There are some phrases that carry the pain of generations. There are some words that speak of the plight of many. And ten times, through the scuffles and muffles we heard them: “I can’t breathe.”
And neither can we. Amidst the harsh racism, amidst the blatant disregard for black life and amid the seeming time lapse, as we witness a year fit for the early 50’s, we can’t breathe. Yet, an example lies within the horror. The beauty rests within the tragedy of Eric Garner’s execution, in that, despite the chokeholds, despite the breathlessness, despite the pain and pressure, his voice still emerged
Is it your faith that has failed from some overbearing burden? What weight are you carrying that has brought you to your knees? How many of our dreams lie breathless, having been strangled by fear? What unfair thing or what injustice has crept in from behind to misuse, abuse or overuse you? And more importantly, has it robbed us of our voice?
I charge whoever believes in carrying the legacy of the fallen to breathe in Eric Garner’s stead. Will you find it in yourself to stand for those (like Garner) who are weighed down? Will we speak up for those whose voices have faded? Will we breathe for those who can’t?
Do not breathe for the sake of breathing, regurgitating whatever the world offers you, but breathe new breath and sing a new song. Inhale injustice, but exhale endearment. Inhale cacophony, but exhale harmony. Inhale heartache, but exhale merriment. Inhale self-service, but exhale community. Inhale dread, but exhale hope.
God bless the family and the name of Eric Garner. Despite his tragic feat with injustice, his legacy will live on as the victor. His testimony will echoe throughout the generations as a constant reminder that what is meant for evil, God can turn into good. With this, I look forward to and take part in, whatever good will be made of this horror. Where his breath ends, our voice begins.
Written by Tyler Joshua Green
Images: carolaround.com | anglicanpastor.com
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