BLM Co-Founder Opal Tometi Reacts to Chauvin Verdict

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OPAL TOMETI, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK LIVES MATTER: Well, thanks for having me. You know, my immediate feeling when I heard the verdict was one of relief. I didn’t expect to feel so emotional. To be quite honest, I had actually tuned out to a certain degree because of the emotional kind of toll, all of these cases and acts of violence and the shootings we have been hearing about, in addition to watching the trial. And so, I kind of — I allowed myself to take a step back and to not be tied to the TV every single day. And so, by time I finally went to listen to the verdict, I was completely overwhelmed. I was moved to tears. I couldn’t help but think about George Floyd, his loved ones, his gorgeous daughter, his family and the millions of people around the world who demanded that we see that his murder be brought to some sort of “justice or accountability” in this case. And so, I was relieved to be quite honest.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I’m going to ask you about your “justice” because I think that’s exactly what people are asking about in terms of what it means for the future. But first, I want to ask you, how do you feel personally? You’re one of three co-founders of Black Lives Matter movement. You know, people stayed on the streets. You know, protests and activism happened all this year, mostly black people but many, many millions of white people joining as well, and as you said, around the world. How do you feel about your — I would say your transformative impact on what we’ve seen transpire in the courtroom?

TOMETI: You know, this is a real testament to the power of the people. The power of people who are moved so deeply from a sense of their own, you know, righteousness and connection to humanity and move from their own, you know, moral conviction to say, hey, we’re going to the streets in the middle of a pandemic. We can’t sit idly by while our neighbors are being, you know, gunned down and — or left to be choked to death in broad daylight. I think people were ultimately fed up. And so, last year we saw historic uprisings. And, you know, I think that New York Times had — it was largest movement in history, around the world and it’s incredibly — you know, from the perspective where I sit, it’s humbling to see. But honestly, it’s really about everyday people taking ownership of their lives, taking ownership of their destiny and becoming the type of, you know, citizenry that we deserve.

About This Episode EXPAND

Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi reacts to yesterday’s verdict. Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo offers his opinion. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan talks future of country after Chauvin conviction. Political philosopher Danielle Allen relates ancient Greek ethics to modern day police reform.