I Can't Breathe

I Can’t Breathe

On July 16th, 2019, five years minus one day after Eric Garner’s death, it was declared that no federal charges would be instituted against the officers implicated. The now-famous slogan I Can’t Breathe lingers on my mind like a hot, humid and heavy D.C. summer night with no respite in sight

I Can’t Breathe when I ponder about my kids and what the future holds for them in our nation. Will they have to deal with the identical matters confronting minority populations and how they are controlled? Or will they decide to “pass for white”? Why does the colour of one’s skin dictate the socio-economic privileges one experiences?

I Can’t Breathe when I read about our Government’s intentional systems that promoted De Jure segregation for decades. As a result, I also often wonder if I have been a prey of such practices. Would I be able to recognize, and contend this inequity?

“Today’s residential segregation in the North, South, Midwest, and West is not the unintended consequence of individual choices and of otherwise well-meaning law or regulation but of unhidden public policy that explicitly segregated every metropolitan area in the United States.”

Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

We Can’t Breathe

I Can’t Breathe when our criminal justice system is stockpiling black and brown people of colour at higher rates than whites. I think about my arrest in previous years and the questioning of my citizenship during booking. Why was I asked, “Are you a citizen?” by the booking officer?

“African Americans are not significantly more likely to use or sell prohibited drugs than whites, but they are made criminals at drastically higher rates for precisely the same conduct ” 

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

We Need to Breathe

I Can’t Breathe when I hear the President of the United States and his adherents advocating to send people back. Even, though three of these individuals are American born and the other a legal naturalized immigrant? Back to where?

Can You Breathe?

Can we, as a nation, continue to breathe? Ignoring and pretending everything is ok, while kids are locked at the border in cages? How are you going to use your breath to make a difference?

Religious ministers across the country like Rev. Dr. Marshall E. Hatch New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church of Chicago is talking about the collected hope inspired by Martin Luther King Junior and Why We Can’t-Wait.

Over fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., raised and answered the question of racial justice, “why we can’t wait”. “Why we can’t breathe”, is a question just as urgent in our times. In broad terms, the cry in this season is a call for democratized capital and the freedom of upward mobility.


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