Can't None of Us Breathe

George Floyd's death reminds us that black people are always a target. 🎯

I cried today. My chest heaved and a rush of warm tears cascaded down my face.

When George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, I drove around crying for hours. Ideas I’d formulated about justice also died then.

Today, as I watched Floyd’s struggle — as he and courageous bystanders begged the officer not to kneel on Floyd’s neck — I felt that familiar pain.

While I struggled to regain my composure, I watched Floyd fade from pleading to a limp silence.

The NAACP in a tweet labeled Floyd’s death “systemic state sanctioned murder.”

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a press release, “The words, ‘I can’t breathe!’ echo louder and louder as we think back to 2014 when New York police officers killed Eric Garner in the same manner. Yet, here we are waking up to the untimely murder of George Floyd by police officers. The outrage we feel and the justice we demand will reverberate throughout Minneapolis and the country as a whole. We are done dying. This moment calls for us to unify, uplift the family, and pursue justice.”

I don’t want to hear about how we need justice from the very people and racist systems that kill black people with impunity. Floyd died an agonizing death at the hands of police officers, and what can we actually do about it — except protest, create hashtags and cry?

Floyd pleaded for mercy. He cried for his mother. He begged for his life.

Four of the officers at the scene where he died lost their jobs today. And, Floyd lost every earthly thing.

Just like with Ahmaud Arbery. I don’t care what Floyd or Arbery were doing in the moments before their deaths — they did not deserve to be executed on the streets by their killers.

I didn’t know #GeorgeFloyd. I don’t need to know him personally to grieve the loss of his life. I cried today because I recognized and appreciated Floyd’s inherent humanity — something, sadly, those Minneapolis cops did not.