Although the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd took place in Minneapolis, 1,198 miles away from New York City, the overwhelming sense of justice found in Chauvin’s murder conviction Tuesday flooded the Big Apple like a tsunami.
For nearly a year, protesters have taken to the streets of Manhattan and the outer boroughs driven by despair and fury following the killings of not only George Floyd, but also Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more. After calling for justice, clashing with NYPD officers, and marching under the scorching sun, through the pouring rain, and amidst snowfall, the marchers could finally take a victory lap and rest in the wake of a hard-fought battle.
Yet that didn’t happen.
The city was besieged with an array of protests Tuesday evening and several hundred demonstrators, from Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan. Marchers seeking systemic change in the justice system say that when it comes to the way in which Black and Brown lives are treated, Chauvin’s conviction was only the first step for accountability.
As night fell Tuesday, they took to the streets to remind the city and country that more work needs to be done.
“This is a big step to justice but there is more that we need to do, and that more is abolishing this whole damn system,” Larry Smith exclaimed holding onto a microphone, stating that the protesters present are survivors of injustice. “This isn’t justice today; this is a start. Every single day we will continue to organize.”
The Times Square protest, which began at 7 p.m., saw well over one hundred individuals march Downtown carrying signs reading, “People’s verdict: Guilty.” Hauling speakers along with them, the crowd ensured their message was heard. Bellowing voices echoed off luxury buildings with the words “Your whole damn system is guilty as hell!” and “No Justice, No Peace!”
As the evening turned to night and dusk fell, protesters blocked the roadway on 7th Avenue and 34th Street by taking a knee for several minutes. Here, members of the NYPD and obstructed motorists watched the symbol of solidarity unfold.
After the abrupt stop, they continued toward Lower Manhattan where they ended their rally at Union Square. Although the group was closely followed by NYPD bikers, the protest remained peaceful throughout.
While the night was centered on pushing for future changes and additional accountability for offices who abuse their power, protesters did allow for some semblance of celebration, however — clapping and cheering at the image of Chauvin in handcuffs.