The following statements are from Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA, and other leaders in Pax Christi USA, issued to the media following the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
“Hopefully today’s verdict in the Chauvin trial marks the beginning of an era of accountability for the violation of human dignity and the taking of human life by those in power. It is a long overdue result that finally brings justice for a Black victim of a brutal killing by police. This verdict respects both the rule of law and what the whole world watched on video. More importantly, it affirms what has been shouted on our streets for nearly a year, George Floyd’s life matters, Black lives matter. Let us pray that a precedent has been set that will allow people of colour to know that their lives are to be protected by law enforcement and that there will be consequences when they are not. There are many other families who are longing for this kind of justice and recognition of the worth of the lives of their loved ones; we must work to make this verdict the norm rather than the exception.”
– Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA
“Thank God for what can and should be a major step toward undoing racism in America. This is about so much more than George Floyd. From Emmett Till to Rodney King, Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and millions of other known and unnamed men and women, boys and girls since the first enslaved Africans were brought to this country in 1619 for whom justice was not served.
“Rev. Al Sharpton said, ‘We don’t celebrate a man going to jail. We would rather that George Floyd were still alive.’ But we do thank the Minnesota attorney general, the prosecutors, and jurors for their work pursuing justice. We also celebrate Darnell’s Frazier – the young woman who filmed footage of George Floyd’s murder; others who stood by as witnesses; the law enforcement officers, medical experts, and others who had the courage to testify at the trial. Many were castigated, but persisted in getting into ‘good trouble.’ They set an example for all of us to put our faith into action.
“The verdict sends a strong message — finally — that those law enforcement officers and vigilantes who deny the humanity of African Americans will be held accountable. With a Declaration of Independence that talks about ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’; and a Pledge of Allegiance that ends with ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all,’ let’s hope and pray that we as a nation can finally begin to live up to those lofty goals.”
– Vicki Lott, Pax Christi USA National Council member and Pax Christi USA Anti-Racism Team member
“Over the past almost 10 months, we have watched George Floyd die over and over and over again. Today, he was finally laid to rest. Today we begin to grieve. Not only for George Floyd but also for all those who have died over the past 10 months due to his murder. We grieve for the soul of Derek Chauvin, who has yet to admit the wrong he committed and the extensive harm he has done. We grieve for the police officers that fed into the system of structural racism. We grieve for the police officers who feel that they are no longer supported because they cannot openly profile and harm Black males in particular. We grieve for the people who do not agree with the conviction. We grieve.
“We are now in a holding pattern. Waiting. Waiting for reconciliation. Authentic reconciliation cannot begin until all police departments in this country begin to address structural racism. Reconciliation does not start until we recognise the destruction and death and ongoing oppression of Blacks, Native Americans, and other people of colour (BIPOC). There are no winners.”
– Pearlette Springer, Pax Christi USA Anti-Racism Team Chair and former Pax Christi USA National Council Chair
“We join with so many others who are working for racial justice and racial equity in this nation in welcoming the jury’s decision of guilty on all counts. We are relieved that Derek Chauvin has been held accountable for the murder of George Floyd but we recognise that there is a long way to go until justice is truly served. So many others are still waiting. We offer our prayers to the Floyd family and to all those who have lost loved ones to police violence and are still waiting for accountability and justice.”
– Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA
Pax Christi USA is a membership organisation that rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism. As a section of Pax Christi International, we are member’s of the international Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the peace of Christ in our witness to the mandate of the nonviolence of the Cross.
With thanks to Pax Christi USA, where this article originally appeared.