24-year-old EMT Taylor Valera used her ambulance radio to broadcast against police brutality during a protest in downtown Brooklyn, New York.
What We Know:
- Valera was broadcasting support for the protestors saying, “Black Lives Matter. Get home safe, stay together, we f***ing matter. Black Lives Matter!”
- Valera’s boyfriend, paramedic Anthony Davis was driving the ambulance as she was shouting and leaning out of the window.
- “They wanted me to be able to separate the personal from the professional. Now is not the time to separate things,” Valera told BuzzFeed News.
- A few days before the protest, Valera had emailed her employer expressing that the company should speak up about the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality protest in response to George Floyd’s death. She received no response.
- The video of her participating in the protest while on duty went viral when journalist Scott Heins tweeted the incident. That same night, EMS CEO Michael Vatch suspended Valera.
Ambulance EMT just got on her radio to cheer on the Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Brooklyn. People flipping out pic.twitter.com/Yalwh8hn37
— Scott Heins (@scottheins) June 5, 2020
- Once the news got out about Valera’s suspension, she received a plethora of support and messages from the public and her coworkers for standing up for what she believes in.
- Her coworkers started a change.org petition in support for her and to call on SeniorCare EMS to lift her suspension and to take no further action, the petition has more than 5,300 signatures.
- Management explained in a meeting they had with Valera on Monday that the issue was not with her message, but the fact that she had participated in the protest on company time using the company vehicle. Their biggest concern was her safety.
- “I don’t’ think I should have to censor myself because the company may or may not agree with me, I don’t hold back on what I say,” Valeria expressed. “There’s been a lot of support from coworkers letting me know that they had my back.”
Valera’s suspension was extended to three shifts and her boyfriend Davis was not suspended.