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Social Justice, Black Lives Matter

George Floyd said, “I Can’t Breathe”

by Terry Wiggins, Earth Justice Ministry.

These three words connect the essence of the three enormous challenges facing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our day.

“I Can’t Breathe” were the some of the last words of George Floyd, only one of the too many Black men killed by White police this month, last month, this year. When will it stop, and how long will it be until Black Lives Matter?

“I Can’t Breathe” also reflects the situation of the many Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who suffer from environmental injustices and resulting health problems. Asthma or other health issues might be caused by emissions from a coal-fired power plant or plastic plant that are more likely to be sited in an area where Black, Indigenous, or People of Color live. Or the environmental injustice might be the actions of the wealthier nations that cause climate change and affect the poorer, more marginalized nations where many Black, Indigenous, and People of Color live in the world.

“I Can’t Breathe” are the words that reflect the situation of those with COVID-19, which we know affects disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color more severely than it affects white people. The increased difficulty is due in part to underlying conditions, including lung disease, as well as likely higher levels of exposure. And of course, we know that difficulty breathing is a symptom of COVID-19.

Milwaukee is witnessing all three of these challenges. Let us work together to build a world in which everyone can breathe free. Earth Justice Ministry encourages everybody to get in where they fit in.

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