Community-founded organization teaches bystanders how to treat gunshot wounds in Chicago

ByJustyna Syska via Localish logo
Thursday, August 11, 2022
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The name "Ujimaa Medics" derives from the Kiswahili term, "Ujima," which means collective work and responsibility.

CHICAGO -- Ujimaa Medics is a community-founded organization that offers urban emergency first response training throughout Chicago.

Founded by Amika Tendaji and Martine Caveryl, Ujimaa Medics is committed to helping save lives affected by gun violence, especially in the South and West sides of Chicago, through sharing their first aid knowledge and training with these communities.

"There's all this power that exists between the people that are right there, we need community response," Caveryl said.

The first Ujimaa Medics workshop was held in fall 2014 after Tendaji and Caveryl's community lost another young person due to a senseless shooting. Determined to make a difference, they developed workshops to share the courage and knowledge needed to save lives in seemingly helpless moments.

"People have first aid supplies in their wallet, they have them in their diaper bag, they have them in their purse. Bystanders have first aid supplies. You dont look at it and see first aid supplies, but you can actually utilize that. So that was the approach we took when we first started out," Caveryl said.

The name "Ujimaa Medics" derives from the Kiswahili term, "Ujima," which means collective work and responsibility. The founders say that this ideal is at the core foundation of everything Ujimaa Medics teaches.

"Due to the mass shootings, due to the drive-by shootings, were losing our children to gun violence and were here to help save lives," said Carolyn Jackson, CEO and Founder of S.P.A.R.K., a Ujimaa Medics partner organization.

Ujimma walks people through nearly every element of a crisis, from the initial reaction to what to do when police and paramedics arrive on scene. They have conducted over 100 workshops and trained over 1,000 people on how to respond in these situations.

"I dont know that we're a solution to gun violence. I know that we're a solution for communities that need to build power, thats what I know," Caveryl said.

For more info, visit their website: