Black Lives Matter protest focuses on youth and medicine

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – More than a week after massive protests in Providence, a large group of protesters once again gathered at the State House.

Sunday’s protest was organized by a new, youth-led organization called “Gen Z – We Want to Live.”

Demonstrators staged a “die-in,” laying on the street for 8 minutes, 46 seconds – the length of time George Floyd was restrained before he died, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Protesters also shouted protest chants like “I can’t breathe,” and “get off my back.”

For organizer Jaychele Schenck, it’s personal.

“I cried,” said the high school student. “I first experienced racism when I was in first grade. My dad was arrested right in front of me.”

She and fellow organizer Isabella Ja

mes say they hope the protest inspires other young people.

“It makes no sense to me that two people who haven’t even gotten to their senior year of high school are standing here, having to fight for our lives.” Schenck said.

And it wasn’t just youth; medical professionals in lab coats arrived to show their support and to talk about racism as a public health issue.

“Systemic racism impacts us, it impacts our health, in insidious and chronic ways,” said Stephen Bozier, a medical student at Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School.

He says Americans must talk about how racism causes psychological trauma and is a factor in a lack of affordable housing, food, and medical care, putting people of color at risk.

“The conversation can’t stop tomorrow, it can’t stop next week, it can’t stop next year,” Bozier said.

The crowd thinned out Sunday evening as protesters peacefully left the State House.

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