Protester holds up sign with George Floyd painted on a purple background with the words "Rest in Power" and "BLM"
Photo by hannatv on Depositphotos

I had to find a way to grieve after hearing that brother say, “I can’t breathe,”
because what could be more thought-provoking than watching a helpless man choking,
virtually experiencing what could have been your own death, while you watched him take his last breath?

Was this America at its finest and at its best, when the killer can look boldly back into the camera and at you like you could be next?

Now you’ve gotten a real glimpse at why, even after four hundred years of blood, sweat and tears, people of color are still waking up in America with deep concerns and legitimate fears.

United we stand and divided we fall.
What does that truly mean if there’s no equal justice for all?
And with what hypocrisy do you call this democracy?

Claiming to be this great shining example, while the most fundamental rights of some of your citizens are trampled.

Then you want us to sing, let freedom ring, when the killing of an animal disturbs your conscious more than the brutal killing of another human being.
That’s just obscene.
Your cold-blooded disregard, thus far, has dismantled your own national anthem.

America the beautiful, what happened to the dream?
Could it be it was only a smokescreen and really only meant to benefit one team?

You and Lady Liberty are draining our energy.
Got us fighting your wars, then turn around and treat us like your enemy. You made us a promise: that all men would be treated equal, but all you’ve ever given us was a “Gone With The Wind” sequel.

We don’t want your sympathy, but your lack of empathy for other peoples’ suffering and pain has got you showing up on the Fourth of July wearing the prettiest dress with the ugliest stain.

Where’s the investment in our communities that lack opportunity, where our unarmed children are being murdered with impunity?

We need more than reform, we need a new norm abolishing that legal trickery called qualified immunity.
Because there are way too many names to mention who’ve fallen victim to this modern-day lynching.
We’re tired of the city mayors offering their thoughts and prayers.
We want people in these positions who really care.
Because the only way your hands can remain cleansed is if you stop looking at us through an indifferent lens, and start coming up with some viable solutions to put an end to these public executions.

Your cities are in upheaval behind this evil, yet you’re showing more concern for your statues than you are for your people.
So stop thinking that your financial settlements can adequately compensate for each time they showed up at our doorstep with aggression and hate.
Because make no mistake, the payout doesn’t equate to the community of devastated families tragically left in its wake, nor does it begin to cover the permanent cost to a grieving mother who’s had to bury a child she’s just lost.

To the dearly departed: we’re brokenhearted, mourning your deaths, and that’s how this all got started.
We want you to know we truly value your worth, and millions of people are standing up for you because they too can feel the hurt.
Many faces from multiple races are taking a stand and taking their places, making it be known as these events unfold, that they choose to be on the right side of history when the real story is told.
They see that the system can’t be trusted and have become disgusted with the unbalanced scales of American Justice.

You see, this isn’t just some disgruntled chatter, that beautiful Black lives had really mattered, so they’ve taken to the streets demanding change and objecting to the absence of our real national treasure.

A brutal killing sparked global outrage, exposing racial injustice on the world stage.
It’s time for a new chapter and this is going to be the first page.
Because none of you brothers and sisters should’ve ended up in the morgue just for jogging down the street or going to the store.

These words are written for you, and inspired by George.
We’re going to keep on fighting for you, and praying to God Almighty for you, and raising our voices up loud enough to be heard for you, from the streets of Long Beach, California to Johannesburg.

And when they ask what’s our problem, we’re going to tell them that they have refused to solve them.
The reason civil unrest in America reached a peak is because the most powerful words in a humble man’s life would turn out to be the last words he’d ever speak.

Rest in peace, George.
Big in life, larger in death.
When they took you away from us, it took away our breath.

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.

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Robert David Frazier

Robert David Frazier is a writer incarcerated in California. He writes under a pen name.