I Can’t Breathe…

My chest is tight. My soul is crushed. My heart is heavy.

I can’t breathe.

Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. Those names should not be famous. These people should be at home now getting ready for the holidays. They should be getting home from work or getting ready to celebrate Christmas Break,

These black men (boys) are dead. They are no longer with us.

The men that took their lives are the men that were tasked to protect us. Our tax dollars pay them to SERVE and PROTECT. The men in blue. The Police.

I can’t breathe.

I have brothers, a father, cousins, nephews and a husband that I now fear for a daily basis. If they do what most Americans do and get stopped for speeding ,will this be the end of their lives.

If they happen to look like someone the police are looking for…Will the police stop and double check before they pull out their guns and shoot?

My husband is a wonderful father, an amazing husband, a stand up citizen, brother and son. Will the police assume he is a THUG because he wears hoodies and earrings on his day off as a $100,000 salaried Clinical Engineer?

I can’t breathe.

Mike Brown could be my brother.

Eric Garner could be my husband.

Tamir Rice could be my nephew.

Why do we have to fear those that are supposed to protect us?Black lives matter

I can’t breathe.

If an 18 year old boy being killed and shot 12 times without being armed and a man videotaped being jumped and choked by police does nothing to change the injustices aimed at black men…we have a much deeper issue that leaves me with no hope for a recovery of American values.

I can’t breathe.

Oh, I know. Eric garner ALLEGEDLY was selling untaxed cigarettes. Mike Brown ALLEGEDLY robbed a store. Do those crimes warrant the death penalty? Are black men and women of color subjected to different punishments for crimes they are not the only ones who commit?

I can’t breathe.

Are people of color required to be perfect people or perfect citizen in order to avoid being lynched in broad daylight in front of witnesses?

Do me a favor.

Close your eyes. Imagine you are confronted by the police. You plead over and over again that you are innocent. You don’t understand why they are approaching you. yes, you have done some things in the past that have put you on their radar but Innocent until proven guilty. Finally they begin to put you in handcuffs. You are upset and afraid. Then without warning, someone grabs you around the throat with their forearm. they are squeezing tightly and tackle you to the ground.

3 other officers jump on you and smash your face to the ground. You can’t breathe and each time you inhale the squeeze gets tighter and you have no way to exhale. You plead for help.

“I can’t breathe.”

You scream over and over again. You can feel your lungs getting tighter. You are beginning to pass out.

“I can’t breathe.”

You continue to say this but they don’t stop. They don’t let up. You wonder…am I going to die? You panic and you fight back as anyone would if they were being killed.

“I can’t breathe.”

No one helps you. No one is there to save you because the people that are supposed to help you are the ones killing you. You don’t get to say goodbye to your family. Who will hold your wife while she mourns your death? Who will comfort and help take care of your children. Will your mother survive burying her son?

“I can’t breathe.” 

You scream until you can’t scream anymore. Then…you’re gone. Who’s going to meet you in heaven.

Open your eyes. If their are not tears in them then I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe you have ice in your veins?

Maybe you are as much of a sociopath as the officers that shot Mike Brown 12 times or the Officer that choked Eric Garner to death.

A compassionate, empathetic human with a conscious would not be able to do what those officers did.

If you notice or if you were counting you may have noticed I used the phrase “I can’t breathe.” 10 times. That is the number of times Eric Garner screamed those words to at least 4 or 5 officers.

No wait, he said it 11 times.

Think about it.

I can’t breathe…

I’ll leave you with that.


4 thoughts on “I Can’t Breathe…

  1. No words can appropriately express the emotions I feel after reading your post. It was emotional, raw, and well said.

  2. Thank you for posting this. Though of course I wish it didn’t need to be said, you express the anger I’ve been feeling for longer than I care to think back. I wish there was a way to fix the system, or even the flawed way of thinking to which so many individuals cling. Although I’m seeing more righteous outrage in the wake of Eric Garner’s murder than I did in the wake of Michael Brown’s – if video exists, then and only then will some individuals side with the victim rather than the police – I fear that it’s going to get worse before it gets better, and I feel powerless.

  3. Donnee, such passion and despair — in your writing and in the whole damn situation. We cannot give up hope. But that’s not enough. Attitudes, feelings, behaviors, and policies must change.

    A friend posted something today that struck me. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s something like: I will no longer accept the things I cannot change, I will change the things I cannot accept.

    Amen. Thank you for sparing no emotions in your post. xoA

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