The week before Derek Chauvin’s conviction was deeply troubling for many members of the Martha’s Vineyard Diversity Coalition, particularly for those of us who are people of color. We were all reminded yet again that Chauvin brutally and with blatant indifference to human life, killed George Floyd by keeping a knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck until his death and for three minutes more. For us this was a metaphor for the violence and oppression that has been perpetrated on black and brown lives for decades. It is the hope of the diversity coalition that this conviction will lay the groundwork to eradicate racism in the criminal justice system, but we recognize that one conviction is not a panacea.

The police report in this case initially said the killing was a “medical death” from a “police incident,” and it wasn’t until the testimony of multiple courageous witnesses that the truth was known. The prosecution’s case was nearly perfect, with video footage, police and citizen testimony and superb expert witnesses. There was the usual character assassination, but it was ineffective, because Derek Chauvin’s criminal act was evident for all the world to see. Yet even in the best case possible, we were all worried the verdict would be not guilty.

The question is what will happen now and what can we do as a community to foster the kinds of changes that will prevent profiling and injustice? Police officers are powerful people, and like the rest of us, they aren’t all good or bad. There will always be those who believe they know what they don’t; there are likely those who harbor racism, but it is the core of good people who join the police force for the right reasons that diversity coalition hopes to mobilize for equity. We believe the Island is a great place to unite and set the kind of example we need.

For three days beginning May 4, the six Island police departments will participate in a training designed to help police and ultimately our community understand implicit bias. While the workshops are primarily designed for police, a number of community members who have been involved in the project have been invited to a session, and we hope the connection will be the beginning of our work together.

The trainers have been carefully chosen by the police chiefs and vetted by the diversity coalition to assure, to the degree possible, that this will be an opportunity for personal growth, rather than an exercise of checking off a box while feeling that they have learned nothing. We have heard from our local police that required boxes are often unproductive and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The diversity coalition is doing all it can to foster awareness and to assure that good police officers come to the training with an open mind and a willingness to learn. The coalition is currently collecting data and evaluating it with complete and open access from the local police departments. This data will help us and the participating departments to determine the effectiveness of the training before, after, and over time.

We are fortunate to live on this beautiful Island with others who value life and acknowledge privilege. From June to November, Islanders meet at Beetlebung Corner in Chilmark every day, seven days a week, to mourn the deaths of the countless victims who have been killed unnecessarily. All those lives remembered are people of color — men, children, women, loved ones — the list goes on and on, and their stories are heartbreaking.

Those mornings in Chilmark allow us to gather and acknowledge the lives lost. We are grateful for our connectedness to, and support of, one another; we acknowledge with sadness the depth of suffering that families experience when a loved one is killed. It is our hope that these lives have not been lost in vain and that meaningful change will be the final result.

Sandra Pimentel is a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Diversity Coalition.