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June 05, 2020

Philly health care workers join 'White Coats for Black Lives' demonstration

Doctors, nurses show solidarity with protesters calling for an end to systemic justice and police brutality

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health care workers protest.png Natalie Hope McDonald/For PhillyVoice

Health care workers and staffers at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia kneel in remembrance of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Philadelphia-area health care workers kneeled for nearly nine minutes Friday afternoon as part of a nationwide demonstration against police brutality and racism. 

The "White Coats for Black Lives" protest played out at locations across the Philadelphia region, with doctors, nurses and other providers demanding justice for George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police.

Health care providers temporarily left their positions to at 1 p.m. to kneel for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin spent kneeling on Floyd's neck. The symbolic gesture is one that has been adopted by protesters across the United States. 

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder; three other officers also face charges. 

At Franklin Field, employees from the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania joined together in protest. 

Temple University Hospital, Jefferson Health and Magee Rehabilitation providers stepped outside their respective facilities to participate. And many providers in South Jersey joined in too. 

Dr. Angela Skrzynski addressed the connection between systemic racism and role of health care providers in remarks delivered as part of Virtua Voorhees Hospital's remembrance. 

"As physicians, it is our duty to ensure the health of our patients," Skrzynski said. "We have to stand up against anything that threatens their wellbeing. The health disparities that emerge as a result of systemic racism and discrimination are no exception."

Here are a collection of tweets from the demonstrations. 

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