Local young Black activists share views ahead of opening arguments in Chauvin trial

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Opening statements are set for Monday in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. As attorneys gear up, so too do the community activists.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is charged with second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death.

On Friday, KSTP reporter Brandi Powell met with Black activists to get their perspectives amid what’s been described as a racial reckoning.

Community leaders Toshira Garraway and Lewiee Blaze said they want to see systemic changes, which they said includes justice for Floyd.

"It’s time to come forward, and it’s time to face it for what it is, and it’s time to talk about it," said Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence.

"I do believe this is a part of the change, but you know what else is a part of the change? Toshira Garraway is a part of the change," Blaze, Founder of N4 Collective, added.

Garraway founded Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence in honor of her fiancé Justin Teigen, who died in 2009.

"I hope that people will find it in their hearts to see George Floyd’s life as valuable. … Do they value an African American man’s life?" Garraway said.

"It’s a thin line between hope and hopelessness," Blaze said. "It truly is, especially when you have trust issues, right? We don’t trust this system. I know I don’t trust this system."

Blaze and Garraway say this trial is much bigger than the charges against Chauvin in Floyd’s death.

"We can’t act like George Floyd is an isolated issue because it’s not," Garraway said. "… There are too many bodies before George Floyd that led up to George Floyd."

Blaze said the upcoming trial will take some mental and emotional preparation.

"It’s like this balance of faith and fear, and I’m trying to stay on the faithful side," he said.

Both activists said they’re trying to create positive change and stay hopeful and healing.