These are extremely difficult times. Its Monday, June 8th. Two week ago today, George Floyd was killed by the knee of the ones appointed to “protect and serve” us. It was hands down one of the most gruesome video’s I’ve ever watched. After Aria passed, I did a lot of research about how long it takes for people to pass out when their airway and circulation is completely blocked. Its typically about 12-20 seconds, sometimes faster. Its typically pretty quick. Think about UFC matches where they tap out before they pass out.
Derek Chauvin sat on George Floyd’s neck as it slowly cut off his air supply for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. It is pure torture. I couldn’t watch the whole video. It’s too traumatic. The family’s private and independent autopsy ( in contradiction with the states autopsy) shows that he died from ” asphyxia due to neck and back compression.” As he called out for his Mama………
I try not to think about this because its too hard, but with George’s plea, it’s hard not to. I wonder if Buggy cried out for me in her last moments.
I saw a picture of George Floyd’s mom holding him as a young boy as he sleeps. Earlier this week, I watched my nephew run into my sister in laws arms and lay down. He rubbed his eyes and said “Mama, Mama.” I remember those hugs. Those tight nuggles. The ones where all you want is your mom, no one else. In that moment, you feel safe, content, and that everything will be ok. As a mom, there is nothing better. In that moment, that’s who and what George wanted, his Mama.
Aria used to say ” hold you” when she wanted you to hold her. Because she was so used to people saying ” Can I hold you?.” It was so cute. She would lay in my arms and I would examine her face. She had the thinnest eye lids and they had little teeny tiny dots on them. Her eye lashes were so perfectly placed, they almost looked fake. Her skin was beautifully brown and soft. Her lips pouty with a distinct outline that women pay lots of money for.
She had ginormous tonsils and adenoids. She would snore like crazy even as a baby. Getting her to sleep was tough and also extremely scary. There would be times when she would stop breathing for a few seconds and then re-catch her breath. She eventually had them taken out. However, I never stopped checking to see if she was breathing in the middle of the night. Ironically, every night that I was with her, up until she passed, I would check to make sure she was breathing. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Even as a 13 year old, I would wake up and go to her room. I’d either put my fingers under her nose or study her stomach to make sure she was breathing at a normal pace.
I can’t breathe……
I can’t breathe….. is an all too familiar phrase lately.
Mothers of black and brown children fear deeper than mothers of white children. Not only do we have to fear the “normal stuff” but, we fear that our children illicit fear in others. A fear that is culturally and socially ingrained based on the color of their skin and nothing more.
In turn, creates a fear response in others when our kids, walk, jog, wear hoodies, etc. etc. Then people react out of that fear and our baby’s lose their lives.
Its not fair.
I know if Aria was here, she would want to protest. At the very least, visit his memorial site to pay her respects as often as she could. I would take her. I took her to protests for Philando. However, this time I’d be scared out of my mind. I saw a little girl in Seattle get pepper sprayed by the police. I’d fear that she’d get sprayed or shot with a pellet for being a bystander, or worse. Aria always looked older than she was, besides, shes black.
I watched a video the other day where a young 21 year old was tagged for a traffic violation. Instead of stopping, out of fear, he drove to his grandma’s house( I think it was his house as well) 3 blocks away. He pulled into the drive way, then got on the ground. The cops whipped out their guns, pointed them at him, and demanded he walk towards them with guns directed right at him.
He yelled ” Please put the guns down, I’m scared, please, I’m not doing anything wrong, I’m scared, please put your guns away.” As he lifted his hands in the air, face down in the grass.
With the commotion, his 90 year old Grandma, with her cane, came slowly walking out of her house. Telling the cops to leave, begging them to put their guns down. When cops continued to yell and refused to back down. She then laid her fragile body over his to protect him. She would do anything to protect him. She knew if they shot him they would probably get away with murder. And she, like all mom’s, wanted him to feel safe in her arms in those moments of fear.
I’ve been struggling a lot these last few weeks, along with so many other Minnesotans. I’m mourning the tragic loss of George Floyd. I’m missing my baby. Knowing how deeply she would want to fight for justice. My heart breaks at the destruction of the cities that I love. Yet, I absolutely understand why people choose violence after being unheard and undervalued for 100’s of years. People need to wake up.
Colorblind, Liberal, Progressive, Minnesota Nice, is the 4th worst in the nation when it comes to disparities in education, healthcare, jobs, wage gaps, home ownership, criminal justice system, and many more, between Black and White people. Its disgusting. Not to mention this is NOT our first time dealing with a police brutality incident that ended in the murder of innocent black male.
Like Governor Walz said, this is our last shot. The world is watching us. We need to make systematic change. I believe that Minnesota is a State that truly wants change and that we can be a catalyst for the rest of this country.
For those struggling with wanting Justice for George, and also feeling unsettled about the condition of our state, I want to introduce you to something.
Human beings are complex characters. We all have our beliefs and our truths based on our biological and environmental exposure. Our emotions are not black or white. They are not all or nothing, there are grey’s. We can have more than one emotion to a specific situation.
Some of you may know this, but on Wednesday’s, I co-facilitate a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) group. DBT or the Dialectic is based on the evidence of a person holding two opposing ideas or two points of view that are equally that persons truth. For example,
A mother may have taken her children and left an abusive father. But, the child still loves and wants a relationship with the father.
Is the father abusive? YES. Is it safe to be around him? NO. But does that child want a relationship regardless of what they have been through? YES.
Or a father takes a job, that he doesn’t feel great about. However, they are paying him twice the amount of any other job that he was offered. His biggest concern is being able to provide for his family.
Does the father feel good about the job specifically? NO. Is providing for his family his biggest concern? YES. Is the job worth it? YES.
Or on a personal level,
I want justice for George Floyd. I want police reform. I want systematic change. I want people to finally understand the Black Lives Matter movement. I cried my eyes out when I watch part of the video of George Floyd’s death. I also cried as I watched my city burn.
I miss Aria so much. My heart aches to the point where I can’t breathe. I would do anything to hold her. Yet, part of me is glad she doesn’t have to be here to watch this. As much as it hurts, with everything that is going on in this world, I’m glad she is safe in heaven. I’m glad she doesn’t have to experience Covid or watch this civil unrest.
The photo attached to this blog is Aria being interviewed at JJ Hill by CBS after the death of Philando Castille. My little social advocate, I am so proud of you.