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My sister died needlessly of COVID-19 — and racism

As I write this, over 210,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. My sister is one of them. But it wasn't just the coronavirus that killed her. It was also racism.Julie Butler graduated from Wellesley College in 1979 — one of the few Black women in the class — with a double major in molecular biology and studio art. She went on to become a veterinarian, and practiced her calling in Harlem, New York, the community she lived in for more than 30 years and to which she contributed as a community leader and board member for several organizations. She was a wife, a mother, and my best friend.

As a solo veterinarian, Julie logged long days in the clinic, seeing patients until 7 p.m. and completing charts after that. Her patients were dogs, cats, turtles, snakes, lizards, rabbits, birds, and more. She was Harlem's Steve Irwin.

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