April 20, 2021 – George Floyd’s life mattered. And today the life of George Floyd mattered in the eyes of the 12 jury members who delivered the absolutely right and just verdict. George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who utterly failed in his duty to protect all citizens. George Floyd’s murder trial, a trial that we all watched with so much angst, anticipation, pain, and maybe even a sliver of hope, will now be a moment in our American history that brings some healing. While this verdict hopefully brings some peace and some justice to George Floyd’s family, it does not bring him back to his family and those who loved him.
It is only one step in a very long journey towards criminal justice reform, towards police reform, towards real accountability. A Black man should not have to be murdered on camera for justice to be served. Too many Black and Brown individuals are murdered by law enforcement, and their murders see no justice. I grew up in L.A. in the time of Rodney King, and I lived through the L.A. riots of 1992. I found myself remembering that painful time, and I am thankful that, at least today, the criminal justice system saw progress in the right direction.
But if we don’t build on this step forward, we will take it for granted, and we will not see true, lasting change. As a society and as human beings, we need to keep marching and keep fighting to dismantle white supremacy, systemic racism, bias and prejudice. We stand stronger when we stand together as authentic allies and supporters of each other’s struggles and pursuits of justice. When we all commit to each other authentically, when we all commit to get in that good trouble, we WILL realize true racial justice.
I hope that today’s verdict heals some trauma, but that trauma is deeply embedded and needs so much more to be fully at peace. Let’s not forget that we are living through a once in a generation moral reckoning with racism in this country, and today’s verdict is not an end to that reckoning. It is a step in the direction of justice. Let’s stay committed to the journey we are on, and make sure that today’s verdict, that the life of George Floyd, matters for generations to come
Yours in peace and justice,
Brenda L. Marrero, Esq.
Executive Director, Public Interest Law Center