I. Can’t. Breathe,” Vic Damoses

This article is part of a series of community voices that NPQ is running in response to our call last Friday regarding how we can build solidarity and achieve racial justice. We welcome further submissions here. In addition to articles, we welcome submissions in other forms, including short videos, pictures, or songs.


I Can’t Breathe

by Christine G. Clark


“I can’t breathe.”

Is it COVID-19 or a knee on your neck?


“I can’t breathe.”

Are your lungs filled with fluid and shutting down despite the ventilator breathing for you?

Or is that knee on your neck shutting down your respiratory system?


“I can’t breathe.”

Are you choked with wracking sobs because of the state of our country today?

Or are you mourning for yet another Black life cut short?


“I can’t breathe.”

Are you gasping yet at the ugliness in our land?

Are you gasping at yet another life choked from a man—for being Black?


“I can’t breathe.”

Are you holding your breath waiting for the world to change?

Or are you holding your breath hoping the white person who is threatened by your skin will pass on by?


“I can’t breathe.”

Inhale, exhale, pray for change.

Inhale, exhale, make the change.


Christine Clark has worked in publishing for several decades, primarily as a copy editor. She also explores her love of gardening and writing at her home in Vero Beach, Florida. The loss of her seven-year-old daughter to cancer in 1986 fueled many years of soul-searching, honest conversations about what it means to endure profound loss. Chris writes about gardening, grief, loss, and how to live a life of joy at her blog, My Sister’s Garden. Chris has also written guest blogs for ShareWIK.com and ThatLife.com.