Hamline News

A Message from President Miller Regarding the Chauvin Trial Verdict

The jury has come back with a verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd in May of last year. Chauvin has been convicted on all charges.

As we watched the trial, we were again forced to deal with the death of BIPOC people—Daunte Wright and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago -- at police hands. The amount of emotional stress and trauma people are experiencing is unimaginable. I know our students are hurting and have participated in protests. These words were shared with me earlier today as I participated in a group that shared their remembrances of former Vice President Walter Mondale. He said, “I’d encourage young people to enjoy public service, but to prepare to fight for what they believe in.” I do not think he imagined we would still be a divided nation. I do not think he thought we would be still fighting for life, liberty, and justice for all. Yet, we are.

Students, as you fight for all, use your voice and collective power to bring about change. Remember how you protest is just as important as protesting, especially if we are to have the change we all deserve and want.

The news we have received today will heal some of us. For others it might perpetuate more trauma. And, for others, it might elicit anger. I say to you all, please take a moment and reflect on who we are as a nation of people. Let’s reflect on what we need for all to feel included; to feel as though they matter.

Our community, and indeed our nation, has begun conversations that we have held off for far too long. We must have open and honest conversations about race and place in our society. I know this is an an uncomfortable topic for some, but it is a conversation that must be had if we are to heal the nation; if we are to move past our history of oppression and inequality, if we are to indeed live up to what it means to be the United States of America where all people are “created equal.”

So, while today we can look with some satisfaction at justice for George Floyd, we can also celebrate the fact that our system works as it was intended to work. As we seek to truly realize “justice for all” as stated in our Pledge of Allegiance, we can look back on an important step taken today to turn that phrase into reality.


Fayneese Miller, PhD