Our Statement on the April 20th Guilty Verdict for Former Officer Derek Chauvin
The guilty verdict handed down by the jury in the Derek Chauvin murder trial is a major step toward police accountability. The verdict is a semblance of justice that has been distinctly absent in cases of police misconduct against Black Americans.
Because of the courage of Black women like Darnella Frazier who taped the killing, protesters who took to the streets across the globe, and policymakers across the nation who have passed over 140 police oversight bills since the killing of George Floyd, we witnessed an aberration in the legal system — the murder conviction of a police officer.
And while we rejoice in three guilty verdicts, we are reminded of the immeasurable and irreversible loss that the Black women in George Floyd’s family have endured. A Black daughter lost her father. A Black sister lost her brother. A Black mother was reunited with her son in the afterlife far too soon.
Too many Black women — mothers, aunts, wives, girlfriends, daughters, nieces and granddaughters — are forced to live with the loss of Black men at the hands of police, all while shouldering the burden of being victims of police violence themselves. At the writing of this statement, a police officer shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black teenage girl in Columbus, Ohio. According to family members, Ma’Khia called the police for help, but the interaction led to her losing her life at the hands of police she called for assistance.
While yet another hashtag is placed in front of the name of a Black woman killed by police and we ask the public to #sayhername, we still await justice for sisters like Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland, and too many more. We say their names. We carry their scars. We bear the weight of the trauma from seeing so many of our Black friends, family members and colleagues experience violence at the hands of police.
Today, we take a moment to exhale. We make space to celebrate this abnormality, signaling a step towards justice. Tomorrow, we continue to fight for Black lives.
We do the advocacy work necessary to bring attention to underpublicized cases of brutality happening every day. We amplify our voices and our power as Black women to call out officers like Chauvin who would literally get away with murder if they weren’t held accountable, first by Black people across the nation then by the judicial system.
As we step into the work necessary to create positive change we invite you to join Shirley’s Kitchen Cabinet in this effort to unite, educate and empower Black women to become catalysts for change.