As responses to the three guilty verdicts for Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd roll in, it is imperative that we remember that this conviction is only one small step on the long road to dismantling the systemic racism of our white supremacist criminal injustice system.
Yes, shed joyful tears. Yes. feel temporary euphoria. Yes, feel Floyd’s death is vindicated, but remember George Floyd is dead, and the cop and his buddies who murdered him live on. Continue to feel the anger and the pain of not just the Floyd family, but for all the family and friends of those we’ve lost and for those future deaths at the hands of police who only serve and protect each other. We know the feelings will come, because until we abolish a racist system that is rotten to the core, Black people will continue to die in disproportionate numbers at the hands of “the law.”
We should not have to get a guilty verdict only if we have 9 minutes and 29 seconds of video of a murder.
I concur with this tweet from W. Kamau Bell, which he made during the tense waiting period for the verdict to be announced.
This is a stark truth.
This statement from The Movement for Black Lives is very clear:
Piecemeal police reform efforts have proven ineffective and insufficient.
The police reform efforts we’ve been offered time and again don’t work well enough or fast enough. You cannot root out violent policing with narrow reforms designed to create change over time when our policing system itself is born out of white supremacy and decades of bad ideas gone unchecked.
Minneapolis has been the poster child of “police reform”, spending millions of dollars to train officers on appropriate use of force yet thousands of complaints against officers go ignored. No training or reform can interrupt the rotten foundation of this institution. Derek Chauvin is not the exception, but the rule.
This verdict does not change what we know to be true: a racist, unjust system will never deliver justice for our people. And it never kept us safe.
George Floyd should be here. We mourn as his family mourns, and support their efforts to find solace and accountability with this verdict. Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and so many others who have lost their lives demand a new approach to keeping our bodies and communities safe.
Police continue to terrorize our communities, using tear gas and militarized weapons on peaceful protestors to silence our voices. Without deep systemic change, we are bound to repeat this cycle again and again.
Let me repeat and highlight one line: “Derek Chauvin is not the exception, but the rule.”
Here is some data that backs up that assertion.
We have work to do. We must continue to take those steps on the long road toward justice and true reform.
Case in point: