A week after intense and widespread protests against President Trump’s “Muslim Ban”, Students and faculty at Columbia Medical Center are taking a stand of their own. This afternoon, local
politicians joined student leaders in front of the 168th Street campus to show support for their Muslim and immigrant community members. Katherine Sullivan has the story.
The protesters at Columbia medical Campus may be students now, but they’re soon getting ready to put on the white coats of the medical profession, and all the prestige that comes along with it.
Fade up Ambi protest and Fade down
Dua Hassan, a fourth year medical student, says as future doctors, the students here today are aware one day, they’ll have a special role in their communities.
HASSAN: i think that doctors and med professionals have some sort of legitimacy as people who are educated and people who are healers in the community so I think it’s really important for
medical professional to stand up for patients. (needs internal edits)
One group at today’s rally is the Asylum Clinic. The student run clinic works closely with asylum seekers, providing medical, psychological, and gynecological evaluations.
Students and doctors examine refugees for signs of torture and trauma. Their evaluations are then included in a refugee’s asylum case. Andrew Sudler is a first year medical student that
works in the Clinic.
SUDLER: Rates of actually getting asylum are about 30%. And they increase to about 90% when someone has one of those evaluations with them.
When a doctor finds and document evidence of torture or mistreatment it can strengthen an asylum seekers’ case.
Sudler and his classmates at the Asylum clinic aren’t sure what kind of impact the refugee ban will have on the clinic’s work, and that’s part of the reason he’s here at the protest.
SUDLER: Everybody is realizing this work is more important than ever.
But it isn’t just patients that the students are advocating for. Dua Hassan’s family is Muslim– from Sudan. When the ban was announced last week, that’s where her family was, visiting
HASSAN: Some of my family members were out of the country and they are visa holders and so as of now they can’t come back.
For now, Hassan is speaking out the best way she knows how–with a plastic megaphone in front of students huddled in the cold.
For Columbia Radio News, I’m Katherine Sullivan
HASSAN: It’s a really interesting situation where you have this elite, wealthy medical center in…..community that’s more working class a lot of immigrants. It’s really important to be one,
to advocate for the community, for us to use our priviledges to make sure that the community is safe.