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.