Photo credit : Adam Wilson
Before reading any further, please watch this 9 minute video documenting the killing of George Floyd on 25 May 2020.
George Floyd’s supplication is simple and soul-ravaging in its clarity: “I can’t breathe… please.” His life is taken before our eyes, and, as his last breath leaves him, bystanders plead, futilely appealing to a sense of brotherhood in officers who have, for generations, policed the violent and entrenched structures of inequality and injustice.
Barely emerging from the confines of a respiratory viral pandemic, we are confronted with the dystopia of a nation facing centuries-old rage that has been too-long stifled. Protesters are–in this very moment—reckoning with the myths of equality and justice that have only ever been partial. They are also revealing the power of individuals, coming together, willing a bottom up change that is the start of an awakening—the crude and compelling collective consciousness once willed by Franz Fanon—that lies at the foundation of truly transformative social change.
Tonight, protests across the United States continue. There is rage that must come out, that must burn through so many generations of fear and hardship and hate and denial. The time has come for a collective reckoning of no-longer-sustainable injustices.
Beware: this is not only an American story.
We are living in a global moment that has never been experienced before. This rare and fleeting gift of consciousness is at once terrifying but also full of possibility. So what will we do with this possibility?
This global moment is raw and visceral, pulsing with fear, discontent and uncertainty. It is a moment also beseeching us to love—love of the big and universal kind that transforms embers of darkness into light. In a “night already devoid of stars”, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once offered us his guidance: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
We are on the precipice of a different kind of world. We are so close to something better… but everyday individual actions will be required to realize meaningful positive social transformation, which will require collectively-sustained courage, imagination, audacity, and grace. This is what we can each practice with our next breath.