My spouse and I run every morning. We are both introspective people.
It is a time of meditation for us.
This past week, as I ran, I repeated names in my mind, like mantras and prayers. Ahmaud Arbery, Ahmaud Arbery, Ahmaud Arbery.
Say his name.
As I, a white, cisgender, heterosexual woman, embody the act of running and notice my own sense of comfort in doing so, I repeat the name Ahmaud Arbery and imagine what it would be like to feel unsafe as I run.
I say more names, Breonna Taylor, Breonna Taylor, Breonna Taylor. Sandra Bland, Sandra Bland, Sandra Bland. Chantel Moore, Chantel Moore, Chantel Moore.
As I run, I turn to notice my breath.
I repeat the name George Floyd, George Floyd, George Floyd.
And I breathe to engage with … with… with…
– and this is where words fall short – call it compassion, call it empathy, call it not wanting to take my gift of breath for granted.
Breathing should not be a privilege granted only to those with white skin like mine. Breath is spirit alive within.
Why am I even needing to debate this?
I shift the mantra to repeat Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter.
As I pound the pavement with every step I integrate these words and pray that my actions reflect that Black Lives Matter.
With each breath, each step, each thought – Black Lives Matter!