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Medical students across U.S. hold 'die-ins' to protest racism

Medical students at the University of Pennsylvania blocked traffic as they joined a national "die-in" to protest the police killings of unarmed black men and racism in health care.

By Frances Burns
Medical students across U.S. hold 'die-ins' to protest racism
Protesters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York last week over the chokehold death of Eric Garner. On Wednesday, medical students across the country held a National White-Coat Die-In. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

SACRAMENTO, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- White-coated medical students from Harvard to the University of California held "die-ins" Wednesday to protest the deaths of unarmed black men and racism in health care.

The National White Coat Die-In involved scores of medical schools across the United States.

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Lucy Ogbu Nwobodo, one of the organizers of the protest at the UC Davis Medical School in Sacramento, said the national discussion of the shooting of Michael Williams in Ferguson, Mo., and the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York "have affected all of us."

"We decided to come together as one voice to speak up about these issues," Nwobodo told Capital Public Radio. "We believe that because it affects our patients outside of the hospital it's just as important as what we see in the medical clinics."

At Yale in New Haven, Conn., medical students spent 4 1/2 minutes lying on the ground, a minute for each hour Williams' body remained on the street, and then, like Garner, shouted "I can't breathe." Jessica Minor, a medical student, said the protest was also aimed at the under-representation of minorities and women in medical school.

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At the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, protesters stopped traffic. About 100 students blocked Walnut Street by lying down.

"Protecting the citizens of this country is something that I've been doing since I got out of the military," Michael Spinnato, a first-year student at Penn, told KYW-TV.

Philadelphia has one of the biggest clusters of medical schools in the country, and each held their own demonstration.

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