The African-Canadian community is Nova Scotia is hoping the guilty verdicts in the George Floyd murder trial can lead to systemic changes in justice and policing.
A jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota, convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25, 2020, while being restrained on a street as Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his back and neck area for about nine-and-a-half minutes.
His death prompted demonstrations, protests and violence worldwide against systemic racism.
Sylvia Parris-Drummond, the CEO of the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute in Halifax, said the guilty verdicts were “the only answers that should have come back,” from the jury.
She said the next step is for justice officials examine policies and procedures that made racist behaviour commonplace and redefine them.
“I would invite all the sectors and the systems in the United States and Canada to look at this as an opportunity to really move forward with change that is sustainable and really moves us forward to a just world,” she said.
Parris-Drummond said without identifying and correcting systemic issues, “you’re just tweaking with something,” and not actually fixing the problems that exist.
She said there needs to be a statement “within the system that Black Lives Matter,” and then that has to be defined.
“Does that mean that you’re prepared to ensure that people with knowledge, with experience, education levels — however you want to mix that thing up — are in positions to make change?” she asked. “Are you going to make it so that, not only are you going to hear what’s said, you’re going to actively listen and implement what’s said?
“Allow those voices to be there in the positional titles that are needed.”
Chauvin remains in custody awaiting sentencing.