George Floyd Cried Out

I thought I was handling the stresses brought about by the Coronavirus, the murder of George Floyd, the protest marches, and my memories of my past hurts and fears. Today, I tuned in to CNN’s show, “Coming Together: Standing up to Racism: A CNN/ Sesame Street Town Hall.” I listened to children ask questions about racism—what is it, why does it happen, how can you stop it, how should we treat each other, if I become a neurosurgeon, “can I operate on the brain’s of racists”and fix it—and questions from parents about how to talk to our children about racism and white privilege. I finally started crying.

Today, I have to admit that at 71 years old, I am still traumatized and in pain. Today, I am so sad that we are still being harmed by racism. Due to unequal access to healthcare throughout the years, Blacks are disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus. George Floyd, who tested positive for the Coronavirus, survived the illness; but he did not survive the economic impact of Coronavirus. He was laid off from his job as a club bouncer because all restaurants in Minnesota were shut down due to the virus. I doubt that the $1200 check generated by the CARES Act of 2020 did much to alleviate Mr. Floyd’s financial stresses.

Due to racism, Blacks are more likely to be treated harshly by police officers. George Floyd was murdered by police officers who responded to a merchant’s call complaining that a customer paid for items with a counterfeit $20 bill. Today, as I listened to the questions from the children on the CNN/Sesame Street program, I was overwhelmed by the vision of the police officer pressing down on George Floyd’s neck with his knee. George Floyd, as has often been the case for blacks in this country, was arrested, presumed guilty and executed on the spot. The children could not understand this. Neither could I. I could not stop crying.

I helped “integrate” a high school in 1965…I tried to educate white people in my work circle and social circles…I marched…I voted…I made phone calls for candidates…I gave my children the TALK…I tried to teach my children to live well in an unjust world…I tried to teach my children to love themselves and to know that they were created in the image of God. Yet, children called in today to the CNN/Sesame Street TownHall with questions about racism in the year 2020 in the United States. I could not stop crying.

As I listened to the children on the CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall, I thought back to the many years of struggle for survival of my ancestors, the struggle for equality, the struggle for success, the struggle for an education, the struggle to own one’s own body, the struggle to own one’s own children, the struggle to vote for those who pass and enforce laws that govern our lives, the struggle to be paid for the works of our hands, the struggle to patent and reap the financial rewards for our inventions, the struggle to fight for this country, the struggle for life, the struggle for liberty, the struggle to pursue happiness. I could not stop crying.

George Floyd cried out for his Mama. I am crying out for my ancestors. I am crying out for myself. I am crying out for my children. I am crying out for George Floyd.

President Obama Addressed the UN Security Council

I was depressed after listening to the President’s speech to the UN Security Council. While I understand that people with machetes, who aren’t afraid to use them, are a threat to all. An enlightened society where some can openly carry and shoot to kill unarmed Black men / women seems a more immediate threat to me and mine. So, because the President has been unable to put forth a plan to hold American citizens accountable for violence against other American citizens whom God created as a different race, because the President has been unable to formulate a plan to secure the safety (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) for the ethnic / racial minority in these United States of America; his words were tepid tea.

The President did mention Ferguson, Missouri as proof that he is aware that the United States of America has internal problems. However, he was unable to explain how our “enlightened” nation deals with our internal problems. Rather, it appeared that President Obama mentioned #Ferguson as a way of cutting off criticism “at the pass” from other countries.

Maybe the President’s rhetorical device worked with foreign leaders from around the globe; but, here, on “The Homeland,” it fell short. On the same day the President made an historical speech to the UN Security Council (meeting for only the 6th time at the Head of State level in history); Americans learned that an Ohio grand jury decided not to charge police officers for fatally shooting a Black man for shopping in a Walmart store while carrying a pellet gun he had picked up from the Walmart shelves.

Since the killing of unarmed Trayvon Martin, there appears to be a pattern of shooting unarmed Black men, with impunity, in this country. Perhaps these Black men are standing in for President Obama, for whom racist White Americans carry boundless hatred. Whatever the reason, the shooters of unarmed Black men, are generally cleared and deemed to have re-acted appropriately to a perceived threat of violence. The United States has long had a history of arresting Black men for DWB (driving while Black). Now, Black men can be legally shot dead for WalkingWhileBlack, #TrayvonMartin and #MichaelBrown, ShoppingWhileBlack, #JohnCrawford; or WorkingWhileBlack #EricGarner, choked on the street in New York for peddling cigarettes (possibly working at the only job available to him).

