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9 arrested at Mag Mile protest seeking U. of C. trauma center

Nine people were arrested during a protest aimed at bringing a trauma center to the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Two men and seven women — ages 19 to 21 — were arrested in the 800 block of North Michigan at 6:30 p.m. after blocking northbound traffic, according to Chicago Police. Each was charged with a misdemeanor count of obstruction of traffic, police said.

The protest was arranged by the Trauma Center Coalition, a group that has been pushing the University of Chicago to build a trauma center at its South Side hospital.

Activists had planned a rally with more than 60 people outside the Ritz-Carlton at Water Tower Place, according to a statement from the coalition.

Ten people planned to risk arrest to “send the message that business as usual cannot continue while black lives are being lost due to a lack of adult trauma care on the South Side and the University of Chicago’s refusal to expand trauma care,” the statement said.

Protesters formed a human chain across a portion of Michigan Avenue before the arrests were made.

In January, a state report found the university’s medical center is the best-equipped South Side hospital to house a Level 1 trauma center, or one ideal for victims of car accidents or shootings.

But the university has previously said it would be too costly.

“The University’s defense has repeatedly been that they can’t afford to build an adult level-one trauma center without cutting other services,” said U. of C. student Kayli Horne in the coalition’s statement. “We know that this is a lie intended to present a trade-off. They can afford it but it hasn’t been a priority. We’re here to demonstrate them of the urgency of the need for trauma care.”

Alyssa Rodriguez, of the Trauma Care Coalition, joins a group of students and community activists blocking traffic on Michigan Avenue Thursday evening. Protesters were demanding that the University of Chicago provide a trauma center for residents on the south side of Chicago. | James Foster/For Sun-Times Media

Alyssa Rodriguez, of the Trauma Care Coalition, joins a group of students and community activists blocking traffic on Michigan Avenue Thursday evening. Protesters were demanding that the University of Chicago provide a trauma center for residents on the south side of Chicago. | James Foster/For Sun-Times Media

Veronica Morris-Moore, of the Trauma Care Coalition, joins the protest by a group of students and community activists on Thursday evening in the 800 block of Michigan Avenue Ave. | James Foster/For Sun-Times Media

Veronica Morris-Moore, of the Trauma Care Coalition, joins the protest by a group of students and community activists on Thursday evening in the 800 block of Michigan Avenue Ave. | James Foster/For Sun-Times Media