On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, University of Rochester Medical Center medical students participated in a nation-wide action calling for die-ins and protests because #BlackLivesMatter. The die-ins and demonstrations happened at more than 70 medical schools to protest the "lack of indictments for police killings in Ferguson, Mo., and New York, and to spotlight racial bias as a public health issue," according to a press release from Physicians for a National Health Program.
#WhiteCoats4BlackLives came together at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry seemingly over night according to Emily Walters, a third year medical student.
"On Facebook yesterday I saw someone at a different school post about this med student die-in. I clicked on the link to see what it said. It said that there were over 50 schools and Rochester wasn't on the list, which was surprising to me because we are--I feel like as a school our culture is very committed to social justice--the administration is very supportive of social justice," Walters said. "We started posting about it on social media and there was such a huge need for it by students that it came together really easily. A few posts on social media, a couple of emails, and the passion of the students," and #WhiteCoats4BlackLives materialized on campus happening that day at noon with over 70 students participating in the die-in.
The national call-out was endorsed by Students for a National Health Program, part of Physicians for a National Health Program ( www.pnhp.org ), an organization more 19,000 physicians, health professionals, medical and health professional students who advocate for universal, single-payer, improved Medicare for all.
Nationally, the die-ins happened around 3pm. However, in Rochester, they happened at noon. According to the Facebook event page, "Our event will take place at noon in order to accommodate the schedules of our medical students. Our advisory deans encourage students who are currently scheduled for advisory dean lunch but who wish to participate in this event to participate in this event and then attend advisory dean lunch afterwards."
During the die-in, Michael Seaberry, a first year medical student, read a piece he had recently written regarding the death of his father, a police officer, and the non-indictments of killer cops, Darren Wilson & Daniel Pantaleo. "I wrote this piece, then ironically, about a week later, the grand jury announcements were made about not indicting officer Wilson in Ferguson. So I tweaked it a little bit to go more along with the things that have happened to me by police officers--like being pulled over at gun point for no apparent reason at all by three police cars--which was very scary," Seaberry said. "My dad, being a police officer, I sort of see both parallels; I really trust police officers because that's what my dad was, and I'm also afraid of police officers in a sense, because of the things that have been going on and because I'm a young, black male."
"We as medical students feel that this is an important time for medical institutions to respond to the violence and race-related trauma that affect our communities and the patients we serve," states the press release. "Racial bias and violence are not exclusively a problem of the criminal justice system. As we have seen in Ferguson, Mo., New York, and countless other places, bias kills, sickens, and provides inadequate care. As medical students, we must take a stand against the oppression of our black and brown patients, colleagues, friends, and family. By standing together at medical schools nationwide, we hope to demonstrate that the medical student community views racial violence as a public health crisis. We are #whitecoats4blacklives."
On November, 17, 2014, Dhoruba Toure Shakur, a member of Black Souljahz, explained the murder of Vonderrit Myers Jr. at the corner of Shaw Blvd. & Klemm St. near Shaw Market. Off-duty St. Louis police officer Jason Flanery was the killer cop. According to family, Myers had a sandwich in his hands, not a gun. The store clerk at Shaw Market has told news sources that minutes before Myers was killed, he had been sold a sandwich.
Part of October's stop mass incarceration programming at the Flying Squirrel Community Space included "The Whole Damn System is Guilty!" From Rochester to Ferguson -- a community report back. Local activists and organizers went down to Ferguson, MO to forge relationships with on-the-ground organizers there as well as to see first hand what was happening.
