On Accountability and the Path Ahead

Dear Friends,

Yesterday’s ruling in the trial of Derek Chauvin is a welcome if overdue expression of accountability. As many have rightly pointed out, true justice would entail George Floyd still being alive. While the three guilty verdicts can’t bring him back, we acknowledge the important message sent by the jurors in this case. We’re especially grateful to all those who have played a role in the fight against police violence. And we stand in solidarity with all of the families that continue to seek accountability for their loved ones killed by officers who are enabled by a system that devalues Black life and too often affords them impunity. 

While recognizing the significance of this conviction, we need also remember that police violence against Black people remains a national epidemic, and that many in our community fear for their lives when approached by those sworn to protect us, whether outside of a convenience store or on a hiking trail in the great outdoors. Systemic racism is real and relentless, as evidenced by the less publicized but no less disturbing police killing of Tyrell Wilson in Danville, California, last month, and that of 16 year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, yesterday afternoon, around the time the verdict in the Chauvin trial was announced. It’s our collective duty to not only acknowledge this reality but actively work to dismantle it.

We encourage you all to read and share this important statement from Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, which includes a list of invaluable learning resources and racial justice organizations worthy of your support. We echo his hope that yesterday’s verdict proves a turning point in our nation’s history and his insistence that we all have a part to play in “build[ing] a future that is genuinely and intentionally safer for all of us.”

In community,

Youth Outside