She is a nurse with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, where it seems infectious diseases go to die.
For more than two decades, hospitals have been reaching out to the group, whose objective is to address the health concerns of the communities it serves. Locally, that’s meant training clinicians on everything from safe needle-disposal campaigns to stepping up their efforts in fighting transience and homelessness, epidemics of diabetes and mental illness and opioid addiction.
There is a plan to fight the Ebola scare. If it materializes, as SSPC field organizers warned not so long ago, then they will be there to protect health care workers and provide valuable medical care to the sick.
To some, this mission is unnatural. Some call for the group to “go home.”
Worse, the firefighters call the nurses fascists.
They see nurses as “middle-of-the-roaders,” as timid, as middle-aged women, as women that their younger firefighters cannot relate to, said Colby Ray, deputy fire chief in Brockton, Mass. Ray is a regular attendee at meetings of the New England Fire Fighters Association, which is funded by the firefighting community and stridently anti-union.
What the trade association calls “left wing” has caught fire in Brockton. Protestors pulled up children’s drawings of firefighters and set them on fire in the clinic where Ray’s son went to get his shots during a polio outbreak.