From Rochester.Indymedia.org! Human Rights Day in Rochester--Capitalism vs. Human Rights--on December 8, 2014, at Downtown United Presbyterian Church. Opened by Shirley Stephens Thompson with Pat Mannix reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Take Back The Land and allies gathered at Joseph Martinez's home on Alameda St., on December 9th, 2014, demanding that Wells Fargo call off its eviction order. The marshal and the movers failed to appear. At the end of the day, Wells Fargo agreed to negotiate. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
White Coats for Black Lives actions at over 70 Med Schools & Hospitals today, December 10, 2014. University of Rochester Medical School was no exception. This afternoon over 70 students participated in a die-in. #WhiteCoats4BlackLives #BlackLivesMatter #RochesterIndymedia #DieIn #UniversityofRochester
The action, which consisted of banner drops, a snake march from South Ave. & Main St. ending on the east side of the Ford Street Bridge, numerous rallies, and multiple die-ins at Main St. and Stone St. and at the roundabout at Plymouth & Ford, was organized by B.L.A.C.K. (Building Leadership And Community Knowledge) at the same time as they were organizing the campus action. At the end of the action, people gathered in a circle and repeated strong words from black revolutionary Assata Shakur.
The Fight For $15 movement rolls on! On November 21, 2014, ROC for 15 organizers, Wendy's workers, and community allies confronted Peter Pettinatto, a Wendy's district manager, about unsafe working conditions, $15 / hr. and a union. Specifically, when this was recorded, anti-slip mats were missing from the work areas of the Wendy's store located at 1175 E. Ridge Road, Irondequoit, NY. Enjoy!
On December 4th, an emergency rally and snake march in response to the non-indictment of Eric Garner's killer, officer Daniel Pantaleo was called for by B.L.A.C.K. (Building Leadership And Community Knowledge). The rally started at Genesee St. and Brooks Ave. at 2pm. From there, the march went down Genesee, cut over to Jefferson, and went up to Main St., where a die-in occurred in the middle of the intersection. After that, demonstrators continued in the street down Main in an eastbound direction eventually rallying at city hall before dispersing.
Take Back The Land and allies gathered at George Douglass' home in the 19th Ward today, December 2nd, 2014, demanding that Wells Fargo call off its eviction order. The marshall and the movers failed to appear. Today was won. We'll see what tomorrow brings. #TakeBackTheLandROC #FuckWellsFargo #HousingIsAHumanRight #EvictionDefense
The United Christian Leadership Ministry & the Coalition for Police Reform held a press conference on November 25, 2014 in response to the Ferguson grand jury's decision to not indict officer Darren Wilson who was the cop that shot unarmed, black, teen Michael Brown dead. After the press conference, interviews were conducted.
The press conference was held at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 North Fitzhugh St., Rochester, NY.
Submitted by T. Forsyth / A. Dillon on Thu, 2014-11-27 15:25
November 24, 2014, Rochester, NY
After the non-indictment of Darren Wilson came out, a spontaneous demonstration occurred and congregated at College Town. From there the march meandered through the University of Rochester campus where it ended at Rush Rhees Library.
After this, a flag was burned and a demonstrator was chased, tackled, and eventually hauled away by campus security to the U of R public safety building. He was released soon after with no charges or involvement from the RPD.
For questions regarding this Open Letter, please contact @deray.
The Results Are In
An Open Letter from Protestors On The Grand Jury Decision (11.24.14)
In Ferguson, a wound bleeds.
For 108 days, we have been in a state of prolonged and protracted grief. In that time, we have found community with one another, bonding together as family around the simple notion that our love for our community compels us to fight for our community. We have had no choice but to cling together in hope, faith, love, and indomitable determination to capture that ever-escaping reality of justice.
After 108 days, that bleeding wound has been reopened, salt poured in, insult added to the deepest of injury. On August 9th, we found ourselves pushed into unknown territory, learning day by day, minute by minute, to lead and support a movement bigger than ourselves, the most important of our lifetime. We were indeed unprepared to begin with, and even in our maturation through these 108 days, we find ourselves reinjured, continually heartbroken, and robbed of even the remote possibility of judicial resolution. A life has been violently taken before it could barely begin. In this moment, we know, beyond any doubt, that no one will be held accountable within the confines of a system to which we were taught to pledge allegiance. The very hands with which we pledged that allegiance were not enough to save Mike in surrender.
Once again, in our community, in our country, that pledge has returned to us void.
For 108 days, we have continuously been admonished that we should “let the system work,” and wait to see what the results are.