NEW YORK, NY — Demos, a progressive think tank focused on the pursuit of racial and economic justice, issued the following statement on Tuesday following the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin:
“At the center of George Floyd’s tragic murder was the question of whether the criminal legal system would condone Derek Chauvin’s callous disregard for Floyd’s humanity. The whole world saw Derek Chauvin kneel on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Because of the courage and commitment of jurors, there is some semblance of hope for police accountability – a hope denied in the murders of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and far too many others.
“We cannot undo the tragic loss of George Floyd’s life, but this verdict is an important first step. To advance racial justice, we must hold accountable those who serve the public and reinvest in communities. We must protect our right to peaceful protest from bills in several states that seek to criminalize our right to denounce injustice. Such bills are part of a long history of efforts to thwart equality by silencing those who demand justice in the United States.
“Our nation’s deepest wounds were on display throughout this trial. Healing the divisions that the murder of George Floyd laid bare requires honest acknowledgement of racist systems of oppression and the political will to hold them accountable. Healing also requires reinvestment in vulnerable communities. Education, healthcare, voting rights, and economic opportunity are critical components of a strong and inclusive democracy.
“Demos will continue its work of advancing racial equity in memory of all those — named and unnamed — who no longer are with us in the fight. We will continue to support Demos' Inclusive Democracy Project partners as they build political power in Black and brown communities.”