Three years after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Dr. Yohuru Williams, founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, spoke to community members who gathered in George Floyd Square at an event sponsored by the Minnesota Justice Research Center.
Although the anniversary of Floyd’s death is a solemn occasion, Williams said “this is also a moment of hope and potentially a moment of transformation if we don’t give up the idea that we have the power to change the world.”
The Minnesota Justice Research Center partnered with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in preceding months to listen to the needs of the community as well as the Minneapolis Police Department. Their work culminated in the March 31, 2023-filed court-enforceable agreement, called the consent decree, which requires the city of Minneapolis police to make transformational changes to its organizational culture and address race-based policing issues that historically have impacted the community negatively.
“This isn’t just about policing, it’s about tackling all of the injustices that continue to permeate all aspects of our community and our larger society,” Williams said.
To members of the St. Thomas community, Williams added, “This is a reminder to live our values as an institution. Think about how you can make a difference in your community and beyond.”
He said, “This is our moment. We have to act.”