Dear friends and colleagues,
Yesterday’s conviction of a former police officer for the murder of George Floyd marked a defining moment in our nation’s urgent struggle against racism. We hope that this verdict, delivered by a diverse jury in Minneapolis, offers some measure of healing to those who knew and loved Mr. Floyd.
As Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color are all too aware, the gap between our country’s promise of equal protection under the law and people’s lived experiences is tragically vast. Too often, we have seen enforcement actions taken against people of color in the name of safety or public health. People of color in America — most of all, Black people — continue to be disproportionately harassed, arrested, incarcerated, and killed by representatives of the criminal justice system.
Constant trauma from an unjust system of criminal justice is an often-overlooked driver of health inequities. Until we reform laws and policies that aggravate existing inequities — both in the criminal justice system and in our other public institutions — disparities in health, wealth, and opportunity will continue to widen. Replacing those harmful laws and policies will require us to take bold action to root out white supremacy. Policymakers must embrace solutions developed by communities of color and collaborate across all sectors of society.
Though this verdict alone cannot repair systemic racism, it can provide a vital spark for transforming our institutions and society for the better. The jury’s decision to convict is not only a crucial step toward greater police accountability but also a reminder that meaningful change is possible when people come together and demand justice. ChangeLab Solutions will continue to partner with communities in using the tools of law and policy to change inequitable systems.
Sarah de Guia
CEO, ChangeLab Solutions