Innovation Ecosystem

A poignant pause in solidarity

In what has become an annual ritual, Care New England’s staff gathered at its facilities to pay homage to the murder of George Floyd

Photo by Richard Asinof

Some 60 staff members at Women & Infants Hospital gather to commemorate the murder of George Floyd with a ceremony lasting 9 minutes and 29 seconds on Thursday morning, May 23.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 5/27/24
Care New England continued its tradition of honoring diversity and equity in holding ceremonies of silence marking the 2021 murder of George Floyd at all of its medical facilities.
When will Lifespan join in with Care New England in hosting a similar ceremony in honor of speaking out and declaring that “Black Lives Matter?” As Rhode Island demographics mark its transition where its “minority” population is becoming the majority, how will that be recognized by the business community? Why are reactionary Republicans so afraid of being “replaced” by minorities and Jews?
For all the manufactured noise surrounding the southern U.S. border, it is surprising that the facts surrounding much of the gun violence, detailed in Ieva Jusionyte’s book, “Exit Wounds,” have not made more of a dent in the misinformation surrounding the conflict – that Mexico has only two gun stores, and most of the guns being used in the ever present violence are bought, sold and smuggled over the border from the U.S. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “To halt the vicious circle of border violence, stop the flow of guns.”]

PROVIDENCE – On Thursday morning, May 23, employees of Care New England gathered at the entrances of Butler Hospital, Kent Hospital, The Providence Center, and Women and Infants Hospital to pay silent homage to the murder of George Floyd, who was killed when on May 25, 2020, Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt upon Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes, resulting in Floyd’s death.

For each of the last few years since Floyd’s tragic death, staff at the Care New England facilities – nurses, doctors, researchers, and aides – have assembled as part of an organized effort to say out loud that not only do “Black Lives Matter” but “Black Moms Matter.” [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “Black moms matter.”

“Since 2021, Care New England has paused to acknowledge the ongoing impact of racial injustice on our collective health, well-being, and that of our patients and communities,” wrote Raina C. Smith, Senior Director of PR, Media Relations at Care New England, explaining the impetus behind the event. “As a health system deeply committed to access and equity, we remain steadfast in delivering the highest standard of care to all individuals, irrespective of their identities, experiences, or beliefs.”`

Nine minutes, 29 seconds of silence.  
At the entrance to Women and Infants Hospital, ConvergenceRI joined with more than 60 staff members who participated in the solemn, poignant ceremony. Many knelt down, while others held signs that read: “I can’t breathe” and “Black lives matter” and “Social justice matters.”

Perhaps it was appropriate that the construction workers from Manafort Brothers continued to bang, drill and operate during the ceremony. [Editor’s Note: Yes, Paul Manafort, the convicted felon who was then pardoned by the former President, is related to the family construction firm.]

Upcoming equity challenge    
The Care New England ceremony presaged what United Way of Rhode Island is planning for its 2024 Equity Challenge, inviting Rhode Island businesses, individuals and families to join in a seven-day curated experience in support of learning about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, beginning on June 19 – Juneteenth.

“This is a valuable opportunity for small businesses and organizations to provide a level of DEI training to employees without the barrier of expense often associated with it,” said Kevin Matta, United Way’s Senior Director of People and Culture.

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