A jury has convicted Derek Chauvin of all three charges in the murder of George Floyd. We feel so many different emotions in response to this verdict. We feel relief that a police officer who killed someone has been held criminally accountable, which has rarely happened in our history. We feel grief that George Floyd died such an agonizing and needless death and that no verdict can change that harsh reality. We feel fury at how many people of color continue to die at the hands of the police. All of this is more personal and more painful for our students, faculty and staff of color who have for so long been targets of police violence.
As a journalism school, we have a special role to play in holding police accountable for acts of violence and racism. The kind of transformative change that is necessary in our world requires that we continue to do the deep and meaningful reporting necessary to hold law enforcement and government to account, not only for specific acts of violence but for systemic violence and racism.
No verdict can take away the pain of our long and painful history. During the testimony at the trial — only three weeks — at least 64 people died at the hands of law enforcement, according to The New York Times. More than half were Black or Latinx. These are horrifying statistics.
Let us commit ourselves at Berkeley Journalism to use our overflowing talent and passion to shine a light on the grave injustices that continue to oppress so many people in the world, never relenting—regardless of how great the threat or danger.
Dean and Professor
Robert A. Peck Chair
November 30, 2022
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