Accountability, Yes. Justice? Maybe. We’re a Long Ways Off

I wasn’t going to watch.

Days after we endured the loss of Daunte Wright; one that happened just miles away from this very trial, we finally were told a verdict had been in.

I saw the notifications that the jury reached a verdict, I was not going to watch it. Maybe it was better to let social media tell me, but I didn’t want to witness it firsthand.

But then I decided to go ahead and watch it against my better judgement. It didn’t help that I was in public at the time, so God forbid I hear the verdict and get immediately angry.

But I sat, and I watched. But the emotions in me were something I took note of. I was shaky, anxious, nervous. My heart was racing and I almost broke out into a sweat. My nerves were literally on edge because the next few moments would really be a pivotal moment or an all but familiar anti-climactic one.

The Moment of truth…

Then I heard the verdict and I saw his face. This reaction oddly was mine as well.

Derek Chauvin in court as the verdict is read

Derek Chauvin’s perceived shocked expression and the look on my face was the same.

I honestly went into this moment thinking “It’s going to happen again. There will be no accountability for the actions of taking a life.” I was nervous for the reaction of society. Will riots happen, will protests happen? Most of all, will our people be safe for venting our unending frustration with this process. I thought of it all. But the one emotion I felt that I didn’t want to was the shock. It was the utter shock that he actually got held accountable and was convicted.

You don’t want to live in a world where you don’t believe in justice, yet here we are. We all understand that this was only one small step on a very long journey towards African-American people feeling any form of justice; because we all know that so many did not even get this far. And unfortunately we know this will not be the last.

Derek Chauvin deserves this. He deserves to spend many many years in prison. He deserves to be an example of a man abusing his power and being held accountable for unjustly taking a life; for playing executioner and thinking he could do this and be above the law.

But we still have so much further to go until this actually feels like justice.

Until then, we will rejoice in the fact that he was held accountable.