The verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is a long-awaited symbolic outcome, yet we still have a long way to go to end the police violence and systemic racism faced every day by Black and Brown people throughout this country. The trial made clear, once again, how far and wide and deep the trauma of racial injustice is in our communities.
Accountability for one individual officer does not take down an unjust system of policing built on racial bias evident throughout the criminal legal system. Police violence is an ever-present threat to the dignity and safety of Black people, and it’s one of the countless forms of racialized violence regularly inflicted on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) individuals and communities.
Although we are relieved that Derek Chauvin will be held accountable for his horrific acts, we cannot call this outcome a victory because it has come at the expense of an irreplaceable human life. May George Floyd rest in peace and the power of social change. Our solidarity is with the family of George Floyd, with every other victim of racially motivated murder at the hands of police, and with the Black community at large.
We must also acknowledge that this historic moment would not have been possible without the tireless work of activists and protesters who would not allow George Floyd’s murder to be erased, who uplifted the message that Black Lives Matter.
Following the murder of George Floyd, we declared that it is time to make way for new systems that bend decisively toward justice for all people. We renew our call to reimagine the role that police play in our society and invest in community-led solutions to improve healthcare, housing, and education in minority communities. We hold law enforcement officials accountable to not use their power to harm people and to treat all persons with respect regardless of race. We once again affirm racial justice is critical to our work and all efforts to address and end sexual violence. We renew our conviction to work toward true justice through dismantling racist policies and institutions. Ending systemic racism is the only way we can build safe communities for all people.