Friday, July 26, 2013

Scenes From Brooklyn Healthcare Funeral March

Photos by MK Metz
We joined many hundreds of protesters in a funeral march over the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday to mourn the death of Brooklyn healthcare.

This is why:
People who live or work in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Gowanus, Red Hook, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, Fulton Ferry, Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, and the surrounding areas are now without a hospital because SUNY Downstate has closed almost all of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) and prohibited ambulances from bringing sick patients there.

This is illegal, especially since Public Advocate Bill de Blasio obtained an temporary restraining order (multiple times) keeping the hospital open.  SUNY actually hired almost 100 armed guards to keep patients and staff out of LICH. In their rush to empty out the hospital this week, they lost a senile, 81-year-old man.

SUNY is going to sell LICH's valuable real estate -- one of the most modern hospitals in Brooklyn and rated number two -- and make a big developer and his political patron mighty happy!

People who live in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights are also about to lose their hospital, Interfaith Medical Center. Interfaith was about to merge with Brooklyn Hospital Center but the state wouldn't give them the roughly $1.2 million they needed for the study. (That's less money than SUNY is spending to barricade LICH.) Wow, losing a recently-renovated medical center worth billions because of a lousy $1.2 million study.

As we marched, a New Orleans funeral brass band played and mourners with red handkerchiefs cried. Cars slowed down and honked and a hearse drove very slowly, blocking traffic.

This was one of the biggest marches we've ever seen on  the Brooklyn Bridge. Every rally for LICH and Downstate is bigger than the previous one.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (who was recently arrested at a LICH protest) and Council member Letitia James. People in western Brooklyn are starting to cheer whenever they see de Blasio, who is running for Mayor. He's starting to look like the man New York City needs.

On the Manhattan side, heading into Foley Square.

The crowd kept pouring into Foley Square as speaker after speaker asked "Where's Governor Cuome?"

NYC's very excellent Comptroller John Liu. Assemblywoman Joan Millman and Councilmembers Steve Levin, who have also been arrested for LICH, were also marching.

Head of 1199, members of the NYS Nurses Association and other activists.

About a dozen people including nurses and staff, residents and City Councilman Brad Lander (center) volunteered to commit civil disobedience and get arrested.

Lander said, “When I break the law, I’m arrested. When SUNY breaks the law, there needs to be consequences. The State University of New York, which manages LICH, has violated court orders and broken the law as it seeks to close this much needed, much used community hospital, all without serious legal consequences."

The volunteers sat in the roadway of the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge. When they refused to move, the police picked them up and cuffed them.

City Councilman Brad Lander and others, being led to the police van.

Those who were arrested deserve all of our thanks.

There are protests very frequently now. If you or anyone you know might ever get sick or hurt, join the next one! Also, call Gov. Cuomo and tell him if he's not part of the solution, he's part of the problem.

More at: The Brooklyn Eagle; saveLICH Twitter feed; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Concerned Physicians of LICHBrooklyn Heights Association

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

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