PHDR Highlight: Dr. Michele Allen's Reflection on the Chauvin Trial Verdict

Michele L. Allen, MD, MS | Medical School - University of Minnesota

This morning I feel glad for George Floyd’s family that our legal system held his murderer accountable. Yet the dissonance of this small right less than two weeks after 20-year-old father Daunte Wright was killed during a routine traffic stop mutes any relief.

I have come to think of structural racism that drives injustices in our police, judicial, education, and medical institutions, and across our society as a depraved Rube Goldberg machine. Those of us who are White often see one illogical component and doubt the overall purpose of the machine. What we learn from our BIPOC colleagues, friends, and elders is that each individual piece is designed to cause a very intentional chain reaction leading to a consistent and persistent outcome.  The helpful part of the analogy is that each of us has the potential to be disrupters at multiple points along the chain of events. Darnella Frazier was a disruptor. The activists who would not step back after Mr. Floyd’s murder were disruptors. All the families of Black and Brown people killed by police, and community leaders who have raised their voices for years are disruptors. My BIPOC colleagues whose thoughts and work we will highlight on our social media over the next weeks are disruptors.  We must all be disruptors. We must see the machine for what it is, disrupt its progress in the short term, and commit to actions that dismantle the machine entirely.

- Michele Allen