Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Latest Update from the Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson

2/12/08 Update: Support Grows for Physician Fired for Supporting Human Rights for Palestinians

On Saturday, February 9, the Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson (CDCW) issued an urgent action alert regarding the firing of Dr. Wilkerson by the Packard Community Clinic (PCC) of Ann Arbor, Michigan, for her support of human rights for Palestinians. We can report that many people have stepped up to show their solidarity and seek justice for Dr. Wilkerson. In retribution for this, on Sunday, February 10, Dr. Wilkerson was abruptly notified by the PCC management that all of her appointments with patients in the coming week would be reassigned to someone else and she was not to come into the office during business hours.

On the brighter side, in less than three days, the number of signatures on our online petition has gone from zero to more than 150 and in the wake of Dr. Wilkerson's firing two other members of the PCC clinical staff have resigned. Also, several people have informed us that they will be withholding donations to the PCC in protest over Dr. Wilkerson's firing. This includes one regular donor who makes an annual contribution of $5000 to the PCC. While neither Dr. Wilkerson nor the CDCW have encouraged the staff resignations or a funding boycott of the PCC we understand and appreciate these acts of solidarity. It is our earnest hope that the PCC Governing Board will act soon to overturn the decision of management to fire Dr. Wilkerson so everyone can go back to work practicing medicine and so donors can once again contribute to the PCC in good conscience.

If you have not already signed the online petition and written to the PCC Governing Board then please do so today (see more info below). Letters and faxes to the Governing Board are especially important. Also, if you personally know any of the PCC Governing Board or Advisory Board members listed below then please consider making a phone call to them to urge them to offer reinstatement to Dr Wilkerson and the two other clinical staff members who have resigned.

Governing Board
James Frenza, President, Retired Executive
Ray Rion, MD, Medical Director
Kimberly Kratz, MSW, MPH, Executive Director
Duane Newland, Treasurer, Retired Hospital Executive
Fran Lyman, Secretary, Retired Educator
Jerry Walden, MD, Retired Physician/ Founder
Sharon Moore, Retired UAW Official
Jeffrey Sanfield, MD, Physician
Mary Hunter, Nurse
James F. Peggs, MD, Physician
Tom Rieke, Marketing Business Owner
J Paul Dixon, Insurance Executive
Robert Laverty, Retired Hospital Executive
Kim D. Walsh, Alzheimers Association Program Director
Sarah Williams, Lawyer
Bettye Mcdonald, Retired Educator

Advisory Board
Gina Amalfitano, MD
Laverne Jackson Barker
Bonnie Billups, Jr.
Letitia Byrd
Cassie Cammann, MSW
Angelos Constantinides, DO
Molly Dobson
James Dolan
Eugene V. Douvan
Thomas Fleming
Gregory Fox
Carl E. Gingles, DDS
Vicky I. Henry
Rev. Judy Jahnke
Natalie Kellogg
Manfred Marcus, MD
John Martin
Elizabeth Michael
Rev. Kenneth Phifer
James Saalberg
Clifford Sheldon
Alma Walls

Contact the PCC Governing Board

Please contact the Governing Board as soon as possible. A written letter is considered one of the most effective forms of advocacy. You can mail one to the address in the sample letter below and/or send a fax to the Governing Board at (734) 971-8545. You may also leave a phone message at (734) 971-1073 or send an e-mail to info@packardclinic.org. Second, please sign our online petition, which you can find at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepwilkerson/ .

Sample Letter to the Packard Community Clinic Governing Board

Your Address
Your City, State, Zip

Today's Date

Board of Directors
Packard Community Clinic
3174 Packard Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Dear Members of the Governing Board of the Packard Community Clinic:

I am writing to urge you to stop the termination proceedings against Dr. Catherine Wilkerson, MD and, further, to stop the harassment of Dr. Wilkerson by Packard Community Clinic (PCC) Medical Director Ray Rion and Executive Director Kimberly Kratz. It was known when she was hired that Dr. Wilkerson was politically active. Her profile on the clinic web site notes: "she is particularly interested in social and economic determinants of health, gender issues in medicine, and medical ethics. She has been an activist involved in a number of issues related to public health, including the health effects of war and nuclear weapons, and universal health care." The only thing that has changed is that she is now--after successfully fending off a malicious criminal prosecution--being targeted for, on her own time and in her own name only, criticizing racism in the local Jewish community in its support for the apartheid state of Israel. Dr. Wilkerson is the senior and most experienced physician at the PCC and beloved by many of her patients. No good purpose can be served by depriving them of the compassionate care provided by this conscientious physician simply because she has nonviolently exercised her First Amendment rights to speak out against all forms of racism. Please keep Dr. Wilkerson on the staff of the PCC and stop the political harassment of her by PCC management.

Sincerely,

Your Signature

Your Name

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