Social media users rushed to defend Rev. Jesse Jackson on April 20 after he was the target of insensitive comments about his appearance on Twitter moments after the verdict was read in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial.
One user compared the nasty comments to remarks made about “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman after he lost a significant amount of weight as he battled cancer in the months leading up to his death. “People are making fun of Jesse Jackson for “looking lost” reminds me of when Chadwick Boseman was a meme for looking extra skinny despite dealing with cancer. You never know what people are going through. The lack of empathy on this app,” the user wrote.
Jackson spoke on Tuesday evening after the jury in the Chauvin murder trial returned a verdict after just 10 hours of deliberations, and following Judge Peter Cahill’s announcement that the former officer had been convicted on all counts.
Twelve jurors found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May killing of George Floyd.
Chauvin was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and is expected to be sentenced in eight weeks.
The 79-year-old minister and politician, who is visibly battling Parkinson’s disease, said after the verdict was announced, “We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters and not die apart,” adding, “We must live together and not die apart.”
Jackson announced back in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had first noticed symptoms three years prior.
On social media, users made insensitive comments about Jackson’s appearance.
Other users quickly rushed to Jackson’s defense, offering a necessary reminder of Jackson’s health and his legacy as an activist. “To those tweeting nastygrams about Rev. Jesse Jackson, please stop. The man was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2017,” wrote one user.
Meanwhile, numerous people from politicians to every day citizens celebrated the jury’s decision to convict Chauvin. Former President Barack Obama released a statement via Twitter on behalf of himself and former first lady Michelle Obama that the jury “did the right thing” while advocating for true justice.
“Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied,” Obama wrote.
Darnella Frazier, who was 17 years old when she filmed Floyd’s last moments, offered an emotional response to the verdict. “I just cried so hard. The last hour my heart was beating so fast, I was so anxious, anxiety bussing through the roof.”
Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said at a Tuesday news conference, “I feel relieved. A lot of days I prayed and I hoped and I was speaking everything into existence. I said, ‘I have faith that he will be convicted.'”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke after the verdict was returned, saying, “I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration…But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice, and now the cause of justice is in your hands.”