The emphasis on long-term, sustainable, and structural change is marking a historic and revolutionary moment in the struggle to end racism.
Rabat – Prosecuters have brought new charges against all four police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd. While protesters hail the steps toward justice, they are also spotlighting the urgent need for structural change in a criminal justice system long-riddled by racial biases and the unfair notion that black lives are less important than those of white people.
Members of the Black Lives Matter movement are clear that, regardless of the outcome of Floyd’s case, more work needs to be done to satisfy the ideals of “freedom and justice” the US has touted for so long.
Jonathan Mejias, a protester in Chicago, told the New York Times “It’s just one piece. The world needs to know that it doesn’t end with resolving this one case. There are too many more out there.”
The US has charged Derek Chauvin, the lead officer responsible for killing Floyd on May 25, with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison announced yesterday that the change from third-degree to second-degree murder came in the interest of justice.
After more than a week of protests that have spread to all corners of the country and around the world, US authorities have charged the other three officers involved in Floyd’s deadly arrest as well. Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao all face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Charges are only the first step in a typically long road to justice. All four officers, fired promptly after bystanders caught Floyd’s death on camera, face trial in court months from now, leaving advocates to wait for convictions of sentences to be carried out, if any materialize.
A countrywide movement
Tens of thousands of protesters have marked 9 consecutive days on the streets across the US fighting for far more than charges or convictions. Businesses, organizations, and the international community are denouncing the racism and the systemic injustices that people of color have faced throughout US history.
Large companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, a popular ice cream brand, have made public statements promising to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The Vermont-based company detailed four action-items necessary to deliver justice “for all the victims of state sponsored violence and racism” and end white supremacy.
Ben & Jerry’s, like the NAACP and other advocates, have called for police reform and legislation that would end racial biases in the criminal justice system. They also asked President Trump and other politicians to commit to a formal process of reconciliation and healing, as well as an end to normalizing violence.
The company has called on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division and increase police accountability.
“Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end. We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation’s long journey towards justice and a more perfect union,” the statement concludes.
Ben & Jerry’s words’ are being echoed by those who refuse to stay silent after George Floyd’s name joined the long list of black lives lost to police brutality.
The emphasis on long-term, sustainable, and structural change is marking a historic and revolutionary moment in the struggle to end racism, a battle that people of color have fought since the US established itself as a nation.