The Uhuru Solidarity Movement shares the following story from INDPUM RESISTANCE:
On Saturday, January 12 the International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement (INPDUM), along with comrades of the Black is Back Coalition (BIBC) won an incredible victory for the African community when Pennsylvania Hospital was forced to release Baby Dillen and his mother Jade back to the community!
For the past week InPDUM and BIBC had been engaged in an intense struggle with PA Hospital, protesting several attacks being made by the hospital against a young African woman and mother, her infant and her family. This struggle ended with a demonstration that was held at Pennsylvania Hospital, located at 8th and Spruce in Philadelphia.
Up until that point Pennsylvania Hospital had been forcing around the clock injections of morphine into Baby Dillen as treatment for “withdrawal” without furnishing test results that confirmed the hospitals diagnosis of the infant.
Baby Dillen’s story is one that is all too familiar within the oppressed and exploited African communities here in the US and worldwide. To combat these issues, we gathered our resources in an effort to send a message to Pennsylvania hospital and like institution that African people are NOT lab rats or science projects. We are competent and responsible enough to choose what we want and don’t want pumped into our children.
Jade Nelson and Baby Dillen have been living in prison like conditions at Pennsylvania hospital since Dec 30th all because she asked for a second opinion and the arrogance of Dr Gerdes and other Pennsylvania hospital officials didn’t allow them to believe they needed to explain anything to a young African woman. We demonstrated today to show them, indeed they do. We chanted, “hands off baby Dillen, stop the drugging stop the killing” and, “crack cocaine and morphine, same war same thing” and of course, “free baby Dillen stop the war on the African community”.
Additionally, throughout this week InPDUM and the “Free Baby Dillen” movement have set up Facebook pages to gain the community support, we called hospital officials around the clock to voice our opposition to their intimidation and harassment of Jade and her family. With these calls we filled up their mailboxes day and night, we had 7 articles written about Baby Dillen and we were interviewed by media professionals all in an effort to shine a light on Pennsylvania hospital and this case.
It has been a long week and we are all emotionally and physically drained. But it was worth it. The African community should feel empowered as it was our collective and organized resistance that brought about this victory. Be encouraged comrades, and continue the struggle as there are many more victories to be won, and adversities to overcome.
However, even as we were able to save Baby Dillen’s life we know that there is nothing in place to prevent forces like PA Hospital from continuing this ongoing colonial terror against African people.
In fact, even as Dillen is free the hospital has never to date commented on the deplorable treatment meted out to Dillen’s mother, father and family. Nor did the hospital ever explain why it was necessary to use armed security guards to prevent free access to Dillen by his family or why they refused to provide the toxicology test results to the family that would justify drugging the newborn.
Dillen and his family were being treated in a typical colonial manner by institutionalized white colonial institutions! We are not looking at a medical or healthcare problem, but a political problem where those who have historically held power over colonized African people continue to do so with impunity.
Even the treatment of sickle cell anemia with the morphine that has become standard in the U.S. is obviously a form of treatment reserved for victims of the disease because it is recognized as a “black” disease.
The hospital is part and parcel of a U.S. capitalist-colonialist healthcare system and government that relies on the never-ending imposition of drugs on African people to generate its profit.
Dillen’s forced morphine treatment is not unlike the Ritalin in the schools and crack cocaine in the community.
It is up to African people ourselves to get organized to control the way in which we receive healthcare. This is why InPDUM and BIB must be built.
GET INVOLVED! DEEPEN THE STRUGGLE!
If you are in Philly, you should attend the African community convention Saturday, Feb16th from 2-6pm at the Uhuru Solidarity Center located at 3733 Lancaster Ave. Speaking at this local African Community Convention will be Salima Cunningham, aunt of Dillen’s mother. Sister Salima played an instrumental role in bringing the Baby Dillen case to InPDUM and Black is Back. At the event, she will discuss the struggles she experienced and participate in the creation of INPDUM’s local community control of health committee.
Beyond Feb 16, InPDUM is calling on the entire African community around the world to attend the upcoming International InPDUM Convention scheduled for March 23-24 in St Petersburg, FL. At the international convention, InPDUM will build an International Communtiy Control of Healthcare Committee.