doctors kneeling white coats for black lives

Physicians from hospitals around the country will protest in solidarity with George Floyd and other victims of racial violence on Friday.

According to posts on Twitter from hospital employees, workers in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Atlanta, New Haven, Louisville, and other cities throughout the country have planned protests. Workers organized kneeling protests and moments of silence, both through internal communications and through social media.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York promoted the protest to its staff via an internal email. Diane Reidy-Lagunes, president of medical staff at MSK, learned about the protest from a co-worker who had seen related posts on social media. After approval from the hospital’s COO and Physician-in-Chief, Reidy-Lagunes sent information about the protest to the medical staff.

“Although (the protest) is a small gesture, we thought it was an important gesture,” Reidy-Lagunes said. “Our responsibility is to help care and promote change, so this is one small act to ensure that people know that at MSK we don’t tolerate injustice and racism.”

Protests at other hospitals spread via #WhiteCoats4BlackLives on Twitter. Tweets under the hashtag shared the time—for most, 1 p.m. EST—and place of their respective protests.

Doctors opposing racism

“Racism is a public health crisis,” wrote one doctor under the hashtag on Twitter.

The protests were associated with the organization WhiteCoats4BlackLives, a medical student-run group aiming to dismantle racism in the healthcare system. WhiteCoats4BlackLives could not be reached for comment by time of publishing.

Still, other hospitals coordinated their own protests earlier in the week. A group of five hospitals in New York City—Bellevue, Kings County, Lincoln, Jacobi, and Montefiore—held moments of silence throughout the day on Thursday, June 4.

“The injustice within our own healthcare system further compounds the vast network of social inequalities,” representatives of the hospitals wrote in a combined press release. “Today, we see how these systems manifest in the disproportionate toll of Covid-19 on the Black community.”

Ben Glickman

Ben Glickman is a student journalist at Brown University with experience with data analysis, investigative tools and audio storytelling. He is passionate about holding power...