The killing of black civilian George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in broad daylight sparked worldwide protests for social justice. A year later, justice is served as former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts in the killing of Floyd. This is a historic moment for the Black Lives Matter movement which has been opposing police brutality for decades.
Not only does the racist Chauvin face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, he was also convicted for third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The U.S. Soccer federation has hailed yesterday’s conviction as “one of justice for George Floyd’s family”, and declared that it will continue the fight for social justice.
In the months since Floyd’s murder, sports and independent media are among the many sections of society that reacted with compassion in the face of racial injustice. The Black Lives Matter campaign has become a mainstay in basketball and soccer, with players all over the world kneeling before matches in a sign of solidarity. Upon making their return to the field last fall, the US Men’s National Team wore jackets with calls for racial equality and justice, a practice that has continued on through their recent matches.
Meanwhile, after the verdict last night, citizens in Albuquerque shared their reaction to the guilty verdict at a peaceful rally. There were speeches at Johnson Field, followed by a march to a bookstore where everyone kneeled down for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, the exact time that Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck in a shocking video. “Today we saw that a black life matters,” said activist Barbara Jordan.
With the verdict out, relatives of George Floyd are expected to take part in a discussion examining the role his death played in sparking a social justice movement. Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio will host a virtual conversation with Angela Harrelson and Selwyn Jones, Floyd’s aunt and uncle. Both have traveled across the United States in 2020 to talk about their nephew and to promote a discussion on social justice issues that African-Americans face.
US President Joe Biden applauded the verdict as a step forward in racial justice. He said, “The systemic racism is a stain on our nation’s soul. Today’s verdict is a step forward. Nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back, but this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
Vice-President Kamala Harris, America’s first Black and Indian vice-president, had a bittersweet reaction, calling for more reform in the criminal justice system. “A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice,” Harris said. Barack and Michelle Obama echoed her sentiment, calling the verdict as “the right thing” in a joint statement. The United States’ first Black president and first lady said that justice was done in this case, yet “we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.”
Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied. pic.twitter.com/mihZQHqACV
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 20, 2021