SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For 40 straight days last summer members of the community marched across Syracuse following the death of George Floyd. Mered Billue, Co-Founder of the group Rebirth SYR, was part it. “It was a collective of minds that came together and we wanted to see real change in our community,” said Billue.
This week, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the death of George Floyd. Even though he marched for for justice for Floyd, Billue did not think it would actually happen. Billue explained, “I thought we were going to be disappointed and riots and riots and riots again that happened because that was a very volatile moment right there.”
Outside of the initial shock, there’s some relief now and even a sense of joy. “A lot of people gave up their years, not just the summer and not just 40 days,” He said, “A lot of people gave up years, relationships. A lot of people gave up friendships for fighting for this cause.”
This verdict doesn’t end the work ahead for Billue and efforts in the community. In fact, it’s just beginning. “Not only are we holding the police accountable, but we’re holding ourselves as a black community accountable,” Billue added, “When I say that, we have community leaders and community activists in our community that should decide how our community heals.”
Billue said that’s particularly important when it comes to violence but also with local elections. He hopes everyone does their part to vote.