April 20, 2021
An open letter to the Cleveland community on the conviction of Derek Chauvin,
Earlier today, former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd. The importance of this verdict, after so many other Black lives have been lost to senseless violence, cannot be understated. And yet, justice in this single case, for George Floyd and his family, does not bring justice to all that came before him. Justice in this case alone didn’t prevent the additional senseless losses of life that followed, including most recently, Daunte Wright. And unfortunately, justice in this case alone will not solve the very real, continuing racial injustice that continues to exist in this country.
Today’s verdict defines a profound moment in our country. We must use this moment to critically examine the systems and structures in communities across this nation and in our own community in Cleveland, and challenge ourselves again to address the longstanding inequities that, together, form the public health crisis of racism and racial injustice.
As I said at the time of George Floyd’s murder, each of us is either part of the problem or part of the solution. What we do or don’t do today will truly determine whether George Floyd’s life and the lives of so many others will be honored.
The coronavirus pandemic exposed our community to the harsh realities facing so many people of color--realities that have existed far too long. As we emerge from the pandemic, and as we reflect on this single moment, we must commit ourselves again to creating new systems for our communities that are more fair, just and good. My colleagues and I in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District are committed to doing so. I urge all of Cleveland and all of the country to join us – to honor all of the lives lost, including George Floyd’s.