April 22, 2020

THE HEROES BEHIND THE MASKS:

She's the ICU nurse who silently stood in protest at the Phoenix rally to reopen Arizona (Richard Ruelas, 4/21/20, Arizona Republic)

It was her scheduled day off from the intensive care unit at a hospital in Phoenix, where she takes care of patients who have contracted COVID-19.

She found out that morning that a rally was planned at the Arizona Capitol building. People weary of schools and businesses across the state being closed because of the new coronavirus were going to call for closures to be lifted and the state to be reopened.

Lauren Leander texted a few nurses she knew, seeing if anyone wanted to join her there.

Leander had seen photos of medical workers at similar rallies in other states, their presence serving as a counterweight to calls to reopen businesses. She was inspired to do the same at the rally in her home state on Monday.

"That was the kind of action we could take against something like this," Leander said.

She would spend the next few hours standing silent, her facial expressions partly hidden behind her medical mask. Her body standing rigid in surgical scrubs.

Leander said she heard a stream of insults from rallygoers. People accused her of being an actor. Or, if a real nurse, one who performed dentistry. Or performed abortions.

Posted by at April 22, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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