Date(s) - 07/24/2013
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Brooklyn War Memorial - Camdan Plaza Park
Tillary St. & Camdan Plaza Park East
@ High St. A,C Subway stop
RALLY NOW AT FOLEY SQUARE…. NOT CITY HALL!
Hands Off Interfaith! Members March and Rally to Save Brooklyn Hospitals.
Jul 01, 2013
The streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn rang out with chanting June 26 as scores of Interfaith Hospital workers marched and rallied to demand that New York State officials provide adequate funding for their borough’s hospitals and prevent the shuttering of Interfaith and nearby Long Island College Hospital (LICH).
“It’s very unfair,” said Interfaith patient care technician Jeanette Henry, a Delegate at the institution for 21 years. “They are picking on Brooklyn’s hospitals and we’re not going to put up with it any more. We’re not just out here for Interfaith. We’re rallying for all of our hospitals.”
Both hospitals provide vital care to residents across a large swath of central Brooklyn. The combined area covers some of the borough’s most underserved neighborhoods. Among the workers marching Tuesday was Mike Theodore, a medical records clerk at Interfaith for 11 years. Theodore was born and raised just a few blocks from Interfaith and says he can’t understand closing any Brooklyn hospital, especially in light of the borough’s recent growth.
“When I was a ward clerk I would see our census. We would get 150 new people a day in our psych unit plus many repeat patients,” says Theodore. “It just doesn’t make sense to me when they say that our hospitals are underutilized.”
Chanting “No Justice! No Peace!” and “Hands Off Interfaith!” marchers crossed Bedford-Stuyvesant as drivers honked horns in support and pedestrians applauded and offered encouragement. Along the route, workers occasionally stopped to greet neighborhood residents. After marching, workers and their supporters rallied at the King Emmanuel Baptist Church on Malcolm X Blvd.
Inside the jam-packed church, ceiling fans offered a bit of relief from the summer heat, while outside an overflow crowd listened to the evening’s speakers on amplifiers. The roster included several Interfaith workers, members of the New York City Council, 1199SEIU President George Gresham and surprise guest New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio – 1199SEIU’s endorsed candidate in the New York City mayoral race. The evening’s keynote speaker was the Rev. Al Sharpton.
“We will do whatever we have to do. We will move up in the building,” said Sharpton. “We need Interfaith.”
“It’s irresponsible when you have money to fight for gambling but not to fight for hospitals,” Sharpton continued, referring to the New York State legislature’s recent legalization of some forms of casino gambling. “It’s irresponsible when you have money for slot machines, but not for hospitals.”
Interfaith delegate Michelle Ned, a patient care technician at the hospital for 31 years, said the solidarity with her brothers and sisters from the New York State Nurses’ Association (NYSNA) at Interfaith and the show of support from community members are especially inspiring.
“There is a real sense of unity. Everybody is together 100 percent,” said Ned. “We know we have to be together as one accord and we are going to stay together until we make this happen. We will stay out here every day f we have to.”