During the past year, the Berea College community has held a number of peaceful demonstrations focused on racial justice in the wake of the police-involved deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis. Today, a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts in the death of Mr. Floyd. For many members of our community, this verdict brings a sigh of relief. It shows that the legal system worked as it is designed to work, and that there can—and should—be accountability when members of law enforcement break the law.
In the preamble to our Great Commitments, Bereans call for peace with justice. In my view, today’s verdict represents a measure of justice for the family of Mr. Floyd and for those communities that have been denied justice for so long.
Even though we are still far from the ideal of full justice from which true peace can follow, it seems right to honor peace as we respond to this outcome. It is the Berea way to be peaceful in our interactions with others. Justice prevailed today, and let us resolve to continue the struggle to ensure that everyone—regardless of their race, gender identity, faith or political perspective—is treated fairly and justly. Let us show impartial love and a real commitment to peace at this important moment.
Lyle Roelofs, President