Every night since April, New Yorkers have praised essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, cheering outside their apartment windows. On Tuesday, doctors used this nightly applause to join anti-police brutality protesters in Times Square, the New York Times reports.
Following their 7 p.m. cheers, doctors and other medical workers began chanting “How do you spell racist? N.Y.P.D.!” surrounded by hundreds of protesters.
“We are members of a community that is being applauded every day at 7 — there are advertisements here in Times Square thanking us,” Dr. Hillary Dueñas, a resident physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, said. “We think it is more appropriate to use our voice to applaud people who are protesting right now.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has made clear that there have always been inequities in the community,” she continued. “There has been a hugely disproportionate burden of death and disease among marginalized communities and communities of color.”
Tuesday was the second evening of the new citywide curfew ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio, which currently takes effect at 8 p.m. local time and lasts until 5 a.m. The order marks the first curfew imposed on New York City’s residents since 1943, when a white NYPD officer shot a black U.S. Army soldier, inciting riots in Harlem when citizens thought the soldier had died from his wounds.
“In 1943, the dissemination of a piece of mistaken, incendiary information spread like wildfire and blew up the community,” Jacob Morris, director of the Harlem Historical Society, told Rolling Stone. “Which means that the tinder was there, the fuel was there. In this particular case today, there was no misinformation. We saw it. I guess that’s the contrast. We actually saw them kill this guy with our own eyes.”