© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Corvallis, Eugene Communities React To Chauvin Verdict

Brian Bull

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.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Nona Solomon-Burt, at Tuesday night's 'hang out' to celebrate the verdicts in the Chauvin trial.

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.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Joel Sadofsky, a SEHS senior, at the informal gathering to share thoughts on police reform and system racism.

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. 

Credit Screenshot from OSU livestream
Jason Dorsette addressed a crowd gathered on the campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis.

“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. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
Related Content