Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Verdict Night #SayHerName #sayhisname #sayhisnamegeorgefloyd



All day we knew it was coming.

I talked with my students about it.

None of my students thought Chauvin was going to face justice.

He’s gonna get off, they said.

He’s gonna get off.

There’s gonna be a riot.

Helicopters whirling all day long.

Police along the streets.

Extra cops everywhere.


Walking down Hoyt Street past some guys on the corner, I remember spring 1992 in Los Angeles.

We thought the video evidence against the police who beat Rodney King was enough to put them away. I remember the feelings and the riots that followed for days in LA.


I remember December 2014 the night the Grand Jury decided not to charge indict Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner.

Fury at Union Square.

And we marched into the night.

Uptown, downtown, all over town.

Fighting it back and forth.




We’ve been disappointed so many times.


“Chauvin Trial Live Updates: Jury Reaches a Verdict” says the Times.

They are going to announce it at 430 says one of my students, only half paying attention to class.

Another says she’s not going to stay near Barclay Center, where the protests will take place regardless of the verdict.

I don’t have a good feeling about this, she says.

No one does.


And then the judge walks in.

Count 1 - guilty.

Verdict count #2 – guilty

Verdict #3 - second degree manslaughter... guilty

Soooo relieved... wow!

Smiles, not rage in the streets.


I can look at people without seeing the rage or the sadness of the disbelief or resentment, at least for a night.

A few of us chat at Barbes.


Its good not to be doing the Sisyphus routine, another line of demos along the way.


the first thing we could do was breathe,” says Adrienne Maree Brown.


a practitioner of breathlessness is guilty

(hallelujah hallelu!)

like, they said what we knew

(he looked surprised too)

that small alignment is so rare

it lays our contradictions bare

some hushing shout does move through the body as if (remember) we are one body but

it's really chorus, we of so many minds”


Riding down 6th to Atlantic,

A quiet scene at Barclay’s Center.

So many bodies, quiet, a hush.

A few screams about revolution.

Sun’s going down.

I ride home, glad the kids filmed the scene.

Glad they filmed the police.

It shouldn’t have been that close.

Shouldn’t have been a cliffhanger that a filmed murder resulted in a guilty verdict.


Your daddy changed the world, says the president to George’s daughter.


“Chauvin was found guilty because he had to be to preserve the current system of policing,” says Alex Vitale.  “The Dept. turned against him to save itself.


He's still dead. Still gone.

“We take no pleasure in a man going to prison,” says Al Sharpton.

“We would have rather George be alive.”

By midnight, we hear gunshots in the Gowanus.

Lots of gunshots.


And then word of Ma’khia Bryant,

16 years old, called for help.

Police shot her.

April 20, 2021.

She was a kid.

Her whole life ahead of her.

Say her name.


I got three and a half hours of joy and justice before another says Jay Walker.


Looking out there.

Its all starting again.

Sisyphus whirling through time,

Up that hill.

Over and over again.


Daunte is gone.

Ma’khia is gone.

George Floyd, say his name. 

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