“I can’t Breathe”
by Zakianna Johnson
“I can’t breathe, see his knee is on my neck as I take my last breathe
I can’t breathe, my life is ending now as everyone sits here and watch
I can’t breathe, someone please help me I’m begging you
I CAN’T BREATHE, boom I’m dead another black man gone
I can’t breathe, George Floyd May 25, 2020
I can’t breathe, Eric Garner July 17, 2014
I can’t breathe, you shot me Tamir Rice November 22, 2014
Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Aebery, Breonna Taylor, how many more.
How many more will it take for America to realize the hate
I can’t breathe, I want to but it’s hard, it hurts, I can’t see
I can’t feel, I’m dieing, I love you momma, I’m gone.”
As a young black African American teenager it hurts to see that my culture has to destroy things just for us to get a point across. BLM ( black lives matter) is more than just a protest, more than a hashtag, it’s our lives. We say black lives matter but we still aren’t heard more of the less we still aren’t safe. Day after day the death of a black man or child or woman is on the news. Why? Because there are racist cops who will do anything just to harm us. They say “I saw a weapon” but they saw a hairbrush. He was resisting but in reality I asked you why was I being detained.
Video proof of cops, racist, KKK, and all and yet the white man doesn’t go to jail for long. Oh but when it comes to a black man killing anyone they get the death sentence. There have been plenty of times and opportunities for a change to happen. It’s so sad that I have to grow up in a world where I could be killed just because of the color of my skin. It’s sad because young boys and girls have to see how messed up the world is. No parent should have to sit down with their kid and tell them that they could die at a young age, because a racist police officer or man or woman will fear them because of the race they were born into.
What did Sam Cooke say? “A change is Gonna Come” and yet we still haven’t seen it. When the color of my skin is seen as a weapon, I will never be unarmed. I will never be not seen as a threat, a murderer, a demon, a vicious animal. Everyday an Black African American faces a racist encounter. We are free, but it really doesn’t feel like it. We as people as human beings shouldn’t have to always wonder if today will be the day we die. If we’ll be talking our last breath in a matter of seconds and minutes. The world needs to change and it needs to change fast.
I’ll leave you with these quotes and maybe it’ll help you realize why rioting was the only option that was left.
“It’s hard to elevate when this country’s ran by whites
Judging me by my skin color and my blackness” – Joyner Lucas
“Is it a crime, to fight, for what is mine?” – Tupac Shakur
“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King Jr
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal” – Martin Luther King Jr
The last quote left an engraving in my spirit because there have been many other races that have protested with us. They have contributed during the protest by speaking up and marching with us. But there are also the ones that aren’t doing anything to help us spread the word. We wanted the protest to be peaceful, but instead they were violent. We wanted to get a point across but instead we were called hoodlums.
Point is we are not hoodlums, we are not ratchets, we are not ghetto and we are humans.
We are America’s people just like everyone else in this country. We are Black African Americans, We are Black Lives Matter and until everyone gets it into their heads we will not stop until our voices are heard.
Long live my black queens and kings