On behalf of the board of directors, and the entire executive leadership team, we would like to take a moment to respond to two events from yesterday: the Derek Chauvin trial verdict and the unfolding events surrounding the tragic death of fifteen-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was shot by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio.
Derek Chauvin, one of the four police officers who interacted with George Floyd during his arrest, was found guilty yesterday of all three murder charges brought against him. Chauvin’s verdict may bring up emotions associated with relief, indifference, joy, grieving, or all the above. I ask you to pause for a moment and be kind to yourself, bring forward empathy and compassion for your teammates, and make space for conversation so that we may help one another.
Board of Child Care, the leadership team, and I am committed to continuing the journey of wholeness and civility within our community. The Board of Child Care believes that BLACK LIVES MATTER. This verdict is not justice. Justice implies full restoration for the Floyd family and for the community that he contributed to. This trial does represent accountability for individuals to answer to their actions and how decisions impact human lives. Today was a small but victorious step in a continuous journey to liberty and justice for all.
That step forward, however, was tragically juxtaposed by the death of Ma’Khia Bryant yesterday. She was a fifteen-year-old African American girl in the foster care system shot by police in Columbus, OH. Facts will be gathered in the coming days and weeks, but we know already that this is yet another event that shines the light on the disproportionate use of deadly force by police against persons of color.
Our hearts and prayers extend to both the Floyd and Bryant families and every person who has had to process, cope, and/witness social injustices. We would not be who we are as an organization without Black men and women who give of themselves on a daily basis to push our mission forward in the lives of our youth, families, and community partners. We see you, and we thank you for continuing to show up every day despite trauma, social unrest, and racial gaslighting. We encourage our entire BCC community to give grace to one another and continue to bring forth important conversations.
Coping as a Community
Many communities are experiencing unrest and distress related to Derek Chauvin’s verdict and the death of Ma’Khia Bryant. Some individuals may have firsthand experiences of community discord, discrimination or trauma, or grappling with losing their sense of safety. The Board of Child Care encourages you to lean into positive coping strategies. Below are some suggestions:
- Set a limit on media consumption (social media, local/national news)
- Pay attention to your breathing, heart rate, and emotions when checking media and social updates. Is it helpful and productive for you? Be kind to yourself and step back when it’s not.
- Talk to people you trust and who understand and respect how you feel (family members, faith leaders, friends, coworkers.
- Try to do your best in taking care of yourself physically and mentally: getting enough sleep, exercising to release stress, eating healthy meals.
- Focus on what you can do to care for yourself right here and right now.
Laurie Anne “LA” Spagnola
President & CEO