Despite emotional impact of Chauvin trial, time to face issues head on, advocates say

With the Derek Chauvin trial being nationally televised or livestreamed, Americans are once again being exposed to the traumatic video of the former police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe,” in his dying moments.

Mental health experts worry it may revive feelings of racial trauma and have profound emotional and psychological consequences for Black Americans.

Attorney Rob Crain and Rev. Richie Butler with Project Unity have formed a group called “Together we Can.” Their mission: answering the question, “How can I change America’s journey with racism?”

As painful as it is, Crain said in an interview on The Morning Show, history has taught us that America does better when we take a problem head on.

“We’re able to deal with it and work through it,” Crain said. “I think the events that we saw in this case were because we didn’t take things head on for so long and we haven’t, but this trial has provided, in our experience, more discussions about race in America than discussions that have occurred in the previous five years combined and the work we have done -- so head on is definitely the way to go.”

Butler said despite the pain of watching the trial, it has opened a door to national dialogue – but the next steps are up to us.

“I think it’s our responsibility to walk through the door and not sit at the door and wait for it to close on us again,” Butler said. “I think this is a moment where, as a nation, we can leapfrog in terms of, you know, if we are on a continuum from four to a six versus normally we’re just moving from a four to a 4.002.”

Crain said the next steps to repair race relations in America are actually fairly simple.

“We need to start having honest conversations about it, and that’s a lot of what we do, and I’ll tell you, you know, there’s two emotions that we see on almost everybody’s face the first time they participate in one of our dine events, one of our discussion events, and the first one is one of relief ‘oh I can have this conversation and not have to be afraid of saying something wrong or being blamed for something,’ and the second emotion is one of excitement -- you can see it on their face,” Crain said. “When people are just able to get in that door and have that first discussion, it opens their eyes to, you know, ‘we can do this. We can take the noise away from cable TV and all these social media opinions and we can take it on ourselves.’”

If you want to know more about their mission go to To hear more from their interview, watch the video above.

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