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Acknowledging Injustice While Awaiting a Verdict

To members of the Northwestern community,

Jury deliberations have begun in the trial of three white men who are charged with murdering 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man who was accosted and shot to death while jogging through a neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga. Arbery was killed in 2020 — a year marked by social justice activism following the police killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and, sadly, many others.

We do not yet know the outcome of the trial of those charged with Arbery’s murder, but the nation is watching, with details of the case causing many to feel angry and disappointed. Deliberations began in Georgia just days after the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse for deadly shootings in Kenosha, Wis. These proceedings, and the strong emotions they evoke, further highlight the divide in this country over criminal justice, policing, racism and gun violence.

In the coming weeks, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law plans to host a panel discussion on these recent trials. We will share additional details on this event as they become available.

Earlier this year, in anticipation of the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, we acknowledged that injustices continue to deprive too many Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) individuals of their life and full humanity. We find ourselves at a similar point in time.

Northwestern is dedicated to inquiry and the exchange of ideas and continues to take steps forward in creating a more just, anti-racist community and society. To that end, we will continue to encourage research, discourse and rigorous debate on issues of racial justice in an effort to effect lasting change. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, it is important to remember that there will be members of the Northwestern community who will disagree on whether the jury reached the proper verdict.

It will be through teaching and learning and the dedication of faculty, staff and students that we improve our campus community and contribute to cultivating a humane global citizenry.