This afternoon I held my son, snuggling and squirming, tight on my lap. This afternoon, I streamed live NPR coverage on my phone and heard a verdict of guilty — guilty — guilty in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial for the death of George Floyd. This afternoon, I felt a trickle of tears as I squeezed my confused baby tighter, crying for the Black mothers who will never hold their own babies again, babies who grew up to be men like George Floyd, killed by men like Derek Chauvin.
That this jury declared Chauvin guilty on all three counts for which he was charged is no small thing. The American Civil Liberties Union calls today’s announcement the first time in Minnesota history that a white police officer has been held accountable for the murder of a black man.
But make no mistake — this decision cannot be something we regard with satisfaction, wipe our hands, shake off the dust from our feet, and say, “It is finished.”
Justice came too late for George Floyd. True justice would have been no knee on his neck, no death by asphyxiation, no end of his life as bystanders watched and pleaded and wept. True justice would never have required Darnella Frazier’s brave witness with her cell phone and with her voice. True justice would never have let this happen in the first place… but here we are.
It is a drop in the bucket.
Amos 5:24 says, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
There is so much work yet to be done if this trickle is to roll down like a mighty, thunderous waterfall.
We must work together for a future when equality is not a buzzword, but a simple fact; we must vote without partisan squabbling for what is unquestionably right no matter whose name is attached; we must look into the faces of our neighbors and see the image of God.
God most merciful, make this drop a rushing, ever-flowing river.