Get your knee off my neck is not just a metaphor for explaining the constant control of the Black man and woman by oppressive systems.

Just last week we saw this metaphor become a reality. As we watched a Black man beg to breathe and beg for his mother, anyone human could see the grotesque treatment of this man. Although he lost his life, every Black Amerikkan felt a part of themselves slip away. This could have been me. This could have been my son or daughter. This could have been my father, brother or sister.

But can I flip the script a little bit? Get your knee off our neck, we can’t breathe from your racism, your discrimination, your superiority complex, your hatred, your need for control. We are tired. You can’t turn on a television without seeing outrage and protest. Rather than focus on what ignited this pandemonium, you would rather focus on buildings and property. I even saw someone comment “now you have gone too far hitting that horse.” We have a man’s life snuffed out in broad daylight by police called to protect and serve and she’s talking about a horse’s nose bleeding is going too far.

All we can do is shake our heads in disgust. I’ve shook my head so much that it’s about to shake off. We have to stop feeling defeated and start looking at the root of the problem at hand. It begins attacking our educational system. We have not taught our children true Amerikkkan history so we keep repeating the failures of our past. We have a man in the White House who doesn’t know history, the law or his job responsibilities, and he is leading the country as a reality tv show. Then we have his miseducated, misguided and ill spirited supporters who perpetuate this reality show for ratings. This is all while the world looks at us like we are a joke and we are. Until the majority sees themselves in the minority, no change will ever occur.

Locally people who care more about having guns have taken over our governing bodies with little to no care about substantial issues in this community. They are following in the footsteps of this president and we don’t have to worry about them being concerned about Black students not excelling in our schools or how they are being treated in our schools. They will not be concerned about our Black children being treated fairly if they get caught up in the criminal injustice system. They will not be supportive of bringing our community together to sit at the table with our police chief, city council and school board to ensure we have a positive and open dialogue.

Please understand RISE has been in existence for about three years. We have tried repeatedly to bridge the gaps in our community. We have tried to have the tough conversations, but usually it ends up with those in leadership “taking their ball and going home.” How do we provide what is needed for everyone when you won’t even come to the table to hear the voices of the people?

A big part of our local advocacy has been with Port Republic area revitalization project. The search for a consultant has been approved by the city council for that area and city leadership decided not to include me in the selection of the consultant. Being a member of the Waynesboro Historic Commission and lifelong Black citizen did not qualify me to be part of the selection committee. These are the times that don’t bridge the gaps in the community.

It is important that the Black citizens get engaged in our community. We can no longer sit and be complacent. We have to come together and hold the local lawmakers accountable. A few weeks ago, we had a local election. Did you vote? Are you registered to vote? Have you checked to see if your rights have been restored? Your power is in your vote. Your voice is in your vote.

RISE has a PAC now. If you would like to impact the next election, we need help to reach our community. Also, we need Black people to be officers of election to work on Election Day. Let’s do our part and get our voices heard. Let’s not let another George Floyd happen anywhere in Amerikkka!

Get your knee off my neck, I can’t breathe!

Chanda McGuffin is the co-founder of RISE, a social

justice organization that strives to be a vehicle for giving voice

to the voiceless, strength to the weak and support for the lost within the Black community.

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