The Younger Lords’ well being care fights of the Nineteen Seventies rage on at present

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Let’s begin with the trailer: 

Right here’s a concise synopsis of the movie.

A brand new movie referred to as “Takeover” follows the 12 historic hours on July 14, 1970, when members of the Younger Lords Social gathering took over the rundown Lincoln Hospital within the South Bronx in New York Metropolis. The Younger Lords have been a radical group based by Puerto Ricans modeled on the Black Panther Social gathering. Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, a co-founder of the Younger Lords, helped set up the motion. Utilizing archival footage and modern-day interviews, “Takeover” chronicles their resistance to establishments based on wealth and white supremacy, and their collective wrestle for high quality, accessible healthcare. “The takeover actually exemplified what the Younger Lords have been about,” says director Emma Francis-Snyder, who says she needed to seize the heroism of the activists. “There’s a lot emotion and planning and braveness that comes together with direct motion,” Francis-Snyder says. “We understood that to get the system to pay attention and alter, you needed to disrupt it,” provides González. “You needed to discover a solution to pressure individuals to concentrate to the issues.”

Let me first congratulate filmmaker Emma Francis-Snyder, who persevered over many lengthy years to carry this necessary piece of largely forgotten historical past to at present’s audiences. Up to now, there are nonetheless many younger people who find themselves unaware of what a bunch of younger of us with an common age of 17, may and did accomplish—taking over not solely metropolis authorities and the well being care system, but in addition the police. 

In dialogue with Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, DN co-host Juan González—a founding member and Minister of Schooling of the New York Younger Lords—raises a key level about why we took over the hospital.

From the episode transcript:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Properly, I feel the rationale we took the hospital is as a result of we had been concerned — and I feel it’s underappreciated, the quantity of labor that the Younger Lords did in what we’d usually name at present public well being. It was not simply the difficulty of the therapy within the hospital and the companies in a dilapidated, rundown hospital that the town had been promising to tear down for many years however hadn’t finished, but it surely was additionally all the work that we did in lead poison detection, tuberculosis detection, drug cleansing, acupuncture, utilizing acupuncture for the primary time in drug therapy, that was developed by the Lords and the Panthers at Lincoln Hospital, that there was — in different phrases, well being was a significant, main concern of ours on the time.

However we understood that to get the system to pay attention and alter, you needed to disrupt it. You needed to discover a solution to pressure individuals to concentrate to the issue. So I feel that’s the primary thrust of all of our actions that we took on this extensive space of public well being on the time.

Our first motion was to pressure New York’s Sanitation Division to choose up the rubbish in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) the place the rats ran riot; youngsters have been usually taken to the emergency room with rat bites, or roaches embedded of their ears. The stench from the uncollected rubbish within the alleyways and streets was horrific.

We moved on to addressing lead poisoning, which at present’s activists are aware of as a result of ongoing disaster in Flint, Michigan. We pressured the town to cross laws to get landlords to remediate the lead paint used within the tenements that many of the of us in our communities lived in. 

In 2019, I coated lots of our actions in “‘Mapping Resistance’: Activism past and present and the New York Young Lords.” We established a Ten-Point Health Program, which grew to become a mannequin for later struggles round well being care which we hear mirrored in at present’s debates; it’s a legacy that we hope may very well be tailored and utilized by at present’s activists.

   Younger Lords Ten-Level Well being Program

       1. We would like whole self-determination of all well being companies via an included Group-Workers Governing Board for the Hospital. (Workers is anybody and everybody working on the hospital.)

       2. We would like speedy substitute of all authorities directors by neighborhood and employees appointed individuals whose observe has demonstrated their dedication to serve our poor neighborhood.

       3. We demand an instantaneous finish to building of the brand new emergency room till the Hospital Group-Workers Governing Board inspects and approves them or authorizes new plans.

       4. We would like employment for our individuals. All jobs have to be crammed by neighborhood residents first, utilizing on-the-job coaching and different academic alternatives as foundation for service and promotion.

       5. We would like free publicly supported well being look after therapy and prevention. We would like an finish to all charges.

       6. We would like whole decentralization–block well being officers accountable to the community-staff board must be instituted.

       7. We would like “door-to-door” preventive well being companies emphasizing atmosphere and sanitation management, vitamin, drug habit, maternal and baby care, and senior citizen companies.

       8. We would like teaching programs for all of the individuals to reveal well being issues –sanitation, rats, poor housing, malnutrition, police brutality, air pollution, and different types of oppression.

       9. We would like whole management by the community-staff governing board of the finances allocations, medical coverage alongside the above factors, hiring, firing, and salaries of workers, building and well being code enforcement.

       10. Any neighborhood, union, or staff group should assist all of the factors of this program and work and struggle for that or be proven as what they are–enemies of poor individuals.

Again then, we didn’t have the instruments activists have at present. No Twitter, no YouTube, no Instagram, no cell telephone movies. Our major organizing instruments have been going door to door, holding neighborhood political training courses, and publishing our newspaper, Palante. Palante means “go forward.”

I drew this cartoon for the paper for instance situations at Lincoln.

Cartoon illustrating conditions in Lincoln Hospital  by Denise Oliver in Young Lords newspaper Palante, 17 July 1970, volume 2, number 7.
From the Younger Lords newspaper Palante, 17 July, 1970, quantity 2, quantity 7

We believed then, and nonetheless do, that high quality well being care is a proper, not only a privilege for individuals who can afford it. Clearly, we nonetheless have work to do.