Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

My young daughter asked me a question during a conversation. 

”Why is Breonna Taylor on the news,” she asked. “She was so young like Mommy. At ten years old she understands that a Black woman, especially a young Black woman such as the beautiful Breonna Taylor, could easily have been her own mother.

I am a Black man, but most importantly I am a man, just a man, regardless of my ethnicity, my demographic background, or what my forefather’s birthplace just so happened to be. I have emotions. I feel pain. I love life itself. Most of all I want to live a full life. I do not wish to die prematurely by the will of any person solely based on the hue of my skin.

I was raised in South Central Los Angeles. I had no choice  but to combat the same struggle a young Black adult is forced to apply growing up in East Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Chicago’s South Side or the projects in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport, Louisiana. 

We all have one or two things in common. Not only do we face daily battles, we also live inside Black flesh in a society with “Black on Black” crimes. The judiciary system is also rigid and especially to Black African descendents.

I have discussions very often with individuals of all ethnicities. Most if not all of Black people have so much love for our country, the U.S.A. We all agree that the country does not seem to return our devotion.

“To those who have said, ’Be patient and wait,’ we must say that we cannot be patient,” said the late civil rights activist John Lewis at the March on Washington in 1963. “We do not want our freedom gradually but we want to be free now.”  

I believe George Floyd gave the ultimate sacrifice one can, dying at the hands of someone and being treated impertinently by the law. The video footage clearly shows no resistance from Floyd, who repeats, ”I can’t breathe” with a knee directed onto his throat. 

I am not George Floyd, but I wish the wheels of justice would rotate in the same way for every single individual in every state and every country. 

We need to love another and treat each other how we wish to be treated ourselves. All lives should matter. All lives are special. All lives are valuable enough to contribute to the world. Because all lives matter. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

William Angelo "Tonylive" Latten Jr.

William Angelo “Tonylive” Latten Jr. is an African American writer and artist incarcerated in California. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he supports the #BlackLivesMatter movement and hopes for justice for Breonna Taylor’s killing.