“Please, I Can’t Breathe…”

Artwork by Shirien Creates 

Story by the Composure Editorial Staff & Editors

Photography of Peaceful Protests in Los Angeles by Ashlyn Ayers

To our faithful readers:

We know you’re used to seeing scores of beautiful editorials, fashion and beauty products, but these unprecedented times have pushed our society into a corner. While our world is reeling from the effects of Covid-19 still with no exact end in sight, we now, devastatingly again, find ourselves facing the on-going war where a monstrous racial divide still haunts humankind. Leaving us all to question, how do we stop history from repeating itself over and over again, so our future generations, our beautifully innocent children, don’t have to face such atrocities?

It starts with each of us as individuals. We need to responsibly educate ourselves and understand not just the United States history, but the global history, behind the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the severe implications it had on why this divide still exists now and why marginalized communities are still suffering. We must learn. We must listen intently to Black perspectives, hear and share their experiences. We must teach our young to break the vicious cycle, and we must demand change.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Dreasjon Reed, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Jonathan Ferrell, Renisha McBride, Stephon Clark, Jordan Edwards, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, John Crawford III, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher… the names do not end.

All these people are on a list that’s so unimaginably long, and there should not even be such a list. All have become grave headlines that have ignited us to stand up and demonstrate around the country and the world that we must end the murders, the brutality, the pain and the racial divide now—entirely and forever.

Celebrities have taken to social media voicing their outrage using their platforms to reach as many as possible. However, not everyone has millions of followers, but each of us can have an impact. You may not realize, but every conversation, every post, story, tweet, whatever it may be has influence, and though it may feel small, it’s part of an imperative collective. Silence isn’t the answer. We should never feel fear to voice our anger and sadness for tragedies that should never transpire.

We must learn. We must listen intently to Black perspectives, hear and share their experiences. We must teach our young to break the vicious cycle, and we must demand change.

If you’re looking for more ways to show support, here are a few to start with:

  1. George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, has organized a Go Fund Me campaign. From the campaign page, “This fund is established to cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist our family in the days to come as we continue to seek justice for George. A portion of these funds will also go to the Estate of George Floyd for the benefit and care of his children and their educational fund.”
  2. Participate in a call for justice by using these contact numbers and call scripts given out by ACLU Minnesota found here to reach Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
  3. Sign the petition at Color of Change or text “FLOYD” to 55156 to demand all officers be charged.
  4. Sign the petition at Change.org as they work to gain the attention of Mayor Jacob Frey and the District Attorney Michael Freeman.
  5. Sign the petition at Change.org to bring justice for Breonna Taylor, her innocence and that arrests are made.
  6. Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund as they aid and support protestors in the ongoing movements right now, and for helping with bails, bonds and those caught in the deportation detention system.
  7. Donate to the Black Visions Collective as they develop “powerful strategic campaigns, we seek to expand the power of Black people across the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota.”
  8. Donate to Reclaim The Block as they help with violence prevention, mental health, worker protection and housing.
  9. Donate to Campaign Zero’s push to limit the use of police force, demand accountability with body cams, push for community representation and help investigate and prosecute.
  10. Donate directly to the Black Lives Matter as the monetary support will go towards “the Movement to fight for Freedom, Liberation and Justice.”

“The feeling in the nation must be quickened, the conscience of the nation must be roused, the proprietary of the nation must be startled, the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed…Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress…I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.

— Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist Leader (1818 – 1895)

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