Mr. George Floyd, Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 26, 2020
George Floyd told them he couldn’t breathe, and for nine minutes, the Minneapolis police kept their literal knees on his neck. Even with knees on his neck, his life being stolen from him, he still chose respect, to use the word officer. I’m struck by this, stuck on this. Officer.
I’m so hurt for Mr. Floyd’s beloveds, and I’m so hurt for our village. One more Beauty lost the myth of race and the realities of racism Professor Mahmoud teaches us about. Another loss, another wound, another hurt, another terrible testimony.
July 17, 2014 “I can’t breathe!” – This time, the voice is that of Eric Garner. A man who was accused of selling loose cigarettes on the street, the police arrive, video is rolling, Mr. Garner is dead.
May 26, 2020 “I can’t breathe officer” – This time his name is George Floyd. Mr. Floyd is accused of forgery, the police arrive, video is rolling, Mr. Floyd is dead.
May the Ancestors walk Mr. Floyd home as the poet Sonia Sanchez said she walked Tupac home.
“What a beautiful boy to lose.” – Nikki Giovanni for Tupac Shakur, 1999