Today, the Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota sentenced Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison for the May 2020 murder of George Floyd. Based on the sentencing guidelines for second degree murder in Minnesota, Chauvin’s sentence reflects the nature of his heinous act: a purposefully cruel and extreme abuse of power. Though this is indeed a moment of accountability, there will never be true justice for the life Derek Chauvin so flagrantly stole.
Chauvin’s sentencing is not a finish line. In addition to taking George Floyd’s life, Chauvin irreparably disrupted the lives of Floyd’s family and community, as countless police officers have done to Black and Indigenous communities and other communities of color for centuries before May 25, 2020, and in the year that has followed. Those stolen lives will never be restored, nor will the grieving of those lives ever cease.
Nor is it a beginning. Chauvin’s conviction and sentencing are the result of decades of activism that has leveraged a shift in public awareness of and intolerance for the constant surveillance and abuse that BIPOC Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. The Black Lives Matter movement has created an environment in which this court—after 400 years of decisions to the contrary—held a white police officer accountable for the murder of a Black man.
We must work to ensure that Chauvin’s sentencing becomes a turning point – the start of the first American era in which we hold all branches of our government accountable for protecting and preserving the lives of Black Americans.
As an agency dedicated to being a gateway to good health for people who have been left out and kept out of America’s healthcare system, we recognize that safe and livable communities are foundations of overall health. If we envision communities in which health cannot be predicted by race, then we must work to dismantle our white supremacist system of policing and intentionally invest services and resources in BIPOC communities.
Where our advocacy feels like a risk, there lies our privilege. Where we are told that we have fallen short of our goal to provide culturally relevant and accessible care for all, there lies the gift of self-awareness, without which we will be unable to truly transform our provision of care. The work of uprooting America’s white supremacy is the work of white Americans and is inextricably linked to the health and welfare of all those we serve. Equitas Health is committed to that end.
President & CEO
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