Dear Commonwealth community,
A jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd, and with this verdict, a collective national tension seems to have eased.
Floyd's was only one extrajudicial death, but it sparked a global cry for justice and an impassioned reminder that Black Lives Matter. As we near the anniversary of his death—May 25—a year of extraordinary change, both in our country and in the Commonwealth community, comes into focus.
It is important to recognize that Black people are still more than twice as likely as white people to be killed during a police encounter, and they are disproportionately stopped by police overall. More than sixty people died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide over the barely three-week period of the Chauvin trial alone, with Black and Latino people representing more than half of those killed.
A single verdict does not change these fundamental inequities. A single verdict does not eliminate bad policing. But it is accountability, a step that gives some hope. There remains much work to be done. As Ben Crump, the attorney for the Floyd family, tweeted after the verdict, "We frame this moment for all of us, not just for George Floyd. This is a victory for those who champion humanity over inhumanity, those who champion justice over injustice, those who champion morality over immorality."