BLM Protest Mass (copy)

Hundreds march down Massachusetts Street to support the Black Lives Matter movement in May 2020. 

As the guilty verdict was delivered on the Derek Chauvin trial Tuesday afternoon, Kansan reporters disbanded across Lawrence to speak with community members about their reaction to the verdict.

Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd. 

"I'm rejoicing," said Niya McAdoo, Black Student Coalition co-founder and president. “The shock and confusion on his face literally brings me joy.”

Trinity Dye, a KU freshman studying political science and theatre performance, said it was not the verdict that shocked her about this specific trial, but that the verdict came nearly 11 months after the death of George Floyd.

“It was surprising how long it’s taken,” Dye said. “Because of everyone speaking up about it, and because of all the attention it’s gotten, I think that it’s a very fair and deserved punishment.”

Aria Lynch, a first year architecture student, said the hearing of the conviction was the best news she had heard all day.

“I want to say I’m not surprised, but I am because of how many people have gotten away with things like this lately,” Lynch said. “It’s just some good news.”

Candace Quaites, a third year pharmacy student, first heard the news from her sister who shared a news alert in her family group chat. 

“I was shocked, I was relieved,” Quaites said. “I was just hoping that his family would get justice out of this tragedy, and I was very happy to see that they will be getting that.”

Student organizations and faculty also took to social media to react to the verdict.  

“One level of accountability today, but #GeorgeFloyd & so many others should have never lost their lives at the hands of the police” Shawn Leigh Alexander, professor of African and African American Studies, said in a tweet.

“Some justice for today, at least,” KU Young Democrats tweeted. 

“Please please please. Acknowledge and validate the fact Black people need their peace and recovering from today. Yes he was guilty, but hundreds of others have not been. This is still a day of mourning, a man is still dead. For many of us, this can’t be considered a win,” KU Black Student Coalition said on Twitter.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging will host an affinity space for University of Kansas Black faculty and staff members Wednesday, according to an email sent to University members by Interim Vice Provost for DEIB D. A. Graham. 

The virtual meeting will allow members of the community to have a place to gather and reflect on the perpetual incidents of racism and discrimination, on and off KU’s campus.

There will be two spaces held Wednesday, one for graduate and undergraduates students at 12:30 p.m. and another for faculty and staff at 4:15 p.m. A space will also be created for allies to process and continue having a conversation about the trial will be held Thursday at 4:15 p.m.

Chihiro Kai and Atlas Ruiz contributed to this report.

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