This article is reprinted from the Speak Out Now healthcare newsletter at Kaiser and Highland Hospitals in Oakland, CA.
For the past few weeks, workers at Highland Hospital have been commemorating the lives of the children killed in the ongoing attacks on Gaza. What started as a one time action on World Children’s Day (November 20th) has lasted weeks, as workers have been writing the name of each child that has been killed while reading poems or sharing stories. Despite being present every day at lunch to participate in this peaceful, healing activity, it has taken weeks to try to honor each child due to the immense number of victims.
Seemingly because of this action, CEO James Jackson recently sent out a letter stating that AHS workers who engage in courtyard activities that have not been pre-approved by the CEO may be subject to termination. Although a “cease and desist” and grievances have been filed by the unions to allow this lunchtime activity to continue, workers themselves decided to take things into their own hands.
Not willing to stop until every name is written, this activity was moved to the front of the hospital. Ironically, this meant more attention on the action, with members of the public now able to join in bearing witness. Where it goes next is up to us, but one thing is clear – Highland workers cannot easily be stopped when it comes to doing what we feel is right.