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Accountability Does Not Equal Justice

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“Struggle is a never ending process.
Freedom is never really won, you earn it in every generation.”
Coretta Scott King, Antioch Class of 1951

Dear Antioch Community Members,

The verdicts Tuesday in Minneapolis were welcomed around the world. They brought many to tears and high emotion. What momentary respite they must have given the courageous members of Mr. Floyd’s family, whose eloquence and higher-ground vision have shone throughout the ordeal. We owe them, and the millions of others who have marched in solidarity to demand justice for their beloved, a tremendous debt of appreciation. How will that debt be paid?

To begin with let’s be clear that the verdicts do not deliver anything close to justice for George Floyd’s murder. They represent the first steps of a state justice system holding a citizen accountable for a homicide captured on video and witnessed by many fellow citizens.

That is as it should be, but that is not how it has been for centuries nor how it is now. Incredibly, only 20 minutes before the verdicts were delivered in Minneapolis, a 16-year-old, Ma’Khia Bryan, was shot and killed by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio. Another Black life gone.

Broadening and deepening national and international recognition for the systemic crimes of racism, which are a most basic crime against all humanity, is indispensable to finding justice for George Floyd and all other victims. Actively pressuring for policy change and institutionally measuring the real practice of anti-racism and equity principles must become central to the work of acting for justice and to training each subsequent generation to lift and carry forward the banners of struggle.

When verdicts like those rendered yesterday are utterly unremarkable, when they are commonplace, then we may have some confidence that the grip of white supremacy and racism on the throat of people of color has been broken. That is as it should be and how it can be. That is what colleges like Antioch must commit to and the movement it must help lead.

Yours always,

Tom Manley
President Emeritus

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