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On April 20th, 2021, Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the case of the killing of George Floyd. As a Black person, I sighed a sigh of relief, a sigh that people who look like me do not have the privilege of experiencing very often. 2020 was a year filled with racial disparities being brought to the light almost every day and of unrest in communities, streets, and neighborhoods everywhere. We learned that Black people are not safe on a street, jogging, or even in their own beds. We watched as Black people were failed time and time again and were reminded of how America consistently forgot about, excluded, and failed the Black community. So, when I heard the verdict, of course I felt like justice had finally been served. I felt like Black people were being heard, and I felt like maybe, just maybe 2021 would be a year where justice would find its way to the Black community. Unfortunately, this feeling faded almost as quickly as it came when the same day another Black life was taken. 16-year-old Ma’Kiah Bryant was shot and killed by a police officer, the same day that Derek Chauvin was convicted. On April 11th, 9 days before the verdict was delivered, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was also shot and killed. There’s not a day that goes by when Black people are not mourning, not a day that goes by when the Black community is not dealing with the trauma of another person being slain in the streets, not a day that goes by when they do not have to think twice about going somewhere and wonder what might happen if they run into a police officer. The truth is, no one should have to worry about not making it home, no one should have to worry about not seeing their child again because of the color of their skin, and no one should have to have a conversation with their child that could very well save their life because of the way they look and the way others perceive them. The verdict in the case of George Floyd is no doubt a step in the right direction, but it’s a step on a very long journey and a journey that needs more verdicts and more justice like this in order to reach its end.
Taylor is a Junior English major at St. John's University and the Editor-in-Chief/Vice President for 2021-2022 at Her Campus, St. John's. After college she plans on pursuing a career in the humanities and exploring the art of communication in diverse settings.
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