“A moment or a movement”: Local organizers urge activism following Chauvin guilty verdict


Families pay their respects at George Floyd Square, after the fifth day of the trial for Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder charges in the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., April 2, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The impact of the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is still being felt in the Midstate on Wednesday.

Local activists say this is a victory but it’s not the end of the fight for racial justice.

Reggie Shuford is the Executive Director for ACLU PA.

“Whether this is a moment or a movement depends on all of us as regular citizens,” Shuford said.

Tim Jackson, Executive Team Lead for Capital Region Stands Up says instances of law enforcement mistreating communities of color are not unique.

“It happens all the time. It’s happening to people’s neighbors, friends, family. All the time,” Jackson said.

That’s why organizers are pushing community members to keep fighting for change.

“This is not enough. We need meaningful police reform and we have to do the work. We have to be the people pushing to make that happen,” Shuford said.

Both leaders believe police reform is key to fixing these issues. They hope to see things like different officer training for recruiting, or adjusting what problems police are called to handle.

“First is the reckoning and saying hey there’s an issue. The second is a commitment to change,” Jackson said.

This is something they say can’t wait.

“The attention and the focus and the determination to seek real change in this moment might be lost, so I think we have to seize this moment that is fleeting,” Shuford said.

They say it’s up to everyone who wants change to demand it by reaching out to their elected officials and local law enforcement and joining community organizations.

“There’s no reason to sit on your hands. Everybody can do something. Everybody can pick up the phone, everyone can send an email, everyone can find an organization,” Jackson said.

On Sunday, April 25, a group called Harrisburg Abolition Table is holding a Black Lives Matter Solidarity Rally. It starts at 5 p.m. at 1436 Market Street in Harrisburg.

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