Last week’s convictions in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd have been described as a moment of reckoning, a signal that we are witnessing real change. The fact that this was a surprising verdict to many in this country and to most in the Black community speaks to the reality of a justice system that continues to apply different standards depending on who you are. The collective exhale, whether to celebrate that justice was done or relief that there would not be further protests, that the boards could come down and businesses could resume, is certainly welcome.
However, as many experienced the stressful anticipation, we need to be realistic that this is not the end, that the next seemingly unprovoked death is possibly only a news cycle away. So, to the extent that we and our patients are affected by the heightened emotions of trying to survive a pandemic, we need to additionally remain alert to the realities of racism and how this unrelenting stressor continues to impact the physical and mental wellbeing of People of Color. I urge us all to increase our awareness of our own explicit and implicit biases and consider our part in mitigating the destructive power of racism and discrimination.