Dear Friends,

We pray you are safe and well.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that in God’s economy of abundance, when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

Today's Meditation is "I Can't Breathe" written by Pamela Sneed. Initially it was the title that caught our attention. As we read it, the content raised our consciousness. We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in healthcare, in the workplace, in the Church--wherever it shows up. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

We hope and pray that you and your loved ones experience genuine peace of mind and heart, and remain in good health during this challenging time.

In this "Season of Ordinary Time" in the Church Year, may this be a time of peace, of healing and hope, of the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron & Jean

Meditation Seventy-six: " I Can't Breathe" (Pamela Sneed)


I Can’t Breathe

Pamela Sneed

I suppose I should place them under separate files

Both died from different circumstances kind of, one from HIV AIDS

and possibly not


taken his medicines

the other from COVID-19 coupled with

complications from an underlying HIV status

In each case their deaths may have been preventable if one had

taken his meds and the

hospital thought to treat the other

instead of sending him home saying, He wasn’t sick enough

he died a few days later

They were both mountains of men

dark black beautiful gay men

both more than six feet tall fierce and way ahead of their time

One’s drag persona was Wonder Woman and the other started

a black fashion magazine

He also liked poetry

They both knew each other from the same club scene we all grew up in

When I was working the door at a club one frequented

He would always say to me haven’t they figured out you’re a star yet

And years ago bartending with the other when I complained

about certain people and

treatment he said sounds like it’s time for you to clean house

Both I know were proud of me the poet star stayed true to my roots

I guess what stands out to me is that they both were

gay black mountains of men

Cut down

Felled too early

And it makes me think the biggest and blackest are almost

always more vulnerable

My white friend speculates why the doctors sent one home

If he had enough antibodies

Didn't they know his HIV status

She approaches it rationally

removed from race as if there were any rationale for sending him home

Still she credits the doctors for thinking it through

But I speculate they saw a big black man before them

Maybe they couldn’t imagine him weak

Maybe because of his size color class they imagined him strong

said he’s okay

Which happened to me so many times

Once when I’d been hospitalized at the same time as a white girl

she had pig-tails

we had the same thing but I saw how tenderly they treated her

Or knowing so many times in the medical system I would never have been

treated so

terribly if I

had had a man with me

Or if I were white and entitled enough to sue

Both deaths could have been prevented both were almost first to fall in this

season of


But it reminds me of what I said after Eric Garner a large black man was

strangled to

death over

some cigarettes

Six cops took him down

His famous lines were I can’t breathe

so if we are always the threat

To whom or where do we turn for protection?

Copyright © 2020 by Pamela Sneed. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 18, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.