As hundreds of peaceful protestors gathered yesterday in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, this chant resounded: “WE WANT TO BREATHE!”
Remembering George Floyd: “I CAN’T BREATHE!”
Why is it difficult for some of us, specifically African Americans, to breathe?
Racism. Prejudice. A history of slavery and oppression.
Blogger Virginia lives in a region called “The Historic Triangle” that played an important role in our nation’s history: Jamestown, as site of the first English settlement in 1607; Williamsburg, as the first capitol of Virginia, one of the largest states in the colonial era; and Yorktown, where British General Cornwallis surrendered marking the end of the Revolutionary War and beginning of the U.S.A.
This region is also where the first African slaves arrived by ship, a horrific fact of our history.
Yesterday hundreds of people from local faith communities and civic groups turned out to renew the Historic Triangle Covenant of Mutuality, Inclusion and Understanding between representatives of the African American community and local law enforcement in James City County, the City of Williamsburg, and York County.
Heartbreaking realities, heartfelt prayers and calls to action filled the two+ hour rally.
Speakers included activists, pastors, representatives of the NAACP and other civic organizations, elected representatives (Democrat and Republican), and interfaith leaders. Police captains from Historic Triangle municipalities also affirmed their commitment to treat members of the African American community with dignity and respect.
It was inspiring to see over 50 leaders of local faith communities standing in solidarity with Apostle Corwin Hammond, the pastor of CBC World Ministries who struggled for years to bring the Historic Triangle Covenant into being in 2017.
It’s difficult to confront George Floyd’s horrifying death and racism prevalent in our country today. But, by opening our hearts and listening to the pain, maybe we can prevent future senseless deaths by together doing something about it.
Changing hearts with mutual respect, understanding and Love.
Here are a few challenges shared at yesterday’s rally to contemplate today:
“Law’s can’t legislate out hatred, because hatred comes from the heart.”
“When we don’t say something, we say something.”
“We need to breathe without inhaling the pollution of racism and prejudice.”
“We need to breathe so that the message of LOVE may shower upon us.”
“We need to breathe – to cry out for God’s grace to carry us through.”
“We need to breathe that you need me, and I need you.”
WE CAN BREATHE!!”
p.s. After the rally I spoke with Shalia, Lanise and Mariah (Women of Vision and Purpose pictured) who are rising juniors and sophomore at Lafayette High School in James City County. They came out because they wanted to do their part. Let’s do our part.
BLACK LIVES MATTER!