Photo by Jéan Béller on Unsplash

Accountability, Justice, Public Safety: NEO Philanthropy Statement on Chauvin Verdict

We are encouraged by the jury’s decision today to find Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd. However, we must remember that George Floyd was just one of an incalculable number of victims of police violence, so many of who have gone unnamed and ignored by the public at large. Chauvin’s trial was a necessary referendum on the violence that police perpetrate against vulnerable members of our community everyday and we are hopeful that it will be the first of many steps towards holding police accountable and reimagining what public safety looks like for all people. NEO is proud to support organizers and activists who have diligently worked to increase awareness, demand accountability, and seek alternatives to the violent, punitive, and reactionary criminal justice system under which we currently live.

The 2020 murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin while on duty as an officer of the Minneapolis Police was a watershed moment across the world; catalyzing millions of people to take to the streets and demand that those in power seriously reexamine the violent impunity of the police and the myriad and devastating ways that white supremacy manifests daily in the lives of Black and brown people. To many, Floyd’s murder and the subsequent outpouring of anger, grief and opposition to police violence revealed that racism was very much alive in 2020 and had not gone away with the end of segregation. For others, however, Floyd’s murder was just one in a litany of injustices against which they had been tirelessly fighting for years.

It is our hope that philanthropy will explicitly stand in support with those on the ground and lend its voice and substantial resources to the communities that are the most often endangered by those charged with keeping us safe. If the recent murder of Daunte Wright by police in Brooklyn Circle, MN, only miles from where George Floyd was murdered, and at the hands of a training officer employed by a police force that only a year ago was held up as a model of reform, teaches us anything, it is that policing is an institution that cannot be reformed. Our country is grappling with its legacies of historical and systemic violence and the need to engage with the questions of community, protest, hope and change. As advocates for equity and justice, at this time, we must lend our support to those on the ground and allow them to lead our institutional and individual responses as we work toward a safer future for all.

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