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Chauvin conviction a landmark on the long road to eliminating systemic racism


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The Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion applauds the guilty verdicts deliv­ered yesterday against former police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd. The jury’s conclu­sion supports what we know to be true: that Black Ameri­cans, especially Black men, are too often victims of systemic racism in law enforce­ment in this country, and the conse­quences can be deadly.

Convicting a law enforce­ment officer of murder repre­sents a signif­i­cant landmark in the movement for justice, but we also know that it doesn’t root out systemic racism in law enforce­ment or other systems. Shooting deaths at the hands of police continued even as the trial was taking place: Adam Toledo in Chicago on March 29, Daunte Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on April 11, Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus at nearly the same time that the Chauvin verdicts were read. We have much work ahead before we achieve a society that delivers on the promise of equal oppor­tu­nity and justice for all.

We reiterate that racism is a public health crisis. As nurses, we are called on to advocate for our patients and our commu­ni­ties. WSNA remains committed to uplifting Black and other BIPOC voices and supporting efforts to root out the systemic racism inherent in our laws and law enforce­ment, our justice system and in access to and the delivery of health care.

We applaud the work our legis­la­tors did this session to address police reform, health equity and racial justice. We share the commit­ment to equity and anti-racism, and we will strive to make impactful changes within the health care system to recog­nize and address bias and to ensure all patients are heard.

WSNA stands in solidarity with Black, Indige­nous and people of color. We are committed to uplifting Black voices and those of others in our BIPOC commu­ni­ties who continue to experi­ence systemic racism, partic­u­larly at the hands of law enforce­ment. Moving forward toward a more equitable future in which all commu­ni­ties are valued, respected and achieve justice is the work of all of us.