For several days, I have been at a loss of breath and lacking the words that express my thoughts on the current events and the state of racial affairs in our country. Seeing the footage of George Floyd’s death is heartbreaking and the truth is, there are far more reprehensible things that have happened to people of color that have gone untold. His death and the death of many others that have been televised just scratch the surface of our country’s problem with racism. While we have made strides from the era of slavery, black people are still in bondage.
I lose my breath every time I have to sit my son down to discuss how to prevent getting into trouble in the hope of preserving his life. However, the sad reality is that his life is in danger because he is black. So, I explain that while he is a beautiful black boy, some people see him as a threat just because of his brown skin. I urge him to be careful in what he does and that beyond exercising control over his behavior and monitoring the company he keeps, he should always remain in prayer for the covering of God on his life.
I lose my breath knowing that my husband, a black man, and a member of the US Military, faces racism both within the military and outside as a civilian. In the very country, he is serving to defend and protect, he isn’t safe.
I lose my breath when I speak to my brother, who is a police officer, and hear of the pain he feels listening to people wishing for his demise. He is not only a target because of the color of his skin when he is off duty but he is a target because of the uniform that he wears. I agree that there have been gross injustices committed by some officers, but that is not the case for ALL police officers. The issue of racism transcends one’s profession.
I lose my breath when I think of how to tell my beautiful little girl that she may face discrimination, sexual exploitation, punishment, and ridicule for showing any sort of negative emotion all because her beautiful brown skin is seen as a problem.
This is the truth for black people although we are all the same below the surface and have the same fundamental rights.
The issue of racism is woven into the fabric of our society. During slavery, we were deemed as property, held down by bars and chains, to be bought and sold. Now we are “free” but some people will not accept that we share the same air so they seek to snuff out our lives and strip us of the liberties that never should have been denied.
Thus far, our silent protests have been ridiculed and our cries for justice have been muted. Now, riots have ensued and our country is on fire.
I lose my breath when I see that people are being injured as they seek to peacefully protest and stand up for what is right.
I lose my breath when I see some people turn these events into an opportunity for the illegal gain of material possessions.
It is very clear to me that now is the time to take a firm stand against racism. I don’t want to have the same conversation with my grandchildren. We must find a way to push our country forward, to a place where everyone is truly free and treated with respect and dignity.
Let’s change the narrative of our history books.
So to anyone that reads this, regardless of your color, take charge of this season we are in. Protest peacefully with dignity and honest intentions. Let’s examine ourselves for racist beliefs and hold each other accountable for our actions. Do not use this moment in history for the selfish gain of material items, but seek to live purposefully and stand up for equality and justice. Let’s make the impact that people of color have yearned to see for centuries.
We are all entitled to breathe.