April 22, 2021
Dear George Floyd:
Ten months ago, I wrote to you in the midst of our communities’ grief, anger, and hopelessness, praying that your soul would be at rest as the world came to your defense, finally joining together to say, “enough is enough.”
Today, there are new words ringing in my ears: “Guilty on all counts.” For the first time in the history of Minnesota, a police officer was convicted for the murder of a Black man. The dark tragedy of your death has opened the door to a glimmer of light — hope that strengthens our resolve against the generations of trauma and oppression that mar our daily lives in Black America. Hope that those values that showed up in the jury room in Minnesota — justice, liberty, and freedom — will permeate social and judicial systems throughout every corner of our country. Hope that our Black children will live to see a just society and not be in injurious fear when encountering a police officer.
Tuesday’s verdict, delivered by a jury of peers, was all too rare, yet unfathomably all too necessary. I know this journey all too well, as every day we at Unity Care advocate for Black and Brown foster youth and young adults who are weighed down by the Backpacks of Trauma – inequities that have been forged through generations of systemic racism and oppression. These repeated traumatic experiences erode our trust and impede our ability to heal and feel safe. So, in the past months we’ve been praying for justice and not yet another Rodney King verdict that would further divide our communities and make plain that Black bodies are not valued, that Black Americans don’t matter.
On Tuesday, our prayers were answered, allowing us a moment to breathe.
But also on Tuesday, Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old foster child, was shot and killed by law enforcement, re-traumatizing Black communities throughout our nation, and hitting close to home for Unity Care.
So, after our one moment of respite, we need to take a deep breath and continue our fight. We cannot rest. As the late civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis so eloquently stated “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”
Mr. Floyd, know that we will keep fighting, keep getting in good trouble, to eradicate systemic racism from our nation and help redeem our nation’s soul.
André Chapman, MA
Founder & CEO