I CAN'T BREATHE [Adam Berry/Getty Images]

“I can’t breathe”… three harrowing words symbolizing the 400-year struggle against brutality, oppression, and racial discrimination.

“I can’t breathe”, in whatever language it is said, it means the same. Echoing through the ages, suffocating, intoxicating, life-taking.

“I can’t breathe”, the cries of the enslaved Africans as they were callously herded into cages at the ‘Door of no Return’ on Africa’s great West Coast.

“I can’t breathe” were the murmurs of hundreds packed in the bellies of slaving ships speeding across the infamous middle passage into a world of suppression and enslavement.

Enslaved People

“I can’t breathe”, the wailing on plantations as slave masters drove their whips onto the backs of human beings these masters saw as nothing more than chattel.

“I can’t breathe”. The knee on the neck of George Floyd is the same knee on the necks of all the enslaved and their generations from beginning to now. The knee hasn’t been lifted. It is the knee of racial discrimination, oppression, injustice, intolerance. The handcuffs and restraints around the hands of your victims are the same shackles that bounded their enslaved fore-parents.

“I can’t breathe”, the scream of all those who face it in their daily lives. From lack of proper education to jobs to equal opportunities. From poor housing, health-care to unsanitary environments.

Instead of bending a knee to pray you bend your knee to prey. Doesn’t “I can’t breathe” mean anything to you? Of course it doesn’t! You are so conditioned by centuries of racial superiority that you are deaf to “I can’t breathe”.

You don’t see a human being under your knee, in your warped mind you see black. The world is black and white to you, white is good black is bad. What a disaster you are, can’t distinguish right from wrong.

Duluth lynchings, June 15, 1920

I can’t breathe either for what I witness is evil in its truest form.

I can’t breathe if my fellow human being can’t breathe.

It has to end and end it will. There must be justice before there can be peace. Emancipation was not justice, it was merely freedom from shackles and whips. The knee was never lifted, until the knee is lifted there would never be true freedom.

Lift the knee or break the knee either way you can’t continue to kill me.

I bend my knee to invoke God’s help and victory. Verily the cries of the oppressed are not far from the hearing of the Almighty.

“I can’t breathe” until all of humanity can breathe.

May 30th 2020