His name was George Floyd. He was a black man who was murdered in front of young people, passer-by's, and the whole world, as the videos of his murder, taken by two of courageous people , quickly went viral.
Mr. Floyd was killed by a policeman, who put his knee on his neck, choking him as he is laying face-down, so that he could not breathe. This policemen didn't care about the risk of this military tactic that he had been taught. Other police are seen holding his legs and his back. And even as Mr. Floyd was barely able to say repeatedly, “I can’t breathe” and pleaded that he was about to die, he was ignored by the police. As the officer, continues to hold him down long after the brother appears unconscious, I began to cry, as I felt his life force slip away....
A review of a N.Y. times scene recreation, indicates Mr. Floyd said "I can't breathe 16 times".
If you watch the video, it looked exactly what it was – a murder before the world’s eyes, in broad day-light. It was so hard to believe, that I made myself watch, hoping that it wasn’t real, hopping that what I was looking at was a stunt or something, but knowing in my heart….the sickening reality --that here was another Black man whose cries, "I can't breathe" was ignored, whose life thereby ended with no compassion,and no sense of dignity for a fellow human being.
I.m. so hurt, tired, angry --sick and tired of being sick and tired -- of seeing the ways in which our Black Lives seem as if we are nothing. As if we don't matter. Not only have we lost another black man in our community,,,some ones father, some ones brother or uncle....we have again lost some of our selves due to the stress and collective shock/trauma that this video will have reminding us again of our fragile lives living with racism. Our consciousness of pain, hurt, anger, and rage boils again...the tension, the trauma affects our very DNA on deep cellular levels...we hold our breath and our cells die a little bit with each death in our community.
Unborn babies feel the traumatic impact. We must breathe again to keep going...we dealing with Covid and the health disparities, survival issues. However, we must stand up and say enough....I don't know about you but I.m. sick and tired of being sick and tired. I.m. in prayer, listening as to what to do....with my pain. I.m. holding my own breath I.m. so shaken as protests take the streets, and each day, as more demand justice for Mr. Floyd, we see even more violence from the police. Then, lots of violence from agent provocateurs, who weave in and out of the protestors, using every opportunity for mayhem and chaos. I see them recklessly busting windows, burning, spray painting and taking over buildings that just don't seem related at all to Mr. Floyd's death..... Smoke fills the skies as whole blocks burn in many major cities and now, many others can't breathe, chocking in the night....
I have had to really process my grief over watching Mr. Floyd murdered in broad daylight on video. I.m. sad, angry, frustrated, grieving for Mr. Floyd and for his family. I.m. sick and tired of feeling sick and tired at the way Black folk been treated for over 400 years, with somebodies "KNEE on us, making it almost and at times impossible for us to BREATHE". II have been in the movement for liberation and freedom since 1970 and despite how agonized I feel most of the time, I keep fighting through my emotions and continue to put them into action steps to make a difference. When I shift my feelings into constructive action, I stand in alignment with the Harriot Tubman's and Malcolm X's and a huge list of revolutionaries, activists, historians, teachers and "just everyday folk" who keep standing up for humanity demanding equality.
Warning: Graphic violence and language, and truth.
Because my study has shown them, and me that racism is a pandemic, an illness, a conditioned learned behavior and a system of power. It's system is at the root of every institution in our society and is being passed on through our conditioned responses, reactions and cellular, inter generational memories. It will continue until people change and the change has to be on deep, sub-conscious levels, below the surface behavior, where the conditioned responses begin in order to see real and permanent change , not just when we are activated by incidents or out of sympathy. Racism serves a huge purpose that perpetuates power, and unless the power mongers go deep to change, we will see the institution of racism continue to serve them, and shackle humanity.
My work has focused on helping people "wake-up" from this conditioning by impacting the sub-conscious mind for new programming and new behavior, so that this sickness of racism is no longer perpetrated nor passed on to more children, thereby to generations. Malcolm X stated in the 70's that we could have done more "in the struggle" for liberation in the '60's if more people would "wake-up" to realized that they were NOT FREE.
Sad as Mr. Floyd's murder is, the consequences is that it is re-awakening many who must actively involve themselves in creating freedom through equality and humanity, through the act of acting human. Those who thought we had a color-blind society just because Obama was elected must be awakened. Those who think their good job with co-workers who don't look like them, means they are equal, yet they must be awakened. Those of us who get lost in materialism, obtaining for the sake of keeping up, who will buy clothing, food or designer labels even when no money comes back into our community and the corporations or designer mocks us -- they must be awakened. Those of us, who are filled with so much rage against "the man", but who take it out on their brothers and sisters in their own community, instead of focusing on the real target --- MUST BE AWAKENED too, from centuries of passive conditioning, pain, trauma and oppression. For those communities that are non-black, who are out-raged but don't know what to do, they must be awakened to go deep into their own sense of white entitlement, privilege, denial and un-conscious racist behavior to question what they must learn to be a better supporter for communities of color.
Yes. we all got a lot of work to do. It starts with each of us, waking up to understand what racism really is, and deciding what are we going to do to take some responsibility, to make a difference to CHANGE. Things have got to change.
Ayo Handy-Kendi is reknown as the Breath Sekou, which means in the Guinea language "a master teacher". She has worked with breath techniques for over 50 years and loves teaching "the power of the breath". She has created a system called Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.) which teaches 12 common breath techniques with 4 breath practices. As a Wholistic Practitioner she incorporates sound healing, laughter yoga, Reiki, healing touch, movement, behavior modification and stress management and oxygen concepts, such as water hydrotherapy, Aroma-therapy, nutrition, into her trainings.She is creating a "breath movement" to wake people up to their joy and positivenergy with the belief that when you breathe better, you live better. She is also known as Mama Ayo, when sharing cultural presentations or performing as a storyteller, actor, author or speaker. She is the founder of Black Love Day, Feb. 13, the Ritual of Reconciliation, founder/director, African American Holiday Association (AAHA) and founder/CEO, PositivEnergyWorks.