Bethany Hospital decision a victory for the West Side
Celebration and commitment to vigilance are in order for citizens on the West Side who protested against the reduction of services at Bethany Hospital by corporate giant Advocate Health Services.

The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board’s unanimous decision against Advocate’s plans to discontinue obstetrics and mental health services June 6 was a giant victory and testimony to ordinary citizens standing up for their community in the face of powerful forces. The planning board members are also to be commended for the thoroughness of their process, diligence, and the integrity of their decision. They listened to a neighborhood that is often overlooked and voted in favor of the community and common good.

Advocate, profitable and the largest health care provider in Illinois, must now be held accountable for not investing in city hospitals and in failing to live up to its faith-based mission. In its suburban hospitals, serving the more affluent, Advocate proves daily that they know how to offer high quality health services. Now they must be challenged to be leaders and earn their tax-exempt status by being equally capable of providing high quality health care in the city. Advocate’s executives in Oak Brook will find that they can accomplish more by working with people in our communities instead of dismissing our voices with corporate insensitivity.

On the West Side, we celebrate with caution. The victory at Bethany calls for community vigilance and an openness to dialogue and cooperation. That’s what we offer and that’s what we expect from Advocate on the West Side.

Rev. Marshall E. Hatch
Pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church of West Garfield, and member of the Clergy Coalition To Save Bethany Hospital

A black man without a black father

I feel that it is not a good feeling living with one parent. I feel that it would have been good living with my dad. Things could have been different. I feel that if I had a dad living with me, most of my dreams would have come true. I feel that I could have been on the football and basketball team. I am always thinking of how would it be with a father that takes care of you. I’m a black young man without a black father. I feel that if I had a father in my life my mom’s life would not be like it is right now. I feel that I would have accomplished more with my father in my life. I think about all of the things my whole family goes through, and I feel bad at times. I weep and cry, but God tells me ‘I have bigger and better things for your future.’ He tells me not to cry. I feel that my life would have been more joyful if I had my father in my life. What I mean is that, if I had a father in my life, my father could have played baseball, football, and basketball with me. It would have been joyful. A black young man without a black father – do you know how that feels? It is not a good feeling. I feel that my dad wants to change but he is not trying good enough. That is what makes me more frustrated. I feel that my father should try to change, and try something new like hanging around his son. I feel that my father would be a good father. I think he would be the best father in the world. (And when he does, I will be a young man with a black father)

Jonathan Lake