"I can't breathe" cuz I'm black. I can't breathe cuz I come from black parents, black grandparents, and a nation of black people. I can't breathe because just yesterday and the day before, two men were shot and killed for no apparent reason, and they were black. I can't breathe because in the past three years alone, 400 black men have been shot to death for unjustified reason. Slavery was supposed to be over, but this is slavery in another form. "Yes massa's" have changed to "yes, sir's", cotton fields and large plantations have changed to blacktops, highways, and precincts, cracking whips have changed to smoking guns, but it is bondage nonetheless. The chains are just invisible now. We went from the Three-Fifths Compromise to the senseless killings without reason, justice, or compromise. Just because we aren't sweating on plantations and crying over whippings doesn't mean we aren't perspiring because of pain and suffering and crying over the loss of justice and the loss of our people. I wasn't there when President Lincoln declared black people "here, henceforth, and forever free", I wasn't there when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, when human rights were gratified, when we were returned the rights we never should have lost in the first place, when the Declaration of Independence was set in place, but I know. I know what I have read, and what I have been taught in school- what all children have been taught in school. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." We all have a right to live, but the rights of people are being unjustly snatched from their grasp. "I can't breathe" cuz I'm black. "I can't breathe" cuz Eric Garner couldn't, but nobody seemed to listen. I can't breathe cuz Tamir Rice was just a little boy, and my little brother was once only 12 years old. I can't breathe cuz Alton Sterling has 4 kids who will never see their dad again. I can't breathe cuz Philando Castile's little girl was watching from the backseat. It's not right that anyone's life should be stolen, especially not at the hands of those who said they would serve and protect us. It's not right that any life should be stolen, especially if they are of the ones actively serving and trying to protect us. None of us, black or white, officer or civilian, should have to live in fear for our lives. So, yes, black lives matter. White lives matter, too. Most importantly, all lives matter, especially the ones in constant danger of extermination. Justice and violence do not walk hand-in-hand. America is stained with the metallic stench of blood. The blood of all races and all men. Only love will be enough to purify, cleanse, and make her hands clean once more. Because love is not black, and love is not white. Love is not even the rainbow. Love- like God- is color blind.
I Can't Breathe
July 9, 2016