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“Justice hasn’t been done” - UK Gospel community respond to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

Video footage taken by black teenager Darnella Frazier on 25th May 2020 shook the world. It showed Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin snuffing the life out of George Floyd as Floyd pleaded for mercy, uttering the three chilling words “I can’t breathe” over twenty times.

George Floyd's murder is the modern day slaying that united blacks across the globe regardless of class, age, or creed.

It's been almost a year since the bitter fight for justice began and today, the sound of victory rang loud. Judging by the bewildered look on Chauvin’s face as Judge Cahill delivered the verdict and requested the 12- member jury to individually confirm their verdicts, it was evident that he thought his white privilege would save him. But who could blame him? Despite his reputation for aggression and a trail of over fifteen misconduct complaints, he'd always gone scot-free. This time he faces three charges; second degree murder, third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and could end up spending decades behind bars.

Given the American judicial system’s poor record of convicting white police officers responsible for deaths of black people, it’s not surprising that many were unsure which way the pendulum would swing. UK Gospel rapper Faith Child tweeted: “Wow! In as much as the evidence was as clear as day and as unfair as the judicial system is, I’m pleasantly shocked that some justice was served! Rest well George.” 

UK Gospel worship artist Juanita Francis had few words:"Grateful for justice, now praying for correct sentencing." 

Legendary UK gospel producer Nicky Brown’s poetic words shared on instagram were a poignant reminder that the battle had not yet truly been won : “Yes, Truth - he has spoken loudly, and Justice has explained to us what was always in her heart so all can hear it…. Today the noise was silenced but still we feel no joy. Justice hasn’t been done. It’s only just began.” 

When asked by Premier Gospel about her thoughts on the verdict, UK Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA) Founder Juliet Fletcher said: "The verdict has taken place in the US but the outcomes reverberate here because as its often quoted we are a global village. In the 60's and throughout the tumult of the 80's we were too young to write our own songs during the civil unrests of that decade. We were a very different Black churches movement. Many of our key leaders didn’t feel comfortable with political and certainly activist engagement. Even when Stephen Lawrence died our songs were few to non-existent. We were muted. Now we must unmute. We know that the verdict is only the beginning of a NEW QUEST for change. The church mustn’t hang or linger behind. We must find the language and the confidence to lead.”

Written by Akosua DF, Premier Gospel Presenter

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