The conviction of Derek Chauvin on all three counts in the death of George Floyd represents a much needed breeze of change, but it is neither the storm or whirlwind needed to correct the malignant, cancerous attitude of law enforcement against not only Black men and women and people of color, but a society which says it’s alright to be judge, jury and executioner of those having contact with police in particular. The prosecution and its witnesses in the trial made it clear that the issue is not police training, nor is it about anything other than treating people with the respect and dignity the police would expect if they were in the shoes of those who have become their victims. We know that crime does exist, that there are people who must be apprehended and not all can be done without use of force; but those selected to wear a badge and gun must know the difference and must no longer be able to hide behind such legal myths as “qualified immunity” which has excused so much of what so many police officers should be held accountable for. The verdict is a good start, but let's not think it solves our problems.
In the midst of celebrating, let us keep our eyes on the national war before us which finds Republican legislators at the Congressional and State legislative levels mounting a relentless battle for “voter suppression.” They are attempting to do to people of color what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd. Their knee is being placed on our neck of democracy and we cannot breathe without fighting back. Let’s identify not only those Republican legislators in each state pushing such legislation, but mount people to run against them. At the same time, let us withhold our dollars from those corporations who refuse to stand up and speak out with their dollars against those very elected officials they have funded for so long.
There are still more trials to come. Let’s stay vigilant, for the struggle continues.