Black Lives Matter of Houston says guilty verdict is only the beginning

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
BLM of Houston says guilty verdict is only the beginning
Derek Chauvin's trial may be over, but the focus for the group is on what happens next.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A conviction is just the beginning for members of the Black Lives Matter group in Houston who hope the justice leads to real change.

On Tuesday, the group met in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. statue at MacGregor Park a few hours after the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The 45-year-old was convicted of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man's neck in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.

READ MORE: Derek Chauvin verdict: Jury finds ex-cop guilty of murder, manslaughter in George Floyd's death

Nykeisha Bryer was one of the handful of people who spoke at the event and told Eyewitness News the verdict gave her an overwhelming sense of relief.

"I had to stop on [the I-69 freeway] ... just tears of joy, pain, frustration, heartache. Just a range of emotions," she said.

VIDEO: George Floyd's family watches verdict

Watch the moment George Floyd's family found out Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges.

Emotions are one thing, but actions are another. The Chauvin's trial may be over, the focus for the group is on what happens next. Organizers are hopeful Texas lawmakers will pass the George Floyd Act - which is aimed at criminal justice reform.

"The work has to be done, and we need people to do that work," said Black Lives Matter Houston organizer, Ashton Woods, who hopes change will not only happen at the state level, but in the city of Houston as well.

"Same thing with [Mayor Sylvester Turner.] What's going on with this policing task force? Why are you not talking to the legislature that you were once part of?" Woods said.

For others, Tuesday's verdict isn't only about political change. They said it starts with meetings like the one held following the verdict.

"We have to keep this in our communities," Bryer said. "If the legislature creates laws that wants to protect Black people, fine. We love it, but it's really up to us to protect us. What I want people to walk away with this is not content, not being comfortable with this being the end. We have to let this be the beginning."

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