Nurses' Rally Kicks off NATO Summit Protests

Nurses rallied together on Friday, May 18, in what was called “the first official protest of NATO” in Chicago’s downtown. More than 3,000 nurses, nurses aides and activists assembled to call for their "Robin Hood Tax" — a small sales tax on Wall Street transactions. With up to hundreds of transactions conducted every minute, the nurses said that the $350 billion per year generated by the proposed tax could help alleviate healthcare and education problems in communities.

Members of National Nurses United, organizers of the rally, dressed in nurse scrubs and green Robin Hood caps were joined by members of the Occupy movement in calling for equal taxation. The rally was predominantly peaceful, and the nurses stayed on message throughout the demonstration. Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello performed during the last 30 minutes.

It was Morello’s performance that threatened the NNU permit request because of the city’s concern that his appearance would push rally attendance at Daley Plaza over its capacity. Negotiations between the Nurses’ Union and the city resulted in a shortened rally — from five hours to two. The nurses made sure to make those two hours count.

“It's time for Wall Street to start paying what all the rest of us pay,” said Karen Higgins, Boston RN and co-president of the NNU. Advocating for the people the families for whom they care, the nurses carried placards calling for “Healthcare for All, Jobs with Dignity, Quality Public Education and A Healthy Environment.”

You can watch a part of the demonstration here:

The solidarity and caring shown by the nursing community was truly inspiring. As the need for caregivers continues to increase, training as a CNA seems to be a great first step to a fulfilling job and career.

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