CHN members praise verdict in George Floyd murder trial but warn that our work is not done
CHN member organizations had a lot to say in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder trial. Here is a sampling of their comments.
“Let’s be clear: what happened to Daunte Wright, George Floyd, Adam Toledo and countless other Black and Brown men, women and children killed by police officers day-after-day, week-after-week and year-after-year is no accident. It is the criminal legal system is working exactly as intended,” said Leng Leng Chancey, Executive Director 9to5, National Association of Working Women. “Working women — especially women of color — and our allies will never stop fighting to disrupt and dismantle white supremacy, state violence, inequality and injustice in all forms.”
Mara Rudman, Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, joined a number of other CHN member groups in repeating their call for Senate passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“It is past time for lawmakers at all levels of government to seriously tackle the systemic and ongoing problem of police violence,” she said. “They must strengthen laws to stop police violence, shrink the scope of policing, and empower the voices and leadership of community members to ensure public safety, and—above all—reaffirm that Black lives matter.”
The Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP) said the conviction on all counts of the charges against Minneapolis ex-police officer Derek Chauvin “affirms that—despite countless examples of unfair treatment and violence toward the Black community from law enforcement—this time at least a murderer is being held accountable. But there is far more to do to address the systemic racism in policing that has left countless Black families and communities mourning the loss of a loved one who died at the hands of police officers.”
Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, CEO and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, said, “Today we mourn. Tonight we dream. Tomorrow, we continue the fight.”
“We will continue to gather in the coming days. Not to celebrate a verdict, but to mourn the loss of George Floyd,” he said. “We grieve the need to pass this way. With the killing of Daunte Wright nearby and thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo cut down in Chicago, we know we will be here again. But, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We gather in power. We love and support one another. We will reimagine public safety in our communities, so our children can play and thrive.”
Keshia Morris Desir, Common Cause Census and Mass Incarceration Project Manager, said Floyd’s murder “is one from a seemingly endless string.”
“The murder of Daunte Write gunned down just days ago during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb, and the murders of Breonna Taylor, Adam Toledo, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and countless other Black and Brown Americans must spur our nation to enact serious and lasting reforms.”
Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life, welcomed the verdict, but said it does not constitute “real justice.”
“Justice would be George Floyd still alive and hugging his children,” she said. “Justice would be a policing and criminal justice system that Black families can believe will serve them as well as it serves others. Justice would be communities that Black people can simply exist in without fear.”
Luis Guardia, President of the Food Research & Action Center, called the verdict “an incredibly important and symbolic moment for the country as we continue the important work of addressing systemic racism, which has been over 400 years in the making.”
“George Floyd’s death was a horrific display of brutality, and a tragic reminder that shines a spotlight on our nation’s history of killing Black people,” he said. “This is unacceptable and must not be tolerated. No one should wake up every day wondering how they will be impacted by the systemic racism that has plagued our society for far too long.”
The National Association of Social Workers extended its sympathies to Floyd’s family and friends.
“We also again request Congress pass policing reform legislation and urge the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act reintroduced by social worker Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA),” the group said. “That legislation has already passed the U.S. House. Despite this legal victory, much work remains to be done on the excessive use of force by law enforcement. There is also an urgent need for reform in how police interact with people from communities of color.”
Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), said, “George Floyd should be alive. We mourn as his family mourns, and support their efforts to find solace and accountability with this historic verdict.”
“Jewish values have demanded, and continue to demand, that we fight for a world that honors the irrefutable preciousness of every human being, with just systems and structures to support that,” she said.
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism, like others expressed pain over the seemingly endless pattern of police killings of people of color.
“As Reform Jews and people of faith, believing all are created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, we demand an end to the systemic targeting of Black and Brown people by law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” he said.
Wade Henderson, Interim President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said, “Although justice was served today with the conviction of Derek Chauvin, Mr. Floyd cannot be made whole and his family deserves better. We all do.”
“This is an incredibly important outcome, but this is only one case,” he said. “The need to completely reimagine public safety and develop a system that centers community needs is more urgent now than ever. We must end this culture of impunity.”