The verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial gives us opportunity to take a fresh look at the meaning of justice in America. For some, justice is punishment for an offense committed. For others, it is a correction for wrongs that go back generations. For still others, it is both.

For all of us, it is the opportunity to embrace and strengthen our community in positive and peaceful ways.

In times like these, we are fortunate to have our Catholic values to fall back on, foremost of which is our sacrosanct belief in the dignity of human life — that we are all children of God and should be treated as such.

As the Bible declares in Psalm 34:17-18, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

The senseless killing of George Floyd broke many hearts and crushed many spirits in our
community and across the nation. It brought new awareness of the systemic racism and oppression experienced by people of color both in the present and throughout our nation’s history. Its impact is not cause for despair, however, though many of us have felt despair. It is cause for renewal of our Christian faith and Catholic values. It is cause for re-asserting our commitment to equal treatment and opportunity for people of all backgrounds. And it is cause for pledging anew our belief that strong communities and schools are diverse and supportive ones.

The verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial will not end our ongoing battle against injustice, nor heal the pain that has divided our nation. It is a beginning not an ending. As educators and people of faith, it is our obligation to seize the opportunity to teach, to inform, to reason and to advocate for peaceful solutions to our differences. It is our obligation to ensure that our students feel safe, loved, seen, and heard as the unique individuals God made them to be. Most of all, it is our obligation to be the example for our children, and the light that can lead them to a better world and a better life.

As we move forward in this task, let us pray and take strength in the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
…You are the light of the world. … Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-16

Bruce Robinson
President & CEO
Independence Mission Schools