He deserved to breathe.
After a long, painful month of May that started and finished with the news of two beautiful black lives brutally taken, it’s my duty to add to the conversation despite its overwhelm. I can’t seem to get on social media without scrolling by dozens of posts about these men, and I am grateful for that.
My soul has felt an ache so deep over the last month by Ahmad Arbery & George Floyd’s death. I’m embarrassed by how long it’s taken for my heart to truly break over such vile injustices that continue to happen.
I have seen, heard, and even spoken both outright and quiet racism since I was a little girl. I’ve made excuses for loved ones who “just grew up in that generation”, or given myself a pass to not speak up to a stranger or a friend’s racist comment or behavior because of awkwardness and fearing confrontation. These small moments have shaped our lives to where they are now, and sitting with that over the last little while has felt so very dark.
As it should.
It’s a chilling thought that maybe if someone who looked like me had spoken up to Gregory, Travis, or Derek & his surrounding officers in past moments of their racism, we wouldn’t be burying innocent black people. Those men, like many of us, grew up with negative, formative beliefs passed down about a race different from their own and chose to carry it forward instead of seeing the dire need to change.
Decades of prejudice white silence is what allowed a man to kill another based on skin alone, because no one kept him accountable.
While I am thankful that the world seems to be unrelenting of this particular injustice against George Floyd, I pray we don’t have to have more blood spilled for black people and their pain to be heard.
Unlearning and re-learning has to happen as white people move forward to be anti-racist. I’ve seen many many post over the last week about this fact, but I wanted to reiterate it’s importance. Living in the south especially, but living as a human being: we have to UNLEARN the strings of lies that our society has taught us about people different than us. It’s elementary, really. And it breaks my heart for my black friends who may be reading this that it’s been this hard for us to do.
You deserve better, and I am so sorry for the people who should not have failed you, failed you.
A dear, lifelong friend of mine, TJ Robinson, posted about him and his family peacefully marching last weekend in Rock Hill, SC to show up for George Floyd. TJ is black, and his photos with him in his bandana mask with a protest sign, standing next to his black family in a sea of others brought tears streaming down my cheeks.
He put a face to all their names.
He put a relationship with all the other black people who have had a barrel put between their eyes (or knee on their neck) for the color of their skin. It’s easier to look away when it’s not someone you know, but after picturing my friend being killed the way George Floyd was… something snapped in me. I would fight to the death to protect TJ from someone wanting to hurt him, just like I’m sure you would protect a friend of yours.
Can we carry that same protectiveness of those we know for the rest of the world that’s filled with people who are different?
This is our job to do, as it’s been for all these years.
It’s not just a bad cop problem, or a corrupt system problem- this is a sin problem. Sin that rots inside our chests and expels out of our mouths. And as long as we continue to be divisive, we stay wedged underneath Satan’s thumb.
Together is the only way we heal.
Together is the only way we end racism.
“Where there is unity, there is strength”. Lord Jesus, I beg you to keep us unified in the midst of injustice.
Some educational & convicting posts that have been very moving to me are linked below, along with my friend TJ Robinson’s website to his life coaching business.
TJ Robinson Life Coaching: https://www.tj-robinson.com/
ATL News “We have to be better than this moment” https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/we-have-be-better-than-this-moment-atlanta-rapper-advocate-killer-mike-has-message-protestors/7KPYTWR7QFA6DOYO6LLP44MV6E/?fbclid=IwAR1vTZzKpiE9j6DMhC8OuqRYsPl0mQpZ3KSvbwZS951R93yn907Dq_FuWN4
Charlotte girl’s speech on race https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfdBjk9Geac
Ann Voskamp blog on George Floyd https://annvoskamp.com/2020/05/hey-about-your-family-in-that-video-we-all-cant-breathe-through-when-breath-becomes-prayers-that-rise/
True words… thanks for writing this!!!