Dear SPH faculty, staff, and students,
Today, Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges against him: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter of George Floyd. Chauvin will be sentenced at a later date; estimated timing is eight weeks from today.
As relieved as many of us are by this historically significant verdict, it cannot return Mr. Floyd to the loving arms of his family and friends. And true justice can never be served when a person loses their life to violence. But the verdict does symbolize a shift in our society to hold accountable those police officers who murder unarmed Black people. Nothing can reverse or atone for centuries of racism and violence against people of color, yet we can re-envision our future and create a better world.
Today’s verdict provides a glimmer of hope that change is possible. It also underscores the importance of the work we have ahead of us in public health as well as our school’s efforts to make justice, antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion central to SPH.
In the days to come, you might exercise your right to make your voice heard and to stand in solidarity with people who share your views on the verdict and the state of policing and race relations in Minnesota and the U.S. If you do, please keep yourselves and those around you safe. When we say that “health is a human right,” it also means that all people deserve to be physically and psychologically safe.
As you continue to process and heal from the trial and the verdict, struggle with the killing of Daunte Wright, and mourn the victims of the recent mass shootings, you may need support, information, or a place to listen and be heard. Here are some resources to consider:
- SPH Processing Spaces:
- SPH In/Color, Fri, 4/23
- A Conversation with DeRay Mckesson, Fri, 4/23
- Measuring Structural Racism in Minnesota: A Call to Action, Mon, 4/26
- SPH Staff DEI Conversation Series, Wed, 4/28
- Structural Oppression Series, Fri, 4/30
Please also access the following UMN mental health resources as needed:
- For students:
- For faculty, staff, and their family members
Please stay safe and well.
John R. Finnegan Jr.
Dean and Professor
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion