Honoring Lives Lost to Police Violence

Staffers take a knee as part of White Coats for Black Lives

The message to the crowd gathered outside Lahey’s East entrance on June 5 was clear: “We are here today in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all of the many others who lost their lives, but not on tape,” said Sheri Keitz, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine. 

She then led the group of more than 100 doctors, nurses, cafeteria workers, hospital leaders and other staff in a demonstration of solidarity with healthcare workers around the country who took a knee as part of the White Coats for Black Lives movement.

For 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the length of time it took George Floyd to die under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25 — the group knelt in silence, holding handmade signs with messages like “Black Lives Matter,” “Racism is a Public Health Crisis” and “I can’t breathe.”

Since the events of May 25, leaders from Lahey and the Beth Israel Lahey Health system have reiterated their unequivocal stance against racism and redoubled their commitment to address race-based disparities in health.

“It is more important now than ever that we stand together as one community against racism and hate,” David L. Longworth, MD, president of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center wrote in an email to employees. “We must all work together to model an inclusive society — one that embraces all of its members regardless of religion, culture, race, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Every one of us has the opportunity to make a difference and to be an ally for our community and all of those who are suffering,” Dr. Keitz told the crowd on June 5. “I’m so proud of you all for being here.”

Photos courtesy of Johnson Photography, Inc.