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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘I Can’t Breathe’ By Chloë Nixon

The post was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.

On May 25, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck. He uttered the words, “I can’t breathe.” Three other police officers served as accomplices to the murder.

In the aftermath, there were countless protests throughout America and other countries. The ongoing protests and the differing responses to them call further attention to the racial divide that exists.

The anger and sadness felt during such traumatic events can be hard to express. If you happen to be a musician it is only natural to want to express your feelings in song, which is exactly what Chloë Nixon did.

The 16-year-old singer-songwriter wrote “I Can’t Breathe,” a poignant tune that articulates her feelings on the tragedy.

“I couldn’t help but use the most powerful language in the world to speak on the tragic injustices towards black people that have been occurring,” Nixon wrote. “I dedicate this song to George Floyd and family, all other victims and their families, humanity, everyone in pain, and everyone lost during these difficult times.”

“Know that it is crucial to fight for justice and make sure it is known that we see the toxic conditions of our system and that we will not tolerate it! Also know that humanity must keep our vibrations of love and strength!”

Nixon also declared, “We must invest more in the victimized communities and stop investing in the privileged ones. When we unite, we shall overcome. We shall not let any entity take our attention away from the justice that we are fighting for.”

In the history of protest movements, it is often the young ones who speak the loudest. The previous generations have failed them, and they won’t take it anymore.

For those of us who are older, it is important that we listen and support youth, who desire a better world than the one we are currently leaving to them. Those of us who are white need to listen to black people and amplify black voices. Only then will lasting change be possible.

CJ Baker

CJ Baker

CJ Baker is a lifelong music fan and published writer. He recently started a website chronicling the historical developments of protest music: ongoinghistoryofprotestsongs.com, and can be found on Twitter @tunesofprotest