On May 25, 2020, for nine minutes and 29 seconds, George Floyd was gasping for his last breaths under Derek Chauvin’s knee. Nearly a year later, Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Even as we were focused on the trial, we were reminded of how racial injustice toward Black and Latinx people by some members of the police continues with the fatal shootings of 20-year-old Daunte Wright and then 13-year-old Adam Toledo.
With this week's verdict, we can breathe a bit of a collective sigh of relief that some degree of justice has been served.
This moment is historic for many reasons, but most importantly, along with COVID-19, the killing of George Floyd was the backdrop against which we collectively developed a deeper understanding of racial injustice, and here at Rush it allowed something new to be born.
After Floyd’s murder, Rush’s Racial Justice Action Committee was formed to directly address racial inequities. It grew out of Rush leadership’s understanding that we need to do our part as an institution and as individuals as well. Floyd’s death also informs the work on our CHANGE recommendations, which were designed to become the foundation of real progress.
The work is much more than a moment, however. It’s a movement toward justice. And though progress can’t happen overnight, the work is being conducted with intention and commitment to bringing about lasting organizational change at Rush. This is a journey, which develops into a practice that requires careful attention to ensure we meet with success.
In the midst of relief at the verdict, we cannot overlook the trauma, pain, sadness and grief that this murder and others like it have caused Black people as a community. We cannot also assume that the work is done. We still have a great deal of work to do.
Though this verdict achieves a small victory, it is also a reminder that we must continue to work together to actively bring about change. Join us in partnership in welcoming this victory safely and exploring new ways to bring about the much-needed change we all want to see in the world.
On May 25, Rush will hold an event in remembrance of George Floyd so we can come together as an institution to honor his life. In the meantime, please also remember to take care of yourselves and one another.