Today a jury in Minneapolis convicted a White police officer of the murder of a Black man, George Floyd. Such a verdict is a rare event in the United States.

The facts were never in dispute. Derek Chauvin placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds, an excessive amount of force by any measure. Mr. Floyd’s cries of “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” were heard by onlookers, captured on video, and shared with billions of people around the world.

As we learned in the trial, the events traumatized the teenager taking video of the event, a medical professional who arrived on the scene, a store clerk, and every onlooker that day. In fact, the tragic murder of Mr. Floyd impacted people around the world, motivating millions to take to the streets and march for the first time in their lives.

While one person was held accountable today, we know that institutional racism in the United States is as prevalent as ever. There are efforts across the country to disenfranchise Black voters, use of police force is the 6th leading cause of death for young Black men, and the median income of Black families is less than 60% of the median income of White households.

As an organization that welcomes refugees and immigrants from around the world, we have an obligation to introduce our clients, who are largely people of color, to a country and culture that has much work to do. We take this responsibility seriously, and, to be honest, we are still learning how best to help New Americans navigate the racism they see in their new country.

Here at IINE, we recommit ourselves to our racial justice work, to creating a safe community for the people of color whom we are privileged to serve, and to recognizing and participating in the work still left to do.

While we know there is still much to do, let me state that at IINE we unequivocally believe that Black lives matter.

Jeff Thielman
President and CEO

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