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This article is part of the More Than a Moment issue, online now.

If A Tree Falls In A Forest

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BSA: Faces of Those That Matter 2

Face of Those That Matter series by Caroline Alpert.

I can’t breathe

My throat is constricted

My chest is tightened

My lungs cannot expel anymore air

I’m screaming

My fists clenched with conviction

My heart fighting

My windpipe resounding until there isn’t anything there

The truth: they never really cared

I can’t breathe

My people wear handcuffs like a wrist watch

But still can’t tell how much time has been lost

Yelling “We shall overcome” and yet

Diminished to nothing more than hashtags and tik toks


They’ve been holding us by our necks

While we’ve been wondering who’s next

We’ve been fighting for more and winning less

And yet they treat us as if we are the threats

Sorry mom, I won’t be home like I should be

It’s my fault

I shouldn’t have been black and wearing a hoodie

I know it isn’t what you wanted

It’s my fault

I should have made it clear that I was just reaching for my wallet

This is not what we wanted

This is the echos of a repeated cry

Hands pointing to the sky

Unarmed but still pleading because he’s scared to die


I can’t breathe

This is not what we meant when we asked you to kneel too

This is pain that our mothers, our fathers, our sisters and brothers feel too

This is the war cry of the abandoned and the marginalized

These are the battle scars of the uprooted and the ostracized

And if a black man falls to the floor and pleads for his life

But no one is around to film it, did he really deserve to die?

We will keep screaming

We are not just chalk lines and body bags

We are not just names to put after a hashtag

This is the tree falling

And the subsequent sound

Screaming at the top of our lungs

“How do you expect us to breathe when your hands are around our necks?”

Your goal was never to serve and protect

But rather to hold us down

I can’t breathe

I can’t —

BSA: Cover crop

This article is part of the More Than a Moment issue, made in collaboration with the UWO Black Students' Association. Read the full issue here.


The Black Students' Association wrote and curated pieces from campus for the Black History Month issue; Angie Antonio was this year's Guest Editor.

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