WASHINGTON, April 21, 2021— “The Rev. Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends
toward justice.’ The family and loved ones of George Floyd can find some
semblance of justice in a Minnesota jury’s verdict that Derek Chauvin is guilty
of Floyd’s brutal murder. This is also a seminal moment for the families of
many others like Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, and Eric
Garner who can also find some semblance of justice.
But the verdict will
not reverse their incalculable loss, or by itself repair a criminal justice
system that too often continues to systemically discriminate against people of
color. However, this verdict sends a forceful message to all with authority
that violence and unjust use of power will not be tolerated.
It has been almost one
year since one bystander’s cellphone video sparked global calls for justice—and
a long-overdue national reckoning with the legacy of slavery, systemic racism, segregation,
and mass incarceration. That work continues today; we must continue to demand
social and economic justice. And we must continue to state, unequivocally, that
Black Lives Matter.
As incubators of
diversity, colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to advance these
issues. AASCU and its nearly 400 members take our responsibility seriously in
preparing our students to be engaged citizens in a democratic, global society.
The killings of
unarmed Black men and women and other persons of color at the hands of law
enforcement must stop. The pains these injustices inflict on families,
communities, and the nation are immense. They run deep. And they are
Yesterday’s verdict represents
accountability—something that is too seldom realized. But we still have much
work to do before 'and justice for all' is a creed this country fully lives up
Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based
higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and
systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a
historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to
research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and
cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise.