Scarring a Community

I have a scar on my forehead.

The year was probably 1986 and a large object fell into my forehead.

Like any ironbound (newark) mother would, my mother carried me to the car and sped to St. James hospital for treatment.

I have a bellybutton. (an innie in fact)

The year was 1979 and my mother gave birth to me on a December afternoon.

Like so many ironbound children born of immigrant families from every corner of the planet, I came into the world in the maternity ward of St. James hospital. A hospital so dedicated to serving the multilingual community, it functioned in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

While our family grew older and settled in the suburbs outside the city, St. James never stopped being that place… whenever I would go down Jefferson St., that steadfast anchor that commanded the respect and appreciation of the community.

Last week, in the face of all the hard work of volunteers, hospital staff, and concerned citizens, the corporation that owns St. James -closed it down. Cost savings. Business decisions. We regret to inform you…

The collapse of the United States, as a nation made for and by the people continues, and one more working class community has one more giant scar to prove it.