The verdict in the trial against Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd may bring relief, but it does not mean justice. No verdict will create peace for those who loved George Floyd. No sentence means justice to the families of all who have been unjustly killed at the hands of law enforcement. In this moment, we remember Breonna Taylor and we say her name, knowing her killers were never charged with a crime. The only justice is a whole life, free of violence, abuse, and mistreatment at the hands of police and all the systems that daily cause harm and fear for Black, Native, and communities of color in our state. With the killing of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, by the Columbus police on the same day the guilty verdict was announced, we grieve again as we harness our potential for healing, transformation, and a world in which all people can thrive. We say her name as we honor the life she should still be living.
We must listen to, learn from, and invest in communities most impacted by inequities & violence.
As we press forward, we recognize that in a culture that continually reinforces white supremacy, justice can only be achieved when we confront and repair the anti-Blackness that is woven through every aspect of society—in our homes, schools, workplaces, communities, and government. We must continue to raise our voices and use our influence, to refuse a status quo that denies the basic dignity and humanity of Minnesotans pushed to the margins.
Black women, young women, & gender-expansive youth of color are leading on the frontlines of racial & gender justice.
We are grateful to our grantee-partners and the Black, Native, women of color, and youth, including our Young Women’s Cabinet, who bring light and life to the movements that should involve us all. We are indebted to the courage of Darnella Frazier, the young woman who recorded the murder of George Floyd on her phone, igniting a global reckoning and living with the trauma of bearing direct witness to murder by police. At the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, our vision of gender equity is indelibly bound to racial equity. The women’s movement can only be realized when we center the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and women of color who experience state-sanctioned violence directly and through the men and boys in their lives.
Since the onset of the pandemic and the global uprising for racial justice that began in Minnesota after the killing of George Floyd, the Young Women’s Cabinet and youth across the state have been on the frontlines, leading movements, creating mutual aid networks, distributing resources and information to communities, and testifying at the Capitol to advance legislation that impacts the lives of young people, their families, and their communities. In their demand for a response to community pain and trauma that centers the humanity and dignity of those most impacted by injustice, they are calling for change and a world in which we all can be safe and well.
To transform, we cannot stop at listening.
To transform, we cannot stop at listening, learning, and amplifying the voices of communities pushed to the margins. We must transform our attitudes, our systems, our practices, and our institutions. We believe that people and institutions can learn, grow, and change, but we must continue to confront the stark inequities and injustice in our systems, center the impacted communities and invest in their leadership, and collectively build power so that all people can create and lead safe, prosperous lives.
We must keep this belief in the face of all that lies ahead – and we need your courage to join us in powering a movement for change so that all women, girls, their families, and communities may thrive.
Note: The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the Women’s Funding Network (WFN) have released a joint letter that is being signed and shared by our sister funds and foundations, nationally and internationally.