‘White Coats for Black Lives’: Providence Centralia Hospital Caregivers Take a Knee

June 9, 2020 Andrea Harger

Right at 10 a.m. on Friday, 16 caregivers at Providence Centralia Hospital knelt down outside the building’s north entrance.

They remained there for 10 minutes, aiming to draw awareness to the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others who have been lost as a result of violence and police brutality. It was part of an initiative called “White Coats for Black Lives.”

200606.providence.knee.jpgHospital staff kneel in front of a cross displayed on a building in the Providence Centralia Hospital campus Friday morning.Jared Wenzelburger / jwenzelburger@chronline.com

 

“We wanted to offer our caregivers the opportunity to show our community that we care for every soul,” a statement from Providence read. “That every person is of sacred worth, that we respect the inherent dignity of every individual, and that we love our neighbors.”

Among those who participated were Providence Centralia Chaplin John Capen and Assistant Nurse Manager Jennifer Martin. In her experience serving in the Army, Martin said she was exposed to systemic racism and oppression toward people of color for the first time.

“I have been blessed with a privileged life,” Martin said. “For the last 15, 20 years, I’ve tried really hard to work to show that I support and listen to people of color’s voices. I’m grateful for the opportunity with Providence to stand together in solidarity for justice for these people.”

She continued by saying she hopes people can acknowledge and different human experiences.

“I hope that we can look at people like Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd and try to listen to their voices and recognize their experiences are different from ours and valid,” Martin said. “That we can move forward together in unity.”

From Capen’s perspective, he said one of the core values of Providence is justice. He said that served as a driving force behind his participation and he believes it also inspired many of the caregivers.

“Making sure that whenever we witness any events in our culture that are acts of injustice, or a result of injustice, that we need to stand up for that,” Capen said. “Make sure that this place isn’t just a place of healing for the body, but for the mind and the spirit and for the community to bring that sense of unity and peace.”

He continued by stating he hopes the demonstration helped promote justice in the community and that he hopes people become more mindful of their own thoughts, actions and behavior.

Additionally, Capen said he hopes to see more people willing to make a difference in the community.

“We need to come together as a community,” Capen said. “We need to make sure that we’re promoting things such as justice, love, peace, compassion and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Making sure that any change that takes place is a change that promotes those things.

“That we’re coming together in unity to love one another as we are.”

When addressing what she hopes is taken from the demonstration, Martin aspires for those in the medical community to continue understanding the unique experiences that people go through.

“I’m hopeful that all these good people here are looking and seeing that we take this seriously and that it’s okay to stand up and have a voice,” Martin said. “It’s even more important to listen to people who have different experiences than ours and take their lead.”

‘White Coats for Black Lives’: Providence Centralia Hospital Caregivers Take a Knee

As for the future, Martin is looking to various proposed methods of reform in police departments across the county.

“I think people need to be aware that we, as a country, believe in equality,” Martin said. “I hope very much that change occurs within each of us and that we can stand together and move forward in a way that helps people feel safer in the world that we live in.”

 
 

 

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