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Unable to Breathe

Updated: Jul 17

My family and I want to thank the thousands of people who have supported me by signing our petition. We hope the governor will be moved to commute my sentence, but notwithstanding a favorable decision on my behalf, I am grateful for the affirmation of my humanity that your signatures and kind comments represent.


In this moment such an affirmation stands in direct contrast to the devaluation of the life of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. The cruel reality is that Floyd's murder does not represent an isolated incident. A long list of unarmed black men and women disproportionately killed by police bears witness to the belief that black lives are expendable.


And, unfortunately, this belief is not only demonstrated by police violence. Everywhere we look in our society, there is evidence of indifference to black lives. Disparities in health, wealth and education rooted in centuries of segregation are evident throughout the United States. Disparities in the legal system make it appear that black and brown people are predisposed to crime. We are disproportionately targeted, overcharged, convicted, and receive longer sentences (including life and death sentences) relative to our white counterparts. There should be no doubt that the murder of George Floyd represents only the tip of the eugenic iceberg. Engendering the system of racism, it continues to subdue black life and it is under its immense weight that we are unable to breathe.


Meanwhile, the void of wisdom and empathy occupying the country's highest office denies the very existence of systemic racism. It does so even as it perpetuates critical elements of what I understand to be a eugenic worldview, i.e. division, and hierarchical and essentialist thinking as it relates to human beings. This denial, whether born of ignorance or tactical avoidance, creates debate about the existence of racism and in the manufactured confusion the deconstruction of a deadly system is delayed. It is the greatest trick that the devil has ever played – convincing the world that he does not exist.


But, we see you. We know that you exist.

We also exist and have a divine right to do so. We have a divine right to defend and preserve our lives in the face of the indifference and hatred that systems of oppression produce. So, we kneel. So, we protest. We speak out. We reject the symbols of white supremacy and white privilege. We challenge head on the vestiges of the worldview that functions to undermine our survival. We organize and we must vote, especially in November. In the highest office of the land there is one more symbol to be pulled from its blood-soaked pedestal.


Love,

Patrick


Credit: AFP via Getty Images

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