the story of tonight

“I may not live to see our glory, but I will gladly join the fight…Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away, no matter what they tell you.” ~ The Story of Tonight, Hamilton

88C294DC-2C0F-453F-AF76-5F0804ED87AC

No one should have to be made a martyr for others to obtain justice.

“I can’t breathe.”

8 minutes and 46 seconds. George Floyd’s life was ended tragically by a police officer kneeling on his neck, suffocating him for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

And Elijah McClain. An autistic Black kid with a running mask on, was tackled and then drugged by police and later died.

His life is gone too soon in a similar fashion. “I can’t breathe.”

13D76E34-4934-4DFF-B5DF-D3506687A2B3

Breonna Taylor, in her home, asleep. Was shot eight times when police stormed her house (the WRONG house) without announcing themselves. She was shot. Eight. Times. By police who have yet to be brought to justice. You can sign the petition here.

“I can’t breathe.” 

Centuries of trauma in that one phrase. Government endorsed murder.

Do you know what it’s like to struggle to breathe because a knee or someone’s arms are around your neck. Do you know what it’s like to be held down so that you can’t breathe?

Simply because you exist. Because your existence poses a threat and someone else has the power to take that existence away from you?

“I can’t breathe.”

When I was a child, I had an older male cousin who enjoyed dunking my head underwater while we played in the pool. Once, he held my head down until I came up, gasping for breath. This same cousin was known for exerting his male dominance over my younger sisters and was the closest thing to a bully I can remember. I had the bruises to prove it.

Another memory I have is of my father holding my head under water while we were “playing” in the pool. Again, I came up gasping for breathe as my father held a perverse grin on his face. Both of these stories involve men/boys exerting their power over myself and others they perceived as weaker or Other. It wasn’t the last time.

“I can’t breathe.”

I can feel my chest tightening. I tell those stories because the difference between my childhood abuse and the story of George Floyd and so many others is that I am alive. George Floyd is not. He should still be here. So many others should still be here.

If you want to know why protests are still happening, why we are screaming about abolishing the police and prisons, it’s because of this.

Because as long as Black people are being attacked and murdered by the police, White Supremacists, or dog walkers in parks, as long as Black people can be pulled over by the police for speeding and end up dead, we’re not done yet.

Not until the world looks drastically different than it does now. Not until we see that a different world is possible and we fight like hell together, in solidarity with one another for it.

P.S. Shana Tucker, a musician friend of mine wrote this Requiem for Elijah McClain that I can’t stop thinking about.

14B6B5BC-2142-40F5-8C39-A8E5BD85C21E

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s