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Miami hospital workers take a knee for racial equality

MIAMI – More than 100 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers knelt outside of Jackson Memorial Hospital on Thursday afternoon, joining the nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice.

It was part of a national movement called White Coats for Black Lives, which empowers healthcare workers to speak out against inequality.

The demonstration at Jackson took place just after noon in front of the Holtz Children’s Hospital, and the group remained knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to reflect the time George Floyd was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

It came as these medical workers continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the cancer world, we talk about double hits with mutations, and this feels like a double hit,” Dr. Tobenna Ubu said. “You know, the communities were already suffering, and now we’re suffering even more.”

The hospital workers held signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” in reference to Floyd’s last words.

One sign read: “Take it from a registered nurse. When someone can’t breathe ... help them!”

“The tough part for me was realizing undercover emotions that maybe I’ve been not hiding, but just unaware of for the past couple of days,” said registered nurse Rochelle Bradley. “If my patient’s airway is compromised, whether it’s from a reaction or anything else, even for a split second, we’re told to act immediately. So to see George Floyd on the ground with a first responder’s knee on his neck for 9 minutes really bothered me as a nurse.”

Dr. Armen Henderson from the University of Miami shared his own experience, saying he was wrongfully detained by Miami police in April while on his way to help feed the homeless.

While he was released, he’s now using the story to underscore why a change is badly needed.

“We’re really trying to bring attention to what’s going on and bring about some real changes,” Henderson said, “and I’m just happy that I could lend my story.”

The entire demonstration lasted about an hour, after which many of the hospital workers went right back inside to continue treating their patients.


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