ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexicans are speaking out after Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts, including murder and manslaughter charges, in the death of George Floyd.
About 60 demonstrators gathered Tuesday evening for what they’re calling healing, celebration, and continued calls for action along Central Avenue near the University of New Mexico‘s Johnson Field. Tuesday night’s demonstration started off with music and cheering for the conviction of Chauvin. It was followed by a series of speeches and the group walked down Central to Cornell near UNM’s bookstore bringing traffic to a standstill, chanting Floyd’s name.
The group called for the end of white supremacy and systemic racism. One of the event’s organizers says she was full of anxiety until she actually heard the verdict. “I had immediate tears. I watched the verdict with my 17-year old son, so I was able to look at my Black child and tell him there is hope for justice…when our civil rights are violated there’s hope for justice. And when we’re murdered, our lives matter. Because finally, I can show my son that a Black life mattered today,” said Barbara Jordan, founder of PRESS New Mexico and co-organizer of the event.
While the group says Tuesday night was a celebration, the work for racial equality continues. “It’s just one step in, in you know, doing this work. And you know, just for civil rights and equality. It’s just one more step. You know, because this feeling right now as we’re celebrating, you know, I know how short-lived it’s going to be,” said one demonstrator.
“This was one brick taken down from white supremacy, one brick. So, we have to continue on until we dismantle racism as a whole,” Jordan said.
Demonstrators took a knee in silence for nine minutes and 29 seconds to signify the amount of time Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck. The entire demonstration lasted about an hour and a half. The Albuquerque Police Department has closed parts of Central Ave. in the UNM area for protesters. APD says protestors have cleared the area and Central Ave. has since been opened to traffic.
Local and state leaders also weighed in on the verdict including Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. She says in part, while no verdict will ever bring George Floyd back to his family, Tuesday’s decision does give us all hope that our system is capable of achieving some measure of accountability.