First, the pandemic struck, then Papa passed away, and now we’re learning about the state-sanctioned murder of a Black man named George Floyd, in Minneapolis, just 2.5 hours away from our house. I’m not sure Genesee or I can understand the gravity of this moment, but it feels like an added weight amidst the already-heavy air of the year 2020.
Mom says George couldn’t breathe. She told us his life mattered.
And although this isn’t the first Black man who has died at the hands of police, even with video documentation of such brutality, this moment could become the movement that pushes Black Lives Matter to the consciousness of those who haven’t been paying attention.
Because as cities across the country start to burn down in opposition to the continued legacy of anti-Black violence, we are reminded of Dr. King’s warning: “A riot is the language of the unheard.” And when a global pandemic traps the American people in their homes without the numbing agent of major league sports or the guilty pleasure of mindless entertainment, the news cycle plays on loop a troubled history repeated.
And a country is forced to listen.