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Statement: Chauvin Verdict is First Step in Driving Systems Change Forward

April 21, 2021 | Anne Stanton

In the wake of the senseless and tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and far too many other unarmed Black and brown Americans, we have watched young people across the country fight for what they know is right for themselves and their communities: racial justice, equity and reparation.

Like so many other organizations that advocate for racial justice, the Linked Learning Alliance applauds today’s verdict as the first step on the road to true accountability and hopefully one day, a true transformation of our justice system. We hope that the verdict will provide Mr. Floyd’s family with some small measure of peace, as their tremendous loss reminded so many of what is at stake when we lose the ability to see our common humanity.

Through over a decade of Linked Learning, we have a deeper understanding of the complex intersections of education and economic systems, racial equity, and power that can work for or against systems change. Racism is the root cause of the most widespread, urgent, and unjust disparities in educational outcomes. And communities cannot achieve education equity, without racial justice. Plain and simple.

Yet, we are optimistic about the future. Students have long been the leaders of social movements and like generations before them, today’s young people are forcing us to confront systemic racism and white supremacy in new and courageous ways, while also helping us envision and achieve a new and liberated future that is better than our past. May the voices of our nation’s youth be answered by a shared striving for a nation in which all of our systems—including law enforcement—truly protect, serve, empower, and advance everyone equally.

It will be a collective and Herculean effort—and we can start by acknowledging every small victory as a step in the right direction. The guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is one such step. More work remains and the Linked Learning Alliance is proud of our nation’s young people who are stepping up to lead the efforts to bring true and comprehensive justice today and in the future that we all share. Keep fighting, keep working, because Black Lives Matter—today, tomorrow, and always.