Washington, DC (April 21, 2021)—Yesterday, a Minneapolis jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd. Floyd’s murder last summer initiated the largest global social movement in history in which people from across the country and the globe united in their horror of the brutality of Floyd’s death and the systemic racism that allowed it to happen. We at CSSP are relieved to hear this verdict and hope that it ushers in a new era of accountability and transformation.
But yesterday was not a day of celebration. George Floyd was murdered, and his family mourns his absence every day. Yesterday was about accountability for the actions of the police, a system deeply influenced by the racist groundwater that our country is steeped in. For too long, we have seen only token forms of justice meted out to officers who violate the public trust. And so today we stand in solidarity with George Floyd and his family. We stand in solidarity with Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Daunte Wright, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Elijah McClain, and the hundreds of Black and Brown victims of police violence whose names we know and whose names we do not know.
This verdict is another opportunity to recognize that widespread systemic change requires difficult choices and a clear-eyed look to the future. Even as the verdict was read out, another killing took place, this time Ma’Khia Bryant, a child who was fatally shot by police in Columbus, OH after calling 911 for help. And so even amidst the potential for change, more violence continues to take place.
We must join together to reimagine our policing and other systems in ways that support community and family safety and stop the devaluation of life which leads to actions that tear families, communities, and our nation apart. We cannot root out systemic racism without first naming it. And so, we recognize this verdict as a necessary step towards real change. But we also see it as only one step—the first of many in a very, very long road to confront and eradicate the systemic racism in our nation’s policing and justice systems that devalue Black and Brown life and humanity. While the Chauvin verdict marks yet another beginning rather than an end to our work, the breadth and depth of the work is vast.
About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children, youth, and families thrive. We translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, and support strong and inclusive communities. We advocate with and for all children, youth, and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices. Learn more at www.CSSP.org.