Today, June 25th, former officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years for the murder of George Floyd. ARISE’s statement on Chauvin’s conviction remains the same.
“Awakening is the foundation of every kind of change.” Thich Nhat Hanh
For some, the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin delivered a brief sense of relief, as Chauvin was found guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd. For others, the conviction is about accountability, not justice. For still others, the conviction reaffirms the continuation of generational, institutional, structural and systemic racism, especially regarding Black, Indigenous, and People of Color/Global Majority. The conviction will not bring back George Floyd or the many lives that have been tragically and unjustly taken. We grieve with the families and communities mourning the loss of their loved ones, and we recommit ourselves to continuing to work toward justice and liberation for all beings.
As we reflect on the verdict in the trial, we must remember that our work is not done and commit ourselves to the ongoing work of racial equity. Accountability is an element of justice and yet what good is justice in a society that intentionally or unintentionally fosters disparate treatment based on race and socioeconomic status? A just society serves Asian people, Black people, indigenous people, people of color, unhoused people, trans people, low-income people, differently abled people, and marginalized people who face discrimination. If a Black person is unsafe in society, we are all unsafe.
ARISE continues to call for justice in service of peace and understanding for all beings, and we are committed to working toward that vision. Centuries of systemic and structural racism in the U.S. and around the world have created deeply rooted inequities within ourselves and in the world. One guilty verdict cannot undo centuries of structural and systemic racism and the consequential deeply rooted inequities embedded within society. We are committed to awakening to our highest aspiration to build a society, a sangha rooted in liberation and love.