April 22, 2021

A jury of the people has spoken: Tuesday’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial marks one of the first times that the murder of a Black person by a police officer has resulted in a reckoning within the legal system. It comes in the wake of a profound and historic uprising, with mass protests and advocacy by millions of people across the country and around the world. In this moment, as we celebrate a small measure of accountability, we know that it is also a time to reflect, grieve, and regroup for the vital and difficult work ahead. Accountability in one courtroom is not justice for society—but it can be a first step, if followed by many more.

We know that Mr. Chauvin’s imprisonment will neither bring back George Floyd nor eradicate the power of the state to surveil, coerce and brutalize our society’s most vulnerable. We know that the days ahead will bring more senseless police violence, even as we mourn the recent killings of young Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright.

As social workers, we work every day to seek bold solutions that can transform our world into one of mutual aid, equity, safety, health and justice—one rooted in responsibility for one another other based in the values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s beloved community.

The Chauvin verdict is another call to action—not only against carceral methods that are based in racist policies and practices, but also against complacency and despair. As we call the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, and countless others, we call our own names to account to continue the work for justice, healing, and organizing.

For today, let us begin this process by joining together in solidarity and resolve to fight for racial justice, particularly on behalf of Black communities across our country.

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A verdict for justice and a time for continued action—UW President Ana Mari Cauce