Accountability for George Floyd is Just the Start of Our Fight for Justice for All
By Ellis Carr, President and CEO, Capital Impact Partners, and CEO, CDC Small Business Finance
On Wednesday, I woke up still processing the range of emotions I have felt since watching the jury deliver its verdict in the murder of George Floyd.
It remains a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, I felt relief in the courage it took for the jury to thoughtfully consider their decision under extremely difficult circumstances. At the same time, a son, a brother, and a father is dead.
I am also reminded of just how far we have to go.
I think Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said it best: “I would not call today’s verdict justice, however. Because justice implies true restoration. But it IS accountability, which is the first step toward justice…And now the cause of justice is in your hands. And when I say your hands, I mean the hands of the people of the United States.”
That is a heavy burden to bear as we seek to undo a legacy of systemic racism upon which this nation was built.
We know that the systems upon which this country is founded do not center the needs of people of color equitably; they often perpetuate inequity and poverty. From housing to health care to economic and social justice, Black, Indigenous, and people of color live with the consequences of generations of policies that have kept them from achieving equity and prosperity on par with their White counterparts.
My previous statements on continued incidents of racial violence and community disinvestment over the past two years join a chorus of others expressing heartfelt feelings that range from dismay to outrage to sadness. It can feel exhausting. It can feel traumatic. It can feel hopeless.
But the sanctity of life taken from George Floyd and Kathryn Johnson and Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo and Rayshard Brooks and Dominique Luscious…and so many others requires us to never shy away from the fight for equity and justice. This verdict takes a step toward restoring the dignity and humanity of George Floyd, but the work to ensure that people of color nationwide have their dignity recognized, prioritized, and cherished continues.
If I have one bit of optimism, it is that I am surrounded by a team of dedicated staff here at Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance, as well as partners and investors, and a variety of community-based organizations that steadfastly work to tackle these issues every day.
The work to ensure that people of color nationwide have their dignity recognized, prioritized, and cherished continues.
But we can not do it alone.
We must continue to advocate on all fronts – political, economic, social – for the anti-racist multicultural society in which we want to live.
I hope that everyone takes the time they need to process their emotions in the wake of this verdict.
And then I have one simple request. Please join us in this fight. It is the moral imperative of our time.