By Jose Medina
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A year after George Floyd’s murder, the country is still searching for its answer to address police brutality against Black and Brown communities.
This past Sunday, Floyd’s family held a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of his death.
Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, expressed, “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.”
She stressed, “It has been a long year. It has been a painful year.”
Meanwhile, Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, reminded activists to not forget other victims of police brutality, arguing, “If you keep my brother’s name ringing, you’re going to keep everybody else’s name ringing.”
He added “Breonna Taylor, Sean Bell, Ahmaud Arbery, you could go through the whole list. There’s a lot of them.”
On Tuesday, May 25, people celebrated Floyd’s life at the intersection where he died by having music, food, and activities for kids. One of the organizers of the event was Warren Perry, a college student from Dallas, Texas.
On the one-year anniversary, Perry pointed out that “Black Lives Matter and things that affect African Americans related to police brutality, it’s always a tragedy. It’s always demonization. It’s always tearing down the image or the reputation of them.”
So, he wanted this day to be a celebration, noting “we wanted to turn what was a tragedy into a triumphant moment.”
As people across the country remembered and celebrated Floyd’s life, elected officials spoke on the next steps toward addressing systemic racism and police brutality.
The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) reflected on the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.
Senator Sydney Kamlager reflected that “the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder is a stark reminder of the work that remains to protect Black bodies in California and across the nation.”
She added “work that begins in recognizing how our institutions continue to perpetuate implicit bias towards Black and Brown communities of color, people experiencing poverty, and unsheltered individuals.”
Sen. Kamlager has vowed to reform California’s criminal justice system and promote economic justice through her work. She noted that, while the Chauvin trial verdict was a victory for police accountability, it is “through radical, anti-racist work will we achieve justice for the lives of Black Americans.”
Chair of the CLBC, State Senator Steven Bradford pointed how, in the past year, the COVID pandemic has drastically changed every aspect of people’s daily lives.
From working at home to using Zoom to communicate, Sen. Bradford contemplated these changes but pointed out that if there is one thing that has not changed is the “historic brutality and violence against Black and Brown communities by the hands of rogue cops in law enforcement.”
He wanted to make clear the gravity of Floyd’s murder and the emotions felt by the Black community when awaiting the Chauvin verdict, remarking that “the world witnessed a modern day lynching by Chauvin and yet this country remained on pins and needles in anticipation of whether he would be found guilty.”
He hypothetically asked, “What does that say about the institution of policing in this country?”
Assemblymember Akilah Weber remarked that “as the mother of two young boys, witnessing George Floyd’s death was extremely painful and personal,” adding “we all felt a riveting emotional reaction, and it was particularly devastating for the Black community who has repeatedly been subjected to this type of trauma for generations.”
She, along with the rest of the members of the CLBC, agree that more work must be done to achieve equity for all, proclaiming that “we must do better for our future generations.”
Assemblymember Autumn Burke determined that “we owe it to Mr. Floyd, to his daughter and to our future generations to demand justice for all those who are victims of police brutality and to hold those who abuse their authority accountable, so that one day, we can live without fear.”
Assemblymember Mike Gipson called upon the California State Legislature to pass the CLBC justice package, a comprehensive series of bills aimed at addressing structural racism and police brutality.
The bills range from a decertification process for officers that have committed misconduct to the ban of tear gas in juvenile facilities, just to name a few.
He also asked the U.S. Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and for President Biden to sign it once it gets to his desk. The bill aims to make it easier to prosecute officers who commit police brutality, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and require racial bias training for officers.
The bill has missed the May 25 deadline proposed by Biden and is currently being held and debated on in the Senate.
Recognizing that there are more police reforms that have yet to be passed, Assemblymember Gipson stated “one year later and we don’t have true justice for George Floyd and families affected by police brutality yet.”
In a final reflection on the one-year anniversary, Sen. Kamlager reminded people through her Twitter post to not “one-dimensionalize Floyd’s life into the greater narrative of Black trauma.”
She iterated, “He’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that. We’re deeper than that.”
Jose graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Political Science and has interned for the California State Legislature. He is from Rocklin, CA.
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