For Immediate Release: April 21, 2021
MHBA Statement on Derek Chauvin Trial Verdict
Yesterday, the city of Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota, and the nation continued the march toward meaningful accountability after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges for the murder of George Floyd. Our thoughts are with George Floyd’s family and loved ones. Almost a year ago, they had their world taken from them. And although yesterday’s verdict is far from the end and there is still much work to be done, we recognize the significance of this momentous first step.
Our MHBA community is especially proud of the significant contributions that our MHBA President, Zuri Balmakund Santiago, and MHBA member and former Chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection, Lola Velazquez-Aguilu, made in achieving this historical verdict.
Ms. Balmakund Santiago, as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota, and Ms. Velazquez-Aguilu, as a pro bono special prosecutor, played crucial roles in preparing and taking this landmark case to trial. Their invaluable efforts in securing this conviction were recognized by Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison. Together, they helped present a case like none before. The MHBA is grateful to both of these impressive Latinx women for their integral roles in reaching this triumph of justice.
We lift our heads to continue the work of accountability at all levels and to earn the confidence of our community. We must continue to demand justice through meaningful change to our system of policing. We must continue to promote fairness under the eyes of the law for all Minnesotans, especially for those who have been historically and systemically targeted.
Yesterday mattered because George Floyd mattered. And so did the lives of so many others for whom we must do right by.
In solidarity and pursuit of justice.
The Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association