ANNOUNCING: our brand-new trainings page

Do you find yourself wishing that you knew how to support yourself and your friends in difficult situations? How about responding to life-threatening emergencies? Or maybe you want to learn what to do about that pesky pepperspray.

Chicago Action Medical is excited to announce a new page on our website where you can find out about these trainings and more!

If you, your friends, or your community organization is interested in hosting a training, take a look at our trainings page to see what we offer and then get in touch with us.

See you in a training,

Chicago Action Medical

Cold Weather Advisory

This post is a reprint of a Cold Weather Advisory sent out by Chicago 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti.

As temperatures around Chicago continue to drop, we want to remind everyone to use precautions to stay safe this winter. According to the National Weather Service in Chicago, temperatures will be in the single digits and below over the next few days, creating dangerous wind chills.

When you go outside, dress accordingly, make sure you have a hat and gloves and that exposed skin is covered. Limit the time you and your pet spends outside and try to avoid overexerting yourself. Make sure pipes in your home are properly insulated and not exposed to freezing air to limit the chance of the pipe freezing. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with cables and extra blankets and make sure you have adequate gas when on the road. Always check the forecast when going out to make sure you are properly prepared. 

Currently, the Warming Center at 10 S. Kedzie Avenue is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Due to the extreme cold, all six DFSS Community Service Centers will serve as Warming Centers with extended times from Sunday, January 5th to Tuesday, January 7th from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.       

 DFSS COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTER LOCATIONS

Englewood Center, 1140 W. 79th Street

Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Avenue

King Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove

North Area, 845 W. Wilson Avenue

South Chicago, 8650 S. Commercial Avenue, 

Trina Davila, 4357 W. Armitage Avenue

 

Additional community facilities that serve as Warming Centers are libraries, Park District buildings and senior centers. Transportation is provided for the elderly and the disabled who cannot get to a Warming Center on their own. Call 311 for current information on Warming Center locations and hours. 
 
In the event of more snow, we remind you to please clear the walkway in front of your residence or home. Without a wide, clear path through snow and ice, it is especially difficult for people with disabilities, seniors and children to walk safely. According to the Municipal Code of Chicago (4-4-310 & 10-8-180), property owners and occupants are responsible for keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice. 
 
Additionally, if you know of any friends or neighbors who may need some extra assistance during the colder weather, please check-in on them. As always, you can also call my City Service office at (312) 263-9273 for assistance during regular business hours. Please call 911 if there is an emergency.

Reportback: Wicker Park Noise Demo

On Friday 20 September there was a noise demonstration in Wicker Park.

Two medics ran. The protest started with around 30 mostly young participants. There were no people with evident mobility issues. We observed no injuries but did dispense two band aids to people who came up to us with cuts on their fingers and gave out two throat lozenges. There were no arrests.

The overall vibe of the action was festive and chill.

About 8 police including a couple white shirts and one tactical officer were on Damen next to the park waiting for the demonstration to start while people gathered at the fountain. We left the park a little after 9:00 and went directly into the street on Damen and kept the street for the duration of the march. Medics stayed toward the back to be able to see everything. The police followed at a distance of two or three car lengths effectively running interference for us by preventing other vehicles from zooming up on us from behind. During the action when a police car on a call or ambulances approached, protesters called out to each other and cleared the street until they passed.

We went north to the six corner intersection of Damen, North, and Milwaukee where demonstrators lingered in the intersection briefly before heading east on North Ave.
After a few blocks we turned south and followed that street to where it connected with Milwaukee then headed back north to Milwaukee/Damen/North Ave again. This time the protesters went into the middle of the intersection where they danced, chanted, and banged pots and pans for a couple minutes then looped around counterclockwise while cars were also moving through the intersection. Medics had moved to the sidewalk for safety and a wider view of the scene. Three or four police cars moved in and blocked the west side of the intersection. This is when several cops got out of their cars and approached the protestors who then moved out of the intersection quickly. Police on foot shadowed the rest of the action.

