We’ve anxiously watched and waited. Yesterday we witnessed history weighted in generations, stemming past baby boomers like myself and beyond millennials like my daughter. All of us glued to our phones and TVs, and in less than 10 hours (that has truly felt like hundreds of years), we all received the final verdict:
Guilty: second degree murder.
Guilty: third-degree murder.
Guilty: second-degree manslaughter.
Over the past 28 days, the world has turned its eyes towards the Derrick Chauvin case and the Minnesota-based jury proceeding over the killing of Mr. George Floyd. While the prosecution and defense spent weeks spelling out the life-ending events of Mr. Floyd, many of us, young and old, watched understanding that this case not only places his justice in the hands of the court, but justice spanning over hundreds of years of mistreatment of Black and Brown people. The humanity of Black people finds itself at the epicenter of this trial, as if it is something that constantly must be fought over.
Legalese defines “verdict” as the decision-making of what becomes formal fact. A decision, that in one way or another, creates outstanding precedent for how we carry out our lives every day. We must understand that “to precedence” is typically a reset in our priorities. So where are we now? What has been our verdict, even over the past 330 days since George Floyd’s death? Other black men and women continue to die at the hands of law enforcement.
The twelve diverse jurors put forth a verdict that demonstrates accountability and must be upheld within the actions of law enforcement. The power and beauty of diversity of thought, lived experiences, race, and socioeconomic status of the infamous jurors, has set precedent in our justice system by voting “Guilty on all three counts.” This is a movement in justice being served.
If it was not clear before, it should be clear now: Black Lives have been blatantly regarded as “less than” to our systems, policies, and communities. Today’s verdict of guilty is a change in the tide and a source of accountability where it has historically failed to be conceived. This is just the beginning, as we take a day to sit in our peace and relief but not lose sight of the work ahead. It is my hope and my daughter’s hope despite our generational gap, that collectively everyone will finally see that Black Lives Matter too, and that equity and justice must be on the forefront of everyday decision-making.
Brandywine Health Foundation carries its mission to advance a more equitable, resilient, and healthy Greater Coatesville. Vanessa B. Briggs, President & CEO. Twitter: @BrandywineHealthFd LinkedIn: @brandywinefoundation; www.brandywinefoundation.org
The United Coalition is an independent project that aims to formalize and grow a coalition of anti-racist organizations and leaders. Sabrina M. Briggs President & Founder, IG: @theunitedcoalition Twitter: @UnitdWeStnd