April 20, 2021
Statement of Jeff and Tricia Raikes on Derek Chauvin's Conviction
By Jeff & Tricia Raikes

We are grateful there has been some measure of accountability for the murder of George Floyd, but we recognize we have a long way to go as a nation to ensure that Black men are treated with full humanity in the United States. 

The way our systems marginalize and discriminate against Black people begins in their mothers’ womb. Studies have shown that Black boys as young as four years old are viewed by adults as "dangerous." Our society treats young Black boys like adults, ascribing malice and intent to normal childhood behaviors, and paving the way for the harsh discipline and violence they endure throughout their lives. Black boys are suspended, expelled, and otherwise disciplined in school at a disproportionate rate compared to their white peers. They are tracked into less rigorous courses during school that will make them less likely to attend college. Upon entering adulthood, having a name that "sounds Black" on a job application is a fast-track to the reject pile. Black men are more likely to be victims of violence, to be homeless, and to be pushed into a criminal justice system that rarely grants them justice. 

Why? Our country’s systems were built to do this, and it will keep happening until we transform them.

We are holding the loved ones of George Floyd in our hearts today, as well as the millions of people across the country who grieved his death and took to the streets to demand justice for him and Black people everywhere. This is one important step toward accountability, but our work continues.