The jury’s verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin resulted in his conviction on all charges, including two murder counts. People across this nation and the world are breathing a sigh of relief that there will be accountability for the merciless killing of George Floyd in broad daylight, on the street, captured on video. Yet Mr. Floyd will never breathe again, and Chauvin will not be the last police officer to use his badge to terrorize Black and Brown people.
A guilty verdict in a single case cannot wipe away racism. Nor can it erase the horror, pain and trauma visited on the entire community of Black people, knowing that they will be at risk in public and even in their own homes as long as the scourge of white supremacy and systemic racism reign in this country.
During the trial, a Black man and a Latino youth, both unarmed, were shot and killed by police, one right in Hennepin County, Minnesota where the trial was being held. One victim was Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man and father of a toddler. The other victim, Adam Toledo, only 13 years old, was shot and killed by police in Chicago. Both Wright and Toledo had disabilities.
We must end the over-policing of Black and Brown communities that is rooted in slavery. We must reform what Michelle Alexander has named, “The New Jim Crow.” Police brutality and mass incarceration are harming, killing and traumatizing people of color and/or with disabilities and their families.
As we pause – perhaps for 9-1/2 minutes – to reflect on the innumerable lost lives and the ripple effects for generations to come, we will channel our outrage and grief into continuing the work of dismantling institutional and systemic racism and ableism.
It is not enough to wait for an opportunity to speak out about these injustices, or even to look for such opportunities. We must actively, relentlessly create opportunities to confront the racism and ableism in our public safety institutions.
DRNC remains steadfast in our work to defend the lives of disabled North Carolinians and to fight for their right to live in the world. Please join DRNC in demanding equal justice under the law for all people and the end to systemic racism.
Virginia Knowlton Marcus
Chief Executive Officer, DRNC