Let this be the picture of Eric Garner that circulates tonight. pic.twitter.com/xUNqM5OgGg
— erin ashley (@ellhah) December 3, 2014
Normally, I write these fun little blog posts once per month. The series began when I'd run out of guest posts and had to pinch hit. I write about comic books and funny animal videos and music. I had one of the last planned for today - a little homage to Neil Diamond with some of my favorite songs and a story about the time I saw him in concert.
But then the grand jury failed to indict the police who were filmed choking Eric Garner - a choke hold that eventually killed him. Garner's last words were, "I can't breathe." If you'll click the link earlier in this paragraph, you'll find a political cartoon that captures exactly how I feel right now.
Let me backtrack a bit. I know it's a manifestation of my privilege that when I first encountered the hashtag #blacklivesmatter my response was, "Of course black lives matter! How is that even a question?" But there is no denying that my feelings aren't common.
Like any good academic librarian, I've spent time studying at the students at my school, a minority serving institution. They are annoying and sweet and angry and dumb and smart. We sometimes have to call security because things get too loud in the library and the students stop responding to staff. Things are sometimes so quiet in the library I feel guilty not tiptoeing. But when I look at our students, our students who look more like Trayvon Martin and Tarika Wilson than they look like me, I get scared to a level I can't capture in words. Me, a pedantic little wordsmith, unable to communicate my grief and fright.
I know I might be speaking into an echo chamber by writing this post. But maybe, if I'm lucky, the echo will resound beyond this chamber. Because really, black lives matter.