April 20, 2021

Jobs With Justice Responds to Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict


April 20, 2021 

Contact: Nick Voutsinos, Jobs With Justice, nick@jwj.org, 717-4137613 

 “We just witnessed a rare instance of justice occur within a consistently unjust system.” 

MinneapolisMN  Today, nearly one year after the death of George Floyd, a jury formally announced that his killer – former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin – is guilty of all charges. Jobs With Justice Executive Director Erica Smiley gave the following statement in response: 

Just as we all did last year, the jury saw the video numerous times. The jury watched as Derek Chauvin, despite George Floyd’s pleas, continued to dig his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twentynine seconds. The jury heard heart-wrenching testimony from eye-witnesses who watched Chauvin take George Floyd’s life. As a result, the jury came to the conclusion we all did in May of last year – that Derek Chauvin imurderer. Yet, as a Black woman, I still find myself surprised by the verdict, despite the overwhelming evidence supporting it.

Thefact is, we just witnessed a rare instance of justice occur within a consistently unjust system – a system thatallowedBreonna Taylor’s murderers to walk freeas well as the killers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and the takers of countless other Black and Brown livesThis is a system that just resulted in the death Duante Wright during aroutine traffic stop, a system that killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo after he put his hands upThis verdict doesn’t change the fact that on any day, for any reason, Black and Brown people can find themselves staring down the barrel of a police officer’s gun. I’ve been there, tens of thousands of other Black people have been there, and many don’t walk away from the situation.

True justice for George Floyd means ending the criminalization of Black and Brown peoplefor simply existing.It means taking power away from armed police and putting it into our communities and public sector employees who are better trained to manage the daily crises our communities faceso that instead of ending Black lives, we are promoting Black advancement and giving everyone a seat at the table, so that allBlack peoplecan have the chance to succeed in this country. As things currently stand, too many Black people will never get that chance. George Floyd will never get that chance.

Today we celebrate in relief of a just verdict.  However, we will continue the effort to dismantle systems of exploitation and oppression andfinally build a country that works for all of us.


Jobs With Justice is the country’s leading nonprofit in the fight for workplace and economic democracy. Comprising a national network of local affiliates in nearly every state, Jobs With Justice brings together coalitions of unions, worker organizations, community groups, students, and faith institutions to win concrete improvements in people’s lives.

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