The long-fought battle for justice and equity for Black Americans is beginning to bear fruit, it appears.
Last year, when George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minnesota police officer, there was little faith in a judicial system that most often let police officers off the hook for the murder of Black men and boys, and Black women, as well.
But hope reigns, although the writing on the wall assured many that Floyd’s murderer would not be held accountable. Surprisingly, Officer Derek Chauvin was found civilly liable and later criminally guilty. A 12-member jury of six whites, four Blacks and two multi-racial people convicted him on three counts of second and third-degree murder for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed a portion of 16th Street NW, one of the most well-known streets in America, Black Lives Matter Plaza. The bright yellow street name painted on a street where Black Lives Matter protestors continue to gather and issue their demands leads directly to the White House. Last November, American voters put Kamala Harris there alongside President Joe Biden, electing her as the first Black and first woman vice president of the U.S., one of the most powerful positions in the world.
Standing in the footsteps of Ida B. Wells, George Frazier and Aretha Franklin is 18-year old Darnella Frazier, the teenager that documented George Floyd’s death by filming the horrific event on her cell phone camera. Frazier was recently awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for her courageous act that led to Chauvin’s conviction. She is the first individual to receive the honor as a citizen journalist.
This week, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to establish June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, commemorating the end of slavery in America. Next, the bill will go to the House of Representatives for a vote and then to President Joe Biden for his signature, declaring the bill a law.
These are but a few examples over the past year of the seismic racial shift happening in the U.S. Still, the fight for justice and equity for Black Americans continues, and hope will never end.