On June 6, thousands of healthcare and public health workers marched from Harborview Medical Center to Seattle City Hall to demonstrate against racism and police violence.
“Statements are great, action is better,” says protest organizer Estell Williams, MD, Department of Surgery, in a letter to UW Medicine.
Roughly 10,000 protestors from UW Medicine and other healthcare facilities joined the march wearing masks and donning their scrubs or white coats to show solidarity from the medicine community and to make these demands:
- Declare racism and police violence a public health emergency.
- End policing that is violent against marginalized populations, particularly our Black communities (e.g. racial profiling, stop and frisk, gang injunctions, criminalization of houselessness).
- Redirect funds from law enforcement agencies to community-based programs for harm prevention, intervention and transformative justice.
- Stop and reverse militarization of law enforcement.
- Eliminate legislative and union contract provisions that shield the police from accountability.
- Declare records of all investigations of law enforcement brutality with associated materials as public property and ensure public accessibility.
- Immediately end the violence against protestors. We stand in solidarity with them.
Researchers at UW Medicine also wrote a letter providing public health guidance on COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter protests. The letter has signatures of support from public health and infectious disease professionals and community stakeholders. The authors’ letter is to help public health workers formulate anti-racist responses to concerns about protests spreading the virus.