Guilty on all counts, jury focuses on accountability.
Today’s jury verdict in the Derek Chauvin case brings a desperately needed – albeit insufficient – moment of justice in the brutal and senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
SAGE is an organization committed to building upon the legacy of LGBT pioneers who launched a movement by rebelling against police violence. We join with many other voices in lifting up and honoring this long-overdue moment of accountability and reckoning in response to anti-Black violence and racism.
Neither the senseless killing of George Floyd nor the systemic anti-Black racism and white supremacy that caused it will be undone by this verdict. Nonetheless, the ability of this jury to do what many prior juries have refused to do – holding law enforcement criminally accountable for unjustified and deadly violence against a Black person – serves as a powerful testament to the shift in the direction of racial justice sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement. This shift would not have been possible without the brave and insistent protestors who have kept anti-racism at the forefront of public consciousness. These actions must be continually nurtured to systematically dismantle – piece by piece – the structures that support anti-Black racism and white supremacy.
This struggle for racial justice demands more than words. It demands action. In taking responsibility for our obligation to take action, SAGE has spent years building our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts both internal to our organization and externally. We are in the process of building an anti-racism framework that will continually guide SAGE’s work with and on behalf of LGBT+ older people. And we will do more. SAGE will continue to incorporate intersectionality and anti-racism as fundamental values in our work. We will enhance our work with our partners at the Diverse Elders Coalition, a collective of national aging organizations dedicated to centering the experiences and voices of older people who are American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian; Black and African American, Hispanic; and/or LGBT+. We will join forces with other social justice organizations in calling for elected officials to act in uprooting racist institutions and systems that continue to target BIPOC people. As our LGBT+ elder pioneers have taught us, we cannot remain neutral. We refuse to be invisible, and we refuse to be silent.