Lisa R. Brand 
Member since Dec 17, 2014


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Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

Thanks for the overview and political insight. I thought I’d just add this update about Cleveland:

Last month, twelve year old Tamir Rice, a Black child with a toy gun in an inner city park, was shot down by police within seconds of their arrival on the scene. The cops, having failed to follow even their own police protocols for defusing any potentially harmful situations, then left him to die as they delayed calling the paramedics, instead busying themselves with handcuffing and throwing into a police cruiser Tamir’s 14 year old sister who tried to come to his aid. The city is in mourning and protest, this coming hot on the heels of the Ferguson and NY murders by police.

Here in Cleveland demonstrators shut down traffic on the shoreway two weeks ago in protest of police brutality. Organized groups of students participated from Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Akron, Kent State University, John Carroll University, Baldwin Wallace University, and other schools, and groups of youth that were hanging around downtown at the start of the demonstration spontaneously joined the protest; a proud moment for Cleveland.

I'm a pediatrician. I practiced in the inner city of Cleveland for 25 years. Tamir wasn’t my patient, but I believe that many children in his extended family were. Though I recently retired, I still read the Cleveland Plain Dealer every day, as I have done for years, partly to see which one of my previous patients or their parents have been murdered or abused. The count is growing. It brutally reflects the hardships and injustice of life in Cleveland, and other cities, for poor people of color.

So I still have one foot in the ghetto (and very well might return to work in an inner city clinic part time after the new year), and one foot… in my privileged life, relaxing and enjoying the fruits of my labor after all these years. It’s a rather schizophrenic sensation at times. But as I recover from years of burn out, having set myself free from the county hospital system that can easily eat up even the most balanced person’s sanity, I’m looking to perhaps raise my voice and become a community activist again, having been well-trained in the antiwar movement of the sixties; years of advocating for my patients notwithstanding. Ah – life full circle. My blood is boiling and the streets are calling.

Besides, I can’t let all the family glory go to my younger brother who was arrested at the recent Cleveland demonstrations. He was held overnight, never charged, and released over 24 hours later. Interestingly, the Cleveland police, deciding to take an unusual conciliatory stance, and therefore claiming that they were respectful of community sentiment and the demonstrators right to protest, repeatedly denied that there had been any arrests; an outright lie.

On that note, I’m hoping for a safer saner new year, but I don’t think that will ever come without some significant struggle. As Jay Youngdahl so succinctly put it: “without street action, change will not come.”

Lisa R. Brand, M.D.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Lisa R. Brand on 12/17/2014 at 1:24 PM

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