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January 20, 2017

UCMC Employee Organizes Inauguration Day of Service

A University of Chicago Medicine employee is organizing a city-wide day of service in response to Donald Trump’s inauguration as president today.

The press release for the event gives the mission statement: “We are partnering with community organizations throughout the city and suburbs to assert our commitment and compassion for all people through service.”

Sharon Markman, administrative director at UChicago Medicine's Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation, started a group called Resistance in Action and is spearheading its first "Inaugural Service Day for Social Justice" as a bipartisan way for members of the community to respond to the incoming Trump presidency.

Markman thought of the idea one day while driving home from work, when she said to herself, “I can’t be in Washington, I can’t go to the inauguration, I have to do something.” She describes the service day as a “response to what’s happening in D.C. and the hate, discrimination, anti-Semitism, racism, and anti-diversity across the country.” She describes herself as "not someone who’s just gonna read and recite the same articles—I needed action.”

The project has more than 20 volunteer locations, 30 organizations, and 500 pledged volunteers, most of whom Markman thinks are first-time volunteers. The idea for a day of volunteering all over the various communities of Chicago spread quickly, mostly via word of mouth. The website, chiservday.com, went online a week ago, and the planning for the event began in November after Trump was elected.

“Barack [Obama] talked [in his farewell address] about lacing up our shoes, and that’s what we’re hoping on doing here,” Markman said. “I hope this is the start of a conversation.”

At the Inaugural Service Day, volunteers will work at nonprofits that offer meals to needy children and the homeless, collect and distribute books, and provide services to young people and seniors, among other projects. Volunteers were sent to Albany Park last weekend to begin laying the groundwork for the event. When she spoke to The Maroon, Markman stressed that there are still open spots for volunteers and it is not too late to sign up.

Markham expects that people will continue to respond to the Trump presidency through service. “This is not a one-time deal,” she said. “We’re looking for our next activity to remain engaged with our city.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the Inaugural Service Day for Social Justice can use the website chiservday.com or the Facebook event page "Inaugural Service Day for Social Justice" (@ChiServDay) to find out more.

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