Nekima Levy Armstrong is a Minneapolis civil rights attorney and activist who has led several groups promoting racial equality, including as president of the local NAACP chapter and an adviser to Black Lives Matter.
Now her work has been recognized by Oprah Winfrey, who interviewed Levy Armstrong just hours after the jury returned its guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin's murder trial.
Winfrey credited Levy Armstrong as being among the voices responsible for turning George Floyd's death into a global conversation. She asked Levy Armstrong to recount how an ordinary Memorial Day turned extraordinary when she learned a man had been killed during an arrest by Minneapolis police.
Levy Armstrong told Winfrey she called Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo to let him know that community members' version of events differed greatly from his officers' and that video of the incident was circulating on social media.
She called the guilty verdict as more accountability than justice. "Justice would have been stopping Derek Chauvin in his tracks before he ever even laid eyes on George Floyd," she said in the interview.
On Thursday, Levy Armstrong received an enormous bouquet of flowers from Winfrey along with an affirming message to thank her for her work on behalf of the community.
"I know the demand for justice continues," Winfrey wrote. "But just for today … relish the victory!"
Posting an image of the bouquet and note on social media, Levy Armstrong thanked all those participating in the fight for justice.
"And thank you especially to the Black women who are always holding it down, when it is popular and when it is not, for the sake of our community," she wrote.
Levy Armstrong said she was honored to lift up the work of those who applied pressure, demonstrated, organized and put their bodies on the line to demand justice and accountability in the wake of Floyd's brutal murder. "It was refreshing and affirming to see Oprah take such a strong interest in the organizing and activism work of those of us on the frontlines for racial justice in the state of Minnesota," she said.
Rachel Hutton • 612-673-4569