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White Coats/Die In for Black & Indigenous Lives

by Jonathan Pringle on 2020-06-08T15:49:00-06:00 in Population Health, Epidemiology | Comments

Lying face down, arms shackled and our wrists behind our backs with invisible handcuffs. Five minutes into the die-in protest we wondered, “How did George Floyd feel?”

Our experiences bore only the vaguest resemblance to Mr. Floyd’s. We were lying on a lawn in front of the Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center (HSLIC) below a blue sky with over 200 others. Bearing down on Mr. Floyd were three Minneapolis police officers. One officer, Derek Chauvin, jammed his knee directly on Mr. Floyd’s neck. While we could breathe on that lawn, Mr. Floyd could only gasp for his life, “I can’t breathe!”

On Thursday, June 4th at 12:00 p.m. the UNM White Coats for Black & Indigenous Lives sponsored a Die In Protest on the lawn in front of HSLIC. The event was catalyzed by the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Tayler in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota. In addition to a sobering and powerful 8 minutes and 45 seconds, organizers and speakers took turns detailing a series of demands for HSC administration, including:

  • Addressing underrepresentation of Indigenous people and African Americans in the medical field
  • Withdrawing funding (if any) to the ABQ Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and NM correctional institutions
  • Supporting "racial-based" data collection to show how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Indigenous and Black communities

The authors of this blog post were on hand to not only observe and take photos, but to also participate in the protest. We are both cisgender, white males with significantly more privilege than those at the heart of this protest. We wish to share what, for us, was a profoundly moving event.

Jon Eldredge & Jonathan Pringle




Protest Looking Northeast. Jon Eldredge, June 4, 2020.


Protest Event Signs. Jonathan Pringle, June 4, 2020.


Protest Looking West. Jonathan Pringle, June 4, 2020.


Protest Looking Northeast. Jon Eldredge, June 4, 2020.


Protesters Lying Down Looking Southwest. Jon Eldredge, June 4, 2020.


Protest Looking Northeast. Jonathan Pringle, June 4, 2020.


Protest Looking Southwest. Jon Eldredge, June 4, 2020. 


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