The National University community took a stand against social injustice as part of a Black Lives Matter demonstration on campus.
Donning their white coats, about 75 students across various NUHS programs demonstrated in front of campus near Roosevelt Road, holding signs in support of justice and equality for Black lives. Faculty members and staff also participated. In response to COVID-19 and in order to protect each other, protestors wore masks.
“As a future black doctor, as a black woman and a mother to a 22-year old Black son, there are so many thoughts that have been humming through my mind,” said Tina Barrett, NUHS naturopathic medicine student and Social Media/Communications Chair of the NUHS chapter of Black Naturopathic Medical Student Association.
During the demonstration, she held a sign that read: “I should not need a White Coat for my Black Life to matter,” which she believes stated her feelings best.
“Whether it’s on the streets, being stopped by the police, or in the examination room with my physician, we have to get to a point in this nation where we respect Black people as human beings, and treat them as such,” Barrett said. “For so long this country, heck the world, has treated Black people as property, test subjects, problems, obstacles, criminals, savages, or insert negative adjective here, but it has yet to truly treat us as actual humans deserving of respect.”
BNMSA currently has plans to reach out to other naturopathic schools and form an alliance with other Black student organizations. BNMSA is also looking to form a student committee to better respond to racial issues and communicate standards and desires to their respective schools.
“As an organization, we really want to focus on outreach. We’d like to be more involved in educating our communities as a whole about naturopathic medicine in addition to reaching out to young Black students to present the opportunities available in our profession,” Barrett said.
The demonstration was kickstarted by Janice Jorges, a past Chicago Naturopathic Medicine Student Association Chapter President. In light of recent events involving social injustice, National University has released a response supporting change against racism and social justice. BNMSA also organized counseling sessions with Cynthia Taylor, PhD, LPC, specifically for BNMSA members and for the general university community via Zoom.