Derek Chauvin’s 22.5-year sentence is welcome step in march toward racial justice

Protest on Aug. 28, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Derek Chauvin stole those moments from her – as he stole the life of her father, George Floyd.

The sentencing Friday of Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, to 22.5 years in prison for Floyd’s murder has brought this tragic case to a welcome end. But it is only one marker in America’s long, vital quest for racial equality and justice.

Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Stephon Clark, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Daunte Wright.

In the 13 months since Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, the nation has been forced to confront the fact that racial injustice remains deeply rooted in the American experience. Cities have made progress in providing alternatives to policing and in making policing itself less dangerous and more effective for the public. The nation has even embraced a new federal holiday that acknowledges America’s devastating history of enslavement and racial discrimination, one that also speaks of inspiration and hope.

And yet, even as hard and necessary conversations and actions have taken place, police across the country killed 1,127 people last year, according to data collected by Mapping Police Violence. Nearly half of those killed (48%) were Black and Latino people, even though combined the two groups make up only 30% of Americans.

America clearly has many more mountains to climb in its struggle as a nation for true equality and justice.

Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Jonathan Price, Sincere Pierce, Angelo Quinto.

The Chauvin case has ended with a just verdict and a fair sentence. The essential work of ensuring racial justice very much remains.

Gianna Floyd is only 7 years old. Racism, injustice and police brutality already have cost her more than anyone should have to sacrifice in a lifetime.


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