Liberty’s view on the Derek Chauvin verdict and structural racism in the UK
Posted on 21 Apr 2021
Why we’re more committed than ever to making accountability of state racism – and true justice – a reality for black people and people of colour
Yesterday’s verdict is a testament to the hard work of organisers on the ground in Minneapolis, and the thousands of people who mobilised in the US and across the globe after George Floyd’s murder to insist that black lives matter. Our thoughts are with his family.
However, this verdict must be seen in its full context.
It is so rare that state racism is meaningfully held to account that people could not be confident that it would happen.
We must go further than framing this verdict as the new dawning of equality – we must recognise the fact that this sort of accountability is more than overdue.
This Government is complicit in violating the rights of racial minorities through the hostile environment, Prevent and prison camps for refugees.
And that continues today. Our Government’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests last summer by labelling protestors as “dreadful”, introducing a policing bill that would prevent effective protests for racial equality while expanding stop and search, and by commissioning the Sewell report, which denies the existence of structural racism.
Many companies and institutions made public declarations of their commitment to anti-racism in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death and in answer to the call from Black Lives Matter, including us at Liberty.
We know that a guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin’s case is not the end, and the work of transforming the conditions that allow racism to flourish must continue, both within our own institutions, and in the wider world.
To black people and people of colour who today are no doubt feeling a mix of emotions, we want to say that we are more committed than ever to this work.
Justice is more than one person corrupt with power being held accountable.
In a just world, George Floyd would still be alive.
We get to justice when we get to a world where all of us are free, and where safety from state oppression is not a privilege but a right.
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