surprise, i’m going to be a street medic, mom!

I found out this weekend that I have a spot reserved for street medic training. I’m very excited for this opportunity. At this point, my most loyal reader (I’ll call her “Mom”) is probably saying to herself, “Hmmm, what’s this about?” because I haven’t had the chance to tell her yet. So, Mom, this post is for you. 

Q: What is a street medic?

A: According to Chicago Action Medical:

Street medics have been providing fellow activists with first aid treatment and medical support during direct actions and street protests for social and economic justice for over forty-five years.We have been active in the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, American Indian Movement, Earth First! and other environmental defense actions, the anti-corporate globalization movement, and many other actions. Street medics have also participated internationally in solidarity with other liberation movements, from Palestine to Chiapas, and have responded to disasters including Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. Most recently, street medics have been active in the Occupy Movement, often working alongside other medical professionals or activists newly aware of the need for first aid support.

At this point, Mom is thinking, or perhaps has said aloud: “Uh, I’m not sure what I think about you doing this,” to which Dad looks up from his newspaper and replies, “Think about what, Jeri?” and Mom shouts, “Nothing, Ken. It’s just Erika is going to street medic training,” and Dad says, “What is this all about?” and walks over to the computer to read along.

Mom and Dad.

Q: Why would you want to do street medic training, Erika?

A: Because the G8/NATO summit is in Chicago this May!

Q: Erika, why the hell would you want to do that?!

A: Because, Mom and Dad, I believe that every American has the right to protest peacefully and engage in civil disobedience. All people should be able to demonstrate in a safe setting, and I want to ensure that this happens. And I think this will be very useful training for nursing.

Q: Erika, Erika, Erika. I don’t know about you.

A: That wasn’t a question, Dad. So, the training is next weekend. It sounds pretty intense. I am going to learn about street operations tactics, basic street first aid, psychological first aid and chemical weapons treatments and aftercare. Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, I’ll let everyone knows how it goes.

In other news, I pulled my sewing machine out of the box this week. I started with tote bags. In theory, one would think that they are easy to make. But, I make things more difficult than they should be.

My first bag was great, until I realized that I sewed the handles incorrectly:

Whoooo's the shitty sewer? (get it?)

That, and the graphic is upside down. However, on Friday, one of my friends did note that it is upside right when I carry it and look down. Good point. Then we discussed why people don’t have tattoos that are backward and/or upside down, because they would be so much easier for the person who has the tattoo to see it and enjoy the art. We agreed that this would be a good practice in the future. And then we agreed that we weren’t drunk enough and we each ordered another beer.

This afternoon, I decided I would be extra careful and pin everything before sewing it all together, and today would be the day that I make a bag so cute that I would make Zooey Deschanel cry magical glitter tears of joy.

After the final stitch was sewn, I pulled my handiwork from the machine, and smiled. And I held it up and inspected my craftsmanship:



So, I am calling this the “The Urban Suspenders Bag”. Yup, the handles are crossed. Like suspenders.  I am hoping that months from now, everyone will want one of these. Zooey, call me!

And right now, I’m guessing Dad is back to reading the newspaper, and Mom is done reading the Wikipedia entry on Zooey Deschanel, and is now thinking of some reassuring words to post for me. Because Mom and Dad are two of my biggest supporters and such neat people, and I don’t know what I would do without them.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.

Update: The G8 Summit was moved to Camp David, for reasons not yet understood. I will keep y’all updated on how this might affect my training and/or protest attendance.


About erika

nurse, certified nurse-midwifery student, public health fan, math & science geek, single malt scotch aficionado, klutz, goofball, scribbler, funny face & lover of all things nerdy.
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3 Responses to surprise, i’m going to be a street medic, mom!

  1. Ben says:

    Cool stuff. That will certainly put you in the thick of the action. Please post more on the training as it happens. I would be curious to know what you learn there and how it stacks up with what you are learning in school. Also, what do they tell you about working with the police and paramedics.

  2. Laura Kahl says:

    Erika, I love your blog! And I’m so glad you’re taking that training. Thankfully, the protests here never got scary or violent, but I’d imagine you’ll really be in a position to help with the G8 / NATO summit. And I loved seeing your handiwork! I was at my new Brother machine all weekend and I wondered if you were enjoying yours. Love your totes – and your fabric! Just a little more practice and you’ll be creating your own patterns. On purpose, that is. ;)

  3. Pingback: amateur protester? here are some tips…. | wow…this is awkward.

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