by Susan McLaughlin
Please read IREACH’s statement on the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, as drafted by our Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee:
Yesterday marked an important moment in the fight for racial equity, as we learned that there will be some measure of accountability for George Floyd and his family. Derek Chauvin’s convictions for murder and manslaughter illustrate that systems of violence and oppression are not impervious to change. Simultaneously, the content of the initial police report and the tactics used by the defense to shift focus from police brutality to Mr. Floyd’s health and lifestyle as the primary causes of his death show the stark reality of how much still needs to be done.
We recognize that everyone is processing intense and complex emotions related to the trial and its verdict. As one of Mr. Floyd’s family’s lawyers, Chris Stewart, said, “The whole world should not have to rally to get justice for one man, but that’s what happened.” Today and in the days to come it is imperative that each of us has the support and ability to attend to our physical and mental health needs. Reach out to your friends and co-workers to ask how they are doing, even if you aren’t sure what to say.
All of us on the IREACH JEDI team are committed to creating a world in which equity and justice are the norm rather than aspirations. While it is important that justice was served today, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s words prior to the verdict ring true: “The fact that we know what the verdict SHOULD be but remain unsure of what it WILL be speaks volumes about our nation. We have work to do.” Yesterday’s verdict adds fuel to our efforts. Collectively we can amplify the momentum towards achieving these ends and support each other as we navigate the milestones and setbacks together.
In peace and solidarity,
The IREACH JEDI team