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Use your voice and breathe again…

Use your voice and breathe again…

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'I can't breathe.'

These three words have become the power for the nation to force the systems to make immediate changes for all lives, but in particular, Black lives. The senseless murders of Black people in the hands of people with power is a systematic problem continuing from years of past abuse and deaths pardoned by unfair laws, police abusing their power, and a discriminatory judicial system.

The Jim Crow laws allowed segregation of Black Americans in the U.S. Black Americans were required to use specific schools, houses, and medical services, among other institutions and facilities, that were separate and of lesser quality than white Americans. This is one example of how laws are not laws of enforcing equality as the privileged would suggest when they hear about protest and marches, rallies, and Black Lives Matter movements.

The most recent victim George Floyd was witnessed by many telling his killer a police officer “I can't breathe” — the same words of Eric Garner of New York in 2014, and Chester Holliman of Marked Tree in 1991. “I can't breathe” — they uttered those exact words. But it was George Floyd and Eric Garner's unnecessary murders that outraged the nation and to try to force lawmakers to stop these tragedies! Unfortunately, there are countless others you did not hear about and never will.

The time has come for the nation to stop ignoring abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force by police officers and take a stand to reveal that some of these police officers are becoming too comfortable using deadly police force restraints. How many more times do we have to witness these traumatic acts?

Continued on Page 5

‘A Political View’

By Sherry Holliman SHERRY HOLLIMAN (cont.)

When these incidents happen, no one will acknowledge or want to discuss why the detainee had to die. In many of the killings the police officer is exonerated due to other misleading factors that made the victim the blame for their death. The victim would be accused of being on drugs, intoxicated, or acting aggressive. Giving the public the indication that the victim died from the condition and not from being wrongfully restrained.

Also, many police officers are trained to believe that “If you can talk, you can breathe.”

This is false! So, clearly officers nationwide are not being properly trained to know that it is false. Have you ever used a pillow to cover your face to block out noise or light? Did the pillow stop you from breathing? No, because you did not apply enough pressure to stop your air flow, but everyone knows that it is possible for someone to be murdered with a pillow.

When it is necessary to detain a suspect, officers must understand this can be done in a manner that upholds both their safety and the suspect. The major issue is not deliberate cruelty, but ignorance of the actions resulting in suffocation of the detainee. These killings have prompted the immediate need to end the ignoring whisper of victims pleading for air and to get medical attention for them.

The Black Lives Matter movement, rallying around “I can't breathe” are simply asking authorities 'How many Black deaths will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of black lives by police finally ends?' Being black in America should not be a death sentence. Protesters are simply saying in the 21st century, one where there was a Black president, now Black billionaires and millionaires, Black CEO’s, and more Black upper-class families, why are we still seeing this? Why are we still seeing Black men, women and children killed by police officers? How can Blacks 'breathe' within a system that allows a certain level of acceptance of selective human slaughtering that has become a public ritual of killings?

This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force has cost countless lives of many Black men who were being detained by police for a non-violent charge.

Blacks can’t breathe because of the oppression and dehumanization of one racial group by another.

The system must change to make All Lives Matter! All humans are born equally free and independent.

However, based upon your race, certain rights are given by the privileged.

Equal human rights for all seems like it would be simple but creating equal human rights for all isn't as easy as one might think. 'I can’t breathe' is silently screaming it is time to stop the covering up in search of an answer that really lies in a preventable cause of death. One that makes us all uncomfortable to address: racism.

Let's be reminded of the final words of 'The Pledge of Allegiance,' which promises 'liberty and justice for all!' Do not mistake the matter for the cause.

Sherry Holliman is a concerned citizen of Crittenden County and has some views on a variety of topics that she wants to share with her neighbors. She serves on the Marion City Council.

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