We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
That was the first order of business for we the people of the United States when the country was founded. In the almost 245 years since the United States was founded, justice has more often been an illusion than reality for the Black community. The illusion is rooted in the constant fight between the Black community and America itself over the most basic sense of equal justice under the law. While we’ve grown from being valued worth three-fifths a single person only for the purpose of appropriating seats for Congress, we still have to fight for rights that others take for granted.
Knowing this, imagine my surprise when I woke up yesterday evening to get ready for work. Within the time I laid down to sleep somewhere between 1 – 2pm and got up at 7pm, the fate of Derek Chauvin had been voted on, signed, delivered, read into the records, and Chauvin himself was already in detention awaiting sentencing. I had anticipated the jury would convict only on the lesser manslaughter charge because the evidence was so overwhelming. I had not even contemplated the possibility of a murder conviction.
While this is an astounding victory in the justice system, I am giving it the Nick Saban win treatment. If you’re unaware of his mindset on wins, he celebrates for 24 hours, and then his focus shifts to the next game or opponent. This is the mindset that I recommend the Black community adopt in the fight for justice. While some may say Floyd received justice, this is actually Chauvin being held accountable for his actions.
There’s a difference between accountability and justice. What we witnessed yesterday was accountability. This was one man, one officer being held to task for his actions and nothing more. This verdict will not change the mindset of Minneapolis officers, and it will not change policing in America. Justice will occur when this country decides to hold all people equally accountable for their actions under the color of the law. Sporadic episodes of accountability will not ensure justice, which was the first thing that the founders recognized as a course of action in the establishment of the United States.