Berkeley Lab

Minneapolis Verdict Offers Hope and Renewal

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday afternoon a jury in Minneapolis delivered a verdict of guilty on all three counts in the Derek Chauvin trial, offering George Floyd’s family and loved ones a moment of peace and affirming, at least in this case, that no one is above the law. We can accept this news as a brief respite from the continuing story of harms caused and lives lost due to systemic racism in our country.

At the same time, we are reminded that this is but a moment of healing in a time of mourning. This year, race-related violence against Black Americans, people of Asian descent, and other people of color have added to an already difficult year in which we are absorbing the impacts of multiple mass shootings, an economic crisis, and a global health crisis — all of which have disproportionately affected disadvantaged communities.

It’s clear that we still have a great deal of work to do to rectify the injustices and inequalities stemming from racism in our country, and one guilty verdict cannot accomplish all of that. We must remain vigilant of harms we cause inadvertently when we participate in the systems that perpetuate racism and inequity. We must strive to learn how our own experiences are not the experiences of others, and listen to others for this measure of understanding.

We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made together at Berkeley Lab, working with our Employee Resource Groups and many others in our community that have committed to bringing about positive change. We’ve seen the passion from our colleagues to advance Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability (IDEA) at the Lab.

We urge you to continue on this journey, together. Here are some ways:

  • If you want an opportunity to connect with a learning community at the Lab, you can participate in Equity Reset. You can learn more here.
  • Our IDEA website provides resources to learn more about racial equity. You’ll find resources on allyship, toolkits, discussion guides, and more.

In addition, in this difficult time of loss and mourning, it is important that we take care of ourselves and others, and to not underestimate the emotional costs of the stresses we bear. Here are some resources to help:

If we’ve learned one thing this past year, it’s that the Berkeley Lab community is a resilient one that stands together. We’re both proud to be part of a group of talented people committed to serving humanity through science. Please be safe and well. We look forward to seeing you soon, in person.

Best regards,

Michael Witherell
Laboratory Director

Lady Idos
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer