Official Statement - Our Protest is Our Breath
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
OUR PROTEST IS OUR BREATH
June 3rd, 2020
Countless events of race-related violence and aggression that continue to plague the nation and the media significantly impacts the thoughts, behaviors, feelings, interactions, and reactions of many people.
As we grieve the loss of Black family members during the COVID-19 pandemic, we share in the grief, pain, rage, and sorrow from the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. We understand both instances - racial health disparities and race-related brutality - as two strands rooted in historical, institutional, and systemic oppression personified by Amy Cooper, a white woman who potentially weaponized the police against Christian Cooper, a bird-watching, law-abiding, unarmed Black man.
The debilitating psychological effects of centuries of racial oppression cannot be underestimated. European human traffickers uprooted an estimated 15-50 million Afrikans leaving broken bodies, spirits, and families. Centuries spent burdened by the legacies of enslavement and racism have left the Black community in distress in all areas of life.
We pen this open letter to tell you what we expect and express how our people experience systems of dehumanization. To say we are frustrated would be an understatement. To say we are tired doesn’t come close. However, if we must continue to show up and shout out - to claim our right to breathe, we will do so. Our protest is the collection of voices unheard, the fury of the invisible, and the power of the grieving. We will continue until justice is served. Our protest is our breath.