I conscientiously followed the trial of the ex-officer responsible for George Floyd’s death. For 9 minutes and 29 seconds he pocketed as his knee snuffed the life out of a helpless, unarmed, handcuffed George Floyd. 331 days later his actions caught up with him. He was found guilty of all charges.
Speaking after the verdict was passed, President Biden remarked:
“I can’t breathe. Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away. We can’t turn away.”
In hindsight, it took a nexus of various events for justice to be served. A brave girl with a camera who continued filming even amidst threats from the police officers. A community who had long borne the brunt of law enforcement since the days of slavery. People of goodwill who understood that no one is free until we are all free.
Coretta Scott King in her memoirs My Life, My Love, My Legacy chronicles her upbringing in the racist South. Growing up in the era of “Separate but equal”, she witnessed hate and violence meted out with impunity against black people.
As she recounts , it wasn’t unusual for black people to be beaten to a pulp on account of their race. Bombings on houses of black civil rights leaders was more the norm than the exception. Administrators like Bull Connor of Birmingham were more than willing to exert the state’s monopoly of violence on protestors.
However, as the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd revealed, the “us versus them” has since become stale. We can see through the ruse. The world witnessed people of all races, classes, gender and origin, standing up against injustice. Coretta Scott King, as prescient as her husband Martin Luther King Jr, wrote about this years before.
She writes of a Beloved Community and describes it as:
“A spiritual bond that claims the energies and commitment of a diverse group of people who desire to serve a cause larger than themselves. The Beloved Community is fueled by unconditional love, feels like family, and transcends race, religion and class.”
I wonder, if Coretta Scott King were alive, what would she think?