Mon, Dec

This is America: I Can’t Breathe


VOICES-August of 2019 marked 400 years since Africans were brought to this country on slave ships.

My ancestors were stolen from their country and brought to here and put into slavery and servitude. Stripped of their culture and ripped away from their families. Put to work, treated no better than animals, and given nothing, and yet, they survived. They survived cruelty being the rule. Beatings, rape, public executions, mutilation, fighting wars, forced to be subjects of unethical experiments and still turning the other cheek. 

Some of you may think, “Slavery is the past and we need to get over it.” Please understand, if your ancestors were slave owners, you are still reaping the benefits of their inhumane actions. It’s called “societal privilege” and it exists in every aspect imaginable. 

We have always been in survival mode. My ancestors survived slavery. Yet, we are still slaves to a system designed to separate and destroy us. The jail system, the justice system, the welfare system, disparities in health care and education. Our “leaders” continue to subject us to systemic inequality through structural racism, and now we are at the point of protesting and rioting. 

“Riots are the language of the unheard” -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Looting is a crime and enough is enough. We don’t need to loot. We are better than our circumstances. 

Ask yourself, how far have we come with peaceful protest? How many times do we keep turning the other cheek? What has to happen before racist police that commit public executions are brought to justice? BLACK LIVES MATTER but violence is not the way. 

Politicians always say the things that we want to hear, and always fall very short on their promises when elected. Our vote and our dollars are powerful. Black voters need to turn out in force. Black America makes up a small portion of the U.S. population. However, our buying power is nearly $2 trillion. So, our BLACK DOLLARS MATTER. 

We need to have serious dialogue about change in leadership because many of us feel that there is no justice, and it’s JUST US. . .until justice is served for: 

Ahmaud Arbery                  Remarley Graham             

George Floyd                      Akai Gurley             

Eric Garner                          Wendell Allen                     

Yvette Smith                       Tamir Rice               

Darren Hunt                        Kendrec McDade

Melissa Williams                Manuel Loggins, Jr

Michael Brown                    John Crawford

Jonathan Ferrell                 Timothy Russell

Trayvon Martin                   Stephon Watts

Quinten Thomas                 Rekia Boyd

Ezell Ford                             Gary Hatcher


And a host of others. . .THERE WILL BE NO PEACE.


(Diedra M. Greenaway, MS/MBA, is a long-time community activist who lives and works in Los Angeles.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.