On July 7, 2016, a Black gunman ambushed Dallas police officers working a peaceful protest, shooting 14 and killing five.
The trauma surgeon who worked to save many of those officers — Dr. Brian H. Williams — made headlines when he spoke at a press conference after the incident. In an emotional moment, he confessed his complicated feelings as a Black man in America to the mix of race, policing and guns.
“I want the Dallas P.D. to also see me, a Black man, and understand that I support you, I will defend you, and I will care for you,” he said.
“But that doesn't mean that I do not fear you,” he added. “That doesn’t mean that if you approach me I will not immediately have a visceral reaction and start worrying for my personal safety.”
Grow the Future of Public Media
MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!
It was that moment that catapulted Dr. Williams into the national spotlight and pushed him to offer a diagnosis on a system that is failing almost everyone.
This week on Big Books and Bold Ideas, Dr. Williams talks with MPR News host Kerri Miller about that fateful day in Dallas. They also talk about what led him to medicine in the first place, the systemic racism he witnessed in the health care field and why he still believes healing is possible.
Dr. Brian H. Williams is a trauma surgeon, an Air Force Academy alumnus and a former congressional health policy advisor. His new book is “The Bodies Keep Coming: Dispatches from a Black Trauma Surgeon on Racism, Violence, and How We Heal.”
Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.