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White coats fill Pikeville park for Black Lives Matter

Published: Aug. 8, 2020 at 11:39 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - “White Coats for Black Lives” brought medical students and healthcare workers to the Pikeville City Park Saturday for a peaceful demonstration to raise awareness about racism in the healthcare system.

The event, organized by four student groups from the University of Pikeville and Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) as well as Chaplain Rob Musick, shared stories of injustice and a message of inclusion.

“Inequities impact treatment of patients. And as a future doctor myself, I really want to be in tune with that and correct any of the mistakes I make in the future,” said KYCOM student Srijoni Sengupta.

According to organizers, the hope is to stand in solidarity with people of color and show that Pikeville is a welcoming home for prospective black medical professionals.

“Although in this little, cute, Appalachian area, it’s mostly white. And I think a lot of students of color with probably concerns coming this way. And, so it’s our way to show that we represent everyone,” said KYCOM student Lyudmyla Shymkiv.

KYCOM student Joshua Martin said, as a black medical student, he feels that representation.

“You always want to feel supported. And even seeing the faculty from the school and everyone out here really makes me feel supported and makes you more comfortable and proud to go to school here,” Martin said.

He said he wants to work in a healthcare field that has room for all people.

”We can’t forget the professionals. Because just because we get a title doesn’t mean the rest of the world changes or views us differently,” said Martin.

The event included doctor testimony and music, as well as eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence in memory of George Floyd. But, while the attendees were silent out of respect, they also heard that silent on the job is something they can not afford.

“In a racist society, we have to be anti-racist. We cannot just be physicians silent,” said Shymkiv.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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