Tuesday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd — second- and third-degree murder charges, as well as a second-degree manslaughter charge.
Floyd’s death under Chauvin’s knee was among the catalysts for a wave of activism in 2020 and beyond — including in Montclair. About 1,000 people joined a June “Black Lives Matter — Crack the Blue Wall” rally in Montclair’s streets, seeking reforms to policing and encouraging civic participation; Montclair officers joined protesters in taking a knee at their own headquarters. It had been one of several marches, vigils and rallies in town that month, and throughout the summer. The Montclair Education Association organized a talk seeking changes to better support students against racism — racism from each other, from staff or from structures in institutions such as schools, government and police. The MEA and the district’s restorative justice team took on the topic of talking with children about racism. Students marking Juneteenth asked Montclair schools to rethink the role of police in schools, and provide more mental health support for students affected by systemic racism.