Clad in white coats, Chicago medical students and physicians joined the call for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign Thursday as they staged a 16-minute die-in in front of City Hall. The 16 minutes were meant to signify the 16 rounds that entered into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald's body when he was shot by Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014.
"I am here to support the numerous black men, including Laquan McDonald, who have lost their lives unjustly at the hands of the very entity created to protect us," said Sheena Harmon, a third-year resident at Rush University Medical Center.
Holding signs that read #WhiteCoatsForBlackLives and "Rahm Is Not Healthy For Chicago," the medical students and doctors also expressed their concerns about the possibility of a cover up in the process of prosecuting the McDonald case. Ashley Czworniak, who is a student at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, said that although she comes from a police family, she attended the protest to rally against the "unlawful killing" of McDonald and the institutional racism she believes Emanuel has allowed to "continue for far too long" in the city.
"Even more so, to stand against obstruction of the law for the purpose of political gain," Czworniak said. "That is exactly what Rahm Emanuel did by suppressing the issue of Laquan McDonald's death until after his re-election. I take issue with a powered official valuing black lives enough to use them as pawns for the purpose of re-election, but not valuing them enough to be honest with them about the violence that happens in their own communities.
"We need to work moment by moment to dismantle the power of people who think and act as if laws and their protections do not apply equally to all people," she added. "Yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the first step in the healing process for this city was to be his. Step down."