Healthcare workers at Oakland's Highland Hospital show support for Black Lives Matter

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Medical professionals at Oakland's Highland Hospital took a short break Thursday morning to take a stance against the killing of George Floyd and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"People talk about privilege and using their privilege and the white coat is definitely an example of that," said Dr. Alex Diaz. "I think people have a respect for our profession and for the white coat as a symbol. I think we need to use that to fight for what's right and try to do something in this moment."

About 50 medical professionals stood on the sidewalk outside the hospital holding signs to let patients and visitors know that they think black lives matter.

"We need to realize that we definitely think that this a public health crisis because it is. It has not only physical effects, death, but also long lasting mental health effects on all the people of our community and particularly people of color," said Dr. Virginia Adewole.
Dr. Adewole is African American, and felt personally touched to see her team taking action.

"In the past few weeks I felt silent rage. I have had outbursts of tears. I have had lots of resentment, wondering why we have been sold this dream that we can be part of the American dream and yet for 400 years it continues to be systematic dehumanization both in killings and an inability to get appropriate jobs and education. The internalization of that racism makes you doubt your ability to achieve things that other people all around you are achieving," said Dr. Adewole.

"So seeing people out here lets me realize that I am suffering but I am not alone and that people do care and there is still hope," she added.

Fellow medical staff members say it felt good to be heard and to take part in the demonstration.

"We have a very diverse faculty and I think everybody really shares the mission that we have," said said Dr. Diaz. "People that come to work at Highland really have the mission to serve this community, and that's why we are here."

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the investigation into George Floyd's death in Minneapolis and protests across the U.S.

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