Yesterday, I watched the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial being read. More accurately, I listened as I had my eyes closed in anticipation.
Because America has long found law enforcement officers responsible, but not accountable for the killing of people of color, I braced myself for yet another police officer getting away behind the shield of their profession.
The outcome is historic, and I felt a huge wave of relief that for once, justice seemed to have been served. That said, this should not be remarkable.
People, regardless of their profession, who take another person’s life unnecessarily need to be held accountable for their actions.
Working to dismantle systemic racism and bias, changing an entire culture around protecting others like us and dismissing the concerns of those not like us, and reimagining a societal pillar that was based on the inherent inhumanity of treating people as ownable things is difficult work.
We may feel like we’re going to make a mistake with what we say, or that we might offend someone. We may feel fear about being cancelled, or of losing clients or work because of our statements. We might fear for our very well-being, or the well-being of our family.
But if we do not have these conversations, and really wrestle with what it means to live in a culture steeped with white supremacy, then we are literally saying that the lives of the people of color are less important than the uncomfort of being yelled at somehow on the internet.
I’m not saying we all need to make public statements, but we all need to be having conversations. Sparking dialogue (which is distinctly different than screaming at each other), and enrolling people in the idea that systemic racism is still alive and well, and we need to dismantle it one person, one conversation, one DM, one social media post at a time.
As I write this, I just found out that another 15 year-old Black girl was killed by police in Ohio.
Another life lost.
If you’ve gotten this far, and you disagree, let’s have a conversation. No name calling, no sarcasm. I’ll do my best to bring an open mind and empathy if you do the same.