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A Step Forward

Derek Chauvin.

Guilty of second-and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of George Floyd.  

Guilty of not seeing George Floyd’s life as valuable and worth living.  

Guilty of causing complex trauma to those who witnessed George’s murder. 

Guilty of deepening the distrust between the Black community and policing.

Guilty of abusing his position of power.

Guilty of racism.

Guilty of trying to get away with murder.

What is on my heart right now?

I am grateful for this verdict and the precedent it will set for future convictions, yet sad it took George Floyd’s murder being recorded by a 17-year-old girl for the legal system to respond, for the world to SEE, and HEAR. Yet how many other Black men, women, and children’s lives have remained invisible to justice? 

Why did it take a recording to believe the horrific actions happen when abuse of power intersects with racism? Where is providing a safe world for everyone a priority? Isn’t it essential for one to feel seen, heard, AND safe?

I refer to the 38 witnesses as community advocates for human life; the young teenager Darnella Frazier, now 18, who recorded the video seen across the world, demonstrated courage, dignity, and justice. This young woman witnessed the murder of a human being at the hands of a police officer to protect and serve. And she continued recording.  

I wonder what she must have been thinking and feeling. I have read she wakes up at night saying to George she wishes she could have done more for him. This young teenager helped seal George Floyds justice when she began recording and didn’t stop until he died. And she wishes she did more. Darnella did more than most people would have. 

Despite the confusion, fear, and the police officer’s abuse of authority, she continued to record. Darnella displayed bravery, and because of that bravery she may endure the effects of trauma; confusion, distrust of authority, deep sadness, insomnia, inability to think, startle reflexes, loss of appetite, to name a few. Yet, she stood strong for truth and justice, for humanity. We need more adult Darnella’s in this world.

Along with George Floyd’s murder, which is horrific, Derek Chauvin caused trauma to Darnella and those who witnessed George’s murder. This type of trauma is called community violence; however, policing matters are not considered in community violence. 

Examples typically given for community violence are bullying, fights among gangs and other groups, shootings in public areas such as schools and communities, civil wars in foreign countries or “war-like” conditions in US cities, spontaneous or terrorist attacks. This action was community violence.

I wonder if George’s life would have mattered to the policing and legal system had Darnella not recorded the murder? I wonder if the community witnesses would have been taken seriously and believed had that video not been recorded. I wonder how many other Black lives have not received justice.

It is a step forward that justice was given to George Floyd. It is a step forward that a child’s instincts forced the nation to SEE  George Floyd. It is a step forward that a child’s instincts provided corroboration, so the community witnesses were HEARD.  A child cannot ensure the SAFETY of our Black community. The safety of our Black communities is the responsibility of adults, community leaders, public safety leaders, and congress, not a childs.