MTI Board of Directors Statement on Derek Chauvin Verdict // News // April 21st, 2021

MTI Board of Directors Statement on Derek Chauvin Verdict

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The Board of Directors of Madison Teachers, Inc. recognizes that the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd, while it is a small step toward justice, is not the end of a tragedy, but rather a continuance of a reckoning that every person in our society must commit towards with every fiber of their being. As educators of young people, we recognize that the tragedy and emotional harm continue long after the verdict. The tragedy not only lies in another senseless murder of an unarmed Black man in America, but the fact that had there not been inarguable video footage, had there not been a year of protests and outrage that put particular pressure on the government to prosecute Derek Chauvin, and had this not happened over and over and over again in the name of white supremacy to the point of our society’s collective nausea, chances are Chauvin would still have a gun, a badge, and the authority to police people of color in his community. And this is still happening all across this country, regardless of Chauvin’s murder conviction.

The verdict of this one case does not undo the miscarriages of justice when it comes to police brutalizing and over-policing Black and Brown people under the guise of law and order. This does not bring Gianna Floyd’s father back to her. This does not bring justice to the families of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, and the seemingly infinite number of Black and Brown people who have died in the name of “public safety”. And it does not predict that accountability will prevail for the cases of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and Ma’Khia Bryant, three more recent victims of the police.

Healing and justice will only come when we use these moments to listen, learn, and believe our students so we do not exert further traumatic control over the Black and Brown children in our care in Madison. It will come when we dismantle and rebuild our systems, not just in the realms of discipline, curriculum, or the number of professionals of color we employ in Madison, but in our budget priorities. It will come in our thinking about how we hold ourselves, our administrators, and our community accountable when it comes to fighting racism and bias in all of our spaces. And it will come when we make further significant structural changes to eradicate white supremacy in our systems and ourselves now and forever. Justice will come when we can help our students understand the humanity in others so they can help us destroy a system that empowers a person to dehumanize the people they swore to protect to the point of kneeling on another person’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds without considering accountability or consequence. And it will come when we can connect Chauvin’s actions with our own when our biases impact how we treat the students of color in our spaces in MMSD and change our perspectives and practices to uplift their humanity instead of murdering it.

As a Union of educators and educational support professionals, it’s our duty to help our community of children, families, and public servants to reflect on this moment. And it’s our duty to not only reflect but hold this moment in our souls as a reminder and commitment to actively work toward healing and away from further trauma. We commit to seeking justice and humanity for all of our students, staff, and families in all of the spaces we enter and hold.