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  • Writer's pictureRICJ

A Victory in the Movement

The conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is a hard-win victory in the movement for Black lives, a moment of accountability for police who do not honor their oath to protect and serve, and for a system that has failed to deliver equal justice.

The three guilty verdicts delivered quickly and unanimously by the jury brought sheer relief… Relief for the community, since time after time, in case after case, over generations and hundreds of years, the system has failed to hold law enforcement accountable for Black, Brown and Indigenous people who die at the hands of police. Had it not been for the courage of horrified bystanders – a 17 year old girl who videotaped the murder, other witnesses who used their presence and voices to try to intervene – this could have been the same story, a story of racist force being tolerated or covered up, of murder without consequence.

The conviction allows the family to receive a measure of justice. Yet, as Vice President Harris said “…a measure of justice is not the same as equal justice”. Nothing can restore George Floyd to his family. We hope his family and friends can find healing in their shared love, and the love of their community. We hold them in our hearts, including George's young daughter, Gianna. It is unconscionable that she will grow up without her father. That fact is an enduring call to action. We hope that her pride in his memory can offer solace, for as she told us, “Daddy changed the world.”

Let us adopt her courage and honor the legacy of her father by working to build anti-racist systems, nationally and locally. The killings of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo and so many others are devastating reminders that injustice remains, and there is more work ahead of us than behind us. Let’s work to ensure that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is passed at a national level and implemented in every state. Let’s work to transform Rhode Island’s justice system to one that is genuinely restorative and to change concepts of policing from warrior to guardian. Let’s work to integrate police with health and social service providers whose services make our communities healthier and safer. And let’s continue to honor his legacy with our feet and our voices, thousands upon thousands of us marching, organizing and continuing to speak George Floyd’s name. Let’s do this until we achieve true change, a true partnership between community and police and true justice.

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