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America reckons with racial injustice: How we got to this point in history

After a jury convicted former officer Derek Chauvin of murder, activists say justice was served, but that doesn’t mean an end to the fight for racial equity.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Demonstrators fill a downtown street Monday, June 1, 2020, in Seattle, following protests over the weekend over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis.

The verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial punctuates a painful year and emotional reckoning for our country. 

Eleven months after George Floyd was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police, a jury delivered a guilty verdict against former officer Derek Chauvin.

Floyd's death came to symbolize police use of force against communities of color, and activists and race educators say Floyd’s death was just one instance in a long history of racial injustice in America.

“What happened with George Floyd is in some ways a metaphor for what we have experienced since we were brought here in chains – that we can’t breathe,” said Dr. Caprice Hollins, a race educator in Seattle.

As America reckons with its racist past, we look back not just at the last year but the last 400 years.

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This story was produced as part of “Facing Race,” a KING 5 series that examines racism, social justice and racial inequality in the Pacific Northwest. Catch up on our coverage here.