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California Nurses Begin First Aid Support for Occupy SF

Press Release Press Release, 10/20/11

Contact Information | Media Center

For Immediate
Release October 20, 2011

Registered nurse members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United began their humanitarian program Thursday morning to support Occupy SF - part of an escalating program CNA and its national affiliate NNU have established in four cities as the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow.

The San Francisco first aid station went up early this morning at Justin Herman Plaza, with nurse volunteers from San Francisco, the East Bay and North Bay arriving to participate in the program. Within minutes they were providing basic first aid, such as assisting a woman with a toothache and a protester with a broken finger.

The nurses were joined by State Sen. Leland Yee, Assembly member Tom Ammiano, and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. Sen. Yee called on San Francisco police to end threats to remove tents at the protest site.

First aid RNs at Occupy San Francisco
Assembly member Tom Ammiano (center) with nurses at Occupy SF first aid station Thursday

"Nurses are on hand to provide basic first aid and support for the courageous protesters and this incredible movement which is helping to give voice to the 99 percent of Americans and communities so harmed by the economic dislocation caused by Wall Street and the misplaced priorities in Washington," said Deborah Burger, RN, a co-president of both CNA and NNU.

Along with the San Francisco station, nurses are also now providing basic first aid at stations at the Occupy protests in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, and will be opening a fifth station Saturday in Detroit. New York officials have on two occasions made efforts to remove the first aid station in Zuccotti Park, the main base of the Occupy Wall Street actions, but backed down after broad support from both the protest movement and, earlier this week, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson.

CNA and NNU have been inviting RNs to participate in the program through its Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), an NNU project that has provided humanitarian medical relief after Hurricane Katrina, the South Asia tsunami, the earthquake in Haiti, and other disasters.

"Nurses also see the human disaster and the pain and suffering as a result of economic disaster caused by Wall Street," said Burger. For months, NNU members have been calling for a Main Street Contract for the American People, with new national priorities, including healthcare for all, good jobs with dignity, and equal access to quality public education. Such programs could be funded by a tax on Wall Street financial transactions, including stocks, bonds, currencies, and default swaps.

NNU members will be participating in an international day of action with other nurses and community activists November 3 in France, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles coinciding with a summit of G-20 world leaders in France.

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