No time for celebration

Despite how fortunate the conviction of Derek Chauvin is, justice and equality are still not achieved.

Robin Doyscher, Senior Columnist

I admit that the Derek Chauvin trial has been an emotionally and mentally exhausting ordeal as a Black person. I’m used to my own experiences being drowned out in a sea of performativity and slightly out-of-touch, but well meaning white peers who have spirit but aren’t quite aware of the root problems.

However, my peak burnout was achieved with the Derek Chauvinverdict. I was glad that Chauvin was found guilty, but I was immediately weary of all the people “celebrating” and treating this verdict as justice. I’m sure it’s easy to feel like it was some sort of amazing 4/20 event or the best thing to happen all year when you are young and don’t truly feel the actual weight of these decisions. But, this doesn’t change the amount of work that has to be done.

Private prisons have not been abolished, more police officers have shot unarmed people and not been convicted and America’s justice system is still wrought with intentional targeting of minorities and the poor. This isn’t a reprieve. This isn’t a victory. This is a step in the right direction, but a tiny one. Truthfully I was very upset with some of my peers for jumping the gun — to use a dad phrase — and treating this as an entertaining victory in the circus of racial justice.

I know I sound angry, but I’m more weary if anything. We cannot view this as an ending. We cannot allow ourselves to simply turn away from fighting the good fight because we’ve been given an easy out. And I know it’s tempting to view this as a victory. Pushing back against institutions that have been in place for the better part of two-and-a-half centuries feels akin to Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill only to be inevitably pushed back down.However, if the pandemic has taught us anything about our society it’s that we are in desperate need of fixing this country and a world that has been handed to our generation in a broken and fragmented state. There has never been a greater era for enacting social change. The more we call our congressmen and legislators, the more we voice our frustration with the unjust and cruel systems that so many before us have given their lives to, the closer we’ll get to a world that we are proud of handing off to the next generation.
Because I don’t think we’re proud of what our ancestors created — not deep down. I want, more than anything, to love this country. But how can I love a country that doesn’t love my people? How can I fight for liberation alongside peers who don’t take this seriously? I’m far from being a perfect activist, and I need a wake-up call myself, but I’m going to push myself into not becoming complacent with the state of things. We will roll the rock up the hill — and this time we’ll do what Sisyphus couldn’t, and push it past the other side.