Wearing their scrubs and protective masks, hundreds of Bellevue Hospital workers knelt in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd on Thursday afternoon.
That time span is how long a white Minneapolis cop knelt on the 46-year-old black man’s neck on May 25, killing him — and sparking police-brutality protests around the nation and world.
Workers at the city-run hospital also chanted, “Black lives matter,” and spoke about the effects of inequality on the communities they serve.
Dr. Damilola Idowu said she sees the impact of racism on patients daily.
“We see the effects of our healthcare system,” she said, “the current insurance situation that basically causes communities of color to lack access to healthcare and come in with horrible conditions that could have otherwise been treated.”
The participants included doctors, nurses and administrative staff.
The hospital staffers have been on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus.
Many have already dealt with a lack of protective equipment, and some spoke about fearing for their lives when they’re off the job.
“I want to be treated as a human being,” said nursing director Michele Blackburn, “as I would treat you if you were ever in need and walked into this hospital.”
After demonstrating for more than a half hour, the workers slowly filed back into Bellevue.