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Shortly after a Minnesota jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd on April 20, former President Barack Obama shared a powerful statement. “Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more,” Obama tweeted. “Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.”
In a longer statement, Obama reflected on how the murder of Floyd has “reverberated around the world” this past year, “but a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?” He then went on to reiterate a powerful point many others have been making following the verdict: Chauvin’s conviction is a step forward but not justice.
“In this case, at least, we have our answer,” Obama wrote. “But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.”
“True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last.”
He then urged for more reform in the criminal justice system, writing: “We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.”
Obama ended his message by thanking the “millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change.” He added, “Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work.” Read his powerful statement in full below.
Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied. pic.twitter.com/mihZQHqACV
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 20, 2021