'White Coats for Black Lives': Suburban health care workers show support for racial justice
When the clock struck noon Friday, doctors, nurses and ancillary staff members from all specialties gathered on the lawn outside Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
They held a moment of silence to remember victims of racial injustice. They read poems out loud. And then they knelt in solidarity with the nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"The energy was just tremendous," said Dr. Dhruvil Pandya, an interventional neuroradiology physician. "You could see it on everyone's faces -- the compassion, the empathy. It was just fantastic to see."
Similar scenes played out at hospitals across the suburbs as health care workers showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement with an initiative of their own: "White Coats for Black Lives."
In the Edward-Elmhurst Health system, roughly 200 physicians and staff members held signs and knelt outside their hospitals in Naperville and Elmhurst. Employees of Advocate Aurora Health showed their support in parking lots, hallways, waiting rooms and hospital lobbies.
The hospital demonstrations have been spreading nationwide, catching fire on social media and sparking interest among doctors at Central DuPage, said Dr. Shivani Desai, a neonatologist and chairwoman of the hospital's physician wellness committee. Not only did participants want to join in the fight for racial equality, she said, but they also wanted to show support for their black colleagues.
"It's just a small gesture for people to know that health care providers are providing their support," Pandya said. "I think it goes a long way."