Black in ER: Gun Violence Through the Eyes of Black Medical Professionals

Written by on August 8, 2019

by Sincerely Syreeta

Host of The Lounge on WURD RADIO

The 4 part series aired nightly on The Lounge from July 29-August 1st

“Hearing a mom’s cry, a dad screaming, ‘not my son,’ or a little [child] crying, ‘I want my brother.’ These are sounds we hear when we go home. They never leave you.
The gun violence takes a toll on our hearts too. Please help.”

Those were the words written by Jamelah, a nurse who is hurting. 

A mother who is fearful. 

A community member who feels helpless.

A WURD listener who is hopeful.

The stories and perspectives of Black medical professionals and first responders isn’t one that we often see, if at all, in the media. But you know what we do see? All the negative images that have become associated with the Black community—some due to circumstance, and some by our own doing…our own choices. 


Listen to the 4 part radio interview series:


The gun violence that continues to hold too many of our neighborhoods hostage is a mixture of both. 

When you’re responding to shots fired in a community of your people, speeding to the scene, trying to prepare yourself for the chaos, the hostility, the danger, and the blood—so much blood—none of that matters, though. What matters is getting there in enough time. What matters is moving quick enough to either keep the victim alive until the ambulance arrives or making the decision to get them in the back of your squad car and rush them to the ER yourself. What matters is that small voice in your head that asks, “Is today another day where there are witnesses but no one willing to bear witness?” 

“Black in ER: Violence Through the Eyes of Black Medical Professionals & First Responders” is a series of interviews with men and women on the frontlines of the violence devastating our communities. It did, in a sense, all that we hoped for: shed light and bear witness to the other side of gun violence and its subsequent trauma in the Black community. 

As a radio show host, journalist, mother, advocate, and member of the Black community this series has left me asking some of those same questions: what could I have done or asked differently? How can we—as a station and community—take that pain away? How can we not only help these professionals, but the ENTIRE Black family?

My hope is that as you listen to these four conversations, learning about their personal stories and experiences on the job, you take a second look at your family, your neighborhood…yourself and ask the same questions. As you hear these five folks relive trauma, and offer their ideas on potential solutions, think about your own.

WURD Radio is committed to using this platform to discuss the outbreak of violence happening in our communities and because of guests like those featured in this series, and callers that have chimed in over time, we came up with a list of solutions that you can check out here

We know that there are countless folks who have started and continue to do all that they can for our community, and we encourage each and every one of you to keep going…just as we will. What’s started must not stop. If anything, this series and so many other on-air conversations I’ve had with guests about the causes and impact of gun violence have shown me that we have a lot to work with already.

We have mission-driven men and women who, when it comes to the streets, have been there, done that, and are doing better now. We have Black-owned businesses that are building with our community’s future and generational wealth in mind. We have organizations that are committed to serving no matter how financially under-supported they are. We have community members that are volunteering their time, money, and energy. We have young people, full of energy and life, who if given the opportunity and guidance, can direct their trauma into triumph. 

We talk a lot about what we don’t have and should have; about what has been systematically and institutionally taken, kept and robbed from us. 

But one thing I and so many who have come through The Lounge have said or realized is: none of what we lack from the outside matters at this point. What matters is what we do have…inside; inside ourselves, inside our homes, inside our communities. It’s time to build upon and expand the efforts of that. 

I want to personally thank Jamelah, AJ, John, Bobby, and J—the brave professionals who were willing to bear witness, on record, to what they’ve witnessed in our communities and at their jobs. We honored the protection of their identity because the sharing of these kinds of thoughts, feelings and knowledge could be potentially costly to one’s livelihood. 

They’ve sacrificed more than enough for us—for our people. 

With that said, it’s my honor to present to you, “Black in ER: Violence Through the Eyes of Black Medical Professionals & First Responders.” 

As always, listen with the intent to: Empathize, Empower and Evolve.


~Sincerely Syreeta

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