FARGO — Joseph Lewis has been a familiar face across the Fargo metro for the past year in a push for change. He says that change is important to him as a Black man because he wakes up every morning wondering if he'll be the next George Floyd.
Lewis gathered with friends to watch history unfold Tuesday, April 20, with the verdicts announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis Police officer charged in his killing.
"This is just a very little step in the right direction and the work that is left to be done involves everyone," Lewis said.
Lewis helped organize the peaceful rally last May that drew thousands. While the protest turned into a night of rioting, Lewis quickly condemned what happened that night, saying it hurt the push for change.
"We don't fight hate with hate, violence with violence," said Lewis
In the months following the protest, he focused on his Ubuntu Racial Dialogue Group. The group brought city leaders, police officers and community members together to discuss diversity and tolerance. He feels progress has been made locally.
"One of the goals we were working on was to build relationships among community members and law enforcement and politicians, and we saw that happen at all levels," Lewis said.
Lewis says the guilty verdicts are a sign that America is listening, but the teamwork in the push for racial equality is far from over.
"That this conversation doesn't just end when one cop has been convicted. It is something that everyone needs to keep working on," Lewis said.