Shortly after a Minnesota jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges in the death of George Floyd on April 20, the president and vice president delivered remarks on the verdict. While Biden and Harris acknowledged the conviction was "a step forward," they urged there is still much to be done in the fight towards ending systemic racism and honouring Floyd's legacy. "Today we feel a sigh of relief, but still, it cannot take away the pain," Harris began her statement. "A measure of justice isn't the same as equal justice."
"We are all a part of George Floyd's legacy and our job now is to honour it and to honour him."
The vice president continued, "Here is the truth about racial injustice. It is not just a Black America problem or a people of colour problem. It is a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for us, and it is holding our nation back from realising our full potential. We are all a part of George Floyd's legacy and our job now is to honour it and to honour him."
Harris addressed America's long history of systemic racism, in which Black Americans and men specifically have been treated as "less than human." As she said, "Black men are fathers and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbours. Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our healthcare system, in our housing system, in our economic system, in our criminal justice system, in our nation, full stop."
Biden spoke after Harris, further underscoring the importance of Floyd's legacy. "The guilty verdict does not bring back George, but through the family's pain, they're finding purpose so George's legacy will not be just about his death, but about what we must do in his memory." He went on to explain that we must remember Floyd's harrowing last words, "I can't breathe." The president said, "We can't let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words . . . We can't turn away. We have a chance to begin to change trajectory in this country. It's my hope and prayer that we live up to the legacy."
The president and vice president also urged the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a reform bill that would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, end qualified immunity for law enforcement, and work to put an end to racial profiling. The legislation was first introduced back in June 2020, and while the House passed it in February, it currently faces opposition in the Senate. Watch Biden and Harris's full remarks above.