Today, for the first time in Minnesota history, a white police officer has been convicted for killing a Black man. Now, we can finally say George Floyd’s name and make it synonymous not only with grief, anger, and loss over his brutal murder, but with a moment of justice.

But to be clear, true justice for George Floyd is virtually impossible when George Floyd isn’t here.

While this verdict brings a certain rare form of consequences for police, the problem with policing is not simply the lack of oversight, racist policies, or the need for increased training that purport to prevent police from killing people like George Floyd.

The problem is more insidious: modern policing itself. From their inception, police have been tasked with protecting power and privilege by exerting social control over Black people, and the history of modern police forces can be traced back to slave patrols used in Charleston, South Carolina. Since then, police in the U.S. have continued to be empowered to act as an occupying force in low-income communities and communities of color, and efforts to simply reform police policies over the past several decades has not been enough to stop the relentless police killings of Black people.

Now, we must not allow this verdict to lull us into a place of complacency. Instead, we must reject inadequate reforms and create communities that do not allow police to make hashtags out of our loved ones. 

We join with Mr. Floyd’s family, our community, and our nation in mourning his death. We will never forget him. Together, we’ll work to ensure that one day, we can remember George Floyd in celebration of the true justice for all achieved in his name.

To get involved with and support local organizations in Alabama, please visit Cell 65, People’s Budget Birmingham, and Southerners on New Ground Montgomery