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How the nation and South Florida is reacting to Derek Chauvin trial verdict

Posted at 4:10 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 16:10:03-04

Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death triggered worldwide protests, violence and reexamination of racism and policing in the nation.

“I couldn’t move, I was riveted, my feet wouldn’t allow me to move away from the television set,” said Kerry-Ann Royes, CEO of YWCA South Florida.

YWCA is a nonprofit that’s dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering woman and promoting justice. Kerry-Ann says the verdict is a step in the right direction.

“Though we have made strives in justice in the direction that we’re going in and we’ve spoken loudly, there’s very little joy that comes from that. There is however accountability and we are certainly happy to see that happen,” she said.

The jury’s decision was hailed around the country as justice by other political and civic leaders and celebrities, including former President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and locally, City of Miami’s new police chief Art Acevedo, who said on Twitter: “Tonight all Americans should breath a collective sigh of relief as justice has been served in the death of #GeorgeFloyd. Police officers throughout our nation saw the same injustice in his death, that his family and the communities we serve saw. Let’s move forward in peace and unity.

“I was withholding any expectations. I’ve been severely disappointed about other cases, I think about the trial about George Zimmerman, the trial involving the shooting death of Mike Brown, we just haven’t seen a number of cases where those perpetrators have been held accountable especially if they’re police officers,” said Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs with Florida Memorial University Social Justice Institute.

Dr. Tameka said the verdict left her feeling relieved, but says more work needs to be done.

“One of the questions that’s persistent in my mind is , did it really take protests around the nation and the globe to bring about this type of verdict. If that is the measure and required to achieve justice, this is completely unsustainable. So the real question is, how can we create systemic change in policing to prevent these type of murders from taking place,” she added.

YWCA is hosting a town hall this Friday where the community can join to heal, discuss and ask questions.

“We are seeking to create spaces of healing. We will be doing ongoing healing circles where we start to talk and continue to just deal with the issues with justice and how it resonates in our bodies. I know like many people yesterday, I broke down crying and I didn’t expect that. This is all very emotional for all of us,” said Kerry-Ann.

YWCA aims to host ongoing discussions and "healing circles" within the community, for more information and to learn more, click here or call (305) 377-9922.