VOW Response to Chauvin Conviction: More Work Ahead

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Last year, the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers led to national outcry and a widespread reckoning, yet again, with this country’s brutal history of systemic racism and state violence. The video, in which Officer Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes as he called out for help, galvanized a widespread movement for long-overdue justice.

A year later, in the midst of Chauvin’s trial, we continued to witness devastating violence at the hands of the state, including (but not limited to) the recent police killings of Daunte Wright, a young black father, and Adam Toledo, a 13-year old child. In the first three and a half months of 2021 alone, 260 police killings have taken place.

The trial of Chauvin was one of the most important civil rights cases in decades, with major implications in the fight for racial justice. At Voice of Witness, we hope the conviction verdict provides a clear signal that racist state violence will no longer be swept under the rug with impunity. Still, this is just one trial in the larger context of continued police brutality, which disproportionately targets Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. A conviction is not justice for George Floyd.

It is crucial that we do not let this moment of reckoning turn into another missed opportunity to make progress on systemic change. We join and stand with all those on the frontlines of protests across the country, led by Black activists, demanding meaningful steps toward the dismantling of white supremacist institutions. 

To our Black colleagues, partners, and friends: we stand in solidarity with you, we see you, we hear you. We hope you take the time and space you need this week and beyond.

To non-Black allies, we encourage all individuals and organizations to take time this week and beyond to reflect on your positionality in these conversations, what you can contribute, and what actions you’ll take in solidarity with movements for racial justice. If you are looking for specific Black-led organizations to follow, support, and get involved with, here is a list VOW compiled a few months ago. If you are looking to learn more about the history of racism and police violence in the US, here is a list of recommended readings and resources.

At VOW, we will continue our commitment to highlighting injustices, inequities, and oppression faced by marginalized communities and to amplifying the voices, resistance, and leadership of BIPOC individuals. As always, if you have feedback, questions, or ideas for VOW, please reach out. 

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