Although some celebrated in the minutes after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was read, community activists weren’t as appeased.
Jahmal Cole, founder of My Block My Hood My City, says plenty of work is ahead.
“Some people who were celebrating and posting things online; they probably wouldn’t have been doing that two years ago. So, in that sense, that can be progress,” said Cole.
Cole is calling for “fresh” ideas and solutions to tackle broken community relations with police.
“We need it to be mandatory for police officers to have mental health [training] or see a therapist once a week. I’m serious about that,” said Cole. “They need to address the trauma that they’re feeling and talk about it.”
A tweet from Black Lives Matter Chicago read: “How we move forward now is important. Stay in the streets.”
It’s a feeling echoed by community activist Ja’Mal Green.
“Justice looks like George Floyd being alive,” said Green. “The fact that he isn’t shows that we have real systemic problems and we need to take a step back and look at the system.”
Green is calling for more investments in community centers, considering them to be “safe havens” for youth.
“We need to really look how we keep people safe and the reality is having police sit around responding to calls is not doing that,” said Cole. “We need to invest in communities and people. Then we will see a long-term return on that investment.”
More rallies and marches are in the works across Chicago as soon as this weekend, according to reports, which call for peaceful but meaningful ways to keep moving forward.