Rev. Dwight Bailey, pastor of Austin Boulevard Christian Church, was honored Monday by the Oak Park/Austin Health Alliance for his support and work done with the health advocacy group.
The alliance has been working on a host of issues related to West Suburban Hospital, which was acquired in 2004 by Resurrection Health Care. The group alleges that Resurrection has not lived up to its acquisition agreement with the state, claims that Resurrection and West Sub officials have denied.
Austin Boulevard Christian Church, 634 N. Austin, has opened its doors to the alliance members, and to show its appreciation, the group honored Bailey for “his ongoing involvement, leadership and friendship.”
The appreciation award was inscribed with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Austin Weekly News talked to Bailey about the award and his work with the alliance.
AWN: How do you feel about your award and the recognition?
Bailey: “Well, I’m really humbled by the experience because the real true heroes are the workers at Resurrection Hospital. It’s good to be recognized by those serving the community, and these are wonderful people who put their lives on the line for this. All I did was show up and say, ‘welcome to a space to meet’, and encouraged them on their journey.”
AWN: What are your future plans as we finish the year?
Bailey: “Well, to stay with the group and continue to encourage them on the journey toward unionization of the hospital.”
AWN: How long have you been pastor at ABC Church, and where is your hometown?
Bailey: “I’ve been in here since 2000, and I’m from North Carolina, originally, but I came here from Texas. I was working in Austin, Texas as a campus pastor, and I currently live in Oak Park.
AWN: Do you feel there will be a resolution to the hospital dispute?
Bailey: “We need it because a lot of people are being victimized by the system, and we know that one of the biggest enemies is that political situation [and] economics. And when you hit people with their livelihood that means they can’t do what they need to do, which is pay bills. They can’t feed themselves. They can’t take care of themselves. When [that happens] you create another class of people who just are in need. The working poor – that part of our concern has to be about helping people to say, ‘I have a voice and will use my voice because this can not go on.'”
The alliance also honored West Suburban Hospital EVS (Environmental Science) workers with leadership awards for their campaign to halt alleged discrimination at the hospital.