RALEIGH, N.C.—Today, health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis returned to Raleigh for a third time, calling for Gov. Roy Cooper and North Carolina lawmakers to heed the advice of experts and keep non-essential businesses closed and the stay-at-home order in place and until new cases of COVID-19 decrease dramatically. They are also demanding that social services be expanded at the Federal and State level to make it possible for people to stay home.
At about 10:45 a.m., about a dozen health care professionals set up on the ramp in front of the N.C. General Assembly. The health care professionals stood stoically, some holding signs reading “I Can’t Believe I Have to Be Here Too” and “Stay Home for Me.”
As a result, the ReOpen NC protesters were not able to access their normal rally point, and instead had their rally in the middle of a parking lot, about half the size they were last time.
Carrie Shropshire, a Raleigh second-year medical student at Campbell University said, “It felt important that, this week, we take up the physical space that those extremists normally take up. Because the majority of North Carolinians are on our side. We need to continue to stay home, and the government needs to expand social services to allow us to do that.”
Luis Cruz, a lab tech from Greensboro, remarked, “Our message is not really for the 'ReOpen' protesters, it is for everyone at home paying close attention, as well as for our lawmakers. 'ReOpen' protesters are putting everyone at risk due to their unwillingness to think about their actions. Really we are trying to counter the dangers of that rhetoric. We’re trying to tell lawmakers that we are not prepared enough to reopen and they need to act to provide safety for everyone in the community. And that includes providing health care to everyone in the community. Ultimately that leads to Medicare for all. Many of our communities wouldn’t be struggling and suffering so much with this if we had Medicare for All and we could have avoided losing so many lives. We’re not only representing health care workers on the front lines, we’re representing everyone else who is concerned and confused.”
# # #
Healthcare Workers Defend NC is a group of nurses, medical students, physician assistants, and pharmacists, organized following the April 21 “ReOpen” protest to show the harm of not “sticking to the plan” of social distancing and to call for continued support for stay at home measures until the danger has passed.