Students at the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento led a "die-in" on Tuesday in honor of Stephon Clark and to stand in solidarity with all black victims of police brutality.
The national "die-in" was sponsored by the UC Davis chapter of White Coats 4 Black Lives, a medical student-run organization born out of demonstrations that took place in 2014. Students at medical schools in cities across the country including Harvard University, Touro University California and Upstate Medical University, also participated in the die-in on Tuesday.
The protest was meant to call attention to racism, the disproportionate number of black people killed by the police and to urge healthcare providers to take action.
"We want to highlight and educate the community on just how intricately intertwined racial inequality is to all dimensions of physical and mental health," Elise Boykin, a student at UC Davis School of Medicine said according to a press release. "When we lose people of color in senseless tragedies it affects the health of the entire community. That burden of healing rests on the shoulders of physicians, nurses, social workers and mental health providers. That impact creates a public health crisis, we cannot lay idly and continue to watch this happen. The time for equality and justice is always right now."
On Tuesday, the UC Davis medical students joined groups Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Black Lives Matter Sacramento, Council on American Islamic Relations, Sacramento Law Enforcement Accountability Directive and Live Free. They positioned themselves on the ground in front of the university, with many students holding cellphones to represent that Clark was unarmed and only had a cellphone in his hand when he was fatally shot by police on March 18.
White Coats 4 Black Lives has created an online petition directed to elected officials and healthcare providers.
"We must continue to stand against institutional racism on which our nation was founded, and which persists to this day; from our streets to our emergency rooms and clinics, racism has very real consequences and is costing our community members and patients their lives," the petition read in part.