ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ)–The Blair County NAACP Chapter and multiple UPMC Altoona hospital workers gathered Thursday to participate in the third annual White Coats Against Racism Kneel-In.
This protest started in 2020 to condemn the actions committed against George Floyd by Derek Chauvin. Physicians came together to show solidarity for the cause. Eventually, it became a grander occasion for healthcare discrimination as a whole.
In a statement to WTAJ, a UPMC Altoona spokesperson expressed how they value creating a culture of inclusion and showing their commitment to racial inequality.
“UPMC is focused on creating a culture of inclusion and belonging, not only for our employees but also for the patients we serve. We support employees gathering together to show respect and their commitment to racial equity.”
The group gathered on the lawn of UPMC Altoona and gave remarks before taking part in the kneel-in. The kneeling lasted for nine minutes and 29 seconds, the same time Chauvin kneeled on Floyd.
Altoona Family Physicians Associate Director Jesse Blank said it’s important the hospital continues efforts to promote diversity. Blank gave examples such as hiring a diverse staff and executives or getting interpreters to communicate effectively.
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“It’s important that an organization like the hospital understands the influence they have in the community and the way they may contribute to the health and discrimination against the different groups of individuals and groups that are less privileged,” Blank said.