This past week, I’ve felt no joy or any semblance of justice.
I hadn’t followed the way the trial played out, and I never will ever watch a trial like it. I never invested any energy nor time to seek legitimacy in the settler-colonial empire that we live in. It felt painful to see how much energy was spent in wishing for a conviction that we had all but known was inevitable. I am by all means wishing nothing but strength to George Floyd’s family and that they can begin to gain some closure. But institutionally, as policing has always existed in any form, no single or dozens of convicted cops at all ever will stop policing from killing our people.
I think what has been the most eery part of this week has been the single notion that not only that justice was “served,” but even the notion that progress was made tells me how far we are from recognizing policing and the state we live in is irredeemable. The state saw it necessary to absolve itself of any attachment to Chauvin. In a swift move, the state got rid of one cop to assert that “justice” can be brought to us here. He was the state’s sacrifice.
Before the verdict was even announced, two weeks ago we learned that Daunte Wright had been executed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Adam Toledo was killed by CPD nearly one month ago. On the day of the verdict, Ma’Khia Bryant was killed by Columbus police. And that doesn’t even begin to name the many people who have been killed by police since even the trial started.
Amidst all of this, I’ve been thinking a lot about a quote from an interview Kwame Ture gave that I think remains applicable to this very moment:
“There is a difference between spontaneity and organization. Big difference. Of course, when you’re organizing you must use spontaneity, but merely because you’re using spontaneity doesn’t mean you’re organizing. Our people can be mobilized very easily, but to keep them organized is a serious task.”
There’s not much I can say beyond what abolitionist organizers have said about how we should move at this moment. But what I only wish out of this moment is that we seek to take Ture’s words to heart. Organizing around a vision of liberation, of abolition, will only continue to get us closer to a world without policing. Spontaneous marching can be helpful. But I don’t want us to lose more people in the street to white supremacist violence (uniformed or vigilante) or incarceration. I wish that bail funds being raised instead could spend more time feeding people with their resources. As Malcolm remarked, the masses are not outnumbered but out-organized. Maybe I’m rambling (likely), but I can only remain hopeful because that is the only way I know that a world where we are free is possible. We have to redefine what is justice and believe rebuilding the world is possible. It’s the one chance we have.