Black Lives Matter Philly organizers say even with Chauvin guilty verdict, their work isn’t done

  • April 22, 2021

by TaRhonda Thomas, 6ABC

In the weeks and months after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, the streets of Philadelphia were often filled with crowds of protesters chanting “No justice, no peace.”

Even though justice has been served with a guilty verdict for former officer Derek Chauvin, protesters say we’re still a long way from peace.

“I feel enraged by the fact that George Floyd is not still here with us,” said Krystal Strong, a core organizer with Black Lives Matter Philly.

Strong says it can’t be ignored that the groundswell of activism that began after Floyd’s murder had a hand in bringing Chauvin to trial. But the fact that the verdict in the trial came as another police shooting happened is proof that change still needs to happen.

BLM organizers say the real change comes when there’s consistent accountability.

“Since 2005, 16,000 people have been killed by police, but this is only the 8th police officer that has been found guilty,” Strong said of information she’d read after the Chauvin verdict.

Black Lives Matter Philly core organizer YahNe’ Ndgo was among the crowds of people who protested across the city after Floyd’s death. She said the guilty verdict gives her a sense of relief for Floyd’s family.

She says protesters were dedicated to their calls for justice.

“You don’t know what you’ll be able to accomplish, but you know you can accomplish everything if you have the people with you,” Ndgo said.

The verdict, though, is not a stopping point.

“There’s always the weight of all the additional work,” she said of continuing efforts, including a planned march and rally at 2pm on Saturday at City Hall to call for the freeing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an activist and former journalist who has been in prison for nearly 40 years for the killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faukner.

Abu-Jamal recently underwent heart surgery.

BLM organizers are also planning a rally in support for Walter Wallace, Jr. who was killed by Philadelphia police in October 2020. That rally will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Malcom X Park.

Organizers say, even with a guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial, the protests and efforts to create change will continue.

“We know that justice is far more vast than what’s being offered in this moment,” she said.