I Can't Breathe

We Can’t Breathe-Reginald Brown

In 1992 I was 5 years old. I vaguely remember the beating of Rodney King by six white LAPD Officers who were subsequently acquitted. Today I am a 32 year old black man, experienced with police contact, some good, and some bad. Nevertheless, I am aware that 30 years later, things remain the same.

Often, we refer to slavery as if it has ended. Slavery is alive, however; the methods have evolved. In the early 1900’s and into the Civil Rights movement, African Americans were beat, murdered, hung, raped, sprayed with water, and attacked by dogs. Slavery and racism are sophisticated beast, it’s unchanging and forever evolving. Our prison system is a true testament to that. African Americans account for almost 14% of the U.S. population. We are no longer the second largest race in the U.S. anymore. However, we account for 75%-80% of the 2.2 million incarcerated in the U.S. The KKK has put down their cloth robes, pointy hats, and picked up badges. They have become Senators, Judges and Presidents. They are the politicians that shape our country today. 

Over the past week or so I’ve struggled with my message. Not knowing if my words have a place in this conversation? But, I have watched the video of George Floyd being murdered by the police repeatedly. It has given me my strength and courage. This man life was taken from him as he begged and pleaded for air. As he called out for his mother. His mother that passed away three years prior. As on lookers begged and pleaded for his life. “You are killing him”, they shouted; “YOU ARE KILLING HIM”! Take one second and ponder on this, George Floyd will never take another singular breath. His children will never be able to hold their father again. So when you wonder or ask what’s at stake here, the answer is, LIVES! 
As I watch the protests in our country and those by our bothers and sisters across the pond, I am educated. Racism in America is only a microcosm of the worlds true reality. Racism is our oldest pandemic. It affects us globally. We cannot allow George Floyd death to go unchecked. We must continue to march together; Black, White, Latino, Asian and all others! Young and old! Male and Female! They will try to judge and focus on the response of the people, we must focus on the actions that has continued to stoke these flames.Together we will make them say their names: 

George Floyd 5-25-20
Breonna Taylor 5-13-20
Eric Gardner 7-17-2014
Mike Brown 8-9-14
Tamer Rice 11-22-14
Freddy Gray 8-19-15
Philando Castile 6-6-16
Sandra Bland 7-13-15
Alton Sterling 7-5-16
John Crawford III 8-5-14
Walter Scott 4-4-15
Oscar Grant 1-1-09
Amadou Diallo 2-4-99
Jordan Davis 11-23-12
Antwon Rose II 1-19-18
Mikel McIntyre 2017
LaQuan McDonald 10-20-17
Botham Jean 9-6-18
Keith Childress 12-31-15
Bettie Jones 12-25-15

I can’t, He can’t, She can’t, We can’t Breathe!

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