In an historic decision, Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes last year, killing him, was found guilty Tuesday of all three charges against him. You could hear a resounding sigh of relief across the nation from the millions of Americans who had been holding their breaths over the past month — knowing that “guilty” was the only verdict, but also knowing that it wasn’t guaranteed.
And while this verdict is right and just, let’s not pat ourselves on the back just yet. We are still living in a society where people of color are targeted, discriminated against, and killed. We are still living in a society where police tend to be above the law and have qualified immunity, regardless of the circumstances surrounding police-involved shootings. To illustrate, here are a few disturbing facts (out of hundreds):
- At the time this verdict was being rendered, another black life was taken, as 16-year old Ma’Khia Bryant, was shot and killed by police in Ohio.
- During three weeks of the Chauvin trial, more than 100 people were killed by police across the US.
- A survey from the Bureau of Justice reports Black and Hispanic people are upwards of 2 times more likely to experience use of force by police than white people.
I will likely die, holding my breath. But at least it won’t be choked out of me, over 9 minutes.
This is why, while I breathe a small sigh of relief that George Floyd’s murderer was found guilty and will do jail time, I will continue to hold my breath until there is sweeping reform across the nation. I will continue to hold my breath until there are no more names added to the #saytheirnames list. I will continue to hold my breath until I live in a country where all people are treated equal.
I will likely die, holding my breath. But at least it won’t be choked out of me, over 9 minutes — I’m a white woman, after all.
Say Their Names 2020/2021 (through April)
Jaquyn O’Neill Light was killed on Jan. 29, 2020. He was 20 years old.
Barry Gedeus was killed on March 6, 2020. He was 27 years old.
Donnie Sanders was killed on March 12, 2020 in Kansas City, Mo. He was 47 years old.
Mychal Johnson was killed on March 20, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla. He was 31 years old.
Fred Brown was killed on April 23, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nev. He was 34 years old.
Shaun Lee Fuhr was killed on May 1, 2020 in Seattle, Wash.. He was 24 years old.
Maurice Gordon was killed on May 23, 2020 in Bass River, N.J. He was 28 years old.
Dion Johnson was killed on May 25, 2020 in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 28 years old.
Robert D’Lon Harris was killed on June 25, 2020 in Vinta, Okla. He was 34 years old.
Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis was killed on Aug. 7, 2020.
Kurt Andras Reinhold was killed on Sept. 23, 2020. He was 42 years old.
Mickel Erich Lewis was killed on Oct. 2, 2020. He was 39 years old.
Jonathan Price was 31 years old at the time of his death.
Anthony Jones was killed on Oct. 12, 2020.
Marcellis Stinnette was 19 years old when he was killed.
Andre Maurice Hill was killed on Dec. 22, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio.
Patrick Lynn Warren was killed on Jan. 10, 2021. He was 52 years old.
Jenoah Donald was killed in Hazel Dell, Wash. He was 30 years old.
Daverion Kinard was killed just hours before his 29th birthday.
Amir Johnson was 30 years old when he was killed.
Rayshard Brooks was killed on June 12, 2020.
Wilbon Cleveland Woodard was killed on May 19, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla. Woodward was 69 years old.
Yassin Mohamed was killed on May 9, 2020.
Casey Goodson Jr. was killed on Dec. 4, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. Goodson was 23 years old.
Albert Lee Hughes was killed on Jan. 15, 2020 in Lawrenceville, Ga.
Carl Dorsey III was killed minutes into the new year on Jan. 1, 2021 in Newark, N.J.
Arnell States was killed on Feb. 20, 2021 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. States was 39 years old.
Donovon W. Lynch was killed on March 26, 2021 in Virginia Beach, Va. Lynch was 25 years old.
Daunte Wright was killed on April 11, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Daunte Wright was 20 years old.
Adam Toledo was killed on March 29, 2021. He was 13 years old.
Ma’Khia Bryant was killed on April 20, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Ma’Khia was 16 years old.