CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Hundreds, including many from the University of Virginia medical community, went silent for eight minutes and 46 seconds while kneeling around the Memorial for Enslaved Laborers.
The time represented the time prosecutors say a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd before his death.
The group of advocates and allies gathered in protest and solidarity to remember Floyd. It was a time and a place for reflection and thought.
“It’s hot here and the grass is wet, and to even think about the discomforts that I was feeling - in the perspective of somebody who was murdered over that time period - was what I was trying to keep in my mind,” said Dr. Susan Kirk.
Dr. Kirk, the associate dean for graduate medical education, acknowledged she cannot represent the experiences and pain of her black colleagues, but she shared her thoughts “in the voice of an ally.”
“If we don’t take action after this to dismantle the systemic racism that affects their lives, their education, their criminal justice system - and I should say, our criminal justice system because it’s all of ours - then we will have failed," she said.
Dr. Susan Gray expressed a need for healthcare providers to be a part of the change.
“Racial and ethnic disparities in this country start at birth,” Dr. Gray said. “And they continue until premature death, and we think that’s not acceptable. That’s what we’re here today.”