Reflecting on the Derek Chauvin Trial and Building a New Future
Yesterday, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges in the killing of George Floyd. For me, as for many of us, the feeling of relief—that justice has been served—was intense. Overwhelming evidence should have made such a verdict a foregone conclusion, and yet, I’ve been holding my breath. Our nation has a long and shameful history of turning a blind eye to racism; police brutality and violence perpetrated against Black and brown people too often goes unchecked. Today we take an important step towards a different and better future.
The issue is broader than one individual and broader than one trial, of course. The George Floyd case opened up a national conversation that laid bare the pre-existing realities of systemic racism faced every day by people of color in our country. These realities are not new, but now they are more widely seen and acknowledged.
So what do we do?
It may be difficult to focus on the long-term when faced with the immediacy of anti-Black racism like this—with the brutal reality of what happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, and too many others. It can be difficult to focus on the future when we see fear channeled and directed against members of our AAPI communities, just as it has been so often against Latinx, Black, Arab American, and Indigenous people. Or when we see racially-motivated violence in our national’s capitol.
We can react with strong words and supportive arms, but that must not be all we do.
Difficult it may be, but it is both possible and necessary to act with purpose and keep our eyes on the ultimate goal of a better future. One that we can forge together. We must fundamentally reimagine and reinvent our systems or we don’t evolve as a society.
I am honored to work with many committed partners around California who, like College Futures Foundation, are focused on dismantling racism in our systems, our policies, and our practices so that socioeconomic opportunity is available to all of our people—especially those of color and from low-income families who are dreaming today of a better tomorrow. Our work with partners includes an ongoing commitment to racial equity in and around California’s systems of education. Foundations have an important role to play in holding that long-term vision, and living up to the idea of philanthropy as being quite literally rooted in love of humanity. I am proud to be here with you and not alone.
Today, we stand with and for Black and brown communities. And tomorrow. And many tomorrows after that.
President and CEO, College Futures Foundation