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Of the many ways readers responded to Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict—with cautious relief, strength, pain, and recognition of the vast work still ahead—one comment got straight to the heart and humanity of George Floyd’s family loss: “Somebody’s baby is still not coming home.”

It’s the underlying fact of the moment, but it’s also accompanied by something else you shared in messages: measured hope. “Thrilled and hopeful that cops everywhere [might] recognize this as a truth going forward, that every human must be treated fairly,” another reader wrote. But “without structural policing reform I don’t expect any lasting change.”

We heard how distant that day is; how low the bar is set in this country for “celebrating” news that a cop who murders can be held accountable: “We have a looong way to go when we as a nation celebrate when justice is finally served.”

And many of you drew a hard line between accountability and justice: “One guilty verdict is not justice.” “I’m no fool. I know this isn’t justice. It’s just a tiny step forward on the long arc of the moral universe.”

There was relief, too: “I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until I saw the verdict and started crying.” “After the verdict, I took a deep breath.”

Relief was a constant:

“Relief that there is accountability.”

“Relief, guarded optimism, and looking forward.”

“Relief at first and then hope that real change could actually happen.”

“Relief but an overwhelming sense that there is so much more work to do.”

“Relieved and happy he will face punishment for his crimes.”

“I’m happy and relieved.”

“So relieved that Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges.”

“I am relieved but cautiously optimistic.”

We also heard desensitization and defeat: “Strangely numb.” “It means nothing. Your country is so far gone off the rails. There is no hope for the USA.”

And credit where it’s due: “This never would have happened if there hadn’t been extreme public outrage.”

We heard realism, too: “A tiny speck of justice in a vast ocean of police criminality, a criminality too blatant to be forgotten (I hope).”

And solidarity across countries as a strategy for survival: “I was so heartened to see so many people around the world of so many colors come together to protest what happened to George Floyd.”

We heard a prescription for the future of policing: “This could be a turning point only if broad pressure is brought to demilitarize police: equipment, procedures, behavior changed.”

Above all, we heard comments that cycled through several feelings: “I first felt glad when the verdict was read, then great relief, then sadness. Sad that this ever happened and knowing this is only a start.”

Continue to share your reactions below, and let us know how you see what’s next:

 

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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