WASHINGTON, D.C. – While Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murdering George Floyd, this is in no way a cause for celebration. Like Representative Maxine Waters, I am ready to take to the streets to demand racial justice and policing reform to treat excessive force as a criminal offense. For nearly 60 years, NOW has challenged systems of injustice and oppression in a passionate fight for civil rights. We have marched in the streets and in the halls of Congress demanding nothing less than full equal rights for all. We will not stop until we no longer need to take to the streets to protest for Black lives taken at the hands of police brutality.
This verdict will not satisfy or silence us. Black people fear that they will become the next George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or Duante Wright because of the police misconduct, white supremacy, and racial targeting that plagues our justice system and sees Black people as threats because of the color of their skin. An NPR investigation found that since 2015, police officers have shot at least 135 unarmed Black men and women nationwide.
NOW demands that Derek Chauvin receive a prison sentence commensurate with his horrific crime. But this problem does not end here. We must dismantle the systems that were created to discriminate against people of color. To foster authentic and lasting change, laws must be passed in every state to end qualified immunity for police officers, mandate or fund body cameras, restrict no-knock warrants and make neck restraints like the one that killed George Floyd illegal.
Today, we are hopeful that George Floyd’s family, friends, and community have found at least a measure of justice. But justice for all remains an inscription on a building and not a promise that is kept by the nation’s law enforcement and our justice system. Not for Black people. Not for me.