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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 real justice demands a lot more,” Obama tweeted. “Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we support all who are committed to ensuring every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.”
In a longer statement, Obama reflected on how Floyd’s murder “echoed around the world” this year, “but a more fundamental question always remained: Would justice be served?” He then reiterated a strong point that many others put forward after 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 honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is more than just one verdict in one trial.”
“True justice demands that we accept the fact that black Americans are treated differently, every day. It forces us to recognize that millions of our friends, family and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement may be their last. ”
He then called for further reform of the criminal justice system, writing: “We will need to pursue concrete reforms that will ultimately reduce and eliminate racial prejudice in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble our efforts to expand economic opportunities in those communities that have been marginalized for too long. ”
Obama ended his message by thanking “the millions of people – especially young people – who have demonstrated, protested and spoken out over the past year, highlighting inequalities and calling for change.” He added: “Justice is closer today not only 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 support all those who are committed to ensuring 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