MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - Humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is standing in solidarity with the black community in the US in their demand for action to tackle racism, the president of the board of directors for MSF-USA, Dr. Africa Stewart, said, opening up about what it means to be black in this country.
The statement comes as anti-racism protests keep gripping the US for over a week since the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old African American man.
"For me, this is personal. No matter how good I am as a doctor, mother, wife, and human being, I can instantly be reduced to one simple word: black—and be judged as that alone. I was taught to work twice as hard and be twice as strong, but it never adds up to being safe in my existence," Stewart said in a press release, posted late on Wednesday.
The recent high-profile killings of Floyd and other African Americans another time show "the deadly impact of racism against black people in the United States," the MSF official said. According to the doctor, it has become something "normal," and she personally, her family and black colleagues "live with some measure of fear and uncertainty every day."
Stewart went on to note that racism is also a "public health crisis," citing reports that the COVID-19 mortality rate among the Blacks more than doubles the relevant rate for the Whites.
The situation, she said, even forced MSF to launch temporary operations in the US amid the pandemic to "serve vulnerable communities with limited access to health care," even though it does not usually run humanitarian operations in the country.
"All of us at MSF-USA stand in solidarity with our black colleagues and the black community. We are committed to listening, learning, and taking action against racism. We all must do more to ensure that black lives and health are protected. Silence is violence—and I won’t be part of that. Black lives matter," she concluded.
Floyd died on May 25 after he was arrested by law enforcement officials in Minneapolis for allegedly using a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill to make a purchase in a store. One day later, a bystander’s video appeared online showing a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd’s neck while the latter was lying prone on the floor, already in handcuffs. Floyd later died in the hospital. The four police officers involved in the arrest were fired.
Following a huge backlash, Chauvin was arrested, with charges against him upgraded to second-degree murder. The rest three were also put in custody later and charged over the incident.