LV Black Lives Matter members surprised at Chauvin guilty verdict

Written by on April 21, 2021

 LV Black Lives Matter members surprised at Chauvin guilty verdict

By Tyler Pratt

April 21, 2021

Jessica Ortiz, Justan Parker Fields and Enid Santiago stand in front of Allentown’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument after Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict was announced. Photo | Tyler Pratt / WLVR.

A small group of Black Lives Matter activists from the Lehigh Valley gathered in downtown Allentown on April 20 after Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict was announced.

Listen to the story.

When George Floyd was murdered last year, protesters took to Allentown streets. BLM leader Justan Parker Fields became the voice of the valley’s Black and brown communities demanding changes to policing and policies. 

Nearly 11 months later he speaks in the same spot. 

“When we heard the guilty verdict a lot of us were shocked we were expecting not guilty because that is what we’ve always expected, that’s what we’ve always seen, that’s what we’ve always heard,” Fields says. 

Fields, who is now running for Allentown City Council, came out to observe with Jessica Ortiz of the community resource group the Ortiz Ark Foundation

Black Lives Matter Lehigh Valley members gather in downtown Allentown to call on people to vote in the coming municipal elections. Photo | Tyler Pratt / WLVR.

“I kind of didn’t believe it at first, but when I saw them in the cuffs that’s the moment normally when we break when they take our loved ones. So I think that’s kind of when I lost it, like ok, it’s real,” Ortiz says.

The verdict is a small step toward holding police accountable for their actions, Ortiz says. 

“It’s small stones, cobblestones, whether it’s a grain. A difference is a difference and I think this taught people putting the pressure on is going to make change,” Ortiz says.

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