We are heartened to hear of the Minneapolis jury’s verdict finding Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd. Though a finding of Mr. Chauvin’s guilt will not rectify the horrific nature of Mr. Floyd’s death nor will it take away the pain of loss for his family, friends and community, we hope this decision brings at least some sense of justice done, at last.
Mr. Floyd’s murder nearly a year ago pulled back the curtain and helped to shine light on the ugly truth of racial injustice and extrajudicial killing of Black people in our country. It forced long-deferred conversations about America’s original sin: White Supremacy, and its permeating presence in the American justice system.
We understand that despite this guilty verdict there remains a deep well of righteous anger and mistrust in black and brown communities everywhere, and that anger and mistrust may be expressed on the streets of Olympia and other American cities.
Our hope is that those expressions are peaceful. Our hope is that we as a community can find our way to a place of healing - together.
The City of Olympia began to engage in critical conversations about race and justice with our community last summer with a series of virtual town halls focused on the justice system, economic opportunity, healthcare, and education. We are continuing the important work of reimagining public safety in our community and of establishing a social justice and inclusion commission to sustain the work of equity and justice in Olympia.
To get to a place of healing, there are hard truths that must be said and that must be heard. The City of Olympia is committed to put opportunities to be heard before the community as we work through the processes around public safety and social justice and equity.
To that point, we invite the community to share their thoughts and perspective as part of the work of standing up a social justice and inclusion commission. We ask you to participate with us in this work through our Engage Olympia platform at https://engage.olympiawa.gov/equitycommission
We are early on in a journey that will likely be generations long to get to a place where true equity and inclusion permeate the fiber of society, and justice follows naturally on.
Finally, we must acknowledge the pain and sorrow we all witnessed throughout the trial from the bystanders who witnessed Mr. Floyd’s death and from Mr. Floyd’s loved ones who miss him so deeply and dearly. We wish them comfort and we wish them peace.