“The guilty verdict delivered in the case of police officer Jason Van Dyke doesn’t assuage the deep distrust the Black community has in the criminal justice system and lack of police accountability, but it is a big step in the right direction.
“The city breathed a collective sigh of relief with delivery of the verdict. The murder of Laquan McDonald and the Van Dyke trial poured salt on festering wounds of the Black community caused by decades of city neglect, police brutality and economic divestment.
“For too many, it seemed like Laquan was on trial rather than the officer who shot him 16 times. For too many, it was the same old script with different characters. Now, perhaps, city leaders will gather the courage to address the real issues that keep the city divided.
“This is an opportunity for a mayoral candidate to distinguish himself or herself as a serious agent of change who will not be afraid to raise the issues of divestment from communities of color, lack of opportunities, gentrification and racism.
“We all want to live in a city that is equitable and just. We all want communities that thrive. We must channel our anger into efforts to unite across our communities to achieve the change we seek.
“The tragic murder of Laquan McDonald — a young man who faced the same personal and external challenges that many young Black men growing up in depressed neighborhoods face — and the conviction of the officer who killed him may be the spark of change so badly needed in this city.
“Let’s hope so.”