Black In Kingston, A Year Later

I am still processing the news of the Derek Chauvin trial. I can say that it’s upsetting how shocked I was that the right thing was done. Finally. I don’t want to jump up and down and scream justice because George Floyd is still dead and one verdict doesn’t equal a change in policy. But it does set a precedent and send a signal to cops that they can be held accountable for their actions. Because that’s what happened. Chauvin was held accountable. After almost a year and several other cases of police brutality. After a trial that tried to humanize the man that was killed to justify his murder instead of vilifying his murderer. Accountability happened.

Photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash

It’s been almost a year since a local officer, Brad Hughes, argued that George Floyd played role in his death by not complying to police. He confidently shared on his Facebook page, “Had every single one of the deceased in the high profile cases in the US not resisted their arrest but instead complied, sat themselves in the cruiser and fought their case in the court room rather then the street, they’d ALL be alive today.” That is simply not true. It’s been proven over and over (Breonna Taylor was asleep in her bed). And a reminder to any devil’s advocates out there that non-compliance should not equal death. His statement was/is absolutely unacceptable, particularly coming from a police officer. It’s unsettling to know that someone who sits in such a power position holds such problematic beliefs. And real change means that he would be publicly reprimanded for those harmful words and given more training on implicit biases.

A year into the pandemic while we remain in lockdown and these conversations continue, if you shared my post last year or posted a black square, I think this is a good time to check in on the conversations you’ve had since then.

Last week when Ford announced that police could stop anyone on the street and question them during the stay at home order, did anyone consider that this already happens to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour regularly? Everyone was alarmed by our “police state” not considering that that’s the reality for many.

The point I am trying to make is that the sentencing of Derek Chauvin is the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more work to be done. And if you’ve had the privilege of checking in and out of the Black Lives Matter movement this last year because “it’s all too depressing and too much” understand that there are many who don’t carry that luxury. We all still have a responsibility to dismantle the structures that bring us devastating endings like the death of George Floyd.

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