To enable true healing, we need to address the many layers of harm that exist, acknowledge their interconnectedness, and honor the many paths to healing.
Ujimaa (meaning “collective work and responsibility” in Swahili) Medics, known as UMedics, honors several paths to healing. The organization trains community members to provide life-saving care across multiple emergency situations including gunshot wounds, asthma attacks, and diabetic shock. On the predominantly Black South and West sides of Chicago, where there is inadequate access to care, their work can be the difference between life and death for a family member, friend or neighbor.
UMedics’ work also helps to heal the community by enabling neighbors to help other neighbors. In this way, UMedics shifts power and agency back to community members. Individuals who participate in UMedics urban emergency first response training workshops learn that they can be helpful, not helpless in a crisis and are empowered by their ability to aid those around them. UMedics has trained over 1,000 people to protect themselves, manage chaos and save lives while becoming “the heroes of their neighborhoods.”
Our three-year investment will support UMedics in expanding programs, hiring staff members, optimizing their organizational structure, and gaining continual learnings.