“I would not call todays verdict justice because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice. Now the cause of justice is in your hands, when I say your hands, I mean the hands of the people of the United States.” – Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General
Calls for justice ring hollow in our streets when people are not held accountable for their acts of injustice.
It says a lot that the country, nay, the world was waiting with bated breath for the verdict of 12 Minnesotans regarding a crime that was committed in broad daylight and caught on camera—because no one truly knew if the perpetrator would be held accountable. More often than not in this country, if someone commits a crime while wearing a badge, they are in fact not held to account for those crimes. Derek Chauvin’s conviction was just the second time in the history of the State of Minnesota that a police officer was held accountable in this way.
It says a lot, but what does it say? It says that Americans are still waiting for justice. Black Americans are still waiting for justice.
Keith Ellison is right; it is in our hands now. It’s in our hands to find true justice.
I’m not talking about vigilantism, or what you may see in sensationalized news coverage.
It’s in our hands to continue the work that was started so many years before the murder of George Floyd but ignited by his dying calls for his mother and final gasps of air under that knee.
It’s in our hands to be as courageous.
It’s in our hands to be thoughtful.
It’s in our hands to find unity.
It’s in our hands to show compassion.
It’s in our hands to act.
It’s in our hands to be empathetic.
It’s in our hands to continue evaluating our own actions, institutions, and lives to grow together as we work to reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in this country. Its existence is a truth that we cannot escape.
It’s in our hands to work until that truth, takes no more lives.
It’s in our hands to work until we find true justice and liberty for all.
Perhaps it is not a time to celebrate, but a time to exhale the collective breath we’ve all been holding as we push on to the next.