When the information about George Floyd’s death was released on May 26, 2020, the Minneapolis police department generically reported: “Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. [He was, in fact, dead.] Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”
On April 20, 2021, the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The sadness and grief of lost lives at the hands of those who vowed to protect and serve weighs heavy on the collective of those fighting for justice. From 2013 to 2019, only 1% of deaths at the hands of police (those who took an oath to protect and serve) have resulted in criminal charges. Prosecutors are often hesitant to bring charges against police due to the steep hurdles in obtaining a conviction. Thank goodness, Darnella Frazier had intuition and filmed what actually happened. Otherwise, it is doubtful that Chauvin would have been charged with Floyd’s murder.
In a recent Forbes interview, diversity and inclusion expert Kim Crowder, said, “Police brutality is not the result of only a few rogue cops and is deeply anchored within the ‘law enforcement system,’ which has inoculated the criminalization of people of color through fear. There is fear among racially marginalized populations and others in law enforcement who are reluctant to speak out.”
Although the law enforcement system is broken, we must combat fear with accountability and action to defund the police!
3 R’s FOR CONTINUED ACTION
1) REACH OUT TO YOUR SENATOR
The journey to undo and dismantle centuries of systemic oppression and widespread injustice in policing is unending, yet we must continue to travail and incrementally work toward criminal justice reform. One way to take action is to call your senators and petition them to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. If passed, the Act would:
Ban chokeholds at the federal level
Simplify efforts to pursue claims of police misconduct
End “qualified immunity” for law enforcement
Increase accountability for police officers
Forbid no-knock warrants (in some instances)
Mandate data collection on police encounters
Prohibit racial and religious profiling
Redirect funding to community-based policing programs
2) READ, REVISIT and REFLECT
Read and revisit the first three #RootCauseRacism blog series. If you have resources to share or small yet effective actions people can take to drive political activism in their communities, please visit the bottom of the Community section on the #RootCauseRacism website and click on the “Submit Resource” button to have your recommendation reviewed.
Another way to take action is to rest and practice radical self-care.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” - Audre Lorde.
Black and brown people, you matter. You deserve to rest and are worthy of care. The key to radical self-care means that we must be just as driven and dedicated to taking care of ourselves as we are about standing up for something we believe in. And here’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: Racism isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Remember, this is a journey, not a marathon or a foot race. To ensure we can live on to fight another day, it is imperative and necessary to take care of ourselves. Period. I encourage you to connect with your loved ones, read a book, unplug from social media, tap into your creativity and make something beautiful — not just for one day but be determined to find a way to include peace and care in your daily routine.
“Anyone who is interested in making change in the world, also has to learn how to take care of herself, himself, [themselves].” - Angela Davis.
Connect with Deondra on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn | Website Deondra Wardelle is a Senior-level Training and Development Executive. She has proven expertise in Strategic Growth Initiatives, Organizational and Leadership Development, and Lean Six Sigma Implementation. Deondra has a track record of success in being a catalyst for change and a driver of results, driven to improve processes and operations. She is an astute business strategist who is driven, engaging, collaborative and results-focused. An inspirational leader who serves as a strategic business partner, cultural change steward and operational expert. Effectively lead change management process strategies that facilitate organizational transformation and increase overall capabilities. Possesses an inclusive management style that encourages idea sharing and inspires exceptionalism in others. Proven ability to design and deliver a comprehensive range of learning solutions which produce measurable results.