WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus issued the following statement on the one-year remembrance of the murder of George Floyd, a Black resident of St. Louis Park, Minn. During the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who killed Floyd, a delegation of AFT staff and leaders visited George Floyd Square—an autonomous zone where the community coordinates a rudimentary health clinic, a system of mental health referrals, a network to assist unhoused people, a community library and a clothing closet. Minneapolis Federation of Teachers member Marcia Howard has been on the ground for the past year doing justice work at George Floyd Square, and members of the AFT family are there again today, continuing to support and work in the Minneapolis community:
“A recent trial verdict may have held Derek Chauvin accountable for murder, but three truths remain: racism still exists in America; we must keep fighting it, which includes reforming the criminal justice system; and George Floyd should still be alive today. His death sent shock waves through the country as we all witnessed a murder of a Black man by a police officer. It sent a message that people of color are not safe on the streets, and as a country we must do better.
“Too many leaders in this country have attempted to stoke America’s divisions to tear us apart—but together, we hope to rewrite this story in our history and bring people together to work on issues of bias, poverty and social justice, so that every person in America can access an opportunity to live, work and thrive. The fight for anti-racism and equity is a cornerstone of everything we do, from addressing systemic inequities in school funding and ensuring access to quality healthcare, to making safe housing and affordable higher education a reality for all. We show up for this justice work all over, from McDowell County, W.Va., where we have helped an Appalachian community write a new chapter of economic resiliency, to now Minneapolis, where we are confronting racism head-on and supporting a city ravaged by trauma.
“Collectively, we fight on for a just society, as we hold George Floyd—and all those affected by the epidemic of racism—in our hearts and minds.”