As recent events have unfolded involving the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others, and as we witness the groundswell of support for The Black Lives Matter Movement, many of the trainees at UW Medicine would like to demonstrate a more visible show of solidarity with the Black communities and communities of color that we serve. We were very heartened to read strong displays of acknowledgement and support from our leadership, but our trainees would like to go further.
To that effect, we are planning a show of support where all the staff at our hospital have the opportunity to show support in a tangible way. This will be accomplished by asking those who are not involved in “essential clinical activities” to participate in an outside silent stand-in for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time during which George Floyd was pinned to the ground and subsequently killed. At noon on Friday, June 5, those who would like to participate can come outside to the locations on the maps attached for each hospital, making sure that they are wearing masks and appropriately distancing for the stand-in. We feel that a show of solidarity in the form of taking a knee, signs (worded appropriately without profanity or incitements to violence) and wearing of white coat would all be appropriate ways to express our devastation over these events and our commitment to equitable solutions. Again, we would like to reiterate that this is a peaceful protest, and encourage and will be enforcing social distancing. Please notify your supervisors if you are planning to attend.
Of note, we have seen many other examples of similar protests/stand-in’s known broadly as #whitecoatsforblacklives happening in many cities, from a small gathering of physicians outside a PED in Texas, to a longer protest march via UW Medicine being organized at Harborview Medical Center to Seattle City Hall happening on June 6. While many of our staff may not be able to join the Harborview march, we think it is essential for our staff and faculty to have an opportunity to show solidarity and commitment on our campus.
What: UW Medicine Show of Support for Black Lives Matter
Who: All are welcome. Students, residents, fellows, faculty, staff and healthcare workers throughout the UW healthcare system.
When: Friday, June 5, at noon.
Where: At UW Hospitals, including UW Montlake Campus, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital and VA Puget Sound.