So, while I am sickened to see video of two American journalists beheaded by terrorists on the other side of the world, and equally sickened at descriptions of women and girls being abducted, raped, murdered or forced into marriage; I was depressed by the President’s speech to the UN Security Council. I was depressed because it appeared that the President only invoked #Ferguson Missouri as a preemptive strike against those who would dare criticize these United States, or “The Homeland,” as he now calls it.

When President Obama ran for office, he assured us that he could pat his head and rub his stomach at the same time. I need President Obama to recognize the threat faced by American citizens on “The Homeland” and come up with a plan to neutralize the threat. And, I need him to know that a mentoring program to show our young men how to pull themselves up by their boot straps will not neutralize or solve the problems faced by minorities in this country as racial minorities are not being killed by their boot straps.

I need President Obama to turn a portion of his considerable intelligence to protecting the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of Black men and women in this country. I need the President to convene great leaders/thinkers in this country, just as he convened the Heads of State of the UN Security Council, to mobilize and activate plans to neutralize the internal threats to American citizens. Perhaps, then the United States will be able to speak to others from a position of moral authority.

Finally, the voice of wisdom…

I received an email, recently, from a friend who called the Ferguson Police Chief the dumbest police chief in America (click for the article).   Yesterday, I received a phone call from a close friend who was distraught over news reports that there was looting by some Ferguson protestors.   My friend suggested that she could no longer support the protests in Ferguson because people were destroying their own community.

I disagreed with the first statement; because, in my opinion,  the Ferguson Police Chief, or his puppeteer, is executing a well-known diabolical game plan to change the conversation.  And, for the last 10+ days they have been successfully changing the conversation from the tragic shooting death of Michael Brown (#handsupdontshoot) to the claims of  lawlessness by citizens who dare question those who were hired to protect them.

As I watched the images on TV of the Ferguson Police, the Saint Louis County Police Force, the Highway Patrol Officers and the Missouri National Guard surrounding the reservation of Ferguson; I have been waiting for a voice of reason.  Finally someone has stepped forward to question –no–to denounce the  militarized response in Ferguson to a group of United States citizens exercising their right to speak up and demand answers regarding, what appears to be, the use of unnecessary force against an unarmed man by a police officer.

In the video below, Gen. Honore contrasts what is happening in Fergusion with what should be happening. General Honore’s remarks, I think, speak to my friend’s concerns about the looting in Ferguson and who is responsible.

Click here:Gen. Honore: Police should adjust tactics




“The whole city is like the bar, Cheers.”  This was the description given by Ferguson, Missouri Mayor, James W. Knowles III on the April 24, 2014 Ferguson History Video posted on the City of Ferguson website.

I was a “Cheers” devotee; and, although I am a teetotaler, I would gladly grab a bar seat at Cheers.  But, would I want to become a resident of Ferguson, Missouri — a city where, apparently, “hands up don’t shoot,” carries no weight (if witness accounts are accurate) — well, no.  Would I want my son in Ferguson, Missouri — well, no.

Why do I feel so strongly about Ferguson, Missouri.  The easy answer is that I am the Black mother of a young Black man.  There is, also, a more complex answer– an answer that I imagine is shared by all people of good will throughout our vast country.

Ferguson, Missouri reminds us of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Emmett Till.  Ferguson, Missouri makes us question our role in the world.  Ferguson, Missouri makes us think of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict.  It makes us wonder how we can advise others.  It makes us wonder why the Yazidis would trust us to come to their rescue.  It makes us wonder if some Yazidis would rather stay on the Sinjar Mountains because they just do not trust us.

Flight attendants instruct us on how to handle a loss of oxygen on an airplane.  They tell us that if there is a loss off oxygen, an air mask will drop down.  If we are traveling with young children or someone who needs help, we are instructed to put on our own oxygen mask first. We can take a breath, then share our oxygen with others.

A police officer in Ferguson, Missouri cut off Michael Brown’s oxygen less than a month after a New York City police officer cut off oxygen to Eric Garner with an illegal choke hold.  These young men were not allowed to breathe.

And, now, we are all holding our breath.  And, people of good will throughout the United States are wondering how we can possibly help others have life (breathe), liberty (freedom from tyranny), and the pursuit of happiness (a seat at Cheers).