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Episode #4: 1 Year Ago Today…The Murder of George Floyd

Today is May 25, 2021, 1 year after George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was accused of using a fake $20 bill when he went to buy a pack of cigarettes. In the days and weeks that followed, protesters took to the streets in all 50 states and in 60 other countries sparking one of the biggest movements of police reform and social justice in history. Video showing the murder was posted on social media the next morning. People of all races and cultures took to the streets. Now, we have seen some police reform, banning chokeholds like the one placed on George Floyd. As of May 20, 2021, 40 states enacted significant legislation around policing policy in the last year. Of those, 17 states enacted legislation around the use of neck restraints; more states are pending legislation. Federal legislation has been more slow-moving. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was introduced just over a week after Floyd’s death but has been revised in the last year and is still awaiting passing in the senate. 

The goal is, how do we prevent these types of incidences from occurring. What will bring about a fundamental change? The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a step in the right direction. The goal is to: 

● Incentivize the banning of chokeholds and carotid holds 

● Banning no-knock warrants on drug cases 

● End qualified immunity reform 

● Improving training and policies, including racial bias training 

● Increasing data reporting and collection 

What seems clear right now is that American people of all colors said, “enough is enough and we have to change the way we operate”. 

On Instagram today, Wanda Sykes, American actress, comedian, writer and activist, posted:

A broken system is why #GeorgeFloyd isn’t here today. We lost a brother, a son, and a father. Holding up his spirit and his family today. The best way to honor this moment as his memory is for the U.S. Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act with President Biden signing it into law. Police reform is a necessary first step to combat the systemic oppression that led to his murder. 

Also on Instagram today, Emmanuel Acho, Nigerian-American, former NFL linebacker, Fox Sports analyst and hos of the weekly podcast, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, posted: 

One year ago today, George Floyd was murdered. His death catapulted America into necessary accountability. We’ve made progress. But there is still so much work left to be done. Keep talking, keep sharing, keep listening, keep loving. Never get tired of doing good. 

More on Instagram today, from Kerry Washington, American actress, producer, director and activist. She posted: 

How we honor George Floyd. HEAL. Ask for help. Find a therapist. Reach out to friends and family for support. ACT. Register to vote. Take part in COLOR OF CHANGE’s Week of Action. Sign petitions that support Police Reform. SUPPORT. Donate to YES 4 MINNEAPOLIS and help their fight for justice and change in George Floyd’s city. LEARN. Read books by Black authors. Consume Black art. Follow Black creators and change makers. 

Seeing all the attention around the one year anniversary of #GeorgeFloyd’s murder is so emotional. Yes, because of the loss of George Floyd. But also because it is a painful reminder that for many of you, this issue has mattered for one year. For others of us, Black Lives have never NOT mattered. I pray for a world where we all matter to each other all the time and forever more. Can’t stop, won’t stop. Justice is not a fad. If you are new to this, happy one year awakening. Stay in the fight. If you are not new to this, sending love. Today and always. 

Also on Instagram today from BlackGirlsRock, dedicated to inspiring, emboldening and celebrating women and girls of color: 

“My daddy changed the world!” It was a year ago today that 6-year-old Gianna Floyd proclaimed these words while mourning her dad George Floyd who was killed by police. The fight for our lives powers on. Say his name for her, for us. #GeorgeFloyd #BLACKGIRLSROCK4JUSTICE 

More on Instagram today from Ibram X. Kendi, BU professor and NY Times bestselling author of How to Be an Anti-Racist, and activist: 

I broke down last year when I heard that George Floyd played the airplane game with his daughter all the time. Was holding it all in until then. I broke down because that’s what his daughter, Gianna, loved most about her Dad. She loved flying on his back. I broke down because I’ve flown my daughter on my back constantly, hearing her giggles, feeling her joy on my back. She loves the airplane game, too. A year ago a human being who loved, was treated like a monster who hates – when racism is the real monster that hates humanity. But we will continue to fight the monster in his honor. Rest in our resistance, #GeorgeFloyd.

Thank you Wanda, Emmanuel, Kerry, BlackGirlsRock and Ibram/Dr. Kendi – and so many others – for your heartfelt social media posts today. Staying in the fight and sending love.

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