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Medical Resources Deployed to Communities Engaged in Racial Justice Protests

Shipments of medical aid, including Emergency Medical Backpacks, are packed at Direct Relief's warehouse on June 11, 2020. These backpacks, and other requested medical aid, including protective gear, make up 45 shipments departing to health centers across the United States that have been impacted by recent protests. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Shipments of medical aid, including Emergency Medical Backpacks, are packed at Direct Relief's warehouse on June 11, 2020. These backpacks, and other requested medical aid, including protective gear, make up 45 shipments departing to health centers across the United States that have been impacted by recent protests. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Several shipments of emergency medical supplies from Direct Relief are en route to health facilities in communities affected by protests against police brutality and institutionalized racism.

The shipments contain emergency medicine, first aid supplies, and personal protective gear.

The mass demonstrations have been ongoing since the killing of George Floyd on May 25 by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. The weeks of protest are a notable show of resistance in a nation long shaped by racial inequality.

While protests in cities and towns across the country have predominantly been peaceful, they have disrupted essential services in several areas.

In Minneapolis and Los Angeles, public transit has been limited and some businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, have temporarily closed.

Without access to medication or proper nutrition, many have struggled to maintain regular healthcare routines. Some health facilities, including Southside Community Health Services in Minneapolis, are delivering food to patients unable to leave their homes.

In addition, many health facilities are experiencing an influx of patients seeking Covid-19 testing, placing further demands on resources already strained by the pandemic.

According to the People’s Center in Minneapolis, a community health center just three miles from the heart of the city’s protests, patients are pouring in after the state’s governor advised participants in demonstrations to be tested for Covid-19.

Several other state leaders have issued similar directives, following a CDC recommendation that protesters “highly consider” getting tested.

The emergency medical supplies, which departed Direct Relief’s warehouse this week, are being delivered to 45 health facilities around the country, with the largest share bound for Minneapolis and Los Angeles.

Direct Relief will continue to monitor the situation and provide support as needed.

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