OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Hundreds of Oklahoma doctors and nurses took part in a ‘White Coats for Black Lives’ rally on Friday.
Medical crowds gathered for a heated topic Friday afternoon – unfair healthcare access for African Americans.
Medical officials at a rally outside the state capitol encouraged demonstrators to continue practicing social distancing.
“COVID-19 kills more black people than any other race,” a medical official said to the crowd.
Unfair access to medical care for African Americans was one of the many topics addressed outside the capitol on Friday.
The rally was distinguished by a sea of white coats in support of black lives.
“African American women are more likely to die in child birth. African American men have less aggressive care for heart disease,” said Dr. Cherie Herren, a pediatric neurologist.
Dr. Julie Krodel, a pediatrician, spoke about how gun violence has resulted in the loss of so many black lives.
“Today is National Gun Violence Prevention Day,” Krodel said. “Gun violence is the leading cause of death in black children in the United States. Our patients of color are harmed even more.”
The need for equal access to healthcare was also discussed.
“So what can we do?” said Dr. Angela Hawkins, OBGYN. “We can vote. June 30th votes are coming up, local votes. State Question 802 is on the ballet. We have over 200,000 Oklahomans who don’t have insurance, and with job losses, those numbers have probably gone up even more. We need better access to healthcare.”
Dr. Jihan Abdul-Haqq, a pediatrician, emphasized the importance of guiding youth.
“The other ways we get involved, by mentoring high school and college students to become doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, policemen. We can’t change the society if we’re not encouraging our youth to enter these fields to make a difference,” Abdul-Haqq said.
‘White Coats for Black Lives’ spoke powerful words and a promise to push for change during the rally, but all the applause from the demonstrators wasn’t nearly as loud as the 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in remembrance of George Floyd’s final moments pleading for breath as he died beneath the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, as all of these white coats plead for change.