After numerous delays and uncertainties, jury selection in the Derek Chauvin trial has finally concluded and opening arguments are slated to begin Monday.
Fifteen jurors have been selected, according to The Associated Press. Twelve jurors and two alternates will hear evidence, but a 15th person will hear evidence if one of the other jurors is unable to serve once opening statements begin. According to the court, the jury includes six men and nine women. Nine jurors are White, four of them are Black, and two jurors are multiracial.
Chauvin’s trial is one of the most anticipated trials in U.S. history. The ex-Minneapolis police officer is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Floyd was arrested, handcuffed and detained for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store in Minneapolis. Chauvin then held his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd called for his mother and shouted that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death sparked protests across the world, with people demanding police reform and an end to systemic racism.
Culture Greetings, a black-owned greetings card brand, now wants to make sure the calls for reform continue to be heard. The company partnered with the George Floyd Memorial Foundation to launch a new social justice platform called “Voices.” People will be able to mail cards to political figures and demand justice for Floyd and his family. ESSENCE spoke with Ayana Young, president of the Young Group PR, who has pushed getting the word out about this initiative. “This is a campaign that has been created in direct conjunction with the family of George Floyd to request the support of the community to help them continue to fight for justice and accountability of the four officers,” Young said.
Young added that anyone can join in the fight for justice on behalf of Floyd and his family by going to the Voices site and selecting their campaign. They can then “add their signature to a pre-written note, confirm details of the send, including purchase information, and complete the transaction. The cards will be printed at the Culture Greetings printing facility and mailed via the U.S. Postal service to Governor Tim Kalz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Judge Peter Cahill and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office.”
Young believes the initiative with Culture Greetings and the George Floyd Memorial Foundation is an effective way for everyone’s voice to be heard, and for the family to get the justice they deserve. “While online petitions, email campaigns, phone banks and other digital methods of modern protest can be effective, throughout history, handwritten letters and postcards have been a longstanding vessel to convey concerns, show dissent and offer support,” Young said.
“Imagine a visual of 50,000 postcards with George Floyds face coming into the mailroom, reminding the attorney general, judge and district attorney’s office [of] the overwhelming support for George Floyd’s life and legacy” Young said. The card campaign is expected to continue throughout the duration of the trials for all four officers.
“The death of George Floyd sparked an increased sense of activism in our country, and through this campaign, we will continue the movement toward transforming the narrative around police brutality and the repercussions of their criminal actions,” said Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, founder of Voices and Culture Greetings, in a statement. “Together we encourage the community to continue to push for justice and support the family as they step into this new chapter.”