Why It Makes Perfect Sense for Medical Students to Protest for Racial Equality

Like many Americans troubled by the lack of consequence for the police officers who recently killed unarmed black men, 23-year-old Corbin Weaver took to the streets to protest and call for reform.

In “unseasonably warm” 30-degree weather this week, Weaver was one of about 50 medical students gathered outside the University of Iowa’s school of medicine who laid on grass and concrete and staged what’s called a “die-in.”

“The protest was for [Missouri teen] Michael Brown and [New Yorker] Eric Garner, and all sorts of people every day who experience racism in our health care system and society at large,” Weaver said.

She helped organize the event because, as a caucasian Iowa native, she feels that there will be no progress without the majority taking up the cause of minority Americans.

“I'm directly affected about these things because I am part of society, and people I care about are being hurt,” Weaver said. “In order for there to be change, people that have privilege have to acknowledge that it’s there and acknowledge that it’s a problem, and that’s why I think it’s important for people of my background to say: ‘This is unacceptable.’ ”

Similar protests took place at dozens of medical schools all over the country, perhaps because when it comes to American racism, medical professionals are likely to be the most acutely aware of the harshest truths. Our doctors have long been witness to the deadly proofs of racial disparity, watching their patients’ trajectories from cradle to grave and understanding that that trip is often shorter for blacks than for whites.

Black babies are at least twice as likely to die as white babies—a fact Weaver, who may become a gynecologist, pointed out. Minority children raised in food deserts, where there isn’t ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food, struggle with higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Those who survive into adulthood face violence more frequently in low-income areas, and those who are hurt—be they innocent bystanders or perpetrators of the violence—are less likely to survive their injuries because there are fewer emergency rooms in those neighborhoods. That means a lesser chance of survival of injuries where every second counts: stabbings or gunshot wounds, for example, when patients can bleed out and die.

Faced with those realities, it makes perfect sense why medical students care so much about ending racism: They truly believe all lives matter.

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Original article from TakePart