by Rashard Zanders
Gone way too soon at the age of 46, a man's life was cruelly taken one year ago. His death became a spark that re-invigorated and galvanized activists old and young to take to the streets in a global call for justice that continues to build momentum a year after the tragedy.
Although it was Derek Chauvin and his three accomplices who murdered George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020, our entire criminal legal system was complicit. Had it not been for the courage of Darnella Frazier, the Black teen who used her cell phone to record the remorseless MPD officers, the official statement calling Mr. Floyd’s death a “medical incident after a police interaction” would have been treated as fact.
George Floyd should be among the living today. And while the the movements for Black lives, legal system transformation, and social justice have spread globally, we must center all discussion of Mr. Floyd's death in accurate language – it was a tragedy.
During Chauvin's trial, the Legal Rights Center's attorney's, restorative facilitators, advocates, investigators and staff have worked with other allies from communities most affected by systemic oppression in the cause for social justice. The Derek Chauvin murder trial was one of the most widely watched U.S. trials in history, with global citizenry able to observe the minutiae that makes up a trial: from jury selection and opening statements, through cross examination, to closing arguments and the verdict. Sentencing still awaits. Nonetheless, the whole world was able to witness first hand the unraveling of the long held myth that in the United States, that Lady Justice is blind.
LRC will continue our community outreach, to expand our growing circle of partners in the cause for Black lives and social justice for all. We are planning another Perspectives on Justice panel to be held before Derek Chauvin’s sentencing, as well as a full calendar of events this summer (get excited for teach-ins, visioning sessions, and more!) to build community with those interested in being involved in legal system transformation. We will also be uplifting the stories of community members who have had direct experience with the criminal legal system, in support of a community vision of justice.
The invitation is ever-standing for educators, journalists, community leaders, and our neighbors to connect with us - let's build deeper partnerships and access our resources together.
George Floyd's life mattered. The taking of his life will never be forgotten. And our communities have shown yet again that we are capable of great feats of endurance. So the work continues.
This week will be flush with events commemorating the tragedy, a watershed moment which compelled so many to join the movement for Black lives, bringing us to this present movement for social change. Other commemorative events include:
LRC staff include attorneys and advocates from a range of background and lived experiences.
The Legal Rights Center
1611 Park Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
P: 612-337-0030 F: 612-337-0797
The Legal Rights Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit financially supported by: the State of Minnesota, foundations, local law firms, corporations and individuals. Clients are never charged for our services.