Say his name: Patrick.
Say his name: Patrick.
It’s what dozens of medical students from Michigan State University chanted while walking down Michigan Avenue and throughout the downtown area on Friday afternoon.
“It's unexplainable. You can’t really put it into words how many people care about Black lives,” said Paige Sims about the turnout of the march. She's the co-vice president of the Student National Medical Association. “Our classmates here showed that they’re allies. Being here, wearing our white coats, representing Michigan State’s College of Human Medicine, the students who study here in Grand Rapids care about Black lives.”
The students departed from the school around 1 p.m., all of them wearing white coats. They chanted and carried signs, including a large banner in the front that read White Coats for Black Lives. They marched in protest of the death of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya, who was fatally shot by a Grand Rapids police officer on Monday, April 4.
“The thing is Patrick resembled so many parts of our patients,” said student Patricio Ruano. “He was a refugee. He was a father. He’s somebody that we see and we care for inside the clinic and outside.”
The deadly shooting caught national attention this week. The students said they’re tired of seeing it happen repeatedly throughout the country. However, they’re determined to tackle the greater issue: racism.
“Racism is a public health crisis,” said Jasman Kaur, a second-year medical student and member of SAFE: Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic. “As medical students it’s our duty and our job to address it and to do what we can.”
Faculty, deans and doctors also joined the march. Dr. Lisa Lowery is the assistant dean for Diversity and Cultural Initiatives at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She’s also a Grand Rapids native.
She said it was emotional for her to watch her students march in solidarity, fighting for social justice. She believes the call is for everyone to do the same.
“As a community we need to not let this be a one-and-done; let’s march; let’s make a little noise but really hold everybody — including our healthcare leaders, our people, leaders in our community — to really make changes on that multi-factorial, multi-systemic level that we have to do,” Lowery said.