For George Floyd, it was a suspicious $20 bill; for Freddie Gray, a pocketknife; for Sandra Bland, a burned-out turned signal; for Eric Garner, some loosies; because of white suspicion, deeply ingrained racism and fear, Black Americans end up dead at the hands of police. Literally millions of Americans are spending their lives in prison—and for those who have committed crimes of violence, it is far too often their *entire* lives. Statistics show that in the US, African-Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate as whites. In other words, the epidemic of mass incarceration in the US is an epidemic of locking up Black and brown people, many of them for life.
Illustration of the late George Floyd, who was killed in police custody on May 25, 2020
Songwriter Cody Stuhltrager talks about writing "I Can't Breathe"
We at Prison Prophets: Songs from the Heart of the Penitentiary stand in solidarity with the protestors and send out this salvo to the nation: "I Can't Breathe," written in 2016 by Cody Stuhltrager, and performed here by Cody and Bernard Lee, both residents of SCI-Phoenix in Montgomery County, PA. Please listen to this anthem for our nation.
Cody and Bernard performing "I Can't Breathe" (trailer)
Cody and Bernard performing "I Can't Breathe" with ANNA Crusis Women's Choir
Click through gallery to view lyrics to "I Can't Breathe"