Statement from President Crimmin on the Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin
Published on: April 21, 2021
Yesterday afternoon, in a Hennepin County Courthouse located roughly three miles from an area now commonly referred to as “George Floyd Square,” justice was finally served. The verdict rendered—three guilty counts against former police officer Derek Chauvin—brought the trial for the murder of George Floyd to a conclusion.
Yet racial injustice cannot be resolved by this one trial; it is a pervasive issue that was brought to the forefront by the killing of Floyd and the fervent protests the followed. Prior to the verdict, Minnesota high school students held a peaceful march to protest racial injustice. A little over a week ago, Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer during a traffic stop. On March 29, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot by a Chicago police officer. Sadly, there are too many others.
Shortly after the verdict was rendered, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, issued a statement which conveyed, in part: “Unfortunately, we recognize and acknowledge that anti-Black police violence did not begin or end with the killing of George Floyd. Neither will it end with the conviction of Derek Chauvin. We note, too, that the long-standing movement for racial justice that was sparked by outrage over Floyd’s death continues to build as communities across the country and around the world suffer the repeated shocks of incident upon incident of Blacks and other people of color dying at the hands of police in the United States.”
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Floyd family. But no verdict can undo what has been done. While President Biden called the verdict “a giant step towards justice in America,” he added that systemic racism is “a stain on the nation’s soul.” He urged Americans to continue to heed the outcry of activists: “We have to listen. ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words.”
I ask our community to remember those words. I urge you to be steadfast in your commitment to eliminating racial inequities, and be an active and dedicated participant in racial healing in our country. No matter where your path takes you at the end of the spring semester, it is vital that you serve as a role model and catalyst for doing the right thing—to create and contribute to building just and equitable communities.
Nancy P. Crimmin, Ed.D.