Michael and Pele share their solidarity with George Floyd and others around the world protesting police violence. This special episode is 8 minutes and 46 seconds long: the exact amount of time that George Floyd was pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020.
8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody (via NYTimes): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html
[00:01] Michael Bennett: What’s on our mind this week? I think what’s on a lot of American minds — I’m gonna ask you, Pele, because your husband is African-American, your kids are African-American. What does all this make you feel, not only the safety for the world, but also the safety for you individual people in your family? How do you feel?
[00:22] Pele Bennett: Seeing these images, and seeing them on the news constantly, having people send you videos, sending you images, looking at social media, and all you see are these black bodies. These images, they stick in your mind. They stick in your mind and they keep replaying. And for me, it’s like a flashback of our own experiences that we’ve had together. My own experience of pain, your experience of pain, and also how that trickles to our children. With our own experience, getting a phone call that same day as you told me, it’s something that sticks because your voice, the news, how it felt like a sharp pain in my chest. I remember like literally hearing that with you in the place. And I dropped to the floor. In those images and those memories, they’re also like a nightmare. They’re like haunting, they haunt you continuously. But it’s also the trail that it leads for our kids. And having those hard conversations we had to have after. And even though we stay conscious of these things happening, we’re still having these conversations with each other, with friends, colleagues, with family, even with our children.
[01:43] Pele Bennett: To see that image of George Floyd and so many others, I do. I see my husband in these images. I see my nephews. I see my cousins. I see my family. And I see my friends. I see my neighbor. But I see my husband in those experiences, a traumatic experience, a return. And they hit you like a brick. And as a wife to a black man, it’s always, always my obligation and love to protect you. But it’s also out of fear for you. And I feel like it’s a constant battle of how do I defend you in the best of my ability? From what I know. From what I’ve seen. But it’s also, will it be enough? From what I know, is it enough? Did I do enough to see, to hear, to watch, to learn. I’m aware of so many things that you can’t do, that you shouldn’t do. And sometimes things are not even — we shouldn’t be fearful. But because in the back of my head, I’m like, no, Michael, I don’t think you should do that. And I think that is just fear that lingers. And the fear sometimes it’s like a cloud, just hovers you all the time. But also, as a mother to black girls who will one day be black women, I also hold myself accountable to always going out of my way to learn, to read, to research. Just to show up for them, so I can show up for them and show it for my family. Because they keep saying knowledge is power. And it is. It really is. But I think also unity is power. You know, we have all this knowledge and we’re learning and we’re experiencing, but then we’re doing this alone.
[03:15] Pele Bennett: So I feel that if we did combine our efforts, it’s stronger. And all of these persecutions in the black communities, they’re traumatic. I just see it. The level of stress is so high right now. It’s just turned into optimal stress. But you do get to the point where you’re burned out. You’re tired of being tired. You’re tired of fearing, you’re tired of that cloud hovering over you. And I think it does have a toll of, you know, physical state, mental, emotional. But as me as being a wife and a mother to a black man and to black girls, I have to continue to learn and grow. As someone has said, I’m an ally of the black community, of black lives matters, to keep pushing the change for a positive impact. But not only for the future. But for now, for right now.
[04:15] Michael Bennett: I think you get affected by what’s happened around you, but then personally, like I’ve been at the bottom of a police knee, or a gun to the back of the head. I’ve been pulled over by the cops. I’ve been experiencing all of these things. And I think we’ve been screaming and we’ve been saying all these things for so long. It’s a well-documented history of what’s been happening. And I just think people are just at the moment, when you look at George Floyd, and you think about it, and you think about here’s a human being saying, “I can’t breathe.” The most simple thing to another human being who can’t breathe is that you let them breathe. But continuously, you put your knee on the person’s neck, the life force is essentially drained out of him.
[04:58] Michael Bennett: He’s screaming for his mother. He’s screaming for his children. He’s screaming to live. But still, the evil side of another human decides to just put more pressure onto this person until the person doesn’t exist anymore. And I think as a black man, I feel like that is how a black person or black man feels all the time. It’s like the foot of America is constantly on our neck, and it’s constantly behind us and is constantly chasing us. And there’s no moment where we can stand still and just breathe, because the threat of death is a constant reminder that there’s no life in America sometimes for certain people or certain black males in America. And I think when we look at this, and we feel this pain and you feel this rage, you’re searching for something spiritual. Something that can help with your moral compass to guide you to the light of righteousness. But it’s so hard to choose the righteousness when there’s a sense of pain and anger that’s really coming out of your soul. And it’s screaming out your flesh and you just can’t hold it in. And I think when I look at that, there’s so much rage that comes upon me and is so much rage that’s coming to my fellow man and so much rage because I have a brother. And so much rage because I have a cousin. And so much rage because I have a nephew and I have sisters and I have a sister who has a young black son who’s turning 18, who’s gonna be put into this world. And what if he doesn’t know exactly how to speak to a police? He doesn’t know exactly how to say something, and then he’s at the foot of somebody, and his life is drained from him simply because it comes back to his color, his skin, the history of what’s happened to black males in America. It’s a hard pill to swallow.
[06:38] Michael Bennett: I mean, I don’t even know sometimes. What’s the rationale behind the thought process behind somebody who takes the life of another person? I don’t know. I don’t know what it feels like. I can only imagine you as a wife who has a husband who leaves the house, sometimes you don’t know if he’s going to come back. I think sometimes we don’t know if that’s really going to happen. And we just feel the pain of another human losing his life for something in a way that he shouldn’t lose his life. I think every person shouldn’t have the power to take another person’s life.
[07:10] Michael Bennett: I think death is happening so much around me and around our society that we’ve become so numb to the fact that our men are dying at an alarming rate. Every single day we turn on the TV and we’re witnessing a murder or some kind of homicide or some kind of thing that’s being justified. What’s the difference between a murder and a homicide? It’s really just the person who cries. And I think at the end of the day, we’re really dealing with something so traumatic, and such a pivotal moment in history, that we are looking for some leadership and we are looking for some guidance for people to really understand what’s happening to the people of America. In a society is supposed to be protecting its people, we’re witnessing the murder of his people on a constant daily basis. Now, I’m not just talking about black people. If you look at the Coronavirus, we’re looking at a country and we’re looking at a system that’s put the people last in every single facet of the makeup of our society. We put the money, we put everything before the people, and we’re suffering. And people are suffering every day from that ideology. And we are wishing for a change. And I think people are wishing for something to happen. There’s other people who are in the act of making something happen. I don’t agree with looting, I don’t agree with all that. But I understand the pain and the pain that people are feeling every day and the pain that people are feeling right now at this moment.
[08:41] Michael Bennett: And I leave my listeners with a question: where do we go from here?