DANVILLE — More than 100 people, many in scrubs or lab coats, took a knee and observed a moment of silence at noon on Friday in the grass area near the flag pole at Geisinger Medical Center.
Geisinger employees system-wide participated in the Black Live Matters observance, sparked by George Floyd's death in police custody and the worldwide protests that have followed.
Tamara Dickey, like several in the crowd, held a Black Lives Matter sign. Her daughter made it for her Thursday night.
"I'm the mother of a black son and I was very moved by the issues that are surrounding this whole Black Lives Matter Movement," she said. "And I am certainly prepared to support and donate and be a force for the movement."
Dickey, a black woman, said she is part of Geisinger's diversity and inclusion team.
"Geisinger and (CEO) Dr. (Jaewon) Ryu have really led a wonderful effort here at Geisinger to be more inclusive," she said.
Dr. Darrell McBride said he wasn't surprised with the turnout for the same reason.
"It just further showed what we already know to be true — that we have so much support here," he said. "I've only been here for two years. Geisinger seems to be an all-inclusive and stand-up place."
McBride, a black man, said all of the protests are the manifestation of frustration when it comes to black peoples' lives in relation to the rest of the United States and how they're seen by police.
"It makes a lot of people feel like their lives aren’t valuable and that's really what Black Lives Matter is about," said McBride, an infectious disease doctor. "Everyone knows a human life is important, but when things are broadcast nationwide and nothing’s done about police brutality throughout the nation it makes you feel like your life’s not that important."
Dr. Elyse Jensen, who works in the internal pediatric medicine department at the hospital, organized the event, which spread system-wide.
"I'm sure the sentiment existed and people everywhere wanted to do something, but our discussions kind of initiated the events themselves," Jensen said.
Jensen said she had seen a lot of schools and hospitals take a stance by having peaceful demonstrations and decided it was time for Geisinger employees to speak up and show support.
"I wanted to show our support for the Black Lives Matter movement and just our support for equality and breaking down systemic racism," she said.
Participants took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time a recording shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck. Chauvin has been charged with murder in the case.