In a week of demonstrations and protests, something different
It was yet another in a week of demonstrations and protests, but the gathering in the downtown plaza Friday morning was like no other.
The gathering was billed “White Coats for Black Lives” and that alone set it apart.
The crowd was different, mostly medical personnel, doctors, nurses, caregivers from local hospitals and practices. Most wore masks. Social distancing was the norm. The speeches were few and short.
The most powerful statement, in fact, was silence. Eight minutes 46 seconds of silence as the crowd knelt. The same amount of time the police officer in Minneapolis knelt on George Floyd's neck.
It was -- in a way -- the intersection of the two crises facing the country, each in their own way revealing the divisions and persistent inequities in America today.
Local surgeon Dr. LaDawn Talbot noted local doctors often treat law enforcement officers.
"We are expected to treat everyone, every patient with the utmost care and respect and not discriminate. Whether or not they are combative. Whether not they are on drugs. Whether they have mental illness and are acting irrationally. We still uphold the same standard of care to do no harm and we want the police to do the same for us."
"I hope the community understands that it's not just one case of criminal justice reform, but it's a lot of different areas where there's disparity," said Reno City Councilman Oscar Delgado. "Public health is one of them."
Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell. the Urgent Care medical director at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, encouraged by the hospital's administration, organized the event:
"It's unfortunate that it takes one event after the other event for people to notice the injustice that's happening in our community. I have a three-year-old and a five-year-old and I want them to be treated the same wherever they go."