Racism is a Health Crisis, says Black Muslim Physician

Racism is a Health Crisis, says Black Muslim Physician - About Islam

Pandemic and Protests

The death of George Floyd served as a catalyst for global protest. In the US, protestors ignored state limits on social gatherings in cities and suburbs.  Dr. Shabazz explains reasons for the impressive attendance.

“The pandemic set an environment that required people to respond. It wasn’t a matter of cough into your elbow and take some cough syrup. This pandemic forced people out of work and the schools. It made them sit at home and pay more attention as things unfolded and how it affected people, upfront, every day. “

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Dr. Shabazz told AboutIslam her motivations to protest. “Being a medical professional and knowing how this disease spreads, I felt there was a greater calling for me to show my anger, my disgust and express a need for change, even in the face of the exposure to something that could be deadly.”

Dr. Shabazz described a social vice squeezing Black Americans, where on one side, there is a contagious disease killing Black people and on the other is the American racial system and law enforcement killing Black people. 

“I saw state troopers in riot gear just six feet away [from me].  That was the bigger threat.”

Racism is a Health Crisis, says Black Muslim Physician - About Islam

Safety Remains Priority

Dr. Shabazz told AboutIslam that safety remained a priority when she protested and described her process to protect herself and fellow protestors.

“I walked with over a thousand people, I wore my mask and stayed as far away from people as possible. I went home and put my clothes directly into the washing machine, showered and prayed to Allah to make my way safe, I also self-quarantined. “

Recent studies showed that police brutality protests have not contributed to nationwide spikes of COVID-19. According to Monique Tello, MD, MPH, in a Harvard Health Publishing article, infection transmission among protesters has been “incredibly low.”

Racism is a Health Crisis, says Black Muslim Physician - About Islam

She explained, “Protests have been held outdoors. For the most part people have been wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.”

As protests continue across the country, Dr. Shabazz gave advice for people to stay safer.  

“If you are going out there, wear a mask. Make sure to bring plenty of hand sanitizer with the proper amount of alcohol. Wear the right kind of mask properly, across the bridge of your nose, under your chin and snug to your face. Cough or sneeze into the crease of your arm, even with a mask on.

“If you’re sick or know that you’ve been exposed to somebody [who is], don’t go [protest].  Show up on Facebook or Instagram. Do a post about racism and send it to a thousand people. Find other ways to protest. Be active way beyond carrying a sign and shouting slogans. Mobilize all of that energy into something that will have long-term impact.”

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