To mark the one-year anniversary of his death, activists, citizens, and members of Floyd’s family gathered to celebrate his life and continue the fight for reform.
Politico reports that a rally took place outside the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis where last month, former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three counts of murder in the death of George Floyd. Folks held signs that had the faces of Floyd, Philando Castile and the countless other Black men who have died as a result of police brutality. Gov. Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter were all in attendance as well.
“It has been a long year. It has been a painful year,” Floyd’s sister Bridgett told the crowd on Sunday. “It has been very frustrating for me and my family for our lives to change in the blink of an eye—I still don’t know why.”
Last year on May 25, things changed.
Video of Floyd slowly dying and pleading for breath while former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck and back for over nine minutes, spread across the internet, and there was a feeling of collective disgust. Even some of those who hemmed and hawed on police brutality being a problem were horrified by what they saw.
Usually when these situations happen, there’s initial outrage over the footage, protests in the city where the incident took place, but the story inevitably fades into the background.
This was different.
Protests erupted in cities all across the country, and not just for one weekend, for months. Floyd’s death became a rallying cry, and the man became a symbol in the fight against systemic racism and police brutality.
Multiple people spoke during the rally, including Rev. Al Sharpton, who spoke on the need for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. “We want something coming out of Washington. We want something that will change federal law,” Sharpton said. “There’s been an adjournment on justice for too long. It’s time for them to vote and make this the law.”
Should the act pass, it would be one of the most significant attempts at police reform on the federal level. It would create a national database of police misconduct as well as banning the use of chokeholds.
The George Floyd Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit based in Fayetteville, N.C., will hold a series of events throughout the week in Minneapolis to honor Floyd and stress the importance of police reform. The foundation was created in September by Floyd’s siblings and seeks to combat racial inequities in underserved communities in honor of Floyd’s memory.