The Current

How Dr. Brian Williams changed his life in a moment

The story of a personal moment of disruption from a U.S. trauma surgeon who surprised himself by speaking up in the face of a tragic shooting last summer.
Trauma Surgeon Brian Williams treated officers during the Dallas police attack on July 7, 2016. In a press conference, he says 'it’s not just about that one night, it’s about the racial undertones that impact all of this.' (Youtube/Diverse Medicine)

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On July 7, 2016, trauma surgeon Dr. Brian Williams was on duty when a gunman ambushed police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas — killing five, and wounding 11 others, including two civilians.

"Knowing that these were police officers, it was very difficult to accept  that they had died when I was working," says Williams.

The shooting took place just days after two high profile cases of police officers killing black men, and Williams was shaken by the racially charged violence.

But a split second decision at a news press conference changed the course of his life.

"I did not walk in there preparing to say what I ended up saying."

While Willams sat at the table during the press conference, he says he felt conflicted about the bigger discussion not being addressed — racism in America.

What happened next is something Williams has never done before publicly. He spoke up, and candidly shared his thoughts on race in America. 

"At that point my life changed, and now I'm injected into this story. So now is when I feel my obligation begins to participate in what's going on."

Listen to the full story at the top of this post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Peggy Lam.