My CSH colleagues and I have followed the Derek Chauvin murder trial with a mixture of sadness, anguish, and resolve.
Less than a year ago, the world watched in horror as former police officer Derek Chauvin handcuffed and placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. At age 46, Mr. Floyd’s life was senselessly and inhumanely cut short like so many before him, and tragically, for many others since.
The trial and verdict have fueled our collective sadness and anguish. Although Mr. Chauvin was convicted on all three counts of murder, the scourge of racism continues to afflict our nation. The excessive use of force by the former officer symbolizes the weight of longstanding structural and systemic racism placed on the necks of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC) over the centuries.
Systemic governmental policies, institutional practices, and other actions have institutionalized that metaphorical knee of oppression. The effect has been devastating to generations with persistent marginalization, discrimination, poverty, residential segregation, higher rates of homelessness, incarceration, and premature death.
As I wrote last June, “Racism is an obstacle people of color encounter at every turn. It killed George Floyd and is a rot that eats away at our civilization.” The need for systemic and transformative change towards racial equity has passed the point of crisis. It has become a public emergency. As with any emergency, we have the mandate to respond and take action.
To meet that mandate, we must have the collective will to dismantle the structures and institutions that allow racial inequity to flourish. We must have the courage to rethink and rebuild a society that will remove the structural knee of oppression and marginalization.
CSH is committed to racial equity and pursuing anti-racism practices internally and through our work in communities across the country. We are making uncomfortable topics and conversations the norm, bringing marginalized voices and perspectives to the table, and ensuring that they have a real stake in charting the path forward. We are evaluating current and prospective partners to ensure that their business models and practices align with our commitment to racial equity.
We hope that the verdict brings some measure of justice to Mr. Floyd’s family and communities across the country who are reeling from generations of pain. For CSH, the verdict has strengthened our resolve to advance racial equity in housing, health, and economic opportunity. We are more committed than ever to uplift those who feel the weight of systemic racism and help them thrive as individuals.
Deborah De Santis
President and CEO