The guilty verdicts in the case against Derek Chauvin on April 20, 2021 felt like victory. The tears of relief and vindication shed on the streets of Minneapolis were shared in many cities and towns all over the country and the world. We the women and men of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) share these feelings and reflect them in our own tears and prayers of thanksgiving for accountability in this case. But we recognize that accountability in one case is a far cry from justice for all. Because if this verdict is victory, it is a victory of one lap in a very long race. Accountability for one man’s unjust death. Accountability attained in the face of highly incriminating evidence provided by a teenager with a cellphone. Accountability brought to bear only after another attempted cover-up of police malpractice. Real justice remains elusive for so many marginalized people as they interact with the system.
Justice for all will only become reality in this country with the passage of real criminal justice and police reform. ARCWP stands in solidarity with all who are working to dismantle every system of inequality, oppression and domination of people of color, LGBTQI and other marginalized people. We pray, along with Franciscan Father Richard Rohr, that we as a nation are ready to “clear the field to be ready for new seed.” (Richard Rohr, 4/20/21) In the meantime, we continue the race. And we say their names.