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What does Justice really look like?

The following blog post reflects my personal views. As a leader at DESIGNxHUMANITY, they influence the decisions I make but ultimately, I can only speak for myself.

CW: Police Brutality

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of George Floyd's murder.

As we heave a collective sigh of relief that some measure of justice has been served, we still would prefer George was simply....still here. There are many complex emotions associated with this trial, and those of us who are surprised that the verdict isn't lifting the burden we feel on our hearts - those feelings are valid.

George Floyd's family statements reflect the same complexity. His siblings are happy that some type of justice has been handed down, but fully aware that the fight is still ahead of them.

As I read the news, I wanted to feel something akin to relief so I could pen a statement that encouraged us to keep fighting.

Instead, all I did was breakdown in tears of exhaustion. I have spent this morning weeping, deeply. I sit here writing this to you with tears in my eyes because as I started reading articles about the verdict, breaking news alerted me to the police shooting of 15 year-old Makiyah Bryant in Ohio.

Justice is short-lived when the system is broken.

DESIGNxHUMANITY formed 1 year ago because we were all horrified at what happened to George Floyd (on camera and in front of our eyes) and unsure of what to do about it.

Training modules and Slack groups won't fix a system designed to "look" broken, but work as intended. They won't help people feel safe in their communities. They don't change minds or worldviews.

We change the system by:

  • Actually breaking it. We do away with systems of oppression by abolishing them, or defunding them, and critiquing them LOUDLY.

  • Focusing on transformative justice

  • Developing mutual aid organizations that help people help each other

  • Being active by-standers who hold people accountable for their actions

  • Confronting our own internal biases and the ways in which we perpetuate them because it's what comes naturally to us.

  • Listening to others when they tell us we are making mistakes

  • Addressing systemic dehumanization whether it's from the President, your friends, or your family.

We spent the first year of DESIGNxHUMANITY on a lot of administration, and program planning. My hope is that the second year is spent deconstructing systems in a more tangible way.

Ultimately, my sense of relief is less important then George Floyd's life. So I am willing to sit with the complexity of these emotions. He still deserves justice. George Floyd's life matters...period. I also want to recognize that if you feel a sense of relief that others are searching for, if you are happy - that is celebrated here, as well.

But we have so much more work to do. For George Floyd, For Makiyah Bryant, For Daunte Wright, For Breonna Taylor, For Trayvon, For Sandra, .....

How does the result of the trial make you feel? Are you dealing with a complexity of emotions? Are you discussing these feelings with your peers? I'd love to hear from you, too.

I leave you with this statement from Cole Arthur Riley, @blackliturgies on social media:

"We don't owe the system our gratitude. True justice would be George Floyd's breath back in his Black body.
Breath for him. Exhale. If you feel relief, feel it. Don't suppress the hope of the moment. Joy and sorrow can coexist"


Nyla Spooner



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