Dear Genesys Works Family,
When the verdict was announced in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for (what has now been affirmed as) the murder of George Floyd, all of America breathed a collective sigh of relief.
For some it represented vindication for a life taken too soon. For others, it was relief that Minneapolis would not have to endure a night of pent up frustration and likely damaging civil unrest. But for many, it was a feeling that the justice system (finally) worked and delivered accountability. No matter which camp you fall into, I think we all can agree that we should not have needed the last eleven months of events to reach this moment.
The death of George Floyd, last May, sparked mass protests across the world and reignited a decades-long conversation about race in America and abroad. It urged many businesses and political leaders to speak out, for the first time, to condemn racial inequality and social justice inequity. Corporations made billions of dollars in commitments to address social change, dismantle the barriers to equity and promote more inclusive practices.
And while there are signs of progress, the essential questions remain….
Why this event?
Was it the brazen callousness of Derek Chauvin? The fact that the entire event was captured on video? The persistent and graphic media coverage? These events have happened before with much less fanfare, lasting public fervor and attention or “just” outcome.
Many communities, especially communities of color, continue to experience the legacy of systemic racism and policies that perpetuate income inequity and disparities in education, healthcare, and the unequal application of the criminal legal system. Even as this trial was taking place, there were additional instances of questionable policing tactics across the country; and these chapters remain to be written.
To our colleagues in the Twin Cities, you have been at the center of this storm and while this verdict clearly demonstrates a level of progress, last week’s killing of Daunte Wright indicates that we are more likely at the end of the beginning of this journey, than at the beginning of the end.
Yesterday’s verdict should neither be a call for celebration, or complacency, but rather a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to build the society we want to see – where equal opportunity, social justice and income equality are achievable, accessible and available to all.
Yesterday was a reminder of the importance of our work and a testament to the fact that when we work together, change is possible.
President and CEO