Medical Students Stage #WhiteCoats4BlackLives Protests For Eric Garner, Michael Brown — PHOTOS
It's been a week since a Staten Island grand jury announced their decision to not indict a New York City police officer for the death of Eric Garner, and the Black Lives Matter movement has just grown stronger. On Wednesday, medical students have rallied behind #WhiteCoats4BlackLives, staging large-scale "die-ins" across the country. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, students from more than 70 medical schools, ranging from Harvard Medical to the University of Chicago to UCLA, joined in the protest event.
Described as "white coat die-ins," the protests build upon the ongoing demonstrations disrupting traffic, holiday shopping and even city council meetings from New York to Berkeley, California. Medical students are the latest group to weigh in on what they believe is institutionalized racism and unfair discrimination. Mark Almberg, communications director for PNHP, said in a statement on Tuesday:
We as medical students feel that this is an important time for medical institutions to respond to the violence and race-related trauma that affect our communities and the patients we serve. We feel it is essential to begin a conversation about our role in addressing the explicit and implicit discrimination and racism in our communities and reflect on the systemic biases embedded in our medical education curricula, clinical learning environments, and administrative decision-making.
The medical students, of course, were not only protesting Garner's death, likely caused by a chokehold during an arrest, but also the fatal shooting of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown. The medical students have merged the two movements, converging #ICantBreathe and #HandsUpDontShoot with #WhiteCoats4BlackLives.
Medical students see the #WhiteCoats4BlackLives protest as a way to expand the conversation about racial injustice in the United States, bringing fresh attention to how discrimination affects the medical field. "This isn’t just an issue of injustice in the law, but it’s a social health justice issue," Amber Anders, a student at Yale School of Medicine, told The New Haven Register on Wednesday.
Even the deans of medical schools lent their support to #WhiteCoats4BlackLives on Wednesday.
Image: University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine/Facebook