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    ‘Justice for Black America Is Justice for All America’: Reaction to Chauvin Guilty Verdict

    After a trial closely watched both nationally and internationally, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on April 20 was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Street actions—many spontaneous—took place throughout the Bay Area, such as the rally “Justice for George Floyd is No More Cop Terror!” held at 24th and Mission in San Francisco. The Party for Socialism and Liberation – Bay Area, which organized the rally, stated: “Though Chauvin was convicted on all 3 counts, we know it was the power of the people, not the courts, that made this happen. The fight for true justice is far from over.”

    That sentiment carried through numerous other statements released by LGBTQ organizations, local and national leaders, and many others after the verdict was read. They include the following:

    SF LGBT Center

    Though accountability was served today, the work to uplift George Floyd’s legacy by achieving racial justice is a movement that’s far from over, and we’re dedicated to the struggle. The SF LGBT Center stands with—and for—our Black siblings and broader BIPOC community, and we are unequivocally committed to racial equity as a core tenet of our work long-term. We will remain vigilant in combating white supremacy and other systems of oppression by centering intersectional activism in everything we do. LGBTQ+ liberation is Black liberation. Black liberation is LGBTQ+ liberation.

    Mayor London Breed

    This verdict does not bring back the life of George Floyd. It can’t replace the years of his life that were robbed from him, nor the life experiences and memories that would have been made with his friends and family. What this verdict does reflect is that the tide is turning in this country, although still too slowly, toward accountability and justice. (Full statement: https://tinyurl.com/36kftcy2 )

    Former President Barack Obama

    Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing.

    For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation. But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?

    In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.

    True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work of making the America we know more like the America we believe in.

    While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.

    And as we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work.

    Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in the hopes that they may find peace. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.

    Governor Gavin Newsom

    The hard truth is that, if George Floyd looked like me, he’d still be alive today. No conviction can repair the harm done to George Floyd and his family, but today’s verdict provides some accountability as we work to root out the racial injustice that haunts our society. We must continue the work of fighting systemic racism and excessive use of force. It’s why I signed some of the nation’s most progressive police reform legislation into law. I will continue working with community leaders across the state to hear concerns and support peaceful expression.

    San Francisco Democratic Party

    Today’s jury verdict was a step in the right direction. But it came with and at a tremendous cost: the Floyd family lost a son, brother, and father, and millions of people across the country and the globe had to march and demand that justice be served for George Floyd. It also does not undo or absolve centuries of oppression, injustice, trauma, and discrimination that the African-American community has and continues to face, and we are reminded that we must never stop continuing to fight to finally make “equal justice under the law” truly a reality for all Americans. There is still much work that needs and must be done here and now, and this work will require the strength and active commitment of all of us to be accomplished.

    The San Francisco Democratic Party recognizes the outstanding accomplishments, contributions, and impact that Black Americans have made on our city, county, and country, and it is committed to building a Democratic political movement that centers Black lives and the needs of the Black community.

    San Francisco Democrats: let us continue to stand up, speak out, and take action.

    Black Lives Matter

    330 days to confirm what we already knew. 330 days of reliving the trauma of George’s murder, fearing that the system would let us down again, and mourning so many more that we lost. For a murder witnessed by millions.

    This isn’t proof the system works. It’s proof of how broken it is. Because it took us this long, and this much attention. Until we have a world where our communities can thrive free from fear, there will be no justice.

    Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

    Almost one year ago we witnessed in sorrow the undeniable video testimony of George Floyd’s murder. The demand for justice that erupted from every corner of the country was painful and inspirational.

    Today’s guilty verdict is an important step forward, but by no means the end of the journey. As George Floyd’s family said in their statement following the verdict, “Justice for Black America is justice for all America.” We promote the value of justice at the JCCSF and so it is our obligation to share our resources, power, and privilege. We will continue to learn about, connect with, support, and celebrate each other in the pursuit for justice and live by the words of Emma Lazarus, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”

    Castro LGBTQ Cultural District

    The staff and advisory board members of the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District acknowledge that today’s verdict in the Chauvin trial is important and that we all need to advocate for racial equity in our society. Minimally, this means equality and justice for all people, especially Black people.

    In this case, justice is not achieved with the verdict. Justice would be that George Floyd would not have been murdered and would have been treated like a human being. Because Black Lives Matter.

    We acknowledge that the verdict represents accountability in the confines of our justice system, for one murder in one case. We acknowledge that there are options, other than calling the police, when attempting to resolve issues on the streets in San Francisco. In the Castro District, the dispatch number for the Castro Benefits District cleaning (non-emergency) is
    (415) 471-7536.

    We acknowledge that this verdict is difficult for many of us, especially people of color and others among us who are regularly targeted by violence. Please take care of yourselves, please make space to grieve and emotionally process this news, and please find ways to help us move closer to racial equity.

    Supervisor Rafael Mandelman

    Today, a jury in Minneapolis did what so many juries have not. Whether the George Floyd murder and Derek Chauvin verdict represent the turning point that we all hope for will depend on the work still to be done in police departments, court rooms, and legislative chambers across this country. Racism and injustice have been baked into our public institutions over centuries, and no single verdict can reverse that. But the mass protests that followed George Floyd’s murder and today’s verdict have shown that things can get better and that Black lives do matter. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

    President Joe Biden

    We have to listen. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words.

    (Watch President Biden remarks following the verdict: https://tinyurl.com/ucbj84xs )

    Black Lives Matter and other organizations are drawing renewed attention now to The Breathe Act, which calls for:

    • divesting federal resources from policing and incarceration and ending federal criminal-legal system harms;
    • investing in new approaches to community safety utilizing funding incentives;
    • allocating new money to build healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities for all people;
    • holding officials accountable and enhancing self-determination of Black communities.

    For more information about The Breathe Act: https://breatheact.org/learn-more/

    Published on April 22, 2021