While we should be satisfied with yesterday's verdict, but we mustn't forget that fleeting justice is not complete justice. Photo credit: Reuters
Last night, a jury of ordinary citizens found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who cried out for his deceased mother while a police officer, meant to serve and protect, dug his knee into his neck for nine minutes and 29 excruciating seconds until all signs of life left his body. It was an unquestionable homicide committed on the world stage.
While millions of people across the US, Canada, and the rest of the globe celebrate this fleeting instance of justice for one Black man, there are thousands more who were never afforded the same level of dignity. Their lives, along with the life of George Floyd, mattered. We must also remember that one verdict acknowledging a singular event of racial injustice is not equivalent to justice being realized for all Black people. The fact that we are celebrating what should be a judicial norm encapsulates the overarching problem.
Systemic racism is not just an American problem, and though we often like to say that racism has no place in our country, many people of colour know, from personal experience, that it very much does. Systemic racism in Canada must be acknowledged and earnestly addressed to improve Canadian society. If we continue to ignore the problem and reject solutions, racial discrimination will remain a massive, morally toxic stain in our community.
I still have hope that we can eliminate racial injustice. I believe that a nation that is equitable for all people of colour is possible. A country where Black men, women, and children can enjoy the rights and freedoms promised in our constitution, where the fear of being discriminated against because of the colour of their skin is unfathomable. A country where they can breathe!
We, at CRRF, send our deepest condolences to the Floyd family, his community, and all who have been victims of racial injustices. We are confident that George Floyd’s death was not in vain and that his legacy will go far beyond the heartbreak of his death. We condemn the racist system that took his life and the lives of Black people across this continent. And we reaffirm our commitment to helping create a future where injustices like this never happen again.
Canadian Race Relations Foundation