Jay finds empowerment in gunshot-wound first-aid

Talia Goerge-Karron, Editor-in-Chief

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On July 18, 2016, Journey “Jay” Jamison heard gunshots in her neighborhood. She had just returned home. Moments later, the gunshot victim ran through her open back door. Jay was about to put her gunshot wound training to use.

The victim, Peter, consented to Jay providing first aid, and then he consented to 911 being called.

“I did the standard things, which we teach in our workshops,” Jay said, “which is mainly applying direct pressure and keeping him conscious by talking to him and keeping him hopeful for the future.”

Peter survived his wound. For Jay, teaching gunshot-wound first aid has been the most empowering experience of her life.

Jay, now a junior at Lincoln Park High School, became involved with the organization UMedics, a “grassroots black health collective based in Chicago” that teaches first aid for gunshot wounds and asthma first aid workshops.

“We teach basically urban preparedness for tragedies,” Jay said. The group plans to expand curriculum to include diabetes and mental health crises.

In 2016, Jay became a trainer for the UMedics workshops, so she can now train people how to respond to shootings.

“Being a contributor to my community was nothing strange to me,” Jay said. “By being in the community I heard about this orientation that was happening for UMedics. I just kind of spontaneously found myself at the workshop.”

For Jay who currently lives in Roseland, but considers Bronzeville her home, gun violence has never been a deterrent for her to walk around in her community.

“The only experience that I have had with gun violence have been empowering,” Jay said. “Obviously, I don’t want people to be shot and I don’t want people to have access to guns when they shouldn’t, and I want people to carry responsibly, but I have never been afraid to walk outside of my house. I have never been afraid of my community in that kind of aspect.”

Although Chicago is often described as one of the most dangerous cities in America, Jay has never felt afraid of the South Side.

“Honestly, gun violence is something that, like I said, is really projected a lot, especially when you live in Chicago and you’re black,” Jay said. “I feel like it’s something that’s constantly thrown at your face.”

Jay said that her experiences with UMedics empowered her to lead.

“It has been the most empowering thing in my life thus far,” Jay said. “Gun violence, especially where I’m from in the southeast side, is really just this dark cloud. And, it makes you feel helpless a lot of times, but getting trained and knowing that I can help somebody changed things for me.”