My organization is a little behind the times. Just slightly.
Last week, any number of large hospital systems did a support event for black lives - White Coats for Black Lives.
UNC-Charlotte, Emory, THE Ohio State University Hospitals, NIH, etc.
Docs, nurses, caregivers went to their probably one designated green area and knelt for eight minutes and forty-six seconds in silence - the same amount of time that George Floyd had a knee on his neck.
I don't know how word got out to those other institutions, but ours didn't get the memo, or didn't act on it. Until yesterday that is.
The day before, when they announced this, my medical director and I had a meeting scheduled during the event. She asked to see if I could get it moved, and if they refused, "tell them they're racist". She made me laugh.
I'm not a caregiver, but I went anyway. Honestly, I went to document it and hopefully get a few good pictures. That did and did not happen.
I tried to get the high ground to get a better picture. I got two - both of which are here, as I combined them into one!!! Ohhhhhh........sorcery !!! And while there was an intro, I could hear nothing, and then all the sudden everyone was kneeling......................but me.
Of course I took a knee. Quickly.
On some kind of flagstone.
I won't lie, it was uncomfortable. It was supposed to be. I mean, unless you were on the lawn. Still it should have been uncomfortable, right?
I noticed many around me shifting their weight or switching knees. I get it. It hurt. In my mind, I was like: it's eight minutes and 46 seconds. It's not my life. It's not fearing for my life every time I walk down a street or into a park or into a store.
If people of colour can lose their life due to the colour of their skin, I can surely stay on one knees for that time period. I did use a hand to brace myself on the ground. My head was up for the first half, but down the second, my face grimacing. This was nothing compared to what some people go through at the hands of some shitty police officers.
Next to me was an older female physician who was African-American. She sat on a bench next to where I knelt. I'm making assumptions that due to her age, she might not be able to kneel, let alone for that period fo time. I'd say about two-thirds of the way through she started trying to strike up a conversation with me - in a protest that was as much about silence as it was reflection.
"You should have a cap on your head" (she wasn't wrong). I whispered, assuring her I had 70 spf on my head.
"That is a long time to kneel - does it hurt?". I just shook my head a little.
I didn't want to be rude and not acknowledge her, but I didn't want to be THE one person talking. Well, one of two people talking.
When I got up, she asked me to take her picture with a sign she was holding - I honestly couldn't take it in, mostly because of - ouch - my knee.
There was once in my life, a gay man on his knees is no big deal. But I'm no longer a young man, and even at a young age, flagstone.........ouchy.
I'm glad I did it. I have no idea if anyone in the media covered it. I hope so. The more exposure the better.
Song by: Trisha Yearwood