Try reading this holding your breath (start now) and see how long you make it. Then once you have hit your limit, go back and try again. Repeat this until you're gasping for air. Then close your eyes and think of their faces. All of those black lives lost, and remember, you get a chance to keep living not only for you but also for them.
Have humanity—such a simple phrase.
The end before a beginning is even necessary.
You look at it and think, yes. I agree. Sign me up.
Yet others add to it. Have humanity BUT:
not for them
because they are not me
they are you
demanding of rights
how dare they
Have humanity. Can you read it? Keep holding your breath, as you let the words fill you with the air of those who lost theirs. Can you feel them now? Inside you, pleading, and gasping. They scratch at the inner corners of your mind, and you watch from afar. Sitting, waiting, thinking, "someone else will help?"
Keep holding your breath. But someone else won't help because nobody is coming. Years have blended into decades of oppression, into centuries of repeated history. It's up to me, and you, and us. Together.
History vibrates with death. Keep holing your breath. Today echoes with sorrow. Stop being yesterday and start being tomorrow.
My hands shake with rage, my heart burns with grief and my lungs breath in the air. I don't gasp like you, and for that, I'm forever sorry. But I'm here for you. I promise, and I swear, and I vow. You are not alone here with me.
Keep holding your breath. Being white has placed me on a pedestal. I didn't ask to be on it, apart or near it. But I'm there, and it's my job, your job, everyone's place to find even ground. My eyes are peeled, and my arms are ready for action and change.
Because to me, you are me, and I am you, and together we are human.
Keep holding your breath.
Have humanity . . . for all. It's that simple.
Are you still breathing?
If you are, remember that they are not.