We headed south on Milwaukee with around six police on foot including a sargent and the tac officer. At two or three places along Milwaukee it felt like a snatch and grab might be brewing when police on foot moved closer, watching protesters more intently and even moved into fringes of the group. Medics got on the sidewalk at these points to avoid potential arrest. Fortunately, the tension eased each time.

At Milwaukee and Division protesters took eastbound Division the short distance to Ashland and then scattered into stopped westbound traffic and ran back west, crossing Milwaukee and continuing west on division. Numbers by now had thinned to around 20 Around this point one demonstrator who had been displaying a penchant for moving into the opposite lane of traffic whenever it was stopped and walking in front of, around and between cars while taking a video, amped it up a couple notches. We kept a closer eye on them for the rest of the action.

Protesters held the intersection of Divison and Damen for several minutes. Some danced and chanted while others crouched behind a large sign in the center of the intersection. Some of the cars who had the light were not slowing down very much and protesters who were dancing or weaving around taking pictures seemed not very cognizant of moving cars. It was some anxious observing for medics standing on the sidewalk.

We continued west a couple blocks, doubled back and turned north up Damen. We noticed we no longer had police cars following and only two patrol officers on foot remained who had fallen back a half a block or more behind the action.

We continued on Damen back to Damen/Milwaukee/North Ave to occupy the intersection once more with around 15 protesters remaining. There were no police cars and only two cops foot who hadn’t caught up with the action yet. This time protesters were being much more bold, standing in front of cars trying to pass through the intersection, surrounding some, circling around a limo while knocking on the windows and sitting on the fender as it pulled away. Others crouched to bang their pots on the pavement out of the view of close by cars. Everybody in the intersection ranged form vulnerable to really really vulnerable.The cops on foot caught up, and a couple more materialized. They began to manage traffic and order protesters out of the intersection who headed back south on Damen to the park where the action came to a close at around 11:00 or 11:30.

Like Us on Facebook!

Check out our brand new Facebook page for Chicago Action Medical. Invite your friends to “like” us!

And while you’re at it, follow us on Twitter @ChiStreetMedics !

New handout: What Do Medics Do?

What do street medics do? A lot of things. We made a handout to clarify a few points and let you know just what you can expect when you ask us to be at a protest.

You can view and print the PDF for this handout here; it is also available on our handout page. Distribution is encouraged.

We have also updated our resources page! Check it out.

What do street medics do?

  • Emphasize the importance of consent for any care provided
  • Work in teams of at least two medics to offer do-no-harm first aid and natural remedies
  • Help people access a higher level of care in the event that it is needed
  • Provide referrals for follow-up or ongoing health care
  • Conduct workshops on protest health and safety
  • Educate protesters about individual health issues
  • Participate in action planning meetings to advocate that protests be planned in a healthy way
  • Provide public health interventions such as handwashing stations to prevent illness
  • Spread calm
  • Work at all kinds of protests, regardless of the likelihood of civil disobedience or injuries, to ensure a caring atmosphere and increase accessibility
  • Participate with other protesters in jail support teams, in order to offer care for any injuries arrestees may have

What DON’T on-duty street medics do?

  • Dispense over-the-counter medication
  • Supply water or food (we DO encourage organizers to do this in order to promote protester well-being… hint hint!)
  • Participate in protest tactics like chanting, holding banners, or handing out leaflets
  • Force care on anyone
  • Act outside of our training
  • Work alone
  • Charge money
  • Cooperate or share information with police, ICE or other authorities
  • Organize jail support, or act as the only participants
  • Participate in illegal actions

Ways to help street medics so we can help you:

  • Spread calm, not rumors
  • Use our batsignal: Call out “Medic!” when you or your friends need urgent help
  • Form a privacy circle or make space for medics to provide care
  • Photograph police, not patients

Reportback: Whittier Elementary School

This is a reportback on Chicago Action Medical’s coverage of actions surrounding the demolition of La Casita, the Whittier Elementary School fieldhouse, in Pilsen (23rd and Damen), the weekend of 16-18 August 2013.

