By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Hundreds of frontline NYC Health and Hospitals workers stood in solidarity with peaceful protesters at a midday rally June 9 to demand justice for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others.
“As a healthcare worker, I’m proud to work along side so many amazing Black professionals every day, who face racism every day themselves and struggle to treat its health disparities our Black patients suffer from,” said Harlem Hospital Social Worker Nate Franco, who is a Local 768 member and union activist.
“As a union member, I know that none of us can win what we deserve until we are all free,” he said. “As a white person, I know it’s past time more white Americans stand with the Black freedom movement.”
In support of social justice for victims of racism and police violence, NYC Health+Hospitals President Dr. Mitchell Katz invited staff to join the ‘White Coats for Black Lives’ movement in peaceful rallies at facilities citywide.
On Tuesday dozens of NYC H+H employees, including workers DC 37 represents in 11 locals, took a break from COVID-19 duties and stood or knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds for peace.
The time marks the same length of time a Minnesota police officer held his knee on the throat of unarmed Floyd and took his life.
This was one of three incidents since May that sparked peaceful multiracial protests in New York and in cities across America and around the world to demand social justice and systemic reform.
“We are living in a momentous time, the coronavirus pandemic has hit Black and Brown communities disproportionately harder and overt racism still exists,” said Fitz Reid, Local 768 president. “We are seeing people of all races coming together as advocates of change for a better society for all.”
Photos courtesy of Nate Franco, Local 768