Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Applaud Chauvin Verdict: Accountability in the Courtroom One Step in Journey to Justice
WASHINGTON – Guilty on all three charges. This verdict, while unexpected in light of far too many past cases like this, does not bring George Floyd back. Nothing will. Given America’s shameful history of failing to hold police accountable for violence, brutality, and extrajudicial killings of people of color, many Americans doubted that a jury would find Derek Chauvin guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter yesterday. According to Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison, “Justice implies true restoration. It is accountability, not justice.” Derek Chauvin’s conviction will not serve as a turning point in fundamentally transforming our criminal legal system without continued organizing and activism like we’ve seen since George Floyd’s murder.
While the jury’s verdict may have eased some of the collective tension felt by communities of color across the country, the reality is that a criminal conviction is just the first step in achieving a vision of true justice for the generations of Black Americans and other communities of color whose lives have been decimated by policing’s unchecked violence. And while it was the only justifiable outcome, this verdict alone is nowhere near enough. True justice cannot be found in a courtroom. The time for justice for more than just a select few is long overdue; the time for justice across all communities of color is long overdue. It will take bold action, backed by meaningful investments, to address the generations of fear and mistrust that have fractured our communities. Lawmakers must acknowledge and uproot white supremacy’s hold on policing and prioritize federal legislation that reimagines our notions of public safety and centers the needs of our most vulnerable communities. We demand that in the process of reimagining policing, that the safety and thriving of communities of color are prioritized, that all processes are accountable and transparent, and all officers who violate the law are held accountable.
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Advancement Project National Office, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, NAACP, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS are a collaborative of nine leading national racial equity anchor organizations (the Anchors) supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Together, we work to promote racial equity, advance racial healing, and ensure that all children, families, and communities have opportunities to reach their full potential.