*Three Minute Read
I was in a bit of shock upon hearing the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial last week. I was hopeful things had changed and he would be found guilty, but unfortunately, I was anticipating he would be found innocent. We have seen this scenario so many other times throughout history. Even with video evidence like in the case of Chauvin.
When I heard the verdict (guilty on all three counts), I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. I was happy – incredibly happy there was finally some accountability, but it still felt like such a small piece compared to the years and deep-rooted history between the police and the Black community. It didn’t even feel like a drop in the bucket. So, yes, this was wonderful news, but was it really a signal of any change?
Trying to sort through my thoughts, I searched for Black voices to see what messages they were sharing about the verdict. Here are a few I found:
“Guilty on all three counts. My only wish: The jury should have only deliberated for 9 minutes and 28 seconds. #DerekChauvinTrial
It would have been symbolic: one less second. Now, let’s get some justice, some systemic justice.”
– Ibram X. Kendi
“My heart breaks that we have to be grateful for the crumbs. This was not justice. This was individual accountability. Remember that justice is a practice. Justice is systemic.”
– Aiko Bethea
“One down, many, many more to go. This verdict took too much marching – and too many tears. Even with all this evidence, people woke up this morning afraid to hope. The message here: we must get more involved like the girl who held the camera. This should never happen again. We need change.”
– Van Jones
“Relief is all I can feel right now. Nothing more. Justice when someone is murdered doesn’t happen with convictions but in the words of @mspackyetti “Literally, the very least George’s family deserved was the accountability the system allows.” May Derek Chauvin and those who have taken innocent Black lives know no peace. May we, Black people, one day wake up, taking deep breaths that come with knowing we aren’t hunted. May we always find joy in spite of the trauma of it all.
– Luvvie Ajayi Jones
The verdict is a sign of accountability. It is a sign things are changing. But this is only the beginning. There is still a tremendous amount of work ahead to truly create systemic change which is ultimately at the root of racism in the US.
If a clearer sign is needed, Makiyah Bryant, a 16-year old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio, was shot and killed by police almost at the exact time the verdict was being read in Chauvin’s case. I can’t yet bring myself to watch the video or read much about the details, but my understanding is this is another case of extreme force by the police. These tragedies are still occurring, and the Black community is retraumatized with every new story and the media coverage that follows.
As a white woman, I’m able to sit in a place of privilege and say I’m not yet willing to watch or learn more about this tragedy while the Black community is unable to turn away.
So yes, the verdict was a good step. And yes, this one case is forcing accountability, and we can hope, sending a message to the larger community, but we can’t stop talking, fighting, and healing.
At LUNA, we will continue to have conversations and create courageous spaces to ask hard questions and discuss challenging topics. We will continue to become uncomfortable with these topics because that is where true change can occur. Nothing will change until we are willing to step outside of our comfort zones.
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Stevie Cromer is the Cultural and Enrichment Manager for LUNA Language Services. Stevie regularly provides engaging content to LUNA’s team to encourage a culture of care within our own LUNA family. For more suggestions and resources about how you might build a culture of care throughout your organization, please reach out to Stevie at stevie@LUNA360.com.