On May 25, 2020, Officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fatally kneeling on his neck for nearly ten minutes, Chauvin, alongside three other officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao physically restrained Floyd while he struggled and the world watched. Contributing to the Minneapolis Police Department’s violent history of racism and oppression, Chauvin displayed the blatant inequalities of power within the police state, and the need to fight this system.

However, this event did not occur in a vacuum, as the Minneapolis Police Department is not unique. Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and Daniel Prude were among other Black lives lost to the police in 2020. In the months that followed, people across the globe arose in protest, demanding justice through large scale system change. All while our world experienced the greatest public health emergency of our lifetimes, people came together and the movement for police abolition grew. However, little has actually been achieved in the months following George Floyd’s death. Minneapolis city council members, and other leaders, have offered nothing but broken promises for systems change, and now plan on increasing the city’s police budget. In preparation for the March 8th trial, the city has barricaded its government buildings, and plans to drastically increase its police presence – likely heavily militarized. But, maintaining the violence of policing only furthers the need for protest.

In the wake of the George Floyd Uprising, Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota held numerous protests on and off campus to demand a Civilian Police Accountability Council, as a means to disarm, demilitarize and defund the University of Minnesota Police Department. Understanding that it is not just individual actors, but the collective system of policing that upholds systems of racial, class and disability inequality, we recognize the need for change on our campus. We have engaged in physical direct action and virtual movement building, but have experienced no concrete action or communication from our university administrators. Groups across the Twin Cities and beyond have worked tirelessly to reimagine our community through equitable public safety. All the while, elected officials have ignored community members and have done little to nothing to implement these demands. However, we will not be silenced. UMN SDS stands in solidarity with our community in demanding justice for George Floyd.

On Monday, March 8th, Derek Chauvin will be tried in Minneapolis for the crimes of second-degree murder and manslaughter of George Floyd. We do not expect to see justice without a fight, as it is likely that Chauvin will continue to benefit from his white police privilege. With this in mind, we will take action and stand with those on the ground in Minneapolis, and elsewhere around the country.

National Students for a Democratic Society calls for a day of action in line with the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR) and its Minneapolis affiliate, the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J). We call upon students to hit the streets and demand justice for George Floyd and other victims of police violence.