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Press Room

Statement from José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies, on the Verdict in the Police Killing of George Floyd

George Floyd was 46. He was a father of five. A former football star in Houston, he had moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a fresh start. He was working as a bouncer until the pandemic cost him his job. Floyd loved and deeply missed his deceased mother. And last year, we all watched him die, while he called out for her.

Last May, the horrifying video of the last nine minutes of Mr. Floyd’s life was seen by millions around the world. Each of us became a witness to the way Derek Chauvin brutally ended George Floyd’s life while other officers stood by. It was a demonstration of monstrous inhumanity. It shone a brighter light on deeply disturbing police behaviors and policies that have taken the lives of Black people and called into question if the very foundation of the United States is truly freedom and justice for all.

Today, less than a year after Mr. Floyd’s death, the jury delivered a verdict of guilty on all charges in the trial against Derek Chauvin.

George Floyd’s death has been a defining moment in U.S. history. As witnesses to his brutal murder, we have been forever changed by it. And while this verdict is a step toward justice, we know how much more work is ahead. We must collectively demand that law enforcement be held accountable and we must commit to dismantling the racism underlying policing and so many other institutions.

Though this verdict can bring a measure of relief, this trial—and the recent killings of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo and others—have been painful to witness. Too many have suffered and died at the hands of a police system that is plagued by racism.

Racism is a public health crisis and an affront to our belief that every person has the right to health and safety. In George Floyd’s name and the name of too many other Black victims of police violence, we must not relent in our efforts to hold law enforcement accountable and dismantle the anti-Black racism underlying so many of our institutions.

Vital Strategies honors the protestors and organizers who peacefully took to the streets to demand justice. They showed the world that when people demand accountability, progress is possible. We hope that this verdict begins to bring justice for George Floyd and his family, and a hopeful first step toward a new America.

About José Luis Castro

José Luis Castro is the President and CEO of Vital Strategies, where he has led a rapid expansion of Vital Strategies’ portfolio, working with governments to tackle the world’s leading killers, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. The organization now reaches into 73 countries and has touched the lives of more than 2 billion people.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible.

To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat

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