As 2013 comes to end, we think about the people we have met and the work that has been done in our short time as the Florence Johnston Collective. We are thankful for all of you that read our blog, hit the streets with us, struggle with us, and empower us in many ways every day. We look forward to a new year in 2014. One where we are stronger and more united than ever.
We leave you with a speech given at a picket at Interfaith Hospital on October 15th.
“The right to a place that provides adequate medical care and safe working conditions for those that work in health care is not a new struggle for us. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that the desegregation of black patients and black medical professionals even existed. In the late 1960s, the Black Panthers created the People’s Free Medical Clinics to serve the large amount of people that were not receiving medical care because of their race and class status. In 1970, the young lords took over Lincoln Hospital so the people of the South Bronx could get the care they so desperately needed. Also in the 1970s, young organizers put together the first Chinatown Health Fair to provide better medical care for the poorly served community and provide much needed literature in Chinese as well as English. In the 1980s, ACT UP demanded proper care for AIDS/HIV patients who were being ignored and stigmatized. Here we are today still fighting all these struggles. The lowest rung of workers, the people that do the hardest jobs and get paid the least are still people and women of color. We are still demanding medical care that focuses on us as patients and not on making money. We live in a world where trans people can’t get the surgeries, the hormones, and the mental health care that we need because those in charge think we don’t exist or we shouldn’t exist. The struggle against AIDS/HIV is very much a part of our lives as queer people and people of color. These are all reasons to continue fighting! This is our hospital!