New York nurses and doctors, hailed as heroes for fighting the coronavirus outbreak, are denouncing racial segregation in the public health system by joining the George Floyd protests.
Taking all the precaution like wearing masks, hospital scrubs and other personal protective equipment, face visors, about a hundred-something medical workers briefly walked out of Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital on Thursday to demonstrate against structural racism in America.
They held signs reading “Health care for all” and “Racism kills my patients,” and knelt silently for eight minutes and 46 seconds — the length of time a Minneapolis police officer pressed down on Floyd’s neck before he died.
“We took an oath to serve all communities, we took an oath to protect public health and right now excessive use of force and police brutality is a public health emergency,” Kamini Doobay said.
“As a health care professional currently fighting COVID-19, I also continue to fight the virus of racism,” Billy Jean, a nurse who is black, told the protesters.
The coronavirus epidemic, which killed around 21,000 New York City residents, has disproportionately affected minority communities, including African Americans.
In New York, members of the black community died at twice the rate of white people.
Doctor Damilola Idowu, 28- years old said, “We see patients of color disproportionately dying from chronic illnesses, not getting proper follow up, and of course we see the deadly violence that plagues these communities”.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets from Seattle to New York, demanding tougher murder charges and more arrests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, who was pinned to the ground by the knee of a white officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In Los Angeles, officers fired rubber bullets and swung batons during a testy standoff with demonstrators who set fire to a police car.
Police and protesters clashed in numerous cities including Chicago and New York, with officers responding to projectiles with pepper spray while shop windows were smashed in Philadelphia.
Last Friday, as hundreds of protesters, raged by the death of George Floyd, gathered outside the White House, US President Donald Trump was briefly taken to an underground bunker.
Floyd’s killing was seen as the latest example of police brutality against African Americans, which gave rise six years ago to the Black Lives Matter movement.
(With inputs from agency)