When thinking about the conditions that caused the premature and tragic deaths of Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin… and countless others.

Empathy alone, compassion alone may not be able to transform the underlying situation. But embodying the situation, feeling it for yourself, just might.

That is the premise behind I Can’t Breathe, a public participatory workshop and performance that takes the form of a self defense class where participants come to know what it feels like, to stand as the aggressor, and to stand as the victim.

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“You can not go away thinking about that tragedy in the same way.”

— Shaun Leonardo