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Being Black In America

I can’t breathe

By Sergio Peçanha JUNE 5, 2020 Add to list

I can’t breathe. Eric Garner, New York City

I can get killed by police at a Walmart. John Crawford III, Beavercreek, Ohio

Or when I’m playing at a park. Tamir Rice, 12, Cleveland I can die in a traffic stop. Walter Scott, North Charleston, S.C.

I can die even if I’m already arrested. Freddie Carlos Gray Jr., Baltimore

I can die because I failed to signal a turn. Sandra Bland, Prairie View, Tex.

And if my car breaks down, I can die. Corey Jones, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. If the police approach me, I can die. Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge, La.

When I’m driving with my girlfriend and her daughter, I can die. Philando Castile, Falcon Heights, Minn.

When I’m getting away from trouble, I can die. Jordan Edwards, 15, Balch Springs, Tex.

In front of my wife, I can die. Keith Lamont Scott, Charlotte Even when I don’t die, the most ordinary things, I can’t do in peace. Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, Philadelphia

I can’t be in front of a house. Donisha Prendergast and two friends, Rialto, Calif.

I can’t buy a house. Michael Hayes, Memphis

I can’t eat lunch. Oumou Kanoute, Northampton, Mass.

I can’t go to church with my grandma. Akil Carter, Wauwatosa, Wis.

I can’t bird-watch. Christian Cooper, New York City

I can’t be a child with a backpack. Jeremiah Harvey, 9, New York City

I can’t even be a 6-year-old. Kaia Rolle, 6, Orlando

I can be killed in my grandma’s backyard. Stephon Clark, Sacramento, Calif.

I can die eating ice cream in my living room. Botham Jean, Dallas

I can die when I’m jogging. Ahmaud Arbery, Brunswick, Ga.

I can die babysitting my nephew at home. Atatiana Jefferson, Fort Worth

Really, I can die inside my own home. Breonna Taylor, Louisville

Please, I can’t breathe. George Floyd, Minneapolis

Note: Violence against African Americans often goes unreported. The list above is a brief compilation of some of the violence and discrimination against black citizens that made headlines from the last words of Eric Garner to those of George Floyd.

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