In late May several Washington University School of Medicine students were discussing how they could make a difference in light of the resurgence of awareness of police violence and systemic racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Several students organized quickly and within a week had developed a two-part effort to promote awareness and support as part of the #WhiteCoatsforBlackLives movement. Profile photo shoot sessions were scheduled where WUSM faculty, students and trainees wearing clinical garb and masks held signs with messages showing support for communities of color and acknowledging that racism is a public health crisis. The student organizers encouraged participants to use their images on social media along with links to educational resources, community organization websites, etc. in order to build awareness and provide avenues for others to directly engage with the movement.
The student group was also responsible for organizing hundreds of WUSM faculty, staff and students on Friday, June 5th for a demonstration as part of the White Coats for Black Lives event, held in conjunction with other healthcare professionals across the nation.
October, 2020 update:
The student group for White Coats for Black Lives shares the following message:
To all those who participated in our White Coats for Black Lives photo campaign in early June,
We hope you’re doing well and staying physically and mentally healthy! We’re writing to check in on how you’re all doing with your anti-racism journeys. There has been no shortage of tough and disappointing news since we met in June, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the barriers facing us. However, as the late Representative John Lewis said, “If you see something that’s not right, not fair, not just, do something about it. Say something. Do something. Have the courage. Have the backbone to get in the way.”
Personally, we have been reading and unlearning, protesting, having discussions with our close friends and family members, supporting Black-owned businesses, and helping with LouHealth’s efforts to register people to vote on WUSM’s campus.
To that end, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you all to check your voter registration and to solidify your voting plan. At vote.org, you can register (MO deadline: Wednesday 10/7/2020), check your registration status (must re-register if name or address has changed), find your polling place, request an absentee ballot (MO deadline: must be received by 10/21/2020 5pm, click here to request), and even sign up to become a poll worker.
- Check what’s on the ballot— for Amendment 3, we recommend reading the arguments from the support and opposition here
- Notary: sign up for a time slot with a notary at EPNEC here (and get your flu shot at the same time), or check if your public library offers notarizing services
- For St. Louis City, the election office address is Board of Election Commissioners 300 N. Tucker Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63101
- If you are voting absentee, you can also go to the St. Louis Election Office during regular business hours to vote (up until 11/2/2020)
We encourage you to post the attached compilation video to your social media and include your voting plan. Then, tag five friends and ask about their voting plans. You may need to screen record the video as it plays on your device to post it to your social media.
For those looking to do more, a WhiteCoats4BlackLives chapter has been started at WUSM. If you are a student, click here to read about the national organization’s goals, and then click here if you are interested in getting involved or are interested in learning more about their working groups (Campus Policing, Bias and Bias Reporting, Curriculum, Institutional Statements and Support, and the WC4BL Racial Justice Report Card.
You can also help LouHealth by volunteering to register voters until Wednesday and help run the notarization effort here.
Thank you all for your continued involvement in this movement! Stay healthy!