“#Health workers explain why they’re joining Black Lives Matter protests”
June 8, 2020 | 6:08pm
Christel-Ann Augustin with fellow protesters.
Here, four New York area doctors and nurses share why they’ve joined the city’s marches.
Christel-Ann Augustin, 26, from Rockland County, NY is a pediatric registered nurse at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center.
I’m black, I’m a registered nurse, and a child to immigrant parents born and raised in Haiti. They are both physicians, and have dedicated their lives to taking care of others. Our work has only become more important with the pandemic. Nonetheless, America is still discriminatory against us and all black lives. With these protests, black health-care workers are demanding the same level of human decency and respect in the country they help take care of.
Dr. Ayesha Arif, 28, lives in Manhattan and works as an anesthesiologist at Mount Sinai West.
As physicians and health-care workers, we have been portrayed as heroes and I think we are well-positioned to speak up for black lives. During the COVID pandemic, people of color were hit hard. A lot of that has to do with their baseline access to health care . . . the outer boroughs had higher rates of COVID than Manhattan itself. I do believe that racism is a public health crisis and that we should speak up on behalf of all of our patients.
Dr. Olu Akindutire, 30, from Brooklyn, works as an emergency room physician at NYU Hospital.
My role as an ER physician is to help people no matter what color they are. It’s important to be out there to condemn the injustices that black Americans have dealt with for 400 years. The protests have been inspiring, especially seeing colleagues of all races, backgrounds and religions come together. It’s good to know we African-Americans are not fighting this battle all by ourselves.
Colleen Hautzinger, 30, from Queens, is a third-year resident at a large New York City hospital. She declined to give the name of the hospital for fear of repercussions.
We took an oath to do no harm and the police brutality that is occurring is doing harm. The social disparity relating to the access to care and services that black individuals receive is not OK. We need to shine a light on this issue so we can fix it and change it.
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