to raise awareness and encourage people to donate to the cause, Pastor Brooks vowed that he would camp on the roof of the motel until enough money was raised for its purchase.
I visited Pastor Brooks yesterday evening at his rooftop encampment. His tent was large and cozy, with two efficient space heaters running, a couple lamps providing light, a desk with a computer for blogging, and several fold-up chairs for visitors. He said he spends his days reading and writing and asked us Occupiers about our own stories. He was a patient listener and a kind soul; I could tell he was genuinely interested in getting to know us. He told us he had been fasting and drinking lots of green tea. I was taken aback by his courage and came down from the roof inspired by his humility. I spent the rest of the night under an Occupy Chicago tent roasting s’mores and singing along with acoustic guitar songs. Everyone was filled with laughter and joy, not just at the fact that we finally were able to hold a camp, but that a local community was taking a powerful stance against many of the issues we speak out against and that we were kindly invited to join.
I had a fairly privileged childhood and even now, after living in Chicago for nearly nine years, I feel rather naïve to the realities of violence. I asked a couple of the New Beginnings Church members how their experience was, living in Woodlawn for decades despite the frequent shootings. They said they just learned to cope with it and go about their day.
Occupy Chicago, and every Occupy chapter, has been standing up for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and has been seeking solutions and alternatives to political and economic power structures that capitalize on diminishing the quality of life of the majority. The lack of opportunity in our nation, for education, for empowerment, and for mere survival, has pooled into a vast array of issues. Some of those issues, such as the daily possibility of having bullets fired at one on the way to their peaceful place of community, are more immediate than others. While we, not just the Occupy movement but us as responsible citizens, must keep discussing and acting in long-term ways that address the roots of violence in our country, it is also imperative that we prevent it in the interim. The present consequences of violence, such as those forced on the residents of Woodlawn as well as neighborhoods across the nation, are too grave.
Pastor Brooks’ movement to free our neighborhoods from violence will take more than just one community center. It will take the willingness of every individual in the community to open their hearts, lend a hand, and commit to a just future. However, this symbolic first step of transforming a space of depravity into a stronghold of peace is sure to inspire struggling communities everywhere to take that step with Woodlawn.