Beyond Verdicts and Reform: It's Time to Shift the System

CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, press@opportuni​, 212-334-4275

New York, NY – Today, Minneapolis jurors declared their truth: that former police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. The Opportunity Agenda believes that it is crucial to hold to account both the individuals who commit police violence against people of color and the systems that perpetuate the use of violence as strategy. The job of this jury is done, but the job of those who seek justice is not. Systemic change is necessary for communities of color to live in safety and thrive. Below is a statement from Ellen Buchman, President of The Opportunity Agenda:

The conviction of Derek Chauvin illustrates that justice was served in this case. And it also is a stark reminder that we must go beyond policing and ensure that all our communities are safe from violence by the state. All communities must live free from fear of police, the very people who are paid to protect and serve.

We stand in solidarity with the family members of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, and so many others who could not live in true safety because of the police. We must put an end to any illusion of safety historically rooted in racist and elitist stereotypes that continues to build up armed, militant, and unaccountable police forces in our communities. Now marks a clear moment in time to develop new practices and policies that center the importance and values of community health, safety, and well-being for people of color, and all of us. No one is safe until everyone is safe.

Visionary systemic change to keep our communities truly safe must be sought, especially during this moment. Tragically, this verdict won’t solve the crises of violence that are inherent to our current policing system. This moment cries out for going beyond police reform, which research shows has not prevented continued police violence perpetrated against Black and brown bodies. Such reforms, while a step forward, are simply not enough. Communities across the country are constructing exciting programs that support community safety and wellbeing that go beyond policing. Our hearts today are with the family of George Floyd, with the Minneapolis community, and with the millions who grieve and who fear. May we all fight for the systemic change we need and the brighter and safer future we all deserve.

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