By Alexander Ramirez
BOSTON, MASS – In the wake of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict for the murder of George Floyd, much of the country has been celebrating a victory for racial justice.
However, Massachusetts 7th congressional district representative Ayanna Pressley believes that the country should not consider this a victory for racial justice just yet.
“It’s a new day in America, but our communities are still faced with the same traumas as before. The outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial doesn’t change things for us, because Black people are still being killed by police,” she said.
And in the days after the Chauvin verdict, she’s been proven right as nearly half dozen cases of police killings and violence have popped up around the country.
She, like many people, did not think that the jury would find Chauvin guilty on three counts so soon after deliberation. That in of itself is a statement as to the state of the country.
Pressley believes that there should not have been a trial in the first place, and that George Floyd should still be alive and at home with his family and fiancé.
Floyd should not have died and become a martyr that day, but instead should’ve woke up and went to sleep the same as every other day, she said, noting there should have been the need for protests and calls for revolution to receive change for what was clearly the murder of an innocent man.
Elsewhere, there are still victims of police violence before, during, and after the Chauvin trial.
Pressley highlighted the cases of Ma’Khia Bryant; the girl in Columbus, Ohio was shot by police when they believed she charged at two other girls at the scene with a knife.
Despite being labeled as a “young woman,” Bryant was only 16 years old when she died.
Pressley also mentioned the cases of Andrew Brown Jr. who was shot while police were fulfilling a search warrant, Adam Toledo, 13, who was shot by police after an “armed confrontation”, Anthony Thompson Jr., 27, who was shot in his school bathroom after another “armed confrontation”, and Daunte Wright, 20, who was shot by an officer after they mistook their firearm for a taser.
“As a member of Congress, I seek to do the work of healing and liberation for Black girls and Black people every day. Our freedoms and our destinies are tied, and I am accountable to the calls for collective liberation. But I can’t do the work of liberation for Black people if Black people are dead,” she said.
Instead, we should focus on community-based policies, Pressley said, namely, the restorative, trauma-informed, community-based solutions that people are demanding.
“In the richest country in the history of the world, we shouldn’t have to focus on guaranteeing freedom from fear…We should guarantee a freedom from student loan debt, the freedom of free-at-point-of-service health care, a roof over everyone’s heads, and enough high quality jobs for people to “not only survive, but to thrive,” she said.
It is clear that Pressley’s message isn’t to say that justice reform folks should not be happy that George Floyd and his family may find peace, but instead that this should not have happened in the first place and Floyd should still be alive.
“I hope the outcome of this trial brings the Floyd family some peace. But I hope the rest of us remain acutely uncomfortable with the fact that justice can never truly be served because George Floyd is dead. Our work will not be complete until we legislate to dismantle every system that finances and perpetuates brutality, murder and state-sanctioned violence at home and abroad,” she said.
Alexander Ramirez is a third-year Political Science major at the University of California, Davis. He hopes to hone his writing skills in preparation for the inevitable time of graduation.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: