ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — In the past week and a half, we’ve seen unrest in the United States, but we’ve also seen millions of peaceful protesters take to the streets in cities across America. Some marching, some praying, others taking a moment of silence.
Friday, Rochester health care workers took a stand, by taking a knee. It’s something they’re calling white coats for black lives. Demonstrators gathered at noon, some in front of the famous Mayo brothers statues and others on the north east side of town.
“I am grateful for the moment that we took together, it says a lot about our solidarity,” Rochester health care worker and demonstrator Linnea Schmid said.
Dozens paused in remembrance and support for the black community for exactly eight minutes and 46 seconds — the same amount of time George Floyd had a knee pressed to his neck while in custody of Minneapolis police.
“I see this as a ripple in the ocean. That together with thousands, millions of people across the country, across Minnesota,” Schmid said. “But also in London and Berlin. It makes a wave, it makes a really big wave and that’s what we need in this country. An opportunity for improvement that gets us close to a perfect union that we make a promise to.”
That ripple caused waves in other parts of the country, too. Health care workers from hospitals like John Hopkins and Northwestern joining in on the hashtag, #whitecoatsforblacklives.
Schmid says a moment like this is exactly what the Mayo brothers stood for.
“I think the Mayo brothers represent the best of our ideals and it’s not just with me, but with the people who are affected by racism first and foremost, but also the people who are in support of them,” Schmid said.
She adds a relevant quote, from Charles Mayo himself: “There’s a beautiful quote, that I think is so appropriate, by Charles Mayo, and that is ‘if we excel at anything, it is our capacity at translating idealism into action.'”
That action came with a simple act: a sea of scrubs, white coats and sneakers, taking a knee.
“If we can speak out on one social injustice, one civil rights violation, it means as a city we can speak out on all social injustice regardless of how it might be perceived,” Schmid said.
This was not a Mayo Clinic sponsored event, however, demonstrators tell KTTC that Mayo Clinic and The Department of Family Medicine leadership supported individuals who participated.