Thousands of people in cities around the world took part in events on Tuesday to mark one year since the murder of George Floyd, whose death sparked global protests against police brutality.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, several remembrances were planned, including a daylong celebration in honor of his life at Commons Park near U.S. Bank Stadium and an outdoor event at the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where Floyd’s deadly encounter with Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin took place. The event, dubbed “Rise and Remember at George Floyd Square,” will conclude with a candlelight vigil shortly after sundown.
The events in Minneapolis were organized by the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, led by Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd.
In Houston, where Floyd was born and raised, hundreds are expected to take part in a balloon release led by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, at Cuney Homes, the housing development in the city’s Third Ward where he lived.
In New York City, demonstrators took to the streets early Tuesday in lower Manhattan in honor of Floyd. Several people were arrested for blocking traffic outside the Holland Tunnel, where they knelt on the ground for nine minutes and 29 seconds — the length of time Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck one year ago. Separately, the Rev. Al Sharpton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio knelt for the same length of time before an event in Floyd’s honor organized by Sharpton’s National Action Network.
A Black Lives Matter march from 1 Police Plaza in Manhattan to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was also planned.
Floyd’s family marked the anniversary in Washington, D.C., where they were scheduled to meet with President Biden in the Oval Office, and with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif.; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., on Capitol Hill to push for passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“We’re excited to be here, but this is the one-year remembrance of my brother George,” Philonise Floyd told reporters before meeting with Pelosi. “This is the day he set the world in a rage. And people realized what’s going on in America and said, ‘Enough is enough.’”
The meeting with Biden at the White House was closed to reporters — by the president’s design.
“He wanted this meeting to be private in order to have a real conversation and preserve that with the family,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “He has a genuine relationship with them. And the courage and grace of this family — and especially [Floyd’s] daughter, Gianna — has really stuck with the president.”
The family was scheduled to appear later Tuesday at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington.
The anniversary was also observed in several cities around the world. In the United Kingdom, dozens of “Take the Knee” events, organized by the group Stand Up to Racism, were planned. In Berlin, several dozen demonstrators gathered at a somber rally marking the date.
Last month, a jury convicted Chauvin, finding him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd on May 25, 2020.
He faces maximum sentences of up to 40 years, 25 years and 10 years, respectively, for each charge.
Chauvin will be sentenced on June 25.
“A conviction of Chauvin is not enough,” Sharpton said at the Floyd memorial in New York. “We cannot keep going hoping we get the right evidence, hoping we get the right jury. We must have legislation that defines and refines what police excessive force is all about.”
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