NewYork-Presbyterian Takes a Stand Against Racism

With a moment of silence to honor George Floyd and to protest systemic racism, healthcare workers voice their commitment to fight racial injustice.

Thousands of doctors, nurses, and specialists from every area of medicine across NewYork-Presbyterian took a rare break Monday from the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic to take a stand against racism.

They knelt, in scrubs and white coats, for just over eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time a Minneapolis police officer pinned down George Floyd on May 25, kneeling on his neck as he told the officer he couldn’t breathe, resulting in his death.

Whether they knelt outside one of NewYork-Presbyterian’s hospitals, community clinics, or medical offices, or inside a break room, a nursing station or their own homes, NewYork-Presbyterian healthcare workers united in solidarity to honor Floyd and to demonstrate their commitment to fighting racism.

“NewYork-Presbyterian has stood up to the coronavirus, and now it will stand up to the virulence of racism,” Dr. Steven J. Corwin, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian, said in a message to all employees after Floyd’s death.

In a note to 47,000 employees and affiliated physicians, hospital leaders made it clear that their commitment against racism will extend beyond protests against present policing policies, dialogues with political leaders, and standing up when they see acts of racial bias. It will also be at the core of every decision they make. “We need to change, if we expect change,” the hospital leaders wrote.

“Now more than ever, our commitment to productive dialogue and positive action will make a difference in creating a supportive and empowering environment for each other, our patients, and our communities,” said Shaun E. Smith, senior vice president and chief people officer.

“We will do our best to make sure the memory of George Floyd is not lost,” said Dr. Corwin. “We’re on the beginning of a long journey, but it will be a successful journey.”

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