The George Floyd Memorial Foundation and the National Action Network held a rally and march on Sunday (May 23) in Minneapolis, MN to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death. The rally is among the first of several events scheduled this week to memorialize the unarmed Black man who died beneath the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The event began at the Hennepin County Government Center around 4 p.m. CT. Hundreds of people, including several members of George Floyd’s family and other relatives of victims who have died due to police brutality, plus activists were in attendance. Governor Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter were also there, KSAT TV reports.
According to the ABC San Antonio, TX affiliate broadcast station, the crowd chanted “no justice, no peace!” and “say his name,” echoing the statements Black Lives Matter activists screamed during protests across the country last summer.
Floyd’s sister Bridgett is the founder of the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. She was one of the first to address the crowd. “It has been a long year,” she said. “It has been a painful year. 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.”
Reverend Al Sharpton used his time onstage to urge the U.S. Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. “We want something coming out of Washington. We want something that will change federal law,” Sharpton said. “There’s been an adjournment on justice for too long. It’s time for them to vote and make this the law.”
If passed as is, the contentious bill he’s referring to would ban the use of chokeholds, establish a national database of police misconduct, and end qualified immunity.
In New York, Floyd’s brother Terrence attended a Brooklyn memorial also organized by Sharpton’s National Action Network. He pleaded for those in attendance to not forget about his brother or the other victims of racist police violence.
“If you keep my brother’s name ringing, you’re going to keep everybody else’s name ringing,” Terrence Floyd said. “Breonna Taylor, Sean Bell, Ahmaud Arbery, you could go through the whole list. There’s a lot of them.”
According to ABC News, there are several other events scheduled to take place in Minneapolis prior to the anniversary of Floyd’s actual death. A virtual “day of action” with the families of victims and activists will be held on Monday, followed by a community festival and candlelight vigil on Tuesday (May 25).
Tuesday will be the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death. President Joe Biden pushed for the bill named in Floyd’s honor to be passed by the date, however the bill’s sponsor Representative Karen Bass recently said it will be delayed as certain provisions continue to be negotiated. The President is still slated to speak with Floyd’s family at the White House on Tuesday.