About 300 physicians, medical workers and other supporters gathered at Durham’s Central Park on Saturday to bring attention to racial inequality in health care.
It was also the latest in days of Durham protests responding to George Floyd’s death and other police killings of African Americans. The Durham protesters lay on the ground in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, representing the time a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck.
The protesters gathered along Foster Street at 1 p.m. holding “Black Lives Matter,” signs, with variations such as “Black Health Matters,” “Black Futures Matter” and “White Coats for Black Lives.”
Passing cars honked approval.
Shortly after 1, the rally crossed Foster to get to the park’s shelter, where two UNC-Chapel Hill students shared their experiences with race as medical students.
Second-year medical student Candace Barr read reports from medical professionals who responded to an anonymous survey she conducted recently. One doctor heard from her scheduling agent that patients would ask her race and when they found out ask to schedule with another clinician.
Richard Beckett-Ansa, also a second-year medical student, went through a list of demands for medical students, including ready access to black mental health professionals, mandatory racial bias training for professors and a record of the schools’ histories of racism.
The rally then made its way down Foster, with chants of, “Black lives matter,” “Do no harm,” and “White silence is compliance.”
Sean Hunter, a physical therapist from Durham, said Floyd was part of the reason he came out, but not all.
“It started with George Floyd, and began building,” he said. “It’s been going on for too long. It’s time to get out and do something about it.
TEENS ORGANIZED ANOTHER DURHAM RALLY
Another 400 peaceful protesters gathered at CCB Plaza at the corner of East Chapel Hill and Corcoran streets shortly after the medical workers rally was winding down. The rally was organized by two 13-year-old friends, Beautiful Green, a ninth-grader, and Morgan Johnson, an eighth-grader.
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