The jury’s verdict in the George Floyd trial is surprising to many and it shouldn’t be. In a just America, Derek Chauvin’s conviction should have been a foregone conclusion. Yet this is a nation in which discrimination has too long distorted our society and its criminal justice process.
Justice has been served in this case. Yet there are too many Black men in prison and too many cops who have broken the law they have sworn to serve. The rate at which Black men are killed is 2x that of whites by police and the numbers are not that much better for Latinx men. Since 2015, police have shot and killed 3 people a day in America. That number has not significantly changed, even under the pressure of a revitalized racial justice movement in the summer of 2020, and onward around the world. Police brutality must end and the way police are trained to protect our people must change.
The battle for George Floyd’s dignity and humanity has been won today. But there is more to do. Positive police officers who are pillars of their community must be willing to speak up against police officers who are unsafe to the public. This was a rare case in which law enforcement professionals – including the police chief himself – were willing to testify against a fellow officer. This verdict must be the start of something, and our work for justice doesn’t end here. As MLK wrote from a jail in Birmingham:
He wasn’t the first to struggle for equal justice in America and he was not alone. In fact, we have only just begun to build a better world together. We are proud to be working shoulder to shoulder with many of our client organizations to create social innovation that transforms our nation into one that is more prosperous. safer and fairer for all. George Floyd’s murder and the public outrage during and after it shows that each person matters. Those who witnessed and recorded Floyd’s death and those who tried to stop it matter. Those who bravely convicted his murderer matter. Those who march in the streets and protest online matter. Black Lives Matter. Join us in ensuring we enjoy victory over hatred both today and tomorrow.
Cheryl Contee, Do Big Things Founder & Chair