Corvallis, Eugene Communities React To Chauvin Verdict
People in Eugene and Corvallis were among those reacting to Tuesday's verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
Roughly 30 people showed for a low-key, informal gathering at the Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene. Most present said they were simply relieved that the jury found white police officer Chauvin guilty of all three counts in the death of George Floyd. Several attendees wore Black Lives Matter face masks and t-shirts saying “I Can’t Breathe.”
Nona Solomon-Burt called for the gathering on Black Unity’s Facebook page, which she called a “joy celebration.”
“I was really surprised, I’m not gonna lie. And I was relieved, because I thought it would go a different way," she told KLCC.
"So hearing the word, ‘guilty’ made me really relieved and really happy, honestly.”
A junior at North Eugene High School, Solomon-Burt echoes many activists in saying there’s still work to be done to create justice equality for all people. She expects activism to be in full swing again this summer as in 2020.
Among those pleased with the three guilty counts against the former Minneapolis police officer was Joel Sadofsky, a South Eugene High School senior. He’s going to college in the Twin Cities of Minnesota this fall, where George Floyd died in police custody, and many protests erupted.
“We’re grappling with attempts to reform institutions that were built to maintain the same racist aristocracies that have been around for the entire history of the country.”
Sadofsky says he participated in many Black Lives Matter events in Eugene last summer. Many activists expect to hold similar marches and vigils this year, given other fatal encounters between police and people of color.
In Corvallis, Oregon State University held a gathering to help the campus process the day's event. Several Black members of the OSU community addressed the crowd, including Jason Dorsette with OSU’s Educational Opportunities Program.
“I encourage each and every one of you to recognize that we have a long, long, long road ahead of us, and to give yourself permission to celebrate this minor milestone," he said.
Dorsette is also the president of the Corvallis-Albany branch of the NAACP.
The event was live streamed so that students from OSU’s outlying campuses could also participate.
Copyright 2021, KLCC.