“By standing together at medical schools nationwide, we hope to demonstrate that the medical student community views racial violence as a public health issue,” said BUSM student Andy Hyatt to the more than 60 medical students gathered wearing their white coats in the Hiebert Lounge on Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, Dec. 10, which the United Nations declared as Human Rights Day back in 1950, medical students across the country organized “White Coat Die-Ins” to protest the police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri and New York. They wore their white coats and used the social media hashtag, #whitecoats4blacklives, to spotlight racial bias as a public health issue.
Hyatt pointed out that this situation is particularly relevant to BUSM students because of the school’s proud legacy of equal opportunity.
“Ours is the first medical school for women. We graduated the first African-American female physician, the first African-American psychiatrist, and the first Native American MD,” he said. “It is also important to recall our hospitals diverse patient population and corresponding mission to provide ‘exceptional care without exception’.”
After a student read the names and of people who have been the victims of police brutality, the students posed dead for four and a half minutes—representing the four and a half hours that Michael Brown lay in the street after he was shot.
Holding signs that read “Am I Next?” “No Justice, No Peace,” “White Coats for Black Lives,” and “Racism is a Public Health Epidemic” they processed out of the front lobby of the medical school building into the rain on the Talbot Green where they began chanting, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
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