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April 21, 2021

The Chauvin Verdict: 6 Tweets that Capture what we’re Processing.

I wasn’t going to write anything.

I don’t write about “these things.”

It’s not for me to write about. Others had more at stake—more in this. Black people throughout the country, the residents of Minneapolis, of Minnesota…This is not “my” news or story. This is not my celebration.

Those were my thoughts. And here’s where I’m wrong:

This is all of our issue to write about, to talk about, to think about, to feel.

This isn’t—or shouldn’t be—just a “celebration” for “those affected.”

We are all affected.

This should be something that every citizen of the country should be talking about and evaluating.

Whether you think policing is fine as is, needs reform, should be defunded, or should be abolished, this is something we should all be critically discussing—preferably as much with people who think and feel differently than we do as we do those who think and feel the same.

Moments before the verdict was read, I was so sure.

I was so sure Chauvin would be found guilty.

Moments before the verdict was read, that sureness felt so familiar. It felt childish. It felt naïve.

It felt as if I were that 10-year-old girl who once sat on the floor of an elementary school classroom, looking at a box television screen waiting to see if O.J. Simpson would be found guilty of murder.

I was so sure.

My mind snapped back to the now and I felt my stomach rise into my chest and throat.

I was so sure. And then I wasn’t. And I think that’s what stands out the most to me and what I want to hold onto for a while and think on and talk about.

Here are 6 tweets on the Chauvin verdict that capture so much of what I was processing:

I don’t need to say anything more. I agree with this whole-heartedly. And while I remain pleased and relieved by today’s verdict, I do also think it is important that we all carefully consider that what we are watching will not necessarily always be so cut-and-dry. We must pay attention to and be critical and evaluative of what other injustices we might not always see so clearly.

Justice is defined by Merriam-Webster as the maintenance or administration of what is just (conforming to a standard of correctness) especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.

Accountability would be “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.”

Yes, true, in some ways, this is justice. But true justice would mean that policing conformed to a level standard of correctness in the first place, and that it provided impartial adjustment and merited rewards and punishment to all equally.

This explains it well:

We need to continue to hold the institution accountable in myriad ways in order to make our way toward a system that actually provides justice for all. This is a small step.

Like Sophia Bush says:

All commentary aside, here’s what I think is the most important:

It’s something I need to be better about doing as a person outside of the experience of people of color. It’s what I think so many in my life could be better about doing, too.

Look at the voices of those around you—your coworkers, your friends, acquaintances, and those passersby you strike up a conversation with on the bus or the train or in line at the cafe.

Look at what they’re saying. Listen. Go beyond just hearing and feel the words.

Try words like the below on your own being to the best of your capacity:

Now, question yourself and listen for the answers.

How would it feel to be surprised that the justice system actually worked for you? To be surprised that the system finally said it wasn’t okay to kill “you,” as a part of some group that you belong to, be it woman, European, disadvantaged, addicted, and so forth?

How would it feel to face death for the same thing that someone else might get a warning, a ticket, or perhaps at worst, a tase and some jail time?

Think about what it would actually take—how much tireless effort and conviction and heart it sometimes requires—to get the people closest to you to give a care about the things you do.

What if that thing you wanted them—needed them—to care about and to unite over were you?

Think about how much repeated tragedy and trauma it might take for you to get your family and friends, nonetheless your community, your city, your state, or a portion of the nation to come together on the same page and to share the same outrage.

I wasn’t going to write anything.

I don’t write about “these things.”

It’s not for me to write about. This is not “my” news or story.

Those were my thoughts. And that’s where I’m wrong:

This is our story. We are Americans. We are humanity. Today, “we” did better. But we need to continue doing better.

Today, I’m asking myself where my own accountability is.

It’s not much, but if all I do today or for the next few weeks or months is look genuinely and deeply at that question, it’s more than nothin’, and more than nothin’ is something.

We all need to start somewhere.

~

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