I Can’t Breathe…
On July 7, my birthday, I Can’t Breathe…
For the first time, in along time, I’m numb on the day that reminds me how special my life is.
And for those of you who know me, knows that my celebration kicks off every year on July 1st. It is not the 4th that I always consider the national holiday, but rather, July 7th.
But the twist started this past Friday, when I left work to kick off my vacation and birthday celebration. Before I could leave my office, I was hit with some of the most devastating news that occurred in the city in which I live.
Four children killed by their own mother.
It took me a minute to drive off the parking lot. As all the calls, texts and social media messages flooded my cell, all kind of thoughts hit my mind. As a mental health advocate, I was slow to rush any judgment about this mother.
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
As usual during these observations, I had planned advocacy activities and this alarming tragedy was certainly a reason to advocate, But……
I couldn’t Breathe…
For six days, I was silent. Listening. Reading. Meditating. Praying.
Until July 6, I wake up and receive breaking news on my phone that alerts me of a 37-year old African-American man in Louisiana killed by police officers.
And yet, another video. Graphic details. The undisputed truth.
Or so it seems only from certain eyes.
After a day of being emotionally outraged, I manage to wind down and allow my mind to rest.
Then, before I can close my eyes, I learned of another 37- year old African American man in my home state of Mississippi who was killed by a police officer following a traffic stop.
By this point, my little girl is ready for me to tuck her in. She wants to get enough sleep so she can wake up early to sing happy birthday to me.
So, I tried hard to de-stress and again, allow my mind to rest, eventually falling asleep.
This morning I awake for my normal 3 or 4 a.m. (depending on the day) devotional time. During this periods, I usually avoid reading anything on my phone so that my mind doesn’t feed first on negativity.
But this morning, it’s a new day. It’s a special day.
I clear out notifications on my phone and dismiss my alarm. Before I can put it down, a breaking news notification informs me of yet, another African-American man shot and killed during a traffic stop.
Again, there is video.
This time his girlfriend is recording her boyfriend on the passenger side….dying while a police officer points a gun at her boyfriend, screaming for her not to move and also yelling at her bleeding, dying boy friend not to move either.
Right now, this very moment, on the day that celebrates my life, I can barely breathe.
Yesterday, the news media outlets covered Hillary’s emails and Trump’s campaign rally.
No word from our President.
The snippets of clips that did cover these epidemic acts consisted of arguments rather or not the officers were at fault.
I am so tired of life being treated without value.
I am so tired of the media, politicians, officers and whoever else who argue these transparent cases treating us like we are blind, dumb, stupid and ‘crazy’.
I don’t want to hear another statistic about how we are killing ourselves. Yes, this is a problem that still needs to be addressed too. But who really created and fostered and environment for Black on Black crime?
And crime, is happening in every neighborhood, every culture, every age group. But since you are bias in your profiling and coverage of it….go figure.
You want us to be law abiding citizens. You are suppose to protect and serve. If you consider yourself a good police officer, then guess what? You are responsible for your coworkers who you watch murder those you wake up to protect. If you are silent, you are also a murderer.
Since I am breathing today, I can’t just celebrate like it’s all about my life. I’m grateful to God for allowing me to see another day and year. But I realize, he has left me breathing for a reason.
I won’t be silenced by fear.
My people, the kings and warriors that God created, are being treated like hunting targets.
And we keep on being expected to just deal.
The devil is a lie. And he is within every person who doesn’t see anything wrong with this.
Attorney General Lynch and President Obama, you have yet to give a press conference.
And when you do, please don’t emotionalize us. Please don’t tell us that it is being handled by local authorities and to just allow justice to occur. Certainly, if you can make executive decisions on emails, on religious rights and alter the ‘Constitution’, you can do something about men, human beings that are being treated less than dogs and gorillas.
I can’t be content celebrating my life when so many others are losing theirs. Since they can’t breathe, I got to breathe for them.
Right now, I have to replenish my strength. Because in a couple of hours, a 3- year old will be eagerly waking up to sing happy birthday to her mother. Thankfully, she hasn’t a clue what is going on in her ‘innocent’ world.
Are you breathing today?