NURSES and doctors in New York joined the demonstrations to express their disgust at the recent murder of George Floyd and racism within the health service by marching across the city dressed in medical equipment and armed with banners.
Over the last week, the whole of the US has been up in flames as angry mobs have taken to the streets to protest the murder of Mr Floyd, who was pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin while being arrested for allegedly using a fake $20 note in a shop. He later suffocated as Mr Chauvin chocked him to death by placing his knee on his neck despite please that he could not breathe.
Known as Big Floyd, he was the father to a six-year-old daughter who lives in Houston with her mother, Roxie Washington. Mr Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, while three other officers involved in the incident have been sacked.
Yesterday, New York nurses and doctors, hailed as heroes for fighting the coronavirus outbreak, denounced racial segregation in the public health system by joining the protests. Wearing masks, hospital scrubs and other personal protective equipment like face visors, about 100 medical workers briefly walked out of Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital to demonstrate against structural racism in America.
They held signs reading “Health care for all” and “Racism kills my patients.” They also knelt silently for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time the Minneapolis police officer pressed down on Mr Floyd’s neck before he died.
Kamini Doobay, an emergency doctor at Bellevue, was one of the organisers of the protests which involved six hospitals across New York. He said: “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.
Billy Jean, a black nurse, added: “As a health care professional currently fighting Covid-19, I also continue to fight the virus of racism.”
Covid-19, which killed around 21,000 New York City residents, has disproportionately affected minority communities, including African-Americans. Almost 23% of those who have died across the US are black, according to official figures, despite black people making up just 13.4% of the population.