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Community gathers downtown in support of White Coats for Black Lives

By Bianca Wright
Published: Last Updated on

By Bianca Wright | Images by Trevor Bexon and Bianca Wright

This morning, members of the community, including local medical professionals, congregated in the City Plaza in downtown Reno to kneel for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. This gesture was in honor of George Floyd, a black man who was killed after a police officer knelt on his neck for that same length of time–8 minutes, 46 seconds.

Oscar Delgado, a Reno City Councilmember and CEO of the Community Health Alliance (CHA), and Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, the St. Mary’s Urgent Care medical director, led the event. Before kneeling, Delgado, Curry-Winchell, and two other doctors in Reno spoke out about why bringing awareness to racial injustice is critical for protecting black lives. 

Issues of racial disparity run deep, Delgado explained, saying it isn’t only present in the criminal justice system.

Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell
Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Image: Trevor Bexon

“It’s important and vital that we recognize it’s not just police reform,” Delgado said. “It’s about public health, it’s about housing, it’s about inequities across the different sectors that we all know.”

Curry-Winchell also spoke about the meaning behind the event, saying it was an effort to show support for George Floyd and any other African American men and women who have died due to police brutality and racism. 

“I wanted to bring together medical professionals to show we care about the injustice in the past, present, and to work towards change for our future,” Curry-Winchell said.

Two other local doctors also spoke at the event. The first was Dr. LaDawn Talbott, a plastic surgeon at Talbott Plastic Surgery Center. She gave an impassioned speech, saying that doctors like her serve the community without discrimination, and police should do the same. 

“We have repeatedly tried to raise awareness and speak up about this,” Talbott later said. “For the first time, we’re actually being heard.”

Talbott also spoke with This Is Reno Saturday during the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, sharing a story of her experience with police in Dallas, Texas when she was 5 years old. 

Dr. Toyin Weaver is a family medicine physician at St. Mary’s Urgent Care. She came with her two young children, and emphasized that racial disparity is not simply affecting older black men like George Floyd. She said it’s affecting young black children, like Aiyana Stanley-Jones and Tamir Rice–both kids who were killed by the police. 

As Weaver continued her speech, she became increasingly more emotional, asking that all black children, men, and women be given a chance at life. 

Then, for nearly nine minutes everyone knelt in front of the BELIEVE sign. 

After kneeling, Delgado shared one last message for the community: “Take what you’re thinking about, and make sure you move it into action. Don’t let this fizzle out.”

While Curry-Winchell doesn’t have any plans for future events right now, she said she wants to keep the movement going. She explained that there was not a White Coats Black Lives chapter in Reno, but she intends on creating a committee here soon. 

“Let’s continue the conversation,” Curry-Winchell said. “I don’t want it to die. I want to make sure we continue to get the word out.”

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