Eight days ago, Saint George Floyd was killed in front of the world. Yes, we call him Saint George now. Not because he was perfect, as we misunderstand saints to be, but because like Saint George of England, who struggled with a fire breathing dragon that was the devil, today’s Saint George struggled with the devil of discrimination; he struggled with a fire-breathing dragon that, like all fire, stole his oxygen and robbed him of the breath of life. None of us here at Memphis Rox knew Saint George personally, but our guess is, he might have shouted "I can’t breathe" on any given day to an America that had cut off the oxygen for so many of his kin. The oxygen of opportunity, of equality, of access.
Officer Chauvin was not the only one who murdered Saint George Floyd. Any of us who still harbor racist attitudes, no matter how subtle — we bear some of the weight of the knee on his neck. Any of us who are heirs to the benefits of enslaving a people upon whose backs we built our nation, a people who were then denied equal access to the very benefits we reaped — we bear some of the weight of the knee on his neck. Any of us who see no evil in the concentration of wealth in the hands of so few while so many have so little — we bear some of the weight of the knee on his neck.
It is no accident that all of this is happening in the midst of a pandemic. The Covid crisis, and the murder of Saint George Floyd are not separate. The entire world wears masks now, each face metaphorically screaming, "I can’t breathe." And no wonder.
We are not living in accord with God’s creation, choking Her skies, soiling Her rivers, labelling Her diverse, beautiful people as other. Can you not hear the Godhead Herself crying out precisely, perfectly at this moment, "I can’t breathe!"?
Today’s news is not new. Racial divisions have been plaguing us for centuries. What’s new has to be us. We must move from domination to collaboration. We must abandon the winner loser model and embrace the philosophy of family. All is a brotherhood and a sisterhood. We are George Floyd and George Floyd is us.
Until that day is realized, we will all remained masked, and none of us will be able to truly breathe.