So. The trial is over, the verdict is in. George Floyd’s murderer has been found guilty of Murder 2, Murder 3, and Manslaughter. There will, of course, be appeals. But right now, Derek Chauvin is in jail, and bail has been revoked.
I had been hoping to hear the words “Remanded into custody”, and today, I heard that. He was led away in handcuffs, and there was some very small gratification in seeing that. It was very small, though, because I really don’t want to wish suffering on another human being.
While my attention has been so devoted to this trial and legal process, life has been going on in the background. My congregation has lost three members over the past couple of months, two in the last couple of days. I will never see them again, and I cannot remember the last time I did see them. We have been separated for so long, I can’t remember what it’s like to sit in the same room with people, eyeball them to observe their health, notice decline, if any. This does not feel good.
In my jumble of emotions about the Derek Chauvin verdict, I missed a meeting that I very much wanted to attend. I somehow didn’t register that today was Tuesday. It was the day of the verdict. But that was just my focus, not everyone else’s. There are families grieving the loss of a loved one, just like I had to do three years ago when my mother died. When I say that I am feeling that loss for someone else, I really do mean that…I just got interrupted today.
Tomorrow is a new day, and I hope it represents a chink in the armor of the status quo machinery. I don’t know if the fledgling hope that I have will thrive and flower into some lushly blooming living thing. I truly want this to be a turning point, but I have to be braced for the resistance. That’s self-protective, actually. I don’t want to flit off into Wonderland believing that everything is done. I know that’s not true. We have work to do. Lots of work.
I saw a segment on CNN this morning with George Floyd’s brother, and Emmett Till’s cousin. The Floyd family and Emmett Till’s family have joined together in solidarity, for justice, for honoring their loved ones who were so brutally murdered. Emmett Till’s murder was solved, but the murderers, three white men, were acquitted by an all-white jury. Justice has not been served. This interview was, of course, before the Derek Chauvin verdict was announced, but it was clear how much history was riding on that decision.
So, again, I am hoping that finding Derek Chauvin guilty of all three counts against him represents a turning point in this country, one that brings us to increased racial equity, a more equitable manifestation of justice, and even a new appreciation of our democracy. I need justice to come alive once more, with a blindfold. I need democracy to show her true colors. I need to believe in my country again. I hope that’s what started today.
Justice is blind, and she carries a well tempered sword.