Signs at George Floyd Square at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota the weekend before the verdict. Photo by Dominique Williams.

Washington, DC – The leaders of the nation’s top civil rights organizations issued the following statement in response to Derek Chauvin’s conviction on second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter: 

“Just as the viral video of George Floyd’s brutal death marked a turning point in the nation’s tolerance for racially-motivated police violence, we are hopeful that today’s verdict marks a turning point in holding police accountable.”

“With this verdict, the jury has made an unambiguous declaration that unwarranted use of force against Black people by police is a crime and that Black Lives Matter.”

“Criminal prosecutions of police officers for misconduct, even fatal misconduct, are extremely rare, and convictions are rarer still. A major reason why is the so-called blue wall of silence, which suffered a major blow in this case when Chauvin’s former fellow officers took the stand against him. While truthful testimony is the very least we should expect from law-enforcement officers, we are nonetheless encouraged by the role their actions played in securing this conviction.”

“We commend the prosecution team assembled by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who pursued justice with rigor and integrity.”

“We must build on the movement their actions and this conviction represent by enacting the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and putting an end to this pattern and practice of abuse.”

“We profoundly appreciate that a measure of justice has been served by the jury’s decision, but today is not a day to celebrate. Rather, it is a time for somber remembrance of George Floyd and all the lives those lost to unjustified police violence. It is a time to rededicate ourselves to building a community of trust that keeps all Americans safe.”

National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) is a Washington, D.C.-based charitable organization making a difference in the lives of women, children, and families through a four-pronged strategy that emphasizes entrepreneurship, health equity, STEAM education, and civic engagement. Founded 85 years ago, NCNW has 300 community and campus-based sections and thirty-two national affiliates representing more than Two Million women and men. NCNW’s programs are grounded on a foundation of critical concerns known as Four for the Future. NCNW promotes education with a particular focus on science, technology, engineering, and math; encourages entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and economic stability; educates women about good health and HIV/AIDS; promotes civic engagement and advocates for sound public policy and social justice. 

NCNW is known for its work to educate college-age women about HIV/AIDs and for producing the Black Family Reunion. Current programs include GirlTech, HBCU College Fair, Millennial Entrepreneurs, and Adulting 101. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D., is the National Chair and Seventh President of NCNW. NCNW has campaigned for clean water for Flint, MI, voting rights, and SNAP benefits. For more information please visit www.ncnw.org or NCNW’s social channels via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit www.nul.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.

National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender. For more information go to www.nationalactionnetwork.net.

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), founded in 1976, is one of the most active civil rights and social justice organizations in the nation “dedicated to increasing civic engagement, economic and voter empowerment in Black America.” The Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) is the women and girls empowerment arm of the NCBCP. At the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women, BWR promotes their health and wellness, economic security & prosperity, education and global empowerment as key elements for success. Visit www.ncbcp.org and follow us on Twitter @ncbcp and Instagram @thenationalcoalition.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s largest and foremost grassroots civil rights organization. The mission of the NAACP is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. Members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights and social justice in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work by visiting www.naacp.org.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 57th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities.