by Lea Murray, CoBiz Race & Equity Ambassador
“I can’t breathe.” George Floyd said these words repeatedly before his spirit left this earth. I too feel like I can’t breathe. Words have been choked out of me by the overwhelming realization that indiscriminate killing of Black people by police and White vigilantes is an American pastime.
Breath is the essence of life. The world watched in dismay as George Floyd was strangled by a White police officer who used his knee as a deadly weapon to the neck. Perhaps it was the first time– in the many times we’ve seen Black men die from police brutality–that we actually witnessed a life slowly extinguished. In just under 9 minutes George Floyd—a human being, suffocated before our eyes.
Every Black person I know is tired. In these past few weeks I’ve spent countless hours tending to the hearts and cries of Black people in pain, outrage, and trauma due to the repeated violation of Black life in America. Black souls are wounded, our bodies are fatigued. We can’t breathe until there is REAL change that values all life. So, yes! We will continue to shout “BLACK LIVES MATTER” until all lives truly matter. No apologies—no exceptions!
However, in order to fight for Black Lives, we need space to replenish, mend, and heal. We need Black Space. Black space is a place for Black people to tend to the wound in our souls to regroup for the battle of racial justice.
Black Space provides the following:
- Release: We need a container to express grief. Our pain is real. Our sorrow is deep. It needs to come out so we can move forward.
- Relief: We need a place to vent righteous indignation. Anger is a natural response in the grieving process. Focused anger can help us resist Anti-Black hatred one system at a time.
- Truth: We need a space where our truth can be spoken. Black people have the right to speak without fear of retaliation from White co-workers and White aligned POC who choose to believe that we live in a just America. These people summarily dismiss our valid complaints of abuse as “playing the race card”. Our Black voice is important and it demands to be heard.
- Care: We need self-care in order to be combat ready. Racism is a systemic public health issue that kills. Not only does it impose direct harm to the body, it also bombards our minds with chronic stress and tension that can lead to serious health conditions.
In Black Space our voices are heard; while we tend to both body and soul through mindfulness techniques and somatic practices that heal.
Join us for an in-person physically distanced gathering on Saturday, June 27th from 11am-1pm at CoBiz, 1503 Macdonald Ave Suite A, Richmond, CA 94801. Anyone who identifies as Black is welcome.
Be heard. Be comforted. Be invigorated. Be mobilized.