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UMass Medical School community holds vigil in memory of George Floyd

Local chapters of White Coats for Black Lives and Student National Medical Association welcome more than 500 participants

UMass Medical School Communications

junio 05, 2020

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More than 500 students, faculty, staff and caregivers from UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center—University Campus, wearing masks and standing six feet apart, took part in a silent vigil for George Floyd on Friday, June 5, on the campus green at UMass Medical School. A second gathering took place simultaneously at UMass Memorial Medical Center—Memorial Campus on Belmont Street. The nonviolent protest in support of the end of racism and police brutality suffered by black people in the United States was organized in part by the UMass Medical School chapter of the White Coats for Black Lives organization and the Student National Medical Association.

“This is our fight,” said Meme Tran, MD, SOM ’19, an emergency medicine resident at UMass Memorial Medical Center and an organizer of the event. “Racism is a public health crisis.”

Dr Tran thanked participants for paying tribute to Floyd, who died on May 25 while being held down by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Four police officers have been charged in his death.

“Standing in solidarity with so many caregivers who have come together today on the UMass Medical School campus is inspiring, impactful and fuels my belief that we can make meaningful progress toward ending the persistent structural racism that tarnishes our nation,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “Let this be one of many steps we take as individuals, and together as an institution committed to embracing the full richness of diverse people, perspectives and experiences.”

In addition to the crowd assembled, more than 125 people participated virtually through an online link. All stood silent for 10 minutes, in recognition of the amount of time that Floyd was held by police as he begged for air and then stopped breathing. His death has been ruled a homicide.

“It’s important for me to be here to show people that they are not going through this alone,” said Kevin Enabulele, SOM ’23 and co-president of the UMMS chapter of SNMA.