Friends For Life
A Message About Accountability
This message was created by FFL's staff committee for distribution to the FFL Family.
We want to take a moment to acknowledge the ways Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict has impacted our FFL friends and family. We believe this is the first step towards true justice for George Floyd and the many others who have died. This is the beginning of what we hope to see: the country holding every person accountable for their actions, equally. Accountability is the bedrock of true justice. And while the verdict matters, the outcomes of the larger movement must continue. The sounds and images of what happened to George Floyd are frozen in our minds and hearts, yet so many unarmed shootings and examples of legislative corruption continue to strip our communities of their rights and dignities. In this way, the jury's decision, however hopeful, does not stop us. It must propel us.
We also acknowledge how this moment of hope fits into the bigger picture—its place along the winding path to real and permanent change. So many of our FFL family have been deeply touched by this trial. They see justice delivered, but against the background of a terrible past that is still perpetuated in the present. For many of them, growing up in the 1960s means living within a powerful patchwork of traumatic memories: “Black Mondays,” when sirens would go off at school and your principal shouts "Run children, run, don't stop ‘til you get home”—never knowing if the KKK would start shooting; the persistent need for young black men to guard young black women from assaults on their own street; the terrifying worry of being taken to the fields and killed by police; that breathless moment you saw your parents cry as they learned of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These are not just stories, they are the lived experiences of our FFL clients and staff. They are moments you can never forget.
These moments must be acknowledged and reconciled before real change can come. Police accountability, personal accountability, proposed reform bills ... These are just the beginning. Hypocrisy, lies, and misdirection continue to grow alongside them. Casual racism becomes a tired phrase—just white supremacy in a new dress.
Underneath it all, there is one simple task: treating people equally, which starts with holding law enforcement to standards of equal accountability, across every city and state in America. It’s time to show up for the cause of TRUE social justice, no matter who you are and where you live.
Together, we must stand up for what is right, acknowledge the truth, speak the truth, and never bow down to ugliness in this world. In the words of our staff, “We must truly become one nation. When we say ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, we must truly mean it—and leave color out. The color of your skin has no bearing if we truly live in the “land of the free.”