The murder trial for the death of George Floyd concluded yesterday as the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts, and for many members of the Georgia Southern community, this came as an overdue relief.
“I am glad to see Chauvin get convicted of all counts,” said GS student Jennifer Hull. “For the first time in a long time, I felt a small sense of pride to be an American. They finally made the right decision and have decided enough is enough and people need to be held accountable.”
“I was actually pretty happy with the outcome,” said Chesney Beadle, a GS student, “I felt like it shouldn’t have taken as long as it did, because, in my opinion, he was guilty from the start.”
The world watched Floyd’s final moments from a viral video showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. This video alone was convicting enough for many students that watched.
“You can’t kneel on a man’s neck for like 8 minutes while he pleads for his life and not be a murderer,” GS student Quinn Harris said. “That man is seriously sick in the head. I am glad he is away from society.”
“It should have taken less time,” said Ariana White, a GS student. “The man murdered someone on camera.”
Floyd’s death sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, and discussions on police brutality and discrimination of people of color expanded over the course of the year. For many, the verdict is a step in the right direction.
“This has set an example for the black community: we are capable of anything and tired of getting mistreated. It’s been a long time coming,” said Zacaria Belton, a GS student. “I think this really made an example out of the bad cops that think they can get away with anything.”
“I believe this proves as a win for the BLM movement as this movement was responsible for the global torch that was lit worldwide and inspired millions of people to protest and petition the government for change,” said Kym’Bria Green, a GS student.
The movements and discussions were echoed on GS’ campus, as the university put a focus on improving diversity, equity and inclusion on campus during 2020. In early spring of last year, the university hired its first associate vice president for Inclusive Excellence.
“As I think about the events leading to the verdict, I’m reminded that this was yet another preventable act of violence that undermines the experiences and cohesiveness of our communities,” said TaJuan Wilson, associate vice president of Inclusive Excellence at GS. “Here at Southern, we have taken and will continue to take intentional steps to make our community more equitable, anti-racist, and inclusive.”
University President Kyle Marrero and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Carl Reiber released this joint statement yesterday: “As an institution dedicated to Inclusive Excellence, we will continue to take measures to stand up for our shared values, and for one another. We will remain united in our resolve to address injustices and hatred in our community.
While many shared that they felt justice had finally been served, some made sure to note that no justice or court ruling can undo Floyd’s death.
“Because of Derek Chauvin’s actions, we lost a father, a brother, a son,” said Madison Wasdin, a GS student. “Derek Chauvin deserved to be jailed for life; It is not up to a police officer to decide if someone’s life is worth ending.”
“While this verdict does not bring George Floyd back it is a big step in the right direction for holding law enforcement officers accountable for their actions,” said Rachel Moody, “I think this win will encourage the movement to continue to fight for justice for the many others such as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Daunte Wright.”