Chauvin trial is not the end

Editorial Board

“Justice isn’t the same as the injustice happening in the first place.”

“I hope law enforcement doesn’t use this as an excuse in the future: ‘We took accountability that one time, and therefore we don’t have to do it again.’”

“I hope the trial shows people that change can happen.”

“I hope the school enacts change rather than just discusses it.”

“I hope the school makes room for more discussions and spaces where students can reflect on this.” 

“We can’t just sit back and not be racist. It’s about action.”

These are a few of the thoughts our board shared when we met on April 21, the day after Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd. We, as a group of students, want to see several different outcomes of this trial for our country and our school, the most prominent of which being a continuation of the discussion and reform Mr. Floyd’s death started.

Between Mr. Floyd’s death and the beginning of Mr. Chauvin’s trial, over 180 Black people have been killed by the police, according to Newsweek, including 20-year-old Duante Wright and 13-year-old Adam Toledo. According to The New York Times, three people have died each day at the hands of police officers since Mr. Chauvin’s trial began on March 29, including 16-year-old Ma’Khia Byrant, who was shot and killed by the Columbus police minutes before the verdict reading of Mr. Chauvin’s case. The point is clear: there needs to be change beyond just this one trial.

It’s one thing to talk about change in our law enforcement, justice system, cities, and school, but it is completely different to enact specific changes. We hope communities within our country and school will hold one another accountable for anti-racist education and action, but we cannot speak for what our national government and school administration will do. However, we, this publication, can say what we will be for our community.

Though we all have individual thoughts and feelings about this trial, as a newspaper, we want to be your voice. We want to continue to be a mouthpiece for hallway discussions, a record of anti-racist changes within our institution, and a reflection of our entire community. We want to amplify BIPOC voices around us and plant seeds of discussion, action, and change.

At the time this paper went to press, all advisories had engaged in a journaling exercise and all students had submitted individual forms logging their initial feelings in the wake of the trial and its conclusion the day before. On the form, we were invited to create questions important for the community to ponder. Faculty, meanwhile, had received a message stating that the Google form responses would be used as a jumping-off point for future discussions. We look forward to reporting on how those discussions unfold in our next issue, and we hope that anyone who needs a space to share will consider submitting a drawing, letter to the editor, or article idea by emailing vanguard@bbns.org or using the QR code here.