LA CASITA DEMOLITION

On the evening of Friday 16 August, the instructor of an Aztec dance class arrived to teach at La Casita and was surprised to find a construction fence set up, the door had been kicked in, cops and contractors were removing the books in boxes under the cover of night, and a demolition crew was there. An emergency call went out and parents, teachers, students, and community came out to sleep there and prevent the demolition. Two medics from CAM stayed late into the night of the 16th, when 3 people were arrested. Four medics were there on Saturday the 17th.

The La Casita struggle began four years ago when CPS cut Whittier’s library budget, closing its school library. Parents occupied the field house on school grounds for well over a month and won the right to use it. Books were donated from across the country. Half of the field house was established as the new Whittier school library, under management of the parents. The other half of the field house became a community-run youth safe space, with after-school programming, ESL classes, and community-based arts programming.

Cristo del Rey is a private Jesuit high school that is adjacent to Whittier, a public elementary school. Cristo del Rey wants astroturf athletic fields where the Whittier field house was located, and the city is eager to transfer the property to private lands. Last year, the city threatened demolition of La Casita, and the parents commissioned an architect to both verify the safety of the structure, and to design a green building to replace it. The city backed down, and Alderman Danny Solis promised money for a new school library.

This weekend’s sudden and unannounced nighttime demolition caught everyone off guard, and was very emotional. After Friday night’s overwhelming community response, Ald. Danny Solis said he’d meet with the community Saturday morning. Instead the contractor did a tactical demolition, beginning with bulldozing the fence and crashing a cat bulldozer into the building at high speed, followed by 11 arrests (cuffed with zipties); then a backhoe crossed the picket-line and quickly took down the building.

Medics used a lot of white flower oil for grounding amidst the high emotions. Parents and community members were screaming and crying with grief. The medics held a few of the protesters and let them cry on our shoulders. A member of Solis’ machine antagonized the protesters but was moved back by the police.

Halfway through the rapid demolition, the community marched to Benito Juarez Community Academy where alderman Solis was holding a “Back-to-School” event. The children educated the families standing in line for free backpacks and the Deejay shut down so the protesters could speak to the crowd. We learned that Solis had changed his phone number and left the city. The community marched back to the La Casita site, joined hands in prayer, decided on demands, and let two of the children speak, then many went to the 10th district station to do jail support. Two medics went with them.

One of the families involved in La Casita escaped Pinochet’s Chile after fighting similar “reforms” there and being tortured. This community will not give up easily.

The community provided plenty of bottled water and food (make your own tacos) throughout the action. Those who stayed overnight did not sleep very well. The weather was amenable. Therefore our care was all in the realm of emotional and jail support. This was a very difficult thing to watch: emotional support is not over, and some of us could use some, too.

You can view some pictures from the day of the demolition here.

Reportback: ALEC Action

Take a look at protests from the medics’ point of view! This is the first in a new series of reportbacks from medics running at actions.

On 8 August 2013, Chicago-area labor unions and others gathered at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago to protest the ALEC convention.

6 medics ran (worked) at the protest. One was a medic in town from Wisconsin who also ran during the NATO protests last year.

By 12:00 there was in the neighborhood of 1,000 protesters picketing from the hotel entrance on Monroe east to Wabash and south to the Wabash entrance to the hotel.

After a couple hours of picketing and some speeches the crowd started to dissipate and police focused their attention on the black bloc, facing off across a barricade in front of around 12 black bloc people on the sidewalk. The crowd on the sidewalk was very dense for at least 30 feet in either direction from the black bloc group.

At this point we did some lazy medic work by suggesting to a care giver of a child in a wheelchair situated very close to the face off between police and black bloc that it would be a good idea to move farther back from the potential flashpoint. Meanwhile the police moved in for the first snatch and grab. When the crowd surged away from the violence we were just a couple steps away and able to help create a zone of space around the little girl in the wheelchair so nobody fell on her.

Seven protesters were arrested in two snatch and grabs. We treated no injuries but prevented some.  In both of the snatch and grabs police knocked bystanders to the sidewalk and into the building but we saw no injuries and nobody requested any first aid.