Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D., responds to the jury’s decision today to hold George Floyd’s killer accountable for his death and addresses the need to reform the law enforcement and justice system to dismantle deeply rooted systemic racism, in a message to students, faculty, and staff.
This afternoon, we witnessed justice for George Floyd. I continue to feel anger and frustration about the circumstances that brought us here, as I know is true for many of you. While I am encouraged by today’s decision to hold Mr. Floyd’s killer accountable, it does not change that he was murdered at the hands of a police officer, a fate prescribed to far too many Black people across the United States. Relief that a just verdict was rendered is fleeting, at a time when racism continues unabated.
Justice has been served in this particular case, but the reality is that the road ahead will continue to be long and difficult as we work to address systemic racism and injustice in our society. The United States was founded and developed in the context of racism. The weight of this moment is heavy for all of us, yet for very different reasons, as our experiences with racism differ widely depending on our identities.
Major reforms within the law enforcement and justice system are needed to definitively confront and address deeply rooted, systemic racism. Since testimony of the Chauvin trial began on March 29, more than 64 people have died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide, with Black and Latinx people representing more than half of those individuals. As of Saturday, the average was more than three killings a day. Emotions and uncertainty over what this means for a nation run deep, and the hard, necessary work to heal can seem overwhelming. But as a nation, we can no longer afford to shrug and wait for the next tragedy. Complacency is complicity.
As Adlerians, this moment reminds us that our work to create a more just society and root out systemic racism is far from over. Today and every day, George Floyd’s life matters and all Black Lives Matter. Please take care of yourself and each other following this difficult 3-week trial and this long year.