Today was Goerge Floyd’s funeral. As the community lays a father to rest, we must look at how his life and death have impacted our world. RIP George Floyd.
The life of George Floyd was love for others
Before we look at George Floyd’s impact, we’d like to take the time to honor his memory. George Perry Floyd was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and raised in Cuney Homes in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas.
Floyd attended Yates High School where he played on the basketball team and helped lead the football team to the Texas state championships.
During his younger years, Floyd told a fellow classmate and friend, Jonathan Veal, “I want to touch the world.” He was likely talking about playing for the NFL or NBA. 1993 was the year he graduated high school and went on to be the first of his siblings to go to college. He had achieved an athletic scholarship.
Floyd returned home early, however, without a degree. He would lose several years of his life to arrests. After prison, George Floyd saw the birth of his daughter Gianna Floyd and dedicated his life to helping others.
This broke me. #GeorgeFloyd’s daughter joyously says “Daddy changed the world.”
— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) June 3, 2020
He became more involved with his church. And later he signed up for a Christian program that provides drug rehabilitation and job placement in Minnesota. He decided to move to Minneapolis for a fresh start, with a new job.
In 2017, he worked as a security guard at a homeless shelter and transitional housing facility called the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center. He also took a job as a bouncer at Conga Latin Bistro, a restaurant and dance club.
His coworkers at the homeless shelter knew him as a genuine, thoughtful, and caring man who walked them to their cars at night. Floyd’s peers Conga Latin Bistro remember him as humble and humorous. His roommates remember him as pious and thoughtful, often praying with them.
After Officer Chauvin murdered George Floyd while other officers watched and stood lookout, his death sparked protests first in the city of Minneapolis, then across the U.S. and later the world.
#BLM and calls for justice
The protests reignited the Black Lives Matter movement and helped bring charges against the officers that murdered Floyd. The protests also displayed the police brutality that Black and Brown people face regularly.
They also highlighted how police in riot gear respond with violence to peaceful protests. Several videos and reports have circulated showing clear intent on violence towards otherwise peaceful protests.
There is an ongoing fight to bring the police who are responsible for these violent acts to justice. Just today, thanks to video evidence from a nearby protestor, the NYPD officer who shoved a woman putting her in the hospital has been charged with assault.
NYPD Officer Vincent D'Andraia — who was seen in a video shoving a woman to the ground at a protest in Brooklyn on May 29 — has been charged with assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing, the @BrooklynDA's office said.https://t.co/lVxx5kCwyN via @nbcnews
— Janelle Fiona Griffith (@janellefiona) June 9, 2020
Dismantling an unjust system
These calls for justice are simultaneous with calls for new ideas that radically change the corrupt system. The protests brought ideas like defunding of police and demilitarization to the mainstream conversation on policing.
The police departments are overprepared with riot gear and military-grade equipment. This contrasts with the lack of resources for the medical community dealing with an ongoing pandemic. Visuals of this emphasize the deep priority issues that state and local governments have.
Cost of Riot Gear for 1 cop
Cost of PPE for 1 healthcare worker
N95 MASK $5.75
FACE SHIELD $4.50
LATEX GLOVES $0.08
GIVE THESE ASSHOLES THE GARBAGE BAGS & OUR HEALTHCARE WORKERS PPE! pic.twitter.com/OgY8V5jWIe
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) June 8, 2020
The introduction of ideas that have lived under the label of “radical” for decades are being more accepted. Calls for the defunding police include redirecting those funds to positive social programs for the community.
#DefundThePolice has seen some positive response with Minneapolis City Council members beginning the process of dismantling the Minneapolis Police department. New York plans to cut NYPD’s $6 billion funding. Other cities and states are looking to follow suit.
Police brutality is a global threat
Floyd’s death became the cry heard around the world, with oppressed peoples like Paris, France’s North and West African populations fighting against their own systems police brutality and Guadalajara, Mexico’s people rejecting the corrupt and cartel backed police.
As 6-year-old Gianna Floyd aptly said, “Daddy Changed the World.”
Police brutality and its’ role in state-sanctioned violence is not just an American concept. It’s one that runs deep in many countries. the world understands deeply Floyd’s death and the outrage that followed.
Paris says Black Lives Matterpic.twitter.com/YquMEv6sT5
— Yasmina Bennani (@YASMINAREBEL) June 2, 2020
RIP George Floyd
As the world mourns George Floyd, it mourns the countless deaths of Black and Brown people at the hands of police. To honor him today and in the future, we must continue the fight for justice.