AUSTIN, Texas — The first aid administered Sunday by a volunteer medic is the closest thing protester Sammi Ramirez has experienced to health care in years, onlookers confirmed during a march for Black Lives Matter.
“This woman rushed over to help me rinse the pepper spray from my eyes, and then she cleaned up my knee from when I scraped it hopping the fence,” said Ramirez. “She asked if I was drinking enough water, and I just started crying… not from the pain or anything, but because I was so goddamn happy to be receiving any type of medical attention. My God, it’s been years. Is this what having universal health care is like?”
Kat Alonzo, the volunteer medic who aided Ramirez, has assisted dozens of protesters with various injuries over the last few weeks.
“We’ve been seeing things like skinned knees and bruising from cops pushing protesters, but luckily, people are looking out for each other,” Alonzo explained. “I helped Sammi get cleaned up so she could get back out there, and I encouraged her to maybe take a little breather and to recharge. She also has a suspicious mole on her back that I think she should get checked out, so I had her put on some sunscreen. I will say, everyone’s been really stoked to be seen by a doctor, which is nice — she even wanted to show me this rash on her stomach, but I told her it might have to wait.”
Experts believe the recent surge in protests across the country may lead to an increase in Americans getting the necessary medical attention they otherwise wouldn’t receive.
“It’s encouraging to see so many people out marching in the streets, demanding justice and calling for the abolition of police departments and private prisons,” said local social worker and long-time human rights activist Arlo Brynne. “And it’s always wonderful to see so many Travis County residents finally getting the free medical care they need after running from rubber bullets and tear gas by coming together as a community and relying only on each other.”
In an unsurprising move, Alonzo’s makeshift first aid station was later attacked by police for practicing medicine without a license.