Episode #78 Verdicts Don't Heal

“Guilty on all three counts.” The conviction of Derek Chauvin created a complex mix of emotions for communities who have been collectively holding their breaths since last May. This week, Dr. Michael Brown and racial justice activist Anthony King reflect on the legacy of George Floyd and consider how much more work is required before justice becomes a reality.

Show Notes

George Floyd still has lost his life. He will still never be able to see his daughter graduate high school, never see his daughter marry anyone, never get a chance to hug his wife, never get a chance to see his brother anymore. So I don’t believe that justice has been reached yet. I do believe that this is a start.
Anthony King

Five Problems

  • Every organization that fights for justice experiences resistance within the local community.
  • Education about racial inequality is not alone sufficient to cultivate empathy.
  • The fight against racism is lifelong, and progress comes far more slowly than we would prefer.
  • Hundreds of Black people have been killed by police within the past 20 years, but only a handful of involved police officers have been convicted of murder.
  • The Black Lives Matter movement is often rejected outright as the result of rare instances of violent protests.

Three Principles

  • Verdicts are at best a step toward justice through accountability, but they are not all that justice requires.
  • The fight for justice, though never easy, can be incredibly motivating and fulfilling.
  • Healing always takes place within the context of relationship and requires the commitment to cultivating difficult dialogue.

Five Practices

  • Engage in one controversial conversation this week where your primary goal is to listen.
  • When difficult conversations become unsettling, make a commitment to stay put as an expression of love.
  • Lean into diverse and nuanced perspectives within racial and political groups rather than painting each community with broad brush strokes.
  • Accept with grace the reality that Black and brown people may lack the emotional capacity to engage in contentious conversations about race, as the topic may feel far more personal than theoretical.
  • Evaluate yourself honestly by asking the question, “How are my own opinions and actions contributing to racial inequality?”