Wayside Statement on Derek Chauvin Conviction
Last week, the nation and world witnessed a historic moment when ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was held accountable for George Floyd’s murder. Black and Brown people exhaled, sensing a turning point in the fight for civil rights.
People were shocked, indicative of how rare it is for law enforcement to be held accountable for criminal charges in a court of law. Chauvin may have walked free if not for 17-year-old Darnella Frazier’s quick and brave decision to capture the excruciating last minutes of George Floyd’s life.
The unanimous verdict was a short reprieve; minutes before Chauvin was found guilty, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by a police officer as neighbors watched, helpless.
The Chauvin conviction is the first step toward rooting out racism in all forms and places, mending deep divisions and advancing civil rights.
Justice will not come easy. It will take strong and sustained pressure.
White people cannot back down. They must join in solidarity with the BIPOC community until justice is not an aberration but inherent to all humans. The power structures that have supported white supremacy will take years to topple.
Wayside is committed to acknowledging and understanding the systems that perpetuate the criminalization, oppression and exploitation of Black and Brown people. We actively work toward dismantling the systems that disenfranchise and exclude other racial and ethnic groups.
This work does not happen in silence, it is not comfortable, nor is it meant to be. It requires white people to relinquish privileges that they have benefitted from for decades, to understand and confront painful truths and acknowledge the ways they have participated in systemic and institutional racism.
White people must demand change, become leaders in the effort build a society where terms like racial trauma and systemic racism are replaced by liberation and equality.
We urge you to summon the courage of Darnella Frazier, speak against injustice and become upstanders who rise together to create change.
Wayside Equity Training Center Team