The conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd represents a notable moment of individual accountability in a system with a long, painful history of state-sanctioned violence against Black and brown people.
But it’s only one moment. Where will we go next?
Any relief from witnessing Chauvin being convicted is fleeting compared to our deep grief over the death of George Floyd, the suffering of his family, friends, and community, and our outrage over the deaths of so many other Black and brown people at the hands of the police. Sadly, in the hours after the verdict was announced, police officers killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black teen in Ohio. Our hearts ache for her family and community. In times like these, the trauma seems relentless.
We are overdue for a major reckoning. We need to look at the function of American policing and acknowledge its racist origins–and racist impact. Communities have been ravaged by the deadly intergenerational impacts of the war on drugs and mass incarceration. We need to ask why public servants have been armed with military hardware and often seem at war with neighborhoods they are supposed to “serve and protect.” We need to foster a culture that affirms the inherent dignity of Black or brown people. Reform is not enough. A deep overhaul of the criminal justice system, and equally deep reinvestment in our communities, represent the only way forward.
Today we redouble our efforts to confront systemic racism in all its forms. Dismantling institutionalized racism is about more than one trial. One place where it must happen is everywhere laws are made and policies are set: in City Council meetings, legislatures, Congress, and the administrative bodies that define the rules and determine how public funds will be spent–and not spent. Beyond that, anti-Black racism is sewn into the narratives that govern all the conversations we have about law enforcement and public safety in this country. As communicators, we are aware that change can and must occur at all these levels simultaneously.
All Black Lives Matter. And beyond accountability, we’ll continue to fight for justice.
Resource Media team