Following the verdict in the Chauvin trial this week, we at Tubman intentionally paused in an effort to allow ourselves and each other some time and space to honor the range of reactions and feelings amongst us. And now we “keep going,” carrying out the legacy of our inspiration and namesake Harriet Tubman, as we act on our commitment to the deep, hard work that remains.
On Tuesday, Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General, said “I would not call today’s verdict ‘justice,’ however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice.” And yet, is it true accountability when so many people in our country still believe Chauvin didn’t do anything wrong? The simple fact that we wondered what the outcome might be illustrates the deadliness of structural racism. Is this moment truly a “step forward” for our nation when, within the hour of the Chauvin verdict, a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant? Can we say we’re “making progress” when Daunte Wright was killed in Brooklyn Center just days earlier? The list of names and the questions we ask go on.
Yet we remain rooted in hope. We find hope in 17-year-old Darnella Frazier’s bravery as she recorded George Floyd’s murder. We find hope in this week’s youth walk-out in schools to protest racial injustice. And hope fuels our commitment to continuing our own racial justice work for restoration and healing, at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and structural systems levels. We are unwavering in our commitment and work toward foundational changes in many systems and in many ways, including – to name just a few – housing and economic justice; and criminal justice reform measures, such as ending cash bail, qualified immunity, and no-knock warrants, as well as restoring the vote to people with felony convictions who have completed their sentences of incarceration. We commit to action, and invite you to join us and the many community-led and Black-led organizations that we follow and learn from, including Voices for Racial Justice and Black Visions Collective, and encourage you to support them too. We also suggest Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) as a place for white people to take accountable action.
The Chauvin trial may be over, but much work remains. Thank you for your commitment to the work ahead, for joining with our community in action, and for supporting Tubman’s mission of safety, hope, and healing.