Martese Chism is a Registered Nurse and leader with National Nurses United. She has worked at Cook County/John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital for over 26 years taking care of Cook County’s most vulnerable and neglected patients. She is the great-granddaughter of a civil rights activist. In 1965, her great-grandmother marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Congressman John Lewis across the Edmund Pettus Bridge for voting rights. Later in 1965 the Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In 2005, Martese’s volunteer experience with Hurricane Katrina/Rita’s survivors solidified her belief that Medicare For All is a cause worth fighting for. She believes the struggle for Medicare For All is the most important struggle of the 21st Century. In 2011, she was arrested with the Grant Park Occupy Chicago protesters. She was released after spending 23 hours in police custody. In 2016, she won Common Cause Illinois Champion of Democracy Award.
She was a Bernie Sanders’ delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She traveled 52 days on a Nurses for Bernie Southern and Northern Outreach Bus Tour. In 2017, she participated in the Reclaim Chicago’s 200 miles march from Chicago to Springfield to bring attention to poverty and suffering in the State of Illinois. In 2018, she was the West Side Community Coordinator for Team Biss/Wallace. She participated in the Dan Ryan shut down with Litesa Wallace to bring attention to gun violence on the West Side and South Side of Chicago.
Martese’s favorite Fannie Lou Hamer’s quote is, “There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.”