Washington – With their tears, rage, dignity and solidarity, George Floyd’s loved ones have become respected leaders of the fight against police brutality in the United States.
“This just fell on my lap to take on and be his voice because he’s no longer here,” Bridgett Floyd said of her role since her brother died.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed on May 25, 2020 by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes. Chauvin was convicted by a jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of murder and manslaughter on April 20 and is to be sentenced on June 25. The Floyd family received $27 million in a settlement with the city.
Captured on video by a bystander, Floyd’s death sparked protests against racial injustice across the United States and around the world.
On Sunday, members of the Floyd family plan to take part in a march in Minneapolis with relatives of other African-Americans killed in encounters with the police. Among those planning to attend is Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the teenager whose 2012 shooting death in Florida helped spawn the Black Lives Matter movement. “We want the world to see how us families are hurting because the police took a loved one from us,” Bridgett Floyd said in response to a question from AFP during a meeting with reporters.
“We feel each other’s pain. We feel each other’s struggles with this,” she said. “So we come together and we stand in unity so the world can see how much this has affected us.”
The Floyd family has worked closely over the past year with other families, lawyer Ben Crump and civil rights leader Al Sharpton to push their anti-racism message. “Initially for us, it was personal, obviously, because we lost a loved one,” Shareeduh Tate, Floyd’s cousin, told AFP. “Shortly thereafter, we understood it was something far bigger than just the personal loss.”
In June, Floyd’s younger brother Philonise Floyd addressed Congress, pleading with lawmakers to enact police reforms. A week later, in a video message to the United Nations, he called on the international community to set up an independent commission to investigate police violence in the United States.