“That could have been my son.”
This was the terrifying thought that tore through Rosalind “Bee” Harris’ mind after George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis.
Harris is the publisher of Denver Urban Spectrum and mother to two men, ages 44 and 51. “You can see George Floyd in my kids and in my friends’ kids and we all felt the same thing,” she says. “The only way I think we’ll get change right now is if some people take some action.”
Harris and 20 other mothers recorded themselves holding photos of their sons and grandsons, showing their bonds, their worry, and their hurt. The resulting compilation is titled: “I Have a Black Son.” Denver Urban Spectrum, a monthly publication that has reported the news about people of color since 1987, released the video as a plea for help in the work of systemic change through voting and urging lawmakers to hold police and murderers accountable.
“We all want change in the system and felt this was a way to do our part, as mothers, in solidarity,” said actor/director Candy Brown, who appears in the video.
Videographer Cecile Perrin said, “My sons are young now but I worry about what this world is going to be like as they grow into manhood.”
The video ends with the message, “We can’t breathe,” reflecting the words voiced by Floyd as he was being held down.
“Throughout history, women couldn’t breathe when their babies and husbands were taken away,” says Harris. “It’s been too many years, it’s been too many years. It’s been frightening, it’s sad. … Call your congressperson. Colorado legislator Rep. Leslie Herod stresses that all the time. If you need help, if you have some questions, see a congressperson.”
This message, along with a link to a list of organizations families can support, are featured at the end of the video.
“As mothers, we just want to share our message so that all of us, but especially our children, can breathe a little easier,” says Harris.