I’ve been having trouble breathing since I first saw the graphic video of George Floyd’s desperate cries for help, as he gasped for breath and fought for life. I can’t breathe today because, for nine long minutes, a man begged for his life while his pleas were ignored.
On that same day we learned more than 100,000 fellow Americans had died from Covid-19.
- 100,000 is equal to 500 plane crashes with 200 passengers on board each.
- 100,000 is 33 times the number of deaths on 9/11
- 100,000 is 15 times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
- If a COVID-19 memorial were built for those 100,000, in order to fit the names, it would be almost twice the length of the Vietnam War Memorial wall
This number is a marker we must not pass by quickly nor easily. We must stop. We must weep. We must mourn. We must honor. We must lament, which is to feel and bear great grief and sorrow and reflect upon it.
Covid-19 is a respiratory condition caused by coronavirus. The mortality rate is painfully racially disproportionate. Healing must be in unison.
Yet, the pandemic also reveals hope—unprecedented cooperation and support across faith, economic, education and racial differences; moments of silence, ringing of bells, lighting of candles, flyovers, spontaneous parades.
You, Lord, reign forever;
your throne endures from generation to generation.
Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return;
renew our days as of old. (Lamentations 5: 19, 21)
I can’t breathe today because none of us should be able to breathe fully or easily until all of us are able to breathe free and equally.