By Oliver Thomas
Ever since the formation of law enforcement and the criminal justice system the public has been encouraged to “Come Forward” and be a witness. Stand for justice and help make your community safe. Throughout American history, we the people have been led to believe that safe communities and true justice requires citizens coming forward standing with law enforcement against an evil criminal element trying to destroy our communities and even take our lives.
Because our lives matter. Well what we know centuries later is that this decree was never meant for true justice. It never really applied to law enforcement. Protect and serve was really to protect them from us. Black and brown communities have always been seen as the threat. Do I need to name names? How far should I go back?
Well one name equals all names these days. George Floyd!! George Floyd could never breathe. Not in an America that smothered him his entire life – that saw his blackness as a menace, needing to be destroyed. Fairness, decency, opportunity, equality, and certainly justice were never truly an option for him. But George Floyd couldn’t breathe not just because there was knee on his neck. He couldn’t breathe because centuries of brutality and cruelty clogged up his airways the moment he took his first breath here in America.
He had crying souls in his lungs and long suffering ghosts who prayed for an America where being a black man was no longer only seen as a threat. Instead black men would be recognized for the contributions to building this great nation. George Floyd deserved that honor and respect for all that was lost and taken away solely because of the color of his skin.
Millions more of us can’t breathe. We have learned to live without the fullness of breath, and without what we’re owed. Yet like all of us, George is a man. We know that your denial of his manhood, of our very humanity, gives you cover. For had it not been for my sacrifice you would not be able to rest your knee on my neck and enjoy wealth on my peoples back! One day we will learn we can breathe and don’t need your air.
It’s polluting. Our planet is creating germs and viruses that no man control. Ironically, the time has come for us to realize we need each other. So anyone who has ever been silent or whispered just how unfortunate or bad those incidents are must now speak loudly. It’s time for you to call out these murderous cops. The hatred in this injustice system is now bad for you. It even frightens you.
When George Lloyd said he couldn’t breathe he wasn’t speaking for himself -he was speaking for everyone. Your silence is the knee. Get your knees off his neck. Your privileges are no longer safe. Or none of us may be able to breathe.
Now is the time to take a deep breathe, come forward and be a witness.