By Cheryl Smith
I’ve been in some uncomfortable situations during my lifetime, but I have survived. There are times when I thought I couldn’t go on, and still, I was able to persevere. Over the years, I have overheard folks say they couldn’t bring themselves to watch a movie, especially those relating to slavery. I always wondered how they’d feel if they had to experience the savagery of that peculiar institution called “slavery.”
Which brings me to my truth.
I felt my heart beating faster and faster as I watched the video of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin steadily applying pressure to the neck of George Floyd until he killed him. Every time I think of those eight minutes and 46 seconds, I want to hug Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old who remained focused and captured the atrocity.
On Friday, June 5, 2020; it was during the 8 am hour at Dallas City Hall and it was close to 90 degrees on the plaza. In a program that included several members of the clergy and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson proclaimed the day as George Perry Floyd Remembrance Day. My heart once again began beating fast as the time came for eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence in Mr. Floyd’s honor.
Dr. Sheron Patterson, Sr. Pastor of Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, TX, was the officiant of the program and she immediately took to the ground where she laid for the duration. It wasn’t a publicity stunt. Dr. Patterson is the real deal. She is involved, she cares and she works hard. The daughter of a police officer, she is the change we need and she works for it. It was a time to really think about Mr. Floyd.
We didn’t feel the pressure or pain that he endured; nor the uncaring, aloof attitude of his murderer, who was joined by three other officers. What we felt then was minor. But what we are feeling is real and we must continue applying pressure and calling for change. A sign captured in Orlando, FL by photojournalist Richard Moore said it all, “You ****ed with the last